The Tulum Coastline

I was half expecting to hate Tulum.  Ok, if I’m being honest, I was full well expecting to hate Tulum and maybe even all of Mexico‘s famous chunk of the Mayan world.  All I imagined before I arrived was a beautiful historical site, one I have studied in textbooks and dreamed of having all to myself, being swarmed by swimwear wearing tourists from the local resorts and docking cruise ships.  However, to my surprise, I really enjoyed Tulum, regardless of the fact that there were hoards of people on the grounds.  There is a sense of wow that is associated with the location of these great ruins similar to the affect that places like Machu Picchu and the view of Rio de Janeiro have.  Tulum was one of the few remaining inhabited Mayan cities upon the arrival of the Spanish.  It is also the only one known to be situated along the coast.  Why more didn’t take advantage of views like this is beyond me, but I’m excited to have been lucky enough to lay my eyes down on it.

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico

The Shot

Sometimes we are just not able to shoot in what are known as the “golden hours” of around sunset and sunrise where the light is just perfect for photography.  Shooting landscapes in the middle of the day causes all sorts of problems such as strange exposures and the light of the sun burning out the colours.  In the photo of Tulum above these issues were all present.  However, I was able to overcome them using a quick photoshop trick where I paste two different exposures of the same image over top of each other and then use a gradient tool to stick them together and give the image equal light.  It basically works the same way a gradient filter would.  In situations like today, this quick trick works wonders.  For the true photography nerds, the photo of Tulum was taken on my Canon 60d with a 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 lens shot at 18mm with an aperture of f/9 and a shutter speed of 1/200.


Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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8 Comments

    • @Andi – You’ll have to make it sometime…. such an amazing setting.

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  1. I spent a week here! Sooooooooo beautiful! I slept in one of the little thatched roof huts and in the sand and hammocks. It was such a blast!!!!

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    • @Marina – Yes, I was planning on doing that, as it sounds amazing, but I ran short on time… story of my life.

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  2. It’s so beautiful. I don’t see people there, what time did you go?

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    • @Sarah – oh believe me there were people there… lots of them. I got there right at 9am. I shot the photo trying to keep as many out as possible. There were two in the shot near the ruins whom I clone stamped out 🙂

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  3. I was there back in May ’94’ Truly stunning thankyou for the memories!!

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