North America, Photography, Travel

The Man Burns: Burning Man Part 5

Left to right: Toby, Berkely, Shaun, Sarge (Sean), Me

When we pulled up to Burning Man our first day, I didn’t understood why, when arriving at the gate, the volunteers welcome every single car with a hearty, “WELCOME HOME!” and a hug (yes, they make you hug out the car window or GET OUT of the car!) until I was about to leave the playa and realized how it had become a sense of home to me.

While we reciprocated the love and hugs, I really didn’t understand it at the time. This was definitely going to be a new experience.

Saturday is the day the man burns and it arrived so quickly that I could not believe that it was already here. The week had gone by with crazy stories, drunken nights, and a love that was felt deep inside.

I have a confession to make. Shaun and I were not able to stay for the Temple Burn. Looking back, I wish we had, but we had made prior engagements with a good friend of ours to stay at his house in San Francisco on Monday night. The only feasible way to do this was to leave early Sunday before the 9-12 hour line started up. I apologize ahead of time as I don’t have any pictures of stories from that event, but from what I understand, it was quite sobering and reverent.

the man burns
Cherie from Technomadia showing off her mad skills

There are a million and one stories that I could write about our stay at Burning Man, however, I really do feel as though some of the trouble we got into should STAY at Burning Man along with the part of me that I left behind.

If you ask a Burner what Burning Man is like, usually a big smile spreads across their face and they simply say, “You just have to experience it.”

No details. No juicy stories. I kind of get it now.

There is simply no way to give some of the occurrences the justice that they deserve. You are just left with a desire to go and forge your own adventure. With 50,000 people that attended Burning Man in 2010, you will get a different experience from all of them.

I will, however, feed you a small morsel. I can’t just leave you hanging there.

We decided to spend our last night with some of our closest camp mates, Toby, Berkely, and Sarge. We tried our hardest to get into shenanigans prior to the burn, however, seeing as most camps are starting to shut down at this point, it was REALLY hard to do. Even if there were places to go, many of them were temporarily closed to allow for everyone to attend the burn.

The people that we were with really didn’t want to sit on the playa to watch the man burn, so We found this awesome art installment that looked like a pagoda with a perfect (but kinda lengthy) view of the man – complete with a 4 foot platform, covered in bean bags.

There is nothing like watching the burn from the comfort of a bean bag.

This is where we met “Fido”.

Or a man in a dog hat, collar, leash , handcuffed with his hands behind his back and in a dress (who also happened to be a lawyer from Florida – you won’t believe what burner “types” can be). He had stated that someone had stolen his bike at the beginning of the week and he had been complaining about it since then. In a mob, his entire camp jumped him, dressed him like this, and drove him out to the middle of the playa to be dumped off.

“If you are going to complain like a bitch, we’ll make you one.” he said his camp yelled as they dumped his handcuffed body out in the heat of the desert.

This is where his story started having some holes in it. “Fido” said he had a key in his RV and didn’t want to go back to his camp due to embarrassment and he had been “stranded” like this for the past 6 hours. Roving from camp bar to camp bar, he received free drinks and people wrote insulting things all over his body with a sharpie. There were circles on his face, hearts on his nipples… and well, apparently there was more he really didn’t want to share.

Right. So you’re saying you didn’t want to be left like this yet you won’t go back and get your key.

This is when the kicker happened.

A nicely dressed lady comes up to “Fido” and grabs his leash. In a sweet demeanor she asks us, “Has he been a good boy?”


She drags him away on his leash.

So moving on, to explain the pictures below, a white out decided to descend upon us in the middle of the burn. Being to far away from the man, the dust often blocked the fiery glow of a 6 story burning effigy and left us to assume that the man was in fact, on fire.

I did get some awesome pictures from being so far away. Thank you Kevin for letting me borrow your close up picture of the burn. 🙂

the man burns

the man burns

Thank you again Kevin for letting me share this picture. 🙂

the man burns
Image by: Kevin Langendoen

***Looking for Burning Man supplies, costumes, and goodies? Make sure to head to our shop for the best in Burner supplies!***

11 thoughts on “The Man Burns: Burning Man Part 5”

    1. @Sarah: I was using the mediocre kit lens that came with the camera – Sigma 18-50 3.5-5.6 – I just have a steady hand (sometimes). I didn’t dare take out my newer lenses in the crazy dust storm that was happening at the time.

  1. I guess I will simply have to go there someday because if I ask you what it’s like I will not get a full grasp of the experience. Got some homework to do then…good post!


  2. @erica: hahaha, no problem! i figure if i cant stalk you through shuttercal, i’ll definitely stalk you through your blog =)

  3. You nailed it. I gave up trying to explain it to everyone. It’s sort of sad not being able to share it with friends and family, but at the same time, it makes it even more special. Glad we got to share our burn with you guys!

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