One of the most unique and spectacular places for photography you will see in Brazil, and possibly the world, is the Lençóis Maranhenses national park in Maranhão state in north-eastern Brazil. The word Lençóis in Portuguese means sheets and this describes the beautiful shapes and silk smooth landscapes of endless dunes. It makes for some pretty amazing photos of Lençóis Maranhenses indeed. And what makes this place so unique is the water lagoons formed during the rainy season each year. The entire park area is around 1,500 km2.
What causes this unique phenomenon in Lençóis Maranhenses is the combination of the two rivers pushing the sandy sediment to the sea only to be swept back by the strong coastal winds. This formed the amazing dunes. At the end of the dry season you could say it looks like a desert yet Lençóis Maranhenses rains each year around 47 inches to form the beautiful lagoons within each of the sand dunes.
Photos of Lençóis Maranhenses are made even better with the dramatic skies that are formed over the area. I made sure I had both cameras on me round my neck so I wouldn’t miss a photo opportunity, be it wide angle or telephoto landscape shots, this also reduces the chance of getting dust and sand blowing into you camera sensor. I was pretty lucky to get some amazing skies the days I was there. For me there is nothing worse than a boring blue sky for photos. The park is pretty massive and I did alot of walking to try and find the most photogenic dunes I could whilst the sun was setting/rising. I also took the opportunity to take a plane over the dunes to get some great aerial photos of Lençóis Maranhenses.
Overall I would say this was one of my all time favourite photo trips. Everywhere you look in Lençóis Maranhenses you will see a stunning photo opportunity. Combine it with a trip to the old town of Sao Luis (capital) in Maranhão state. I was pretty lucky to go just at the right time when the festival of São João was on. This is not a tourist thing at all, and feels really authentic. Plus I got some great photos of the colourful dancing and festivities.
Photo equipment to take to Lençóis Maranhenses:
Zoom lens for compressed landscapes and picking out people in the vast dune areas of Lençóis Maranhenses.
Wide Angle lenses.
Two camera bodies to reduce need to change lenses between photos.
Tripod of the lower light times.
ND gradient filter and polariser.
See more photos of Lençóis Maranhenses