A view from Morro do Bonet, Rocio (Petrópolis, Brazil)

On three recent posts, Maria Comprida from Morro da Mensagem, Sunset, Pedra de Itaipava, and  Serra dos Órgãos, I showed photographs of the landscape in Petrópolis. Petrópolis is a district in the state of Rio de Janeiro, southeastern Brazil, where my family has a house.

This post is about the landscape as seen from Morro do Bonet in Rocio (a neighborhood of Petrópolis). What I find there to photograph is always different from my previous visit.  Usually, the layer of fog, common in the region, stays below the top, and changes from one minute to another, hiding and revealing details of the peaks in the landscape. 

On September 11, 2021, the best view I found from the top of Morro do Bonet was the featured photograph. My sister and I stayed at the peak for quite a while, enjoying the ephemeral manifestations of a landscape mixed in fog. In this image, I am attracted to the diagonal progression of mountains slightly increasing in height, the shapes of their peaks, and the ethereal feel of a landscape that ends in white fog. The foreground vegetation tried to steal the scene, so I made it less conspicuous (darker) using the sliders for green and yellow while converting to black and white in Photoshop.

Photography at Morro do Bonet should include a graduated neutral density filter to tame the light from the sky, which is several stops brighter than the mountains below. I did not have anything with me except for my Nikon D750 and my Nikon 24-70mm 2.8. Those two, together, weigh about seven pounds and are probably all I was willing to carry on that steep hike, besides water.

The photograph above was taken handheld. Because it is silhouetted, the lack of detail in the mountains is not a problem and helps to reveal their shape against the foggy landscape. Compare this type of low contrast, silhouetted image taken with diffused light with the high contrast photo in my previous post, Maria Comprida from Morro da Mensagem, taken with more directional light facing the side of the mountain being photographed.

The view from Morro do Bonet rarely disappoints and often includes fog. The short hike (1.8 km out and back) reaches an altitude of 1.552 and the top offers sweeping views of the surrounding land. The trail, classified as difficult, is severely eroded and not the safest place to be walking on. If you speak Portuguese, I have a link to the best explanation of the trail, including how to get  there. Below a photograph of the eroded trail.

Erosion on the trail

Published by Alessandra Chaves

Photographer with a preference for nature photography in black and white and other abstractions.

16 thoughts on “A view from Morro do Bonet, Rocio (Petrópolis, Brazil)

  1. Sounds like you had a great time on your excursion. Your trail picture makes it seem that the way back down might have been more treacherous than the ascent.

    The tree canopy at the lower right has the same kind of contour as the hills in the distance. Speaking of which, I had to look up morro, which Wiktionary says is ‘a landform with elevation intermediate between that of a hill and that of a small mountain.’

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve always translated colina as ‘hill.’ I’m not aware of a middle gradation in English between hill and mountain. I’ve sometimes thought about where people draw the line between those two. For example, the region going west from the west side of Austin is called the Texas Hill Country, but early European settlers in central Texas referred to those hills as mountains, given how difficult they could be to traverse before roads were built.


      2. I think it’s regional and doesn’t always make sense. For instance, back East I used to go to the Blue Ridge Mountains but after I moved to CA I got to see what a real mountain is in the Sierra Nevada. 😅


    1. Thank you, I’m glad you like it. Yes, this is what happens in the tropics. The soil is thin and has a lot of clays, and what holds the soil in place is the forest. On the hills where they deforest to open a trail, erosion sets in.


      1. That is a nice view of the mountains’ outline with the one in the foggy distance. I’d not want the challenge of those steps with a load on my back, such as a backpack full of camera gear. Good choice to go handheld.


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