Not all pyramids are built in Egypt

Naturally, most people look to the Old World when reflecting upon history’s greatest architectural achievements. The Pyramids of Giza, the Colosseum, the Forbidden City, Angkor Wat – these structures are forever etched into our understanding of human culture and history. Perhaps not as well known are the ancient and impressive sites in Central and South America. I built this Mesoamerican pyramid as a tribute to this wonderful architectural legacy, some of which I have been fortunate enough to see in person. This temple is based loosely on “El Castillo” in Chichen Itza, Mexico, whose construction began in the eighth century.

Jungle Temple

I think this creation highlights what proper photography and the right composition can do to maximize aesthetic appeal. This is certainly a simple build – no advanced techniques to write home about, and you’re going to find pretty much every stud is pointed up – but the overall look negates an otherwise banal design. Using background features (in this case, the trees) helps add depth and dimension, making a creation look bigger than it really is. Color and knowing how much to use is crucial too. Here the sand blue water and green palm trees contrasts nicely with the darker tones of the temple and trees – again, adding more depth to the scene.


I received an email from someone asking if this creation was in fact a render. It isn’t, but that is the quality I aim for when photographing my creations. I shot this outside on a cloudy day (perhaps surprisingly, that’s mostly what we get here in southwestern Arkansas). Nothing brings out a build’s colors better and provides more even lighting than natural light on a cloudy day. That may not always be an option, but if you’re struggling to photograph your build with artificial lights, it might be worth waiting a few days for a weather front to come through and let nature do the work for you.