This work would have fit better into one of my earlier posts, since it re-visits the idea of moisture gradients produced by conditions in the sky rather than under the ground. The composition takes to the extreme the idea of ecological contrasts resulting from elevation change and rain shadow effects. Here, a "mountain" less than 100m high has semi-desert at the base, rainforest at mid-elevation on the windward side, and wind-blown cloud forest at the summit. The peak, barely large enough to occupy, somehow catches the clouds that roll by.
The cactus-covered landscape was photographed near Buzios, Brazil, on the coast a few hours' drive north of Rio de Janeiro. The natural vegetation of this region is considered rainforest, but the forest is less lush than expected - probably due to the sandy soil. Huge cacti, at first-sight indistinguishable from other trees at ground-level, are common in the forest, and right along the coast the forest gives way to near-pure stands of it. The photographs at the base of the composition were taken just behind the beach.
The rainforest at mid-right is in the Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone in southeastern Peru, in the southwestern corner of the Amazon Basin near the Andean foothills. The photograph is from the environs of the Tambopata Research Center, a unique combination of ecotourist lodge and research station operated by Rainforest Expeditions and famous as the site of the world's largest macaw clay lick. (It also happens to be where I spent a post-college internship creating a guidebook on local palm species.) The scene at the top is the same as in Two-Sided Lake - from Kokee State Park on Kauai, Hawaii.