"Stairway to Heaven"
September 2012, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
I shot this image in an underground kiva in Mesa Verde National Park. A kiva is a ceremonial chamber used by ancient Puebloan Indians. They were almost always underground and round in shape. However, modern day kivas, such as those used by the Hopi Indians, are typically square in shape, although round examples can still be found occasionally. Modern kivas also pull double duty, being used for social gatherings or even political venues, in addition to their traditional religious purposes.
The kiva shown here probably dates to about 1200 AD and would have been used by the Anasazi. The only means of access was by the hole in the roof and the ladder. For this shot I waited until the sunlight just began to penetrate through the opening all the way to the kiva floor. The event only lasted for about 2 minutes, but it completely illuminated the kiva interior during that time, allowing me to get the shot I had hoped for. Once the sunlight left, the kiva became almost totally dark.
AnasaziColoradoIndian RuinsLadderMesa Verdekivasunbeam