Photos of Burning Man: Getting to Black Rock City

This year was my first burn. More amazing than I could have imagined. I think it was day two when Brian caught me saying “so, next year what we’re going to do…”

Due to the harsh environmental conditions, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of taking my digital gear (it ain’t cheap) and had the idea of handing cameras to people and having a kind of communal photo album (planning for a larger scale implementation of this next year). So… I went purely film. Several older and smaller compact 35mm cameras that I picked up either for nothing or next to (no loss if lost or dead!) plus a Ricoh SLR was my arsenal.

Now… that means I need film.

I mainly shot the new Kodak Ektar 100 and a Kodak Ektachrome E100VS. For the smaller, cheap 35mm ones, I just used some Fuji Superia.

trees in Portland

Trees in Portland

Firstly though, there was a stop in Portland to a) recover from jetlag and b) hang out with Eric, Wendy and their dogs. I do like Portland, quite a lot actually. While there, managed to get some work done, fiddle with some SPARC hardware that Eric has, enjoy excellent vegan ice cream, enjoy awesome vegan food (both at home and out) and walk around both downtown and up in the hills. Portland (and Oregon) is certainly pretty.

trees in seattle

Trees in Seattle

Before heading to Burning Man, I was in Seattle, where Leah joined me to prep for (and then go to) Burning man.

Then Leah and I were in San Francisco for a day. This is when I started shooting exclusively film for the first time in… well.. Since 2002 (I got my first digital camera for in 2003)


Leah enjoying going around San Francisco

We actually did some touristy things… so I saw a bit more of San Francisco than I have before. One issue with mostly being around San Francisco just before/after the MySQL Users Conference is a severe lack of time/energy to go for much exploring. Preparing is exhausting, and afterwards I just want to really chill out – usually heading out to some forest or down to Santa Cruz or just hanging out with cool people.

Across the Golden gate

Going over the Golden Gate Bridge

One of the most surprising things was running into David while just walking down the street. Although knew he was in town, and we’d planned to all go down to Burning Man together, actually running into somebody in the street always surprises me.

I’m pretty sure this was the first time that I went across the Golden Gate Bridge. Seen it, taken photos of it, used said photos as my desktop background, but this was the first time going across it and looking back on the city. Manual focus, moving bus: epic amounts of fun… I’d kinda forgotten how much fun this could be.

Sun going down in San Francisco

Sun going down in San Francisco

There are things I like about San Francisco, but if I had to call somewhere in the US home, Seattle and Portland are both much higher on the list. Maybe it’s because of the wonderful coffee of Seattle, or the laid backness and awesome vegan food of Portland or if I’m just delusional and think it’d be possible to catch a Nirvana gig in Seattle.

In the evening in San Francisco we met up with David again and went down to the beach. It was pretty. Somehow, I deluded myself into thinking “ISO 100 Film, no tripod, cold, sunset…. Photo time!” I did get one I quite like too:

The Sun setting over the water, San Francisco

The Sun setting over the water, San Francisco

After what can only be described as a “I love side impact airbags” car crash on the way back to the Hotel (everybody okay: shaken, not stirred. also not our fault), headed back for a stiff drink, some sleep and eagerly awaiting the drive to Reno and then Black Rock City.

Waiting in line to get into Black Rock City (for many, many hours)

Waiting in line to get into Black Rock City (for many, many hours)

It was not a short wait once we got to the gate. We did, however, not too long after sunrise, make it to camp. I have no idea where I shot this from… but it was before we got to camp (or at least the first photo of us helping to set up):

People arriving at Black Rock City: first thing in the morning

People arriving at Black Rock City: first thing in the morning

More to come… including setup of Pi Camp!

Drizzle Meeting Photos

I didn’t take many photos at the Drizzle Meeting, although I did take a couple at the end at the Hopvine (just down the road from Brian’s place).

A good read is Brian’s wrap up of the meeting.

But we have (courtesy of Brian):

and a couple I took at the Hopvine:


The last one there of Lee looks almost scary… strange light, moving subject, all part of the fun :)

It was really good to get a number of people together and chat. In future, we’ll no doubt have larger gatherings that are really inclusive.