/// Photo tour Brazil
In view of the corona pandemic that has been sweeping the world since the beginning of last year, Brazil is particularly badly affected. In hardly any other country is the infectious disease raging as violently as here. Meanwhile, as of April 4th, 2021, the country has 12,953,597 infected and 7,500,000 recovered. Unfortunately, however, there are also 330,193 deaths in connection with Covid-19.
Brazil is still classified as a risk area and is extremely hard on the country and its people. The living and supply conditions have deteriorated dramatically. Not only has unemployment increased sharply, the situation in hospitals has also worsened in many places. The oxygen that is now so urgently needed, as well as the intensive care bed capacities, are exhausted to the worst.
My greatest wish for this country and its people is the fastest possible relief and the overcoming of this pandemic in order to soon regain their life-affirming attitude. This is linked to the hopes of being able to travel to this dreamlike country with its hospitable people again at some point.
by frank billand
The country, which is so impressive for me, with its warm-hearted people, really captivated and greatly inspired me. For me, as a traveler to India and Asia, this experience has opened up a completely new travel heaven and opened the door for me to further trips to Brazil and South America in general. Under the patronage of a German travel agency, the whole trip, which was staffed by 8 ambitious amateur photographers, was well organized from A-Z. The well-known photographer and coach Gunther Wegner accompanied us on this trip with his talent and photographic know-how.
For me, this trip has fulfilled a long-cherished wish to be a guest in Brazil once in my life. In addition, I have been gifted with great impressions and extraordinary experiences. Worth seeing and impressive stations have made our itinerary as different as it is complex. The accommodations were all clean and inviting, the Brazilian cuisine was incredibly tasty and also very varied due to the different regions we visited. We experienced all domestic flights carefree and always reached our destinations safely.
We were assisted by a personal guide, the Brazilian Rodrigo Engel. In a committed and confident manner, he accompanied and guided us safely, knowledgeably and safely through the country and provided us with all the necessary information and on-site processing. All other guides seemed experienced and informed us with all sorts of background knowledge about the country, flora and fauna and of course its warm-hearted people. Gunther was at our side with his very affable and pleasant manner and with all his expertise, which inspired me throughout. With enthusiasm, I was able to take a lot of new photographic knowledge with me, which has sustainably sharpened my perspective and understanding of photography.
Itinerary: Rio De Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia, Jalapão National Park, São Luís, Lençóis Maranhenses, Pantanal and Ilha Grande.
On the way in the streets and alleys of Rio de Janeiro, you really realize that the people live and move around with an extraordinary liveliness and joie de vivre, which is typical and at home everywhere in Latin America.
What seems so exotic to us is simply part of the way of life here. The people are very open to strangers and just as happy to be photographed.
The rock formations Pedra Furada in Jalapão National Park, in the micro-region Jalapão in the east of Tocantins, were the evening goal for our photo troupe, which we wanted to reach before sunset. The region in which we moved for a few days was mainly accessible via sandy roads. So getting around with our three jeeps took time, considering that we covered a good 1100 km in 3-4 days.
Arrived at the destination, it was a carefree walk up to the Pedra Furada, the huge sandstone rock that has been formed by wind and rain for thousands of years and impresses with its unusual archway. From up here we were rewarded with a fantastic backdrop and a fabulous view into the distance. A few kilometers away, huge mesas could be included in the panorama. It was wonderful what was revealed here. The fact that we were able to manage everything in time after a long day is certainly not a matter of course here with these distances. Experiencing the sunset from up here was therefore really something very special for us.
The next day, from the Pedra Furada, we went to the dreamlike world of dunes in the Jalapão nature reserve, in the middle of the largest rainforest on our planet.
Along the way, a safety rope had been attached for an easier ascent. The purest welcome for this climb. What looked easy at the bottom of the dune became more difficult with every step up in the deep sand. Much more exhausting than I thought, I quickly realized how much weight I could have saved. My 14mm with 671 g or my 70-200mm with 1,470 g, no impossible, the two focal lengths definitely had to be taken with a tripod. In the end it was the 24-70mm, which would have been completely and rightly dispensable. But it was too late for that, I was already on the rise. Body weight is one thing that needs to be moved, a heavy backpack is another. The path to the actual photo often requires the most strength and during the photographing all previous difficulties fade away in no time at all. Joy and passion quickly overshadowed being completely out of breath and the heaviness of my equipment, which I couldn’t really avoid during the last 10 days in Brazil, faded casually again and again.
Arriving at the top, an unimaginable and spacious desert landscape opened up in front of me. In the distance I saw some lakes filled with rainwater that really didn’t belong here. At least I had never seen anything like it before, let alone heard of it. The only thing I saw was an unbelievable brightness. The sun, the blinding light, hit me with all its merciless power. It was impossible for me to keep my eyes open any longer to really be able to see something in peace. Without the slightest doubt, I looked for my sunglasses, but in vain. Spontaneous as I am, I left my backpack with my group and ran much faster through the sand down the hill. What fun that was without thinking that I had to go right back up there too.
The sandy desert of Lençóis Maranhenses extends over an area of 1550 km² of dunes, declared a national park since the 1980s, which is located in northern Brazil, bordering the state of Maranhão. It is on the border of the state of Maranhão.
What a balm for the soul. On the western side, the sun was setting, bathing the freshwater lakes, which are full of water during the rainy season, in a remarkable light. To the east, on the other hand, the moon, illuminated by the setting sun, was within reach in all its glory.
Unfortunately, the trip also had a negative aftertaste, I have to mention here. The clearing of the rainforest and the destruction of the natural landscape and habitat is clearly noticeable everywhere in Brazil. To experience with your own eyes how the slash and burn creates space to force areas to be cultivated for soybeans and corn is sad and painful at the same time.
Exploring traditional life in the vastness of Jalapão National Park was an adventure for me. Here I experienced once more how modest life in the country is and the joie de vivre is all the more noticeable. The openness to being able to take pictures here, as well as the hospitality towards us strangers, really impressed me.
From afar we spotted out of the jeep a group of gauchos on horseback, simply translated as cattle herders, who seemed to be on their way home. We approached them slowly and carefully. Arriving at their height, they immediately greeted us with their vivacious and lively manner, which we immediately replied to. Holding up my camera signaled my asking if I could photograph them. I think the pictures speak a clear language and document their attitude towards strangers.
When temperatures are high, everyone, whether human or animal, is looking for a way to cool down. Just like the Amazon parrot shows us here, at almost 40 degrees, seen in the Pantanal.
At sunset by boat on the Rio Mutum, a river in the state of Mato Grosso in western Brazil.