On the way to Ouro Preto

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I’m happy to be up early and inspired to do a bit of processing on the computer before heading out on our trip to Ouro Preto.

I just had a momentary realization about how important it is to make selections of images. Taking the time to make the difficult decisions of which shot is better, which images are the keepers, saves a lot of other work in reformatting and retouching. View, decide, be selective.


It’s surprising to see organic elements mixed in with the construction supplies in the lobby this morning. The streets of Belo Horizonte are empty today. We pass by a stack of stools and crates chained up to a post, presumably by vendors to secure them on their day off.

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I took this photograph immediately after seeing a man laying on the sidewalk on the way to the bus station. He was covered in pink flowers and leaves. I wondered if it was a joke that someone played on him or if he was dead and this was a memorial. It was quite a shocking sight, that made it seem like he’d been there a very long time, except there were no flowers or leaves anywhere else on the pavement. Two women stood a few steps away giving away some papers with religious information. I wanted to stop and ask them if there were affiliated with the man lying on the sidewalk or if they knew what happened to him but instead I pulled out my camera and took this photograph of the sidewalk.

We had a little bit of time before our bus, so we walked around the bus station looking for something to eat.  I could hear the surreal sound of birds, and then on the top floor we came across a large area filled with birds in cages.  We finally opted for some fresh juice and headed on our way so as not to miss our bus.

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From the bus, we see incredible landscapes, lots of mountains and urubu, the wide-winged black birds.

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Ouro Preto is exceptionally picturesque, with a dark history as the center of the rush for “Black Gold” and former capital of Minas Gerais.

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I love the all of the architectural details and the lacy curtains and napkins.

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The wooden store signs hang from the sides of the buildings.

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There are also these wonderfully patterned wooden shutters on many of the windows…

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…and a number of public fountains throughout the city.

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There are churches everywhere in Ouro Preto.  Since we got a late start, we didn’t have much time. The one church I wanted to visit was Santa Efigenia dos Pretos, it was built by the local black slave community in 1742.  Legend has it that it is richly decorated with gold that was smuggled from the mines.  It turns out its also the furthest away on the highest hill.  This long uphill walk gave us a chance to observe the street life, many people sitting outside on their steps or in windows, chatting with their neighbors.  Once we arrived to the top of the hill, the church was already closed but we were just in time to see the sunset over Ouro Preto.

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Then there was the long walk back down the hill.

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It was getting dark already and we decide to stop off for a drink.

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Here’s a great 360° view of Ouro Preto I came across online:



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