The beaches of Brazil are beautiful but every trip I’ve made here I’ve wound up on a beach. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate a nice beach scene but they do get a little old after awhile. To help break up the monotony and to provide some fresh scenery for my camera, my Brazilian buddies took us on a trip to the mountains and hills to the west of Macae. They had heard of this place called Sana but had never been. Sana is like a forest getaway for Rastafarians and those who are of similar opinion on the use of certain natural substances.
With a little help of a GPS and lots of pulling over to ask for directions, we finally made it to Sana.
Only a few minutes into our hike, we came across a couple of guys who were sitting on some big rocks, overlooking the river below. Needless to say, they were stoned. REALLY stoned. Like human wasteland high, but at least they were friendly. As Sana is not a tourist attraction, they probably weren’t used to seeing many outsiders in this little retreat. In fact, my pasty-whiteness probably had them thinking they were seeing a ghostly apparition with a camera. I asked them if it would be ok to make a few photos of them. They were happy to oblige! Random hand gestures were offered up to help out my composition. I think one was trying to utter something about Buffalo Soldiers. More likely, he just needed some Buffalo Wings for combating those munchies.
These friendly guys set the tone for the whole hike. From there, we had a relaxing, enjoyable hike. No, we didn’t smoke anything to achieve this state of relaxation. Just being out in nature, away from the city noises, and starting off a hike with two great portraits will put any photographer in a good mood.
With me on the hike were two of my buddies from Brazil, Sergio and Edson, and also my fellow American, Brandon.
Here is Brandon and Sergio settling their differences in the way that men do.
The trail led us through some dense bamboo thickets.
Toward the highest point of the trail, we came across this little guy sitting on a stump outside of a lovely home nestled back in the trees and bushes.
I have no idea how anyone would have ever gotten all the supplies up that trail to build a house. We were all panting and soaked in sweat from the very steep and narrow path that brought us up to that point. From what I gather, this place sells medicines and herbs. Probably amounts to aspirin and Mary Jane.
After a short visit with the occupants of the house we headed off on a fork in the trail that would lead us down to the river.
A very welcomed downhill hike brought us to the river. We discovered that the only way to the other side was to wade across. I had gotten almost to the other shore when I handed off my camera to Brandon who then turned my own camera against me, taking this photo of me. Lucky it didn’t crack the lens.
All of us were drenched in sweat from the hard hike and hot, still air of the forest. Crossing that river felt wonderful and reenergizing.
Here’s Brandon taking a breather after crossing the river.
I won’t waste too many words here making excuses for my river photos but I was really limited not having a tripod with me or a wide angle lens. I couldn’t find many things to rest my camera on for slow-shutter shots of the running water, and the forest was so thick and steep around the river that I couldn’t get back far enough with my 50mm lens to get the shots I really wanted. Ok I’m finished making excuses.
After a little time at the river, we hiked our way back to the car. What an awesome day! I’ll take the forest and hills over the beach any day.
As we were driving back to Macae, a storm rolled in. I love the lighting in this photo. The foreground still had some sunlight shining on it, while the dark clouds muted the colors of the hills in the background. What a dramatic scene! About 20 minutes later it dumped rain and pretty much kept raining for the next two days.
Now that I’m home, I’m working on getting a wide angle prime lens that will pack light in my backpack. I think with a 20mm and 50mm lens I should be pretty well set for covering most things I want to shoot while travelling, without breaking my back. As it is, my backpack weighs about 25lbs when fully loaded with my laptop, tablet, camera with one lens, chargers, headphones, various cables, mouse, batteries, etc. Carrying all that stuff, my shoulders get to hurting after a day or two of walking through cities and airports to get wherever I’m going. Anything I can do to keep size and weight down is always good.
Well I hope you enjoyed the photos. I’ll be posting again very soon. Before flying home, I had a chance to walk around Rio de Janeiro! I think I’ve got a couple of good photos that are worth sharing.
Nikon D600 w/ Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S