Burning Man Retrospective – PreBurn

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As the evening closes on this – the day the gates opened at Burning Man 2018 – I'm feeling nostalgic and more than a touch homesick.

This is the first Burn I've missed since I was in India for the 2010 event. It's such an integral part of my life; missing it feels strange. Yet...I'm also more than a bit relieved.

It is so much work to prepare for and endure a week in the extremely harsh conditions of The Playa. As I watched my friends pack themselves up and drive off towards the desert, I found myself exhaling deeply, feeling surprisingly grateful to not be undertaking such a feat this year.

Though I can't be there in person, I aim to honor the past decade by sharing glimpses of this truly unique event – day by day – offering images from past years, ideally those taken on the corresponding days of the week. I might be giving myself too much to attend to with that idea, but I'm still gonna try.

Here, then, are a few golden hour images from 2009, taken during the final weekend of what was then still considered 'build week'; before the gates opened.

I'm not generally one for selfies, but I've always loved this one. I feel it conveys how relaxed and 'at home' I am out there. Especially before the droves of people arrive – there's a beautiful silence out in 'deep playa', away from the city proper (where everyone is camped) – that I find quite comforting. And the dust – that ubiquitous element that unifies all who attend – creates a diffuse glow that turns everything into soft pastels.

It truly is a photographer's dream.



camera: Canon EOS 5D Markii • lens: 35mmf1.4L Prime • location: Black Rock City, Nevada, USA
date / specs:
• selfie – 30 Aug '09 - ISO 640 - f1.4 - 1/80 sec
• deep playa – 29 Aug '09 – ISO 125 - f1.4 - 1/800 sec
• light dust-storm – 29 Aug '09 - ISO 125 - f1.4 - 1/640 sec
• The Man – 29 Aug '09 - ISO 125 - f1.4 - 1/160 sec


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thank you! :)

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Thanks, @juliank! tip!

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Amazing stories you must have from those years. But well, life is a journey and there are moments for everything. Beautiful pictures as your memories should be.

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Thank you, @hijosdelhombre! I've more stories than I could ever hope to capture in words. At least I have my seemingly bottomless library of images to speak for me. ;) tip!

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Good post!

Stirring pictures, the second one is amazing that is quite an incredible structure to be in the middle of a desert. I have to confess all I know of Burning Man was from what I saw of last years event thanks to Logan Paul's vlogs - my boy got me into watching them and I ended up a little hooked.

It does look like an incredible experience, although I don't think I could handle all the sand and dust!

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#thealliance #witness

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At least you were aware of it before you stumbled upon my photos!

I'm still getting used to the fact that the whole planet has mostly heard of this event now, but – for most of the years that I've been attending, it was like the best kept secret. Spotting another playafied car post-event was like recognizing a secret handshake or something. We felt pretty awesome to be among those privileged enough to be Burners. ;)

And there isn't sand out there – just the finest, alkaline dust in various stages of hardness (depending on how the weather's been before the event.) Think talcum powder; that's the consistency. It gets into everything. And, though it may seem horrendous, it is that very thing that unifies all of us. The dust blurs the lines that ordinarily separate...it truly is a beautiful thing. tip!

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I have yet to get to the playa, but I'm about to pack for a week camping with my family and I'm overwhelmed just at that. lol! So glad you're sharing your beautiful photography here. This is one of my favourite subjects. ;)

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You should totally join me in the dust! Bring yer lil' guys!! They'll look adorable runnin' 'round in their new, superhero capes (happy 4th to their cutienesses!) – all dusty and blissed out in the world's most magical, dusty playground. ;) tip!

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