Day 3: Solace
November 2nd, 2012

Temple of Juno. Burning Man 2012.

By day three, I started seeing less of the sights and started to see more of the people. I spent much of this day taking stalker shots of the Burning Man attendees from a distance. Each and every one of them was beautiful in their own way and I couldn’t get enough of them. So now I have a stockpile of random people’s faces as they watch a show or interact in a event. Maybe I’ll make a collage of them some day.

The Temple of Juno. The Temple was still being perfected earlier in the week so my first visit wasn’t until day three. For those who don’t know, the temple is a yearly recurring highlight of Burning Man that usually is a main hub for highly emotional interactions. Often times, many individuals or groups of people will leave keepsakes, notes, scrawling’s of literature and imagery, etc. in remembrance of those who are no longer with us or will be leaving this world far too soon. This year, the entirety of the temple, shrine and outer gate structure was built (almost) completely out of highly intricate tracery cut wood. The scene was absolutely breathtaking and especially so while being softy illuminated at night. The swirling emotions located within these holy walls left an even more powerful impression. No one person could enter these premises and not feel a fragment of sorrow. The Temple goes up in flame on the last day of Burning Man and with it, an ocean of emotion, I imagine. We left early before the Temple’s burn, so we got to miss out on needing to hide the fact that we were going to cry in front of each other. Darn sand in the eyes.

Day 1: Pilgrimage
Day 2: The Invisible Circus
Day 4: Let the Effigies Burn!
Day 5: No Camera Day (coming soon!)
Day 6: The Man Burns! (coming soon!)
Day 7: Departure (coming soon!)


Day 2: The Invisible Circus
November 1st, 2012

Invisible Circus. Burning Man 2012.

On day 2, I discovered my heaven. A heaven titled Center Camp. Center Camp was a theme camp at the center of everything, just as the name implies. Center Camp consisted of a large open-air circus tent, located at the 6’o-clock axis. Everyday thousands of spectators filed their way through to catch a glimpse of the current event taking place whether it be an open mic event or a series of bands and comedians. The creativity and self-expression here was brimming over in excess. One day, as I looked on in amazement, as I often did, a circle chant swiftly formed as hundreds chanted on in synchrony. The voice and passion of many reverberated through the entire desert as one.

Acrobatics at Center Camp. Most my time at Burning Man was spent sitting here on a pile of pillows watching entertainer after acrobat after dancer express themselves through their carefully executed and well-practiced performances. Best of all, it was interactive if one so desired. Even I, with no experience or practice could participate in and be taught how to juggle, balance on top of others, dance with fire, live. Everyone was completely willing to invite others in to their world and in to the Invisible Circus. Or if you preferred not to interact, one could just sit back and have a deep conversation with the group of people lying beside you. Center Camp was also the one and only place at Burning Man that sold coffee, among other delicious refreshments. So you could imagine how popular of a place this was. It was heaven’s coffee shop.

Also by day 2, I have gotten use to being dirty all the time. Any attempts to wash the dirt and dust from one’s self only resulted in a dust storm to kick up five minutes later, leaving you immediately caked in Playa love. During this week in the dessert, I do not recall being hot or sweaty even once. I am one that would burn from the sun’s greedy tendrils just by setting foot outside my door back home but during this week at Burning Man, I did not burn. Perhaps thanks to the nice layer of brown suet that covered every inch of my body at all times. I spent all day walking around in an ocean of dust and when night fell, I curled up in a dust pile to sleep where I dreamed of more dust. However, I frequently applied lotion (4-5 times a day) to my entire body so that I would not completely dry up and form yet another wooden statue in the Playa desert.

Lamplighters. The lamplighters were a highly valued organization of people that dedicated their time and energy to walking the main veins of the Playa lighting and placing lamps along the way. These lamps gave others a guide and light source to make their way around. It was wonderful to see the lamplighters start their exodus for this was the sign that the sun was setting, brilliantly illuminating the Playa and giving birth to the events that would unfold during the night. The lamplighters were highly appreciated and as they walked their course illuminating the way, young and old stopped to applaud their efforts and give thanks to these individuals.

The Thunder Dome! Another amazing discovery was that of the Thunder Dome. A highly popular theme camp that consisted of a MAD Max: Beyond Thunder Dome style cage match between spectators. If I were a rich man, I would open a bar that consisted of a Thunder Dome style cage where bar patrons could participate in and watch others fight each other with foam weaponry. This was highly entertaining and strangely conflicting to the mood and atmosphere of the rest of Burning Man yet the crowds went wild as they watched two people slam their bodies into each other with great force while swinging their foam swords and batons wildly at each other. Every day forward, we made it a point to set an ample amount of time aside to experience both the events that unfolded at Center Camp and at The Thunder Dome. What more does one need?

Day 1: Pilgrimage
Day 3: Solace
Day 4: Let the Effigies Burn!
Day 5: No Camera Day (coming soon!)
Day 6: The Man Burns! (coming soon!)
Day 7: Departure (coming soon!)


Day 1: Pilgrimage
October 30th, 2012

Burning Man 2012.

Finally. The week of Burning Man is upon us. “Welcome home” spoken by many. A home I do not understand nor appreciate just yet, for I am a virgin burner. Nonetheless a home I yearn to become a part of.

Other burners can be seen soaring down interstate eighty with their blue painter’s tape in the formation of The Man plastered all over their vehicles. The majority of them already dressed in their Burning Man attire. Or perhaps they are the ones in this world who constantly stand out in a crowd. Forever dressed in their Burning Man garb, never to remove the core principles they have come to embrace which are displayed like badges of honor. I make a consorted effort to stop thinking that these are costumes one would wear in attendance to a Halloween party but rather a way of life.

We decide not to brave the predictably long line that will certainly exist during the first few hours of Burning Man. Gates were to open by 7pm and I was convinced, 40,000 people were all expecting to be among the first few vehicles to enter the premises. Instead we slept off our anticipation in Reno and proceeded towards the pearly orange construction gates the following morning. We later received confirmation how wise of a decision this was from some fellow burners who got to watch the sunrise while sitting in line waiting to gain admittance.

Playa bound. Once getting off I-80, a visible convoy of vehicles started northbound towards certain isolation, towards The Playa and towards The Man. Many were pulled off to the side of the road, some already celebrating and cheering at the line of vehicles all working their way Northward. Like a bunch of fertile salmon fighting their way back upstream to reach their old spawning grounds (sorry had to). Many of these salmon people were being hassled by bears local law enforcement agencies as they sit on the side of the road, their hands cuffed behind their back, all the while teams of officers proceed to search the contents of their over-encumbered RVs. My heart went out to these burners. It seemed everyone was looking to benefit from our proliferation.

Our wait in line was overall, very short. Less than an hour, I would say. We did arrive during the middle of a whiteout, which just enhanced the realization of what we were getting ourselves into. Upon driving through the gate we promptly found a location to set up camp (5:30 and Jasmine). We will later decide that this is too far if one wants to travel to the (central) action on a regular basis yet far enough away to actually receive sleep if one desired it so.

Behold the La Llorona! Once we built our structure that we felt was suitable enough to protect us from the sun, wind, and dust (truly, there is NO protection from the dust). We ventured our way towards The Man. Bike-less and wide eyed. One of my very first sights was that of the most amazing scene of a half sunken pirate ship in the middle of the desert. Thinking about it now, brings tears to my eyes. The craftsmanship that went in to creating this masterpiece was top notch. It was as if they took pieces of wood from an actual sunken ship and reconstructed it here in the middle of nowhere. Even the interior was completely legit with a dash of pirate skeletons and a sprinkling of treasure chests. As you walked up and into this ship, the slant of the boat certainly played a factor in your mobility. The astonishment was shared equally by everyone who set foot on to and into this ship. Later I returned to this site to witness a dub-step party take place, as hundreds of pirates danced about. I still don’t believe half of what I saw during this week of Burning Man and I’m not entirely sure it all really happened.

The Man in all his glory. The Man! I took so many pictures of The Man (or possible The Woman this year considering the theme was fertility 2.0). Everyday I awoke, and started my day out by biking to the Man to just to take it all in, all over again. From there we made our decisions on what we would try to accomplish for the day and what we would make an attempt to see. Inside the gazebo like structure that The Man stood so brilliantly on top of, there was a honeycomb jungle gym (beehive theme). This hive (all slot and tab construction mind you) allowed people to climb up and around on, lay and relax in and meditate upon. I took my turn and climbed to the highest point. This point being where you are closest to The Man. I felt at home.

The sights and sounds one would experience during the day were only amplified at night. I couldn’t take enough pictures as I just drifted around. Everything was so brilliantly illuminated that it was hard to just concentrate on not running in to something or someone else, who was equally distracted.

Giant squid. So beautiful. The art cars that maneuvered around at night added to the amazing spectacle that is Burning Man. One night I was biking towards The Man when I started hearing the ping of a sonar echo. This ping got louder and as I took a look over my left shoulder, a massive submarine floated on by. I stopped my bike to take in the delight of such a sight. After the sub passed me by, I was blown away as a giant squid, with its fluid tentacles gave chase to the submarine. The number of art cars that drove around increased each night, many of which shot enormous balls of fire in to the night sky. Briefly illuminating this strange desert landscape.

These photos don’t give justice to how everything really appeared. Nor do they show the utter chaos that is taking place at all times and for that I apologize. I urge each and every one of you, whom has yet to experience Burning Man to go and make the pilgrimage for yourself. Go see why so many people, including myself, call it home.

Day 2: The Invisible Circus
Day 3: Solace
Day 4: Let the Effigies Burn!
Day 5: No Camera Day (coming soon!)
Day 6: The Man Burns! (coming soon!)
Day 7: Departure (coming soon!)


The Black Angel
October 29th, 2012

If you are keeping track, this entry was expected to be a handful of images from Burning Man. I guess I wasn’t feeling up to tackling such a huge project just yet. Yes, I’m aware BM happened almost 2 months ago. I’m still decompressing. ;)

Instead, I whipped these up after taking a walk through Iowa City’s Oakland Cemetery where I took a couple shots of our infamous Black Angel. A post a little more fitting for Halloween perhaps.

I believe every town has got their own legends regarding an angel statue in a cemetery. I know my hometown does.


In The Beginning…
September 27th, 2012

Recently I’ve been really interested in starting a local podcast for the Iowa City area. One that is adult in humor and not your typical student radio broadcast (snore-fest).  I can not attain this goal alone however. I will need to assemble a small group of people all interested in making this vision become a reality.  Also because I have probably one of the worst radio voices anyone has ever heard of, I will need at least two smooth-talking, comedic personalities to be the stars of the show. I plan on just popping in and out of the conversation at random, interjecting my ignorance whenever possible.

I felt that in order to find these necessary contributors, I needed to do some design work first and foremost. I started out with sketching out a few logo designs and whipping the idea up in Illustrator. Because I’m completely unoriginal with naming anything, I settled with IC Cast (short for Iowa City Podcast). Clever I know.

IC Cast Logo Sketches.

Here is what was created.  I am somewhat happy with my first attempt although I can’t say I’m entirely pleased with the “C”. I was considering making it into a backpack but it started to look too busy. Also the color of the IC was chosen at random. I contemplated making it black and gold to fit the Iowa City theme. Any criticisms you may have will be greatly appreciated.

Next I will work on creating some flyers to post around campus and possibly a basic website where people can go to gather some more information if desired.  Hopefully this will produce the necessary individuals I need to go to the next level of production. Email me if you are interested in contributing to the cause!


September 11th, 2012

The Rocky Mountain National Park was one of many parks we visited before and after heading to Burning Man this year.  Upon reaching the tip of a mountain, from which we scaled by navigating a one way, narrow dirt path that included steep drop offs and hair pin turns, I discovered something very important about myself.  And that is my body doesn’t like extreme altitudes at all! I was doing alright in Estes Park, roughly 7,500 feet elevation. But upon being dragged up the Old Fall River Road to some god forsaken mountain at 12,000 feet, my ears were plugged, my heart was racing, my bladder was constantly requesting a release, and most noticeably, I was huffing like I just got done running a triathlon.  The view from atop would have been a beautiful sight to see had I not been more concerned about just trying to stay alive. Upon my rapid descent back to *gulp* 8,000 feet, my inner ear canal was put through an industrial size washer. High spin cycle. Needless to say, this cycle destroyed my appetite for the next couple days.

Once I was able to regain control of all my bodily functions, I set a personal limit that I will never again exceed 8,000 feet on any of my future treks.  “Well I guess climbing Mount Everest is out.” states my travel mate.  This is fine with me! I’m not suicidal. I wouldn’t even make it to base camp.  I will forever stick to the beaches and coastlines, where my soul belongs. Luckily Machu Picchu is only 7,970 ft above sea level clearing just below my personal elevation restriction. This makes me happy enough.


Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Illegal Fireworks
July 7th, 2012

I had no intentions on photographing fireworks this year so I only went with a simple pocket camera and yet I was pleasantly surprised at a few of the pictures that my Sony Cybershot produced. Normally it’s a terrible camera to walk around at night with but the fireworks must have emitted enough light to make the camera tolerable. Plus it helps to shoot off your own fireworks at home rather than trying to get close to and fight the crowds that flock to the public firework displays.