A Fairy Tale Land by Night… Burning Man 2012

Thousands of Burners, bikes and mutant vehicles make their way through Black Rock City, up and down the Esplanade and back and forth across the Playa at night. Almost all are decorated with lights as this 2012 mutant vehicle is.

Burning Man becomes a fairy tale land by night. Participants add lighting to their costumes and bikes. Mutant vehicles take on new personalities. Everyone heads for Center Camp, the Esplanade and the Playa. It is time to play.

This fascinating mutant vehicle caught Luna’s eye and camera as she was wandering through Black Rock City. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

I caught the same vehicle later displaying its night-time personality.

Here’s another example. This colorful mutant vehicle lived just down the road from us at Foxglove and 6th. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

This is my night-time photo of the vehicle.

Bikes are also dressed up for their night-time adventures at Burning Man. You want to be seen. We had no trouble following Tom and Beth. Beth, who owns B&L Bike Shop in Davis and is President Elect of the National Bicycle Association, had the latest in bike lighting equipment.

Horse-Bone Tribe member Scout, prepares for his evening foray into Black Rock City. His get-up includes an ear-ring that flashes in the dark.

Music is everywhere, from the deep booming rhythm of heavy metal to the softer sounds of blues and jazz. People are dancing and roller-skating and twirling fire and working hula-hoops and pole dancing and gawking, all to the beat of drums.

If the desert air creates a thirst, there’s bound to be a saloon or a pub nearby. After all, Burning Man is a Wild West town. The alcohol is free, provided by camps as part of Black Rock City’s gifting tradition. We discover a chocolate martini to die for at The Lost Penguin. The only requirement is BYOC: bring your own container. But smiles, thank yous, and costumes are appreciated.

A local chapter of AA is open 24/7 for Burners who need help resisting the temptation to drink the week away.

On our first night at Burning Man 2012, my wife Peggy and I headed out into the evening with our friends Tom and Beth Lovering. (In Playa speak, that’s Luna, Outlaw, Adios and Punkin.) A dragon with glowing eyes was preparing for an evening of revelry. A meditating Burner sat on a hanging rock sculpture with the moon as a backdrop. We came across a box guaranteed to provide a psychedelic experience. Adios climbed in and I took his photo. “Bye, bye.” They closed the lid and shook the box. Cheap trip… but colorful.

A dragon with glowing eyes, a red tongue, and long eyelashes prepares for its night adventures as the sun sets at Burning Man 2012.

A Burner respectfully welcomes the evening as the sun sets and the moon rises. He was perched on a large rock hung from a sculpture that rotated.

Adios, loaded into a box, prepares for his psychedelic trip. He has already grown an extra arm and leg. I am not sure what the magic button was for.

A fire dancer captured our attention next as he whirled a pair of fiery poi balls in circles around his head, behind his body, and between his legs. I felt a twinge of apprehension. Scars are not uncommon among practitioners of the art.

Fire dancing includes grace, beauty and a hint of danger. We found this 2012 performer twirling poi balls on the Esplanade at Burning Man.

A hundred yards down the Esplanade we found a merry-go-round for four people that required a push-pull action to make it go. Naturally we had to try.  At first it was difficult. Adios got off and pushed. We figured the contraption out and went faster and faster until we were flying. Punkin got in one “Whee!” before we crashed. I went bouncing across the Playa on my butt. Luna was thrown off and dragged through the dirt like she had her foot caught in a stirrup.

Battered, bruised and covered in Playa dirt, we dusted ourselves off and went limping on to our next adventure. Wall Street, beautiful sculptures, and Center Camp waited.

My major reason for going to Burning Man is the art. Most Burning Man Art, as this 2012 piece, is designed to be enjoyed both during the day and at night. The moon was one day away from being full. The Man is off to the right.

As we biked onto the Playa and into the Black Rock Desert, Wall Street loomed in the distance. This major 2012 Burning Man structure was scheduled to be burned at 9 PM on Friday but high winds and dust forced a postponement until 1 AM on Saturday. I slept through the event. (Photo by Beth Lovering)

Burning Man’s Center Camp with its glowing arch and flags blowing in the wind invited a visit on our way back to Horse-Bone Camp.

Clouds covered the glowing moon when we left Center Camp and made our way home completing out first day at Burning Man 2012.

8 comments on “A Fairy Tale Land by Night… Burning Man 2012

    • Thanks to my compact Canon S-100, Tasha. I bought it specifically because it came recommended for night photography. It is the first time we have ever been able to capture Burning Man by night… which is half of Burning Man.

  1. Originally, I was not going this year due to the ticket fiasco. Then at the last minute, a friend of ours mailed us a ticket (reasonable price!) and…..two days later and a change of heart, I was on my way. Can’t imagine why I even considered not going! Experiencing and capturing the night life, colors, friendships and spectacular burns were incredible.

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