Stunning Timelapse Captures the Many Faces of Rio de Janeiro

The most visited city in South America and home to famous landmarks such as the glowing “Christ the Redeemer” statue atop Corcovado Mountain and the Maracanã football stadium, Rio de Janeiro is widely known as the “Cidade Maravilhosa,” or the “Marvelous City.” This is the city of vibrant Carnaval, of samba and bossa nova, lined with pristine beaches and towering, rugged mountainscapes. However, Rio is more than just a beautiful place—it’s complex, wrought with distinct contrasts such as the growing social inequality that has driven one third of Rio’s population to live in massive favela districts.

In this gorgeous timelapse photography video of the city and its surrounding natural areas, L.A.-based photographer and timelapser Joe Capra sought to depict the many faces of Rio, at resolutions up to ten times the norm for HD videography:

Capra captured the footage using a Canon 5D Mark III and Mark II, a PhaseOne 1Q 180 and various Canon lenses. Most of the locations pictured in “RIO” are indeed parts of the city itself, but the waterfall scenes were taken at Iguazú Falls, some 900 miles from Rio at the Brazilian-Argentinian border; some have given Capra flack for including the Iguazú shots in the timelapse, but as for us—the film is so mesmerizing that we don’t mind one bit.

scientifantastic joe capra RIO timelapse

Rio’s Sugarloaf Mountain cable cars and famous “Christ the Redeemer” statue, above Guanabara Bay.

Having spent long hours gazing at Rio, Capra says it’s “no wonder” that Rio has been selected to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics—and his stunning timelapse will no doubt play its part in drawing international attendance.

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