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Brazil’s Landscape Treasures

Serra dos Orgaos National Park, Brazil

No, I am not blogging from Brazil – although I wish I was.  Most of us know little about this massive South American country except their annual Carnival and the beaches of Rio.  Few Americans know, for example, that some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet is no more than an hour or two away from the sands of Copacabana. These are the granite spires and domes of the Serra dos Orgaos – the Organ Pipe Mountains – as magnificent a place as Yosemite. These dramatic peaks, cloaked in tropical rainforest, are the centerpiece for Serra dos Orgaos National Park.

To get this shot, I was up before dawn, to catch the first light on the Dedo de Deus – the Finger of God – the granite spire on the left side of the picture, and a legend among hard-rock climbers. But because my mission (documenting endangered forests for WWF) was to show the habitat as well, I included this bold silhouette of an emergent rainforest tree.

Sadly, the floods and horrific landslides that killed thousands in Brazil earlier this year occurred precisely in these rugged mountains, smothering the small towns that flank them. They are still digging out from that tragedy.

To learn more about the treasures of Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest, and the animals that live there, have a look at my recent article in BBC Wildlife magazine, here.

Nikon F100, Fuji Velvia Film (!)