Zdenek Havel

Passionate nature and landscape photographer πŸ“· Olympus OM-D. Currently posting visual stories from the Brazilian paradise of Ilha Grande🌴

237 posts 804 followers 755 following

Deep and mysterious Atlantic rain forest 🌴 in the tropical paradise of Ilha Grande is protecting its highest peak, Pico Papagaio πŸ—» which sits almost thousand metres above the sea level. If you want to get to the top it is highly recommend to hire a guide as it is the most difficult hike at the whole island 😎 The peak itself is accessible only with climbing ropes and only for those with at least a decent fitness level so it is not for everyone. Have you ever hiked a thousand vertical metres in a tropical jungle? Let me know below 😊 in the meantime, don't forget to keep exploring 🚢


Yet another beautiful sunset over the port of the main city of AbraΓ£o on Ilha Grande 🌴 I don't know if you have noticed it but I have published a picture from the very same spot a few days ago. The only difference is the time of the day. I can't decide with one I like more, the night or the sunset picture. The night photography has something special. I love to shoot in the night. Not many things are nicer than a clear night sky πŸŒ‰ on the other hand nothing can conjure colours on the sky as sunrise and sunset. This is a simple frame but I think it proves it very well 😊 How do you feel about it? Which one do you like more? In the meantime don't forget to keep exploring 🚢


Ilha Grande is a magical place 🌴 especially during the golden hour. Everyone knows about the turquoise ocean 🌊 and white beaches but the third wonder of the island is the pure and unspoiled rainforest - Mata AtlΓ’ntica 🌴 I am in love with this place. It gives me so much energy just to be there. It is a perfect place to wander around as there are many beautiful trails to walk and hike, some of them are easy, some of them are not. Nevertheless, I think it is a perfect place for adventures minds πŸ˜ƒ Anyway, I wish it wouldn't be so far from my homeland in the Central Europe 🌎 I can't wait to be back. Hopefully, it will come soon enough. It is a place worth exploring 🚢



Having someone you love on the other side of the world is never easy. I know a little bit about it. You know I would like to wish you a happy birthday in person and I hate that I can't do that. Nevertheless, I want to wish you the best way I can. Thank you for not only being lovely, kind and understanding person but also for being an essential part of my life. I am really grateful for it 😊 Feliz aniversÑrio e eu te amo muito Mari! 😘


Finally! I had some time to put together panoramas I took in the tropical paradise of Ilha Grande. This is the first one I would like to share with you 😊 A long time ago I have posted a mobile shot of the same photo. You can check it out in my gallery. Now is the time to share the "real" picture!
Lopes Mendes is a stunning place. The turquoise and warm Atlantic ocean meets the white sandy beach full of palm 🌴 and 🌿 almond trees. This view never gets old. It was kinda difficult to get to this view point but it totally worthed it as you can see 😊 moreover, as I always say don't forget to keep exploring 🚢

Anyway, I hope that in the future Instagram will allow to post wider pictures so everyone will be able to post panoramas. This panorama is originally 12630x4210px so I just had to shorten it from 3:1 to 1,91:1. I hate that. It looks so much much better when it is wider πŸ˜… Let's change it Instagram!


Waves rolling over 🌊 stones at one of the Ilha Grande's secret gems - Santo AntΓ΄nio beach, the so-called little sister of the bigger and more famous Lopes Mendes beach🌴. I admit this photo has been adjusted quite a lot, but that is the beauty of photography. You are creating an art and the only boundary should be your imagination, and I like this picture very much πŸ˜„ What do you think about that? Do you prefer realistic view or you think that art has no limits? Let me know below πŸ˜„ and as always, don't forget to keep exploring 🚢



The night sky πŸŒƒ over the village of AbraΓ£o, the main city of Ilha Grande 🌴 I love the night sky. I was trying to capture it very often last few months and it all started here. My first night on Ilha Grande. The mountains πŸ—» you can see on the other side the form the coast of Brasil which is several kilometers away. It is a lovely view which I will never forget, especially because I had someone special there with me, @marinasouzaf πŸ˜„ never forget to keep exploring as you can find beauty everywhere 🚢
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A hidden gem of Ilha Grande πŸ’™ Santo AntΓ΄nio is the little sister of the much bigger and much more famous Lopes Mendes. The trail to the beach 🌴 is almost hidden and it is much more challenging than the ordinary hike to Lopes Mendes. Do not go there on foot during the raining period! It might be impossible without ropes and very dangerous indeed as it is steep and muddy πŸ—» Fortunately, during the South American winter it is much easier. You are rewarded with empty beach and beautiful scenery after the hike. There is even a little creek slowly moving its waters to the Atlantic ocean πŸŒ… What a paradise on the Earth. Never forget to keep exploring 🚢


Monumental peak of the Pico do Papagaio πŸ—» sits as a watchful guardian above the Ilha Grande's only village of AbraΓ£o, captured at the beginning of the golden hour πŸŒ‡ The village itself is a gorgeous place whether it comes to the local cousine or rich nightlife - on the top of that, one of the best caipirinha 🍹 I have had in the whole Brazil. I really like this place πŸ˜… you can sit in the beach restaurant, having the ocean right under your feet and enjoy the life. A perfect place 😊



The night sky over the Rio de Janeiro πŸŒƒ Being on an island has one big advantage - the night sky. As it is a several kilometers from the coast there is usually much less dust in the air and if you look in the right direction (above the ocean) much less light pollution as well πŸ’‘ Nevertheless, if you frame it correctly even the light pollution can create an amazing scene 😊 This is the Northeast view from the beach of Ilha Grande. The light pollution just above the horizon belongs to the never sleeping city of Rio de Janeiro and its metropolitan area. Its West coast is approximately 80km away yet it shines this much above the ocean πŸŒ… It was a magical moment on that pier. I have spend there three nights in the row trying to find the perfect composition. This is one of the captures. My other pictures from those nights will come soon πŸ˜‹ What do you think about the light pollution? Should we try to do something to diminish it?
Camera settings
Focal length: 12mm
Aperture: f/2.0
ISO: 2500
Exposition: 15s
Single exposure


The calling of the ocean πŸŒ… Boats of all kinds are one of the things you will enjoy a lot on the Ilha Grande 🌴🌴 as they are the fastest way of the transportation around the island. I love boats ⛡️. I have just said that they are the fastest transport there, nevertheless they are still relatively slow compared to any other type of current transportation, such as car, bus or even train. Therefore, they give you a plenty of time to enjoy the travelling in such a calming way 😎 In a way it is like a time machine. Multiply it, if you have someone special with you like I had @marinasouzaf . I am wondering if you like to travel on boat or ship as well. Do you? Let me know in the comment section 😊


The soft power of the Atlantic ocean 🌊 during the dusk on the island of Ilha Grande 🌴 The beginning and the end of the day are by far my favorite part of the day πŸŒ‡ There is something magical about those times. Moreover, as someone from the central Europe I am always amazed to see the sun to come up and down over the ocean πŸŒ… I guess I will have to spend more time on the coast πŸ˜… have a great week everyone and don't forget to keep exploring 🚢

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Tropical paradise 🌴🌴 of Ilha Grande looks lovely even when the weather is not perfect 🌁. Nevertheless, I like these dark and moody conditions. Firstly, it makes the location look a lot more mysterious which is definitely good for your photography. People always want some amazing sunrises or sunsets πŸŒ‡ with breathtaking colours in the sky. That is true, but the second best scenario is dark and moody clouds. Moreover, these conditions makes you to enjoy good weather far more when it finally arrives πŸ˜… How about you? Do you like these conditions as well? Let me know below πŸ˜ƒ Don't forget to keep exploring 🚢


Sparkling waters in the harbour of the main city on Ilha Grande during the golden hour πŸŒ‡. Vila do AbraΓ£o is a great place 🌴 I really liked how the most hectic place of the whole island is so calm compared to basically any other city inland 🌎. I have enjoyed every minute I was there. Not just because of the beautiful beaches, breathtaking views or exotic Brazilian cuisine, but also because I could have share it all with someone else, in my case @marinasouzaf 😘. I enjoy the beauty of solitude from time to time but moments mean so much more if we can share it with those we care and love. Have a great start of the week everyone πŸ˜† and don't forget to keep exploring 😊


So, this was my first proper Milky way picture. What do you think about it? πŸ˜…

I have spend more than a week on Ilha Grande 🌴 I knew that the sky should be very clear above the island during the South American winter so I took my chances πŸŒ‰ Before I tried any "normal" compositions with some interesting foreground I wanted to see how far I can push my camera πŸ“· I waited for the perfect night with no clouds and no dust or haze in the cold winter air. Then I framed the core of the milky way which was directly above my head and I took the shot. I was amazed what kind of details and colours 🎨 I was able to get from my Olympus OM-D. That is why I have decided to share this simple composition with you. Do not be afraid to take night sky and milky way pictures with your less advanced cameras. Even the cheaper ones, such as my Olympus can produce stunning performance under a good weather conditions and with proper fast wide-angle lens. I have used my Samyang 12mm f/2.0. Do not let anyone tell you that you can't take this kind of pictures with Micro 4/3 cameras. πŸ˜‹ It helps to have bigger sensor, no arguing with that but it is not necessary.

Camera setting
Focal length: 12mm
Aperture: f/2.0
ISO: 2500
Exposition: 15s
Single exposure

Keep exploring and Enjoy life everyone 😊



I love the dawn πŸŒ† The time just before the sunrise is by far my most favorite time of the day. Not just to take pictures πŸ“· but in general. Everything around tends to be very calm early in the morning, somehow hypnotizing, at least for me. It is the time sit down, enjoy the beauty of nature and think about life and things we would like to do with it. The best mental therapy I know πŸ˜ƒ

Therefore, it is a shame that I don't get to see it as often as I would like 😒 Having a normal job makes it a bit more difficult but I am trying to do my best and see it as often as possible. What are your feelings when you are watching dawn? Do you feel the same? Let me know below 😊


Stunning panoramic shot from the far side of the Lopes Mendes beach - the gem of Ilha Grande 🌴🌴 It really pays off to go there early. We started the hike from Palmas just around 9am πŸŒ… and got there in around a hour. To our surprise the beach was almost empty. We walked to its far side and back and by the time we have gotten there it started to fill in with incoming tourist. πŸ‘ͺ Nevertheless, to have this gem, if only for one hour just to ourselves was one of my personal highlights of the whole trip to Ilha Grande πŸ˜„ It always pays off to keep exploring.


Enjoying a sunny day on Ilha Grande's most famous beach, Lopes Mendes 🌴 I am really grateful for all the time I have spent on the island, especially because I could have shared it with with my love @marinasouzaf Thank you for the picture Mari 😘). It was a soul enlightening experience, filled with litres of coconut water, bottles of sun cream and and miles of hiking πŸ˜… Ilha Grande has simply become one of most favourite places I have visited in the whole Brazil. I have a question for all of you. Which places do you like the most in Brazil? Let me know in the comment section 😊



Backpacker's breakfast 🍊🍹 on the tropical paradise of Ilha Grande. We have eaten oatmeal with maracujΓ‘ juice and watched the sun rising on the horizon πŸŒ… What a great morning it was with @marinasouzaf .

If you were ever wondering in which camp ⛺️ you should stay on the Ilha Grande, look no further than Palmas. Great and cheap food with really cheap accommodation. For those not willing to take a tent, they even have some other accommodation available in small shacks there 🏠 But be sure to make a reservation if you are planning to come during the main season. Palmas is a perfect spot to start your exploration of the east side of the island. Keep exploring 🚢


Enjoying "aqua de coco" on the most beautiful 🌴 and one of the biggest beaches of the whole island of Ilha Grande. Being an active person 🚢 I do enjoy my time hiking and exploring but chillin' out πŸ„ on this beach was simply amazing. I loved every minute of it. I kinda miss these moments being already back home in Europe as we are slowly sliding into the Fall 🍁 I am interested what is your most favourite snack and drink on the beach? Mine is this, coconut water and pulp πŸ˜‹ Let me know in the comment section 😎

On the technical note. I love to use manual lenses and that is why I do enjoy to use my old Pentax 50mm f/1,4 on my OM-D πŸ“· I shot this frame with f/2,8 as the scene was simply too bright to use any wider aperture.


Palm trees 🌴 on the Palmas beach on Ilha Grande captured during the morning golden hour. What a beautiful place it is. I love palm trees so having the opportunity to witness an amazing sunrise πŸŒ… (see my previous images) under these trees is priceless. Ilha Grande is a paradise on the earth offering a lots of things to anyone willing to go there. Even better if you have someone to share this experience with like I do. Thanks @marinasouzaf 😘 What do you think? Would you like to see the sunrise on the beach laying under palm trees? Let me know on the comment section 😎 Keep exploring 🚢


Atlantic rainforest meets the ocean on the tropical island of Ilha Grande. Early morning sun lights "Mata AtlΓ’ntica" with the golden tones. I love early mornings here. You wake up, get on your feet, walk just 50m and you will find yourself all alone on the tropical beach 🌴 occasionally seeing some fisherman getting ready to go fishing.⛡️ There is something magical about the triangle you can see on the image. The powerful ocean 🌊 which is often calm, like on this picture, but can be much more angry, like on day of our arrival. Then you have the beach,πŸŒ… white and fine sand which is now coloured by the rising sun and finally the mysterious rainforest 🌴🌿 which stands above the former like a watchful guardian. Glorious sight 😎

I can't wait to get back to this place. It always pays off to Keep exploring 🚢 Enjoy life 😊 Be positive πŸ‘


What a sunrise πŸŒ… at the Palmas beach on the beautiful island of Ilha Grande. I am in love with this place. 😍 We have spend a couple of nights camping there and it was really amazing that we were greet by this kind of beauty every morning. I also love the island life. Did you ever noticed that it is somehow slower than anywhere else? 😎 I really like the diversity of things you can do on the Ilha Grande. You can simply stay on the beach 🌴 the whole day with caipirinha 🍹 or coconut in your hands or you can hike pretty much around the whole island even to the top of the Pico do Papagaio, which is sitting high above the island at 982m. Paradise for both adventurers and lazy ones. πŸ˜‹

This shot was taken with my telephoto lens Olympus Zuiko 40-150mm at 40mm, f/5,6 to blur the island in the background just a tiny bit, and the ISO 200 and the shutter speed of 1/2000 sec. I have chosen the simplest composition with this picture, framing the sun directly above the far island. I have also included one of the taxi boats in the middle of the frame as an extra component and the break point of the very calm morning Atlantic ocean in the foreground. More pictures from Ilha Grande are coming soon. Keep exploring 🚢 Enjoy life 😊 Be positive πŸ‘


Ilha Grande is an amazing source of inspiration. Often found in the rankings of the best beaches in the South America, Lopes Mendes is one of the gems of the whole island 🌴. One would expect this place to be filled with people πŸ‘ͺ basically any period of the year - not entirely true. The beach itself is really long (around 3km) so there is plenty of space for everyone. But the South American winter along with difficult access make this beach relatively empty in July. Brazilian winter means that you mosty have +25Β°C with water never going down below 20Β°C - warm enough for anyone from Europe, kinda cold for the native Brazilians. πŸ˜… God, I love this place. I wish I could go back there right now 😎

Stay tuned for more pictures from the tropical paradise of Ilha Grande, in the meantime, as always Keep exploring 🚢 Enjoy life 😊 Be positive πŸ‘


Sailing boat during the dusk. ⛡️ Ilha Grande is an exotic paradise. 🌴 No roads there therefore no cars as well. If you really want to enjoy the island you either have to walk and hike a lot, rent a boat taxi or have your own boat. There are two things I really like about most islands - the time when sun is going up and down and the night sky full of stars. I think this picture is a good example of the first. There were no clouds that would create some dramatic sky that day, nevertheless we have still gotten an amazing colours in the sky. Such a calm evening. πŸŒ… Did I say I really love boats? I guess I will have to start to save some money πŸ’° and buy one πŸ˜… Keep exploring 🚢Enjoy life 😊 Be positive πŸ‘


Literally the most famous street in SΓ£o Paulo - Paulista Avenue πŸš₯ I love to walk there. It is the heart πŸ’“ of the city. You can see normal people πŸ‘ͺ passing around going to and out of their jobs, tourists, beggars, vendors and lots of other people of all racesπŸ‘€. And in the middle of the street between the lines for cars you have the cyclecist's lines 🚡. There is plenty of cyclecists but this space, these lines feel strangely empty compared to the rest of the street as you can see on the picture.

This photo was taken by my Olympus OM-D E-M10 πŸ“· with my new manual lens Samyang 12mm at 200 ISO, f2.8 and shutter speed 1/3 to blur cars' lights. The photo is hand-held because I couldn't use my tripod. There are some pickpockets​ on Paulista Avenue so I had to be careful about my stuff πŸ˜• my girlfriend @marinasouzaf helped with that. Thanks love 😘 But I love this place anyway. Can't wait to be back 😊


I couldn't resist to post this mobile shot of Lopes Mendes, one of the most famous and most beautiful beaches in Brazil.🌴🌴 The beach is only accessible on boat or by foot. The trail to the beach takes approximately 2h30m from the main city of the island, AbraΓ£o or 20m from Pouso if you take a taxi boat. It worth a visit. This time of the year, thanks to South American winter and relatively cold water 21Β°C ⛄️ (at least for Brazilians, not for me πŸ˜‚) along with the dry weather causes that the beach is almost empty, especially the far side of it.🌊 Stay tuned for a proper picture. It will go online in the upcoming weeks 😊 Keep exploring 🚢 Enjoy life 😊 Be positive πŸ‘


Yet another capture of a sunset over SΓ£o Paulo Metropolitan area πŸŒ‡ Everyone talks about Rio de Janeiro when it comes to cityscape photography. Rio is an amazing place with stunning landscape but from my experience you can find interesting places in other Brazilian cities, such as SΓ£o Paulo. I hope this picture proves that 😊 sunset like this one can be seen relatively often during the South hemisphere winter as there is a minimum of rainfall and a lot of dust in the sky πŸ˜€

Now, to the picture itself. This is a panorama composed from nine photos in two lines. Everything is processed in Lightroom and Photoshop. I have done some local adjustments to pop up the the sun light and its reflection on the ground, adjusted the white temperature, a bit of noise reduction and sharpening techniques in Photoshop 🎨 Not a bad result for a small micro 4/3 camera such as my Olympus OM-D E-M10 πŸ“· what do you think about my picture? Let me know in the comment section 😊


Sunset over SΓ£o Paulo. To get a Hollywood style photography you don't have to go to California. My current residence, SΓ£o Paulo suburb Guarulhos can provide equally good conditions (or bad when it comes to that because the golden colours is there because of the dust in the air) πŸ˜‚

The picture itself has a difficult composition with the sun directly in the frame. Nevertheless I really wanted to frame life this to show the origin on the light streaks in the picture. I have done some local adjustments with the brush in Lightroom as the scene was really difficult to capture the light range between shadows and highlights. I will be posting more Brazilian pictures soon enough but let me enjoy my vacation now in the Paradise called Ilha Grande. Keep exploring 🚢 Enjoy life 😊 Be positive πŸ‘


The night view πŸŒƒ of the most famous SΓ£o Paulo street as seen from Guarulhos. Believe me when I say it is difficult to take a picture πŸ“· like that. SΓ£o Paulo unfortunately has a very poluted skyline 🌁 thanks to the South American winter and the dry season. So relatively clear sky is a rare thing. I will have to come back in summer πŸŒ‡ for better condition but I like this picture anyway. Stay tuned for more photos of my Brazilian adventure 🌎 They will be coming out soon! Keep exploring 🚢 Enjoy life 😊 Be positive πŸ‘