Nothing drives home the ethos of Burning Man and the freedom of the open road with sun shining on your face like returning to the “normal” world and the day job the day that nature decides summer is over and it’s going to dump snow on you. I literally went from hot days with the windows open to sweeping 2 inches of snow from Betty in 24 hours. They say the warm weather is coming back, so we’ll see.
Burning Man was an amazing adventure again. Each year becomes a different experience and it’s own unique journey. This was a year of first for me. The first year I actually arrived and got to set up my tent etc in actual daylight. Arriving at about 5pm on Sunday. Also a first was the severe (albeit fairly short) thunder and lightning storm we got early Monday morning. We got a fairly hefty dumping of rain that turned the dusty playa into a slick layer of mud, thus shutting down all movement for the following few hours as even the exercise of walking across it results in layers of mud sticking to the bottom of one’s shoes to the point that you feel like a member of a dusty low rent version of KISS. Driving comes to a halt, people were stuck waiting it out, some for close to a day. Another first was staying in a camp that actually had a shower. This was an amazing improvement over my previous two years and allowed me to feel a little less like a dusty farm animal a few times during the week. There’s plenty of ways to clean one’s self while camping on the playa but there’s something divine about the ability to rinse the dust off, however briefly it can be sometimes. In addition, the Man himself was not on a platform or pedestal this year. My first year seeing him stand on the ground. That said, he was massive. Apparently also very well made as he took a long time to fall making some burners impatient. For me, the time he took to fall represented tenacity and resilience. Two qualities I like to think I have within myself. I enjoyed waiting it out with him, almost like some sort of challenge in which I accepted. This year was also the first year in which I left something in Temple. An old shirt of my dad’s that I’ve been hanging on to for 19 years was wrapped in a ribbon and a note and let go. Nothing heavy or all that sad, just a message I needed to send, a chapter I needed to close. After placing it in a spot of temple that took forever for me to decide on, I still had a hard time walking away from it. Sitting on a bench in the courtyard watching the spot I had left it for a good hour or so.
My camp this year was fun and all my mates and new friends are awesome. Many new additions to my burner family, all of whom make me feel blessed. This is also the first year (my bad) that I set up and took portraits with the cart within my own camp. It was a blast and I’m so happy to have captured some fun images of some of the people I spent the week with. The art was amazing as usual and of course the energy was undeniable, bigger than ever before, Black Rock City never ceases to blow my mind.
After Burning Man I made my way across the state line into California for another bit of closure. Making it into, exploring, and out of the ghost town of Bodie without incident. As some of you know, I tried getting to Bodie in 2012 but my plans abruptly changed when I hit a large deer, disabling my vehicle. That event really put a downer on my first Burning Man experience but also showed me how incredible my friends and family are because without them I would have been stuck at the time. Continuing on this year I visited Mono Lake, Lake Tahoe, the ghost town of Garnet Montana and many small stops in between for photographs.
So with this year’s burn in the past and regardless of what it does outside I’ve settled 100% in to road trip prep mode again. My holidays are over and the next 11-12 months are going to go by fast and if I don’t keep up I won’t be ready to get outta here next year. I still have so many things to do. I’ve also been entertaining the idea of a small travel trailer to tow behind me this time around. As much as I am good with sleeping in the back of the truck, having something small to sleep, cook and edit photos in every night is a very appealing idea. With the added photo work that Fotos Forward will hopefully bring to the next trip, I feel it’s a wise investment. Definitely won’t be looking at the newest greatest in trailers but a used inexpensive option that I can tweak into a little mobile workstation may be the way to go. If anyone comes across a sweet deal on a lightweight trailer shorter than 17 feet let me know.
Until next time, Thanks for following. Watch for many photos soon!