Burning Man 2013… Three Million Photos Later

The Man and his flying saucer at Burning Man 2013

I’ve had another thought about the flying saucer the Man was perched on for 2013. Maybe it was a huge clam. BTW, do you see the two small feet extending out from each side. Those were slides you could exit the Man on. I clocked myself at 60 MPH after Tom/Adios Lovering guaranteed it was a gentle ride down. Note to self: Never believe anything Tom tells me. But I knew that.

Having burned the Man in my last blog, it is time to wrap up Burning Man for another year. I decided to do so with photos. Enjoy.

Burning Man is located in the remote Black Rock Desert of Northern Nevada.   These roads can be very lonely– except when Burning Man takes place. Local jurisdictions use the Burning man traffic count to justify their highway budgets.

Burning Man is located in the remote Black Rock Desert of Northern Nevada. These roads can be very lonely– except when Burning Man takes place. Local jurisdictions use the Burning Man traffic count to justify their annual highway budgets.

There is nothing lonely about the road when you arrive at the entrance to Burning Man. We lined up with umpteen thousand other people on Monday. The drive from our home in Oregon to Burning Man was eight hours. The last four miles: four hours.

There is nothing lonely about the road when you arrive at the entrance to Burning Man. We lined up with umpteen thousand other people on Monday. The drive from our home in Oregon to Burning Man was eight hours. The last four miles took four hours. Did I mention dust?

Black Rock City, Nevada

A city of 60,000 grows up over night, literally. Black Rock City, for its one week of existence, is the third largest city in Nevada. I suspect the coyotes say, “There goes the neighborhood.” (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

People come to Burning Man for numerous reasons, but one of the most important is the art. It can be monumental such as this 60 foot tall woman, and...

People come to Burning Man for numerous reasons, but one of the most important is the art. It can be monumental such as this 60 foot tall woman (Truth Is Beauty) and…

Seven ton coyote at Burning Man.

…this seven ton coyote. Someone is standing in his mouth with a flashlight. Maybe it’s a dentist. People crawled all over the coyote until a few too many fell off. Equation: Number of beers = odds of falling.

Tail of Coyote at BurningMan 2013

A tail’s-eye view of Coyote during the day. Need a wire brush? One person rests in Coyote’s belly while another climbs up the sculpture.

Oriental art at Burning Man

The art of Burning Man is as different as the artists that create it. We discovered a whole tent full of beautifully rendered paintings with mythical/Eastern themes.

Art collage ar Burning Man 2013

Art is often humorous, such as this collage featuring a puffy cloud with a Cheshire Cat  grin and silverware.

Burning Man art

Admittedly, much is strange.

Art at Burning Man 2013.

And stranger.

Mural at Burning Man 2013.

Every blank wall begs for a mural. And usually gets one– or several.

Metal snake at Burning Man.

This blank floor space demanded a snake.

A photo op of a photo op. Tom needed a photo and somehow decided that Peggy resting on his shoulders was better than me resting on his shoulders. I wonder why?  Anyway, 60,000 people at Burning Man pretty much guarantees 60,000 cameras. Let's assume for the moment that each person takes an average of 100 photos, which is a conservative estimate in today's world of digital cameras.  That means a conservative 6 million photos were taken at Burning Man 2013.

A photo-op of a photo-op. Tom needed a photo and somehow decided that Peggy resting on his shoulders was better than me resting on his shoulders. Anyway, 60,000 people at Burning Man pretty much guarantees 60,000 cameras. Let’s assume that each person takes an average of 50 photos, which is a conservative estimate in today’s world of digital cameras. That means upwards to 3 million photos were taken at Burning Man 2013.

Skull tree at Burning Man by day.

What you see by day…

May appear considerably different at night.

May appear considerably different at night. Are you ready for Halloween?

El Pulpo at Burning Man 2013.

Strange creatures wander the Playa at night. In the streets of New York City, or London, or Tokyo… El Pulpo Mechanico would create a panic. Here its, “Oh look, here comes the octopus.”

Rooster mutant vehicle at Burning Man 2013.

Or maybe a giant rooster will come to visit.

The Toilet Bowling Alley at Burning Man 2013.

If you need a break, there are always games to play. I knocked down nine of the ten pins at the Toilet Bowl. (Next to the Toilet Bowl was a long string of port-a-potties.) 

Decapitation warning sign at Burning Man.

Some games can be injurious to your health. Here’s a Burning Man style caution sign.

Metal man at Burning Man.

“Ouch, I think I’ll keep my head.” (Photo by Tom Lovering.)

You reach a point at Burning Man when your mind goes on overload, when you believe you have see it all.

You reach a point at Burning Man when your mind goes on overload, when you believe you have seen it all.

Church of the Jerk at Burning Man.

And then something happens to blow your mind. A man and his friends built this church to last for the week so he could get married.

Church of the Jerk wedding at Burning Man 2013.

We crashed the wedding. Well, we did ask, sort of.

Burning Man 2013 wedding at Church of the Jerk.

Vows were determined by spinning the wheel.

Later, we attended the wedding of Bone and Bonetta at the church. Bone has been wandering the world for 45 years. He rescued Bonetta from a Florida swamp four years ago. They finally decided to get married.

Later, we attended the wedding of Bone and Bonetta at the church. Bone has been wandering the world for 45 years. He rescued Bonetta from a Florida swamp four years ago. They finally decided to get married. Bone’s kilt was made by Ann Baughman, an 80 plus year old woman who lives in Kansas. Punkin aka Beth Lovering made Bonetta’s gown. Both are members of the International Society of the Bone.

Ken Axon of New York provides Bone with a pep talk just prior to the wedding.

Ken Axen of New York provides Bone with a pep talk just prior to the wedding.

Punkin solemnly recites the wedding vows.

Punkin solemnly recites the wedding vows.

The Cradle of Mir burns at Burning Man 2013.

A final burn. The Cradle of Mir.

Sunset at Black Rock City, Burning Man 2013.

The sun sets on Burning Man 2013.

Until next year. I hope you've enjoyed this series on Burning Man.

Until next year. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on Burning Man.

NEXT BLOG: I am close to finishing “The Dead Chicken Dance,” my book on the sometimes scary/sometimes humorous adventures I had as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the jungles of West Africa. I’ve posted several blogs on the experience. My next blog will be the introduction to the book.

17 comments on “Burning Man 2013… Three Million Photos Later

  1. Thanks for recapturing the essence of Burning Man once again. The week can be very intense, so having a chance to relax and relive the adventure is always a joy. People are often amazed and surprised when I share that we attend Burning Man. I am often told that I don’t “look like someone who would attend BM”???? I send them to your blog to give them a better understanding and perspective of what BM is about for us. Perhaps a few more will realize that BM should be on their “bucket list” of adventures, experiences, and more…..Peggy (also known as “anonymous” apparently…..grin.)

    • We’re going to have to work you around the anonymous bit Peggy. 🙂 But your absolutely right that all kind of folks attend Burning Man. I think their most common trait is a sense of adventure. BM’s newsletter just noted that this year’s Nobel prize winner for Chemistry is a Burner. –Curt

    • Just replied to James, Terri. Peggy and I love sharing our adventures– as you and James do. it is fun and rewarding to encourage folks to get out and try new things, or at least travel in their imagination. It is such a big world, full of so many wonders. Curt and Peg

    • My pleasure. BTW I am one of the four major genealogical researchers in my extended family and love it. The blog and the book I’ve been working on have taken me away from it. After the book, I’ll get back to it. I may even put together a family blog. Your’s is inspiring. –Curt

      • Thanks, Curt; that’s very kind of you to say. I always appreciate feedback. And, wow–that’s great you and your extended family are working on weaving together your family’s history. It’s nice to have that level of collaboration. I see that quite often, and it’s always good to see. A blog sounds like a piece of cake after a book, so I’m sure you will have fun with it if you decide to do it. I wish the “young ones” in my family were more interested in my blog; maybe some day!

  2. Have enjoyed the series immensely – now feel I know a little of what the whole experience involves and hadn’t heard a think about it before you started posting. Thanks for the wonderful introduction!

    • Glad you enjoyed the series. It has been fun to write… and challenging to pick out the photos to use. 🙂 The neat thing about blogging, as you know, is that it is so easy to share experiences– around the world. –Curt

  3. Ditto to all of the above…. Absolutely one of my favorite series! This is something that must be witnessed. I just love the photo of Peggy snapping away on someone’s shoulders – perfection! There’s such joy everywhere. 🙂

  4. Interesting side journey into the issue of genealogy. I’ve begun pulling on one thread of our family’s fabric – and didn’t begin getting interested until I was past sixty.

    Love this series of photos – especially the Chessie cat cloud. You’ve brought a lot of smiles with this series, and a good bit more understanding about what goes on there.

    • Thanks Linda. As for genealogy, something kicks over in your genetic make-up when you turn 60. I swear. It’s like you have to reach a certain age before you have any interest in your ancestors. It’s a common lament among genealogists… “I wish my children were more interested.”
      –Curt

  5. I landed here in search of the name of the psychedelic artist whose work was in the cafe 2014. You have one of his pieces here… You know, the trippy girl with the panda. Does anyone recall his name?

  6. Thank you so much for taking the time to share some of your Burning Man experiences.
    2013 was my first year at Burning Man and I am returning for my 5th Burn. The Man on a flying saucer, from which you could side out from, was my favourite of all the amazing Men I have seen.
    We will be at Orphan/Endorphin camp (7&C).
    If you are there this year it would be great to give you a Dusty Hug 🙂

    • My pleasure, Coconut. I always enjoy putting up my Burning Man photos and tales. One, I like sharing the experience, and two, it helps me relive it. Thanks! I may indeed show up for a Dusty Hug. -Curt, AKA Outlaw.

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