When we showed up in the Amazon, we met the team of scientists: Scott Saleska, the head professor leading the research; his student, Neil Prohaska; his Brazilian colleague: Kleber Silva Campos; and Deliane Penha, a PhD student in Brazil.
When we arrived, all the Brazilians kind of rolled their eyes when they saw that we had brought a shiny, new machete.
Of course, on day one, we were in the field in a torrential downpour. As we’re driving out on five miles of dirt roads, we come to three fallen trees that are blocking the road.
Before anyone could say anything, I jumped out of the car with my beautiful, brand-new machete, and started hacking away. Vindication was mine! (Of course, that pride was quickly lost when the Brazilians accused me of having the machete skills of a little girl.)
Every day of the trip involved moments like this. The Brazillian-Portugese word for this kind of “improvisation” is “gambiarra.” Things go wrong in the Amazon—it’s a place where the unexpected element of surprise comes to life around every corner. So you have to be like a machete-wielding MacGyver and figure out solutions on the fly.
There was a whole lot of “gambiarra” on this trip. That’s what made it such an adventure.
More than anything, I was really impressed with the dedication of Scott and his team. These people work in conditions that would put to shame what most of us call a hard day at the office, from scaling 100-foot tall trees in the mind-melting heat or in downpours, to surviving myriad bug attacks every day.
All in all, it was a successful mission. Bruno, Bryan and I avoided being bitten by vipers, we got to use our machete (thanks, over-stoker kid at Cabela’s!), and we even improvised some new MOVI techniques.
First and foremost, thank you Scott, Neil, and Deliane for your incredible work, for being such strong advocates of climate change, and also for keeping Bryan and I safe and viper-bite-free during our time together.
Thanks to Bryan for his “gambiarra” in figuring out how to download some vital camera software while in the middle of the rainforest, and for his all-around great work both during the production and for his post-production edit. Also, thanks to my friend Andrew Bisharat for helping to create a compelling voice over by combing through hours and hours of interview audio and pulling together two great stories for our videos.
Thank you to the entire team at Novus for the help on pre- and post-production! You are the gears that keep this beautiful machine turning.
Thank you to my partners, whose support my team and I rely each and every day to do what we love, and whose equipment certainly did not let us down in the harsh conditions of the Amazon rainforest: Nikon, FreeFly, SanDisk, LitePanels, Manfrotto, Light and Motion, Connex, Small HD, and G-Tech.
Finally, thanks to the entire team at Biographic for the opportunity and for putting together such a strong feature. Check out the whole story, with great reporting by Daniel Glick, and be sure to watch both of our videos within the story. (bioGraphic)
To stand in a forest that’s so teeming with life and energy is an experience I’ll never forget. I can’t wait to return to the Amazon. Certainly, my next trip there will be with Marina and Leila.
Thanks to our partners: Nikon, FreeFly Systems, SanDisk, and our sponsors: Connex, G-Tech, Litepanels, Light & Motion, LitePro Gear, Lowepro, Kessler, Manfrotto, Patagonia, Sachtler, SmallHD, and X-Rite.