Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Burning Man ~The ultimate special effects reference?

The burning of the temple

My voyage to Burning Man this year was epic. From the moment I left Vancouver on my motorcycle, and headed East into the BC interior, I felt transported 100% away from the daily routine that most of refer to as 'life'. With the wind in my face and the promise of new roads in my heart, I felt released....free!

Burning Man involves a LOT of burning. The largest most impressive structures are lovingly handcrafted and built almost entirely of wood, and on the last two nights of Burning Man, the 'man' and the incredible Temple (different and unique every year) are burned to the ground. On top of that many art installations in the desert are set ablaze on the last two night.

An amazing dance party in the middle of the desert at sunrise...

On top of that, there are pyrotechnics galore. Every year the fire experts try to top what they came up with the previous year, and there are a dazzling array of fire belching, computerized machines of all kinds here and there around Black Rock City and out in the desert (on the 'playa' as they say). Just down the street from the camp where I stayed, they let me handle an incredible kind of explosive propane fire throwing gun that was absolutely incredible! Pulling the trigger released a tremendous explosion of flame that mushroomed out like a special effect from a Bruce Willis movie! It was such a rush. I only wish I'd gotten some film of me firing it off.

An incredible rainbow appeared after a
rainstorm on the first afternoon that I arrived

Although I did take quite a few photos, Burning Man is primarily a participatory event, and walking around taking pictures turns you in to an observer, not a participant. So I frequently left my camera behind, and just got right into 'being there' and absorbing as much as possible. From a special effects viewpoint, I can't recommend Burning Man enough. If this kind of stuff sounds interesting to you, then GO! Buy your ticket and set your sights on being there next year, and I'LL SEE YOU THERE!!

The sunsets on the first night of Burning Man

Pyrotechnics seen through the swirling dust

The 'man' burns...

The 'man' burns...an amazing fireworks display precedes the burning