Ilhabela is an island in the state of São Paulo that is a very popular holiday destination - people come here for sandy beaches, nature and sunshine. But not us.
No, when we came to the island, the clouds came with us.
Not that I'm complaining.
There are plenty of things that I enjoy in Brazil, but climate is, surprisingly, not one of them. The height of tropical summer is almost unbearable to me (37°C anyone?), so I'll take a little rain over sun and heat any day. Especially, when it looks like this.
The almost overwhelming green of the jungle gets toned down by the haze and the humidity, giving the whole world a faded blue tint. It's like waking up in a roll of expired film, only with a little more contrast.
For a while now I wanted to photograph the ocean with a long shutter speed in order to capture the movement of the waves. It's difficult to achieve a significantly long shutter speed during the day without using ND filters, so I've been trying the post-processing technique of stitching together a number of separate exposures. The image above, for instance, consists of 31 frames, each shot with a 1/15 seconds exposure.
What's especially fun about this method is that you can play with different stack modes in order to achieve different effects.
I'm glad these pictures worked out pretty well, because I haven't actually gotten the pictures of the jungle that I was planning to take. When you travel mostly for the sake of taking pictures, I think it's important to do some research in advance and have some idea of what you want to shoot when you get there, where and when.
However, a plan like that is never set in stone and you need to be able to adjust on the spot. In this case, the weather was one factor that affected the overall atmosphere of the images, but it wasn't the only one. The waterfall for instance - even though there are plenty on Ilhabela, we only really had time to visit one, and the one we chose turned out to be very difficult to photograph. It was absolutely beautiful, and huge, but finding a good angle was virtually impossible. In fact, the only picture I ended up being somewhat happy with is this one:
Well, you can't always get exactly what you want, and sometimes when the right picture just isn't happening, you need to let things go and try to enjoy the experience of being there. Which isn't hard, as the atmosphere of the jungle is absolutely incredible.
The entire forest is alive, and the greenery is so wild, it fills all the space, every gap between the trees, forming a wall of green that envelops you, swallows you up, until it feels like the surrounding forest is all there is.
Trees, vines, bushes and stalkes intertwine, reaching upwards higher and higher, until they join completely and fill the sky, as the forest closes in on itself.
As you make your way through, following a barely-there trail, slipping in the mud, sliding down hillsides, climbing over fallen trees, getting stung and poked and scraped, you start to understand why in the old times it was easier to sail around the entire continent to reach the opposite coast than to get there by land. This is one hell of a terrain, but it's well worth it once the jungle suddenly parts and opens up onto a beautiful waterfall.
And in the end of the day, tired but happy, you settle in with a book in a cozy hammock as you fall asleep to the sound of the waves.
Haha, no, just kidding. You try that and the mosquitos will eat you alive. It is the tropics after all.