Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Post Burning Man 2015, general

!!! Yesterday evening I got home from my trip this year to the Black Rock Desert in Northern Nevada for Burning Man 2015! As usual, I have tons of things to say and share about it including a bunch of photos (I took along my Nikon Coolpix, Holga 135, Holga 120 & Lomography FishEye 2) and stories. I thought I'd start with just some general notes on things I did differently this year (All pictures can be clicked to see larger versions):

- As this was my 4th visit, I waited a bit more last minute to prepare. On one hand, this seemed
stupid, but it ended up working! There's a point where Burning Man prep can truly take as much time
as you pour into it, so it's important to recognize essentials vs. nice to finish projects. One of my last minute projects was a fleece seat cover for my bike that I whipped together in a couple minutes. It kept my butt protected from the otherwise hot plasticy seat cover that was starting to get holes (my Burning Man bike is a cheap big box store bike I picked up at a garage sale years ago as my first foray into biking in LA.) I also sewed some EL wire onto a vest I picked up the weekend before Burning Man in line on the way in.

- Rideshare! This year I ended up getting a ride to Burning Man that I found on their Rideshare
message boards. On one hand, this was somewhat scary to me, but at the same time, I knew that this was likely something I needed to just push myself to do because I get scared of such things at times just due to being me. I took my time and talked with people and ended up finding an awesome couple to ride with up there and had a good time getting to know them. I also ran into one of them while they were running the 50k at Burning Man (!!!!!) and ended up biking probably about 14 miles of it with them and chatting for a while, which was completely unexpected, but fun in it's own way.

Since I was getting rides from others, I also decided to mark all of my belongings for easier identification. I just grabbed a roll of uniquely patterned washi tape that I picked up on clearance and slapped a piece on the side of each box or wrapped it around bag handles. Totally worth doing and washi tape comes in so many patterns, it makes it super easy for multiple people to have their stuff easily identified. You could also use something like the fancy duct tapes, but the washi tape doesn't really leave any residue for later removal.

- I decided to skip the cooler for food this year outside of a small 2 gallon cooler with spout for ice water. I was afraid I would end up hating myself for this since I usually take along at least a little
yogurt and some fresh veggies like celery and carrots. Instead I made sure to stock up on some fresh foods that would be shelf stable for at least a couple days including avocados, roma tomatoes, peaches, bananas, kiwi & apples. I also was gifted a cucumber one day and visited the farmers market at BM a couple times and was able to get a carrot, avocado, baby tomatoes and a plum. I ate everything except for the apple and it was all AWESOME!

One of my favorite/repeated many times meals this year was some combination of these items on whole wheat tortillas: refried black beans (I love Santa Fe brand since I can easily make a single serving without any waste & I can easily find them in my local grocery store), chopped avocados, chopped tomatoes, single serve cups of salsa.

Many days my main meal was a chopped avocado, a chopped tomato and a sprinkle of garlic powder and salt that I scooped with tortilla. So delicious and satisfying. I wish I had brought enough avocados & tomatoes to have this every day as other people in my camp also happily ate the avocado. 

I'd probably like to take along some small onion thing like shallots so I could have that flavor without having to worry about storing/getting rid of a half cut onion. I also brought along a small mesh bag (left over from produce I previously bought) and left my fresh food waste in it for a day or so outside, which was more than long enough for it to all dry out. Afterward I tossed it into the burn barrel, so I didn't have gross rotting food waste to deal with.

- I was able to hang up my art in Center Camp early Monday afternoon. I had this fear that I completely got confused about some part of the application process and I didn't really get 2 spots until I was lead by a nice older man (I forgot his name : ( ) to 2 spots to hang up all my art in Center Camp! A couple things were different with the spots that I had expected when planning, but I was still able to make it work. I was pretty worried about attaching the items (and I kept checking up on them throughout the week with the crazy winds & dust we had this year and low temps down to 28!!), but everything stayed secured all week. After I hung up the items, I was actually quite overwhelmed and didn't react as I expected. I guess because I realized it was much different for completely random people to be looking at my art while I can immediately experience their reactions vs. just people I know and can semi-predict their reactions, but overall I got so many positive responses and had nice experiences talking with various people throughout the week.

My holga photos from Burning Man 2013 & 2014 and paintings for "Soul Mirrors"

One of the things that people try to emphasize at Burning Man is to not spend too much time just taking photos and to keep interacting and participating. I feel conflicted with this at times as photography is so much a part of how I observe and interact with the world that I get more out of experiences sometimes by focusing on involving my camera in the experience. I love the beautiful things I noticed and explore when I started involving a camera and how framing bits of things can bring attention to things that are difficult for me to share with others otherwise. I visit places I wouldn't necessarily and talk with people I wouldn't talk with if I didn't have my camera. The photos help me remember details that I'd otherwise forget. Also, as
much as I do shoot photos, I step back and participate when I feel so inclined. I also had many awesome conversations, hugs and interactions with people, shared smiles with many, biked and walked who knows how many miles, gave out handmade gifts, helped people and ate snowcones (the camp across from mine had them almost every afternoon!) among many other activities throughout the week.


some of the hardcore, kickass white-out battling bicyclist women I biked with as part of the critical tits ride this year

trash can drum circle from the ministry of random events

Photography helps someone a little more introverted like me find my quiet place out amongst others and gives me some downtime. When I closely observed a giant metal sculpture of a woman with my camera (R-Evolution), I realized that the sculpture was actually making sounds and it's chest expanded and contracted, which was crazy and I probably wouldn't have noticed otherwise. Other times I wouldn't be as inclined to keep coming back to visit something when the light was perfect to help bring out certain qualities of the art or experience.

a happy introvert at the insanely extroverted Burning Man

More Burning Man photos and stories to come through this link.

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