October 31, 2013

Snorkeler, Mexico

Photograph by Paul Nicklen

This Month in Photo of the Day: The Power of Photography

A snorkeling tourist floats in a cenote called Las Calaveras—“the skulls”—near Tulum. Local Maya got their drinking water here until about 30 years ago, when divers found bones. Archaeologists have recorded the remains of more than a hundred people, usually shrouded by the water’s primordial darkness.

See more pictures from the August 2013 feature story “Secrets of the Maya Underworld.”

Nicklen was one of 44 photographers we interviewed for our video portrait series The Photographers on Photography. Watch an intro to the series on Proof. »

38 comments
Feng Li
Feng Li

Amazing underwater shooting!

Rebecca Huskinson
Rebecca Huskinson

Wow, I lived in that area for five years, visiting as many cenotes and ruins as possible and I'd never heard of this one. How spooky-cool. I wish I'd known about it!

dinesh s
dinesh s

different thinking..............

Shannon T
Shannon T

Well timed. Getting the shot as the swimmer is in the ray of light and in a position that looks like she's dancing. Great contrast with death in the foreground and life in the background.

Thanh Le
Thanh Le

the remains and the souls

Akshay Vajapeyam
Akshay Vajapeyam

This might just be the best picture I have ever seen. I mean....just....like....WOW.

John Chimon
John Chimon

Looks like from a fiction movie  great shot! 

E. Diaz
E. Diaz

I can only say that it is beautiful

ahmad ahmad
ahmad ahmad

death is between us every where even in the deep sea!!


ahmad ahmad
ahmad ahmad

the only true thing in the world ,,,,,death !!!


kyle stapish
kyle stapish

Awesome i like the lighting and the compasion good job!

Janice H.
Janice H.

Perfect for Halloween!        Wonderful picture of the snorkeler amid the remains.

Jennifer Howatson
Jennifer Howatson

I can't help but wonder how all the skulls got there.  Apt for Halloween, but spooky!

Miguel Carrasco
Miguel Carrasco

Muy bella toma,hay muchisimas cosas por descubrir,aqui en México y en todo el mundo,National Geographic,siempre nos regála documentos y bellas tomas. 

Miguel Carrasco
Miguel Carrasco

muy bella imagen y valioso descubrimiento,hay muchas zonas por explorar en México.

Erik Davis
Erik Davis

I love the picture! I don't suppose you have it in 1920x1080 do you?

Justin Sykes
Justin Sykes

There must be a Shakespeare reference in here somewhere, but I just can't find any about snorkeling.

I really like the lighting in this, but find it hard to believe that the skulls were not put there deliberately by the photographer - Paul Nicken.  This removes the serendipity and spontaneity of the photo - which is a shame.

Technicality / Composition / Content / X factor / originality = 7/10 zoom lenses  

Daryl Johanssen
Daryl Johanssen

@ahmad ahmad 

To REINCARNATION as another consciousness?

(Mother Universe IS the BIGGEST recycler of all, and WHY we should be kind to ALL living things.........)

Special Offers

  • multiproduct_email_100x75_jancover.jpg

    National Geographic

    Subscribe to National Geographic magazine and save. Print and digital editions available for as little as $12.