burning man: an aerial perspective

Ok, so this year we headed out into the black rock desert to camp and get a birds eye view of one of the craziest festivals in North America, or probably better yet, the world… Burning Man.

This was the view from our beer drinkin’ spot.  I mean, camp spot.

Burning Man is an annual week long festival located in the black rock desert in the middle of the stark white, super silty, barren desert playa…  Normally the playa is empty, not a person or building in sight.  But during the week of burning man, over 50,000 participants set up camp and occupy the playa making it the 3rd largest city in Nevada. Burning Man takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on Saturday evening.  The event is described by many participants as an experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.

You see, we didn’t actually attend the event (because I’m too cheap to pay upwards of $300 to camp for a week in the desert)… we camped above it in the mountains, perched high atop a ridge line, with a birds eye view of the mountains, playa and valley below.  We had a 360 degree view of awesome nature.

This is the sunset on Saturday night…

yea, kind of lame, I know.  I’d give it a 3 out of 10.  Just kidding.

This next image is looking over the playa around 10pm on Saturday night when The Man burned.  You can see a small galaxy (that’s what I think it is anyway) in the upper right hand corner, to the right of the subdued Milky Way…   (click to enlarge).

The stars at night were so bright.  The mountains looking to the south from burning man were illuminated from the festival light… and they were about 10 miles away.

In the image below you can see the milky way and the stream of cars on the highway leaving the festival after The Man burned on Saturday night.


Burning Man panorama at night… remember, this is 50,000+ people!

Here are some closer shots to give you a better feel for what it looks like down there…

This was as close as I could zoom in, I used a 300 mm here:


3 thoughts on “burning man: an aerial perspective

  1. All these images are amazing. The Milky Way and the cars is just BRILLIANT. Wow, I wish I could have been there, especially standing where you took the photographs from. What a view! I have never seen stars in the sky like that – the UK is too built up (or cloudy). Thanks for sharing the images. Marie, London, UK.

  2. I remember seeing skies like these … back in the 1950s and 60s in rural Indiana. Since then my skies have been diluted and polluted by the city life. Thank you for these brilliant images…and for the memories they evoke.

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