AMBROSIA

Being camped at Champagne Lounge in the Middle of Black Rock City certainly has its advantages. There are tons of people that walk down our street “Rod’s Road.” I was able to just hang out under our shade until someone who caught my eye walked by and I would go ask them for a photo. This chick looked totally cool. She was rocking confidence like not many I’d seen. Nothing is sexier than confidence, you know? Anyway, we killed a photoshoot for a couple of minutes then celebrated with a shot of Fireball.

I processed this photo using Analog Efex Pro from Google’s Nik Effects. You can get more information on that filter system here.

DREAM

The Dream sculpture by Laura Klimpton and Jeff Schomberg. This beautiful piece graced the playa this summer, but found it’s home just a few miles from my house here in Arlington, Texas. I love that there is a piece of the playa so close!

BRAINCHILD SUNSET

The massive sculptures that artists bring to the desert never ceases to blow my mind. One of my favorite pieces this year was Brainchild by Michael Christian. Not only was it visually stimulating, with an incredible concept, but it was completely climbable as well. I spent one night chillin’ with my Champagne Lounge campmate, Noel, up in the ‘brain’ part of the artwork. We me a couple of other guys and had a good time chatting it up with them for a bit. My only regret is not getting a shot of this at night. The ones I’ve seen have this incredible shadow created from the light within. Art has been known to grace the playa for more than one year at a time. Maybe it will come back and I’ll get to fulfill that desire after all.

This photo was shot as a panorama. I was using my 70-300 4.5-5.6 lens a lot this year. I really love the compression it creates in the backgrounds, but you have to stand really far back from your subject… which inevitably puts more things between you and your subject when in a public place. There were plenty of people walking by, I just had to be patient and wait for the right moment. I’ll shoot these photos knowing that I’ll be removing some of the people as they exit the path of my subject.

As always, click on the image below and it will take you to a high res version so you can view all the juicy details.

MEDUSA MADNESS

The MEDUSA MADNESS sculpture was one of the coolest things at Black Rock City this year. It took the crew all week to get it together, but it really put on a show after the Temple burn on Sunday. Because I was in the neighborhood of Center Camp, I saw this thing coming and going several times a day as I ventured out to the playa. The last day they added the flame effects and even had a DJ in the brain of the sculpture. Everyone was dancing around having a great time.

Because it was in such a popular area, it was really tough to get a clear shot of it. I would stand in one spot as people walked and rode by. Many others stopped for photos and to simply hang out. I can’t blame them, and it certainly wasn’t something I would get upset about. They were enjoying the awesomeness just as much as I was. I would take several photos from the same location knowing I would piece it together later in Photoshop. As a section of the sculpture would open up, I would grab another photo. This one happened to be during a severe dust storm. I was headed back to camp (as were many others seeking shelter) and saw that it was pretty clear of people. It only took about 5 shots to get this. The 3 people left were not going to budge. I like them there, though. Adding people to a composition such as this really gives it a sense of scale… plus they look super cool.

CROWNING EMBRACE

This was one of those times that you realize you don’t know what is going on at Burning Man, you only think you do. I doubt there has ever been a bigger daytime burn, as this one was done just after sunrise. I was there with plenty of time to spare and all set up. Unfortunately, a gigantic art car pulled in front of me just before the burn. I had to gather up all my equipment and move it in front of the art car which was filling up fast with people. I set up my ladder and tripod extenders and was able to stand on the ladder and lean on the giant art bus. Although I had to shoot the entire thing from a single location, I was happy with many of the photos.

THE DESERT DWELLERS

I’m getting really excited for my 5th Burning Man in a row. Nothing I’ve found so far has been a better place for taking photos. There is just so much to shoot and the light is like no other. I’ll be heading to Venice Carnival early next year. I’m looking forward to seeing if it even compares.

WOODS OF WHITE SANDS

I was drawn to the intricate shadows that were dancing across the sand. A single sprawling tree offered it’s shade through the desert. It’s gnarled wood surely had many a story to tell and I paused to take in his grandeur.

THE NIGHT COLORS OF NEVERWAS HAUL

One of my favorite parts of Burning Man are the Art Cars and Mutant Vehicles. These artist bring imagination and mechanics together to create these unique cruisers. Part tractor, part train, part Victorian house and all steampunk is the great Neverwas Haul. I’ve seen this vehicle the last few times I’ve been and it is still a favorite to behold. The characters that accompany this giant play the part just as much as the vehicle itself, complete with vintage clothing and vintage demeanors. You can check out their official website here.