Burning Man Camera Trivia – Which Camera Took What Shot?

New eBook – The Beauty of Ambiguity

I have written a new eBook called The Beauty of Ambiguity! This extended, new piece will help you to better understand your own concepts of beauty and how it can be explored through your photography.

I also decided to make it an anthology of sorts, so I included updated versions of the most popular how-to stories like “9 Tips for your HDR Brain to Consider” to “HDR: It’s About the Light,” and I also revisited and expanded some of my popular long-form pieces, like the Chernobyl story.

Enjoy! We’ve been busy publishing new books over there, so be sure to check out the many other Flatbooks authors while there!

Answers to the Trivia

I have the answers here in the variety hour! Jump ahead to 30:30 where I describe the photos and the cameras with which they were shot.

The Camera Doesn’t Matter

I’ll go ahead and state my premise here from the outset.

I believe this is the best time ever for you to get into photography, and I expect my little trivia contest below will prove that a camera that is only a few hundred dollars (like the Olympus Tough) can take photos as interesting as one for a few thousand dollars (like the Nikon D3S) or even one that is tens of thousands of dollars (like the Phase One). There are so many cameras out there, but I try to boil it down to the good/better/best on the Camera Reviews page here on the site.

Hardcore gear-head photographers will get VERY ANGRY at the statement above, but I’d like to see how they do on the trivia test below!

I used many different cameras at Burning Man – everything from one that cost a few hundred dollars to something that costs tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes, I didn’t feel like carrying around a giant medium format camera or a DSLR, and I just wanted to be handy and quick with a little handheld consumer camera like the Olympus or the Pentax.

The Methodology

For all the photos below, I stripped out all the metadata (I think) and made them all the same resolution (4000 pixels wide or high with various crops) so that would not give away any clues as to the camera that made them.

Also note that I have processed all these photos. Look, I can’t help it… This isn’t a pure lab situation… but life is not a pure lab situation. In some cases, I’ve even used Lightroom to add grain back into the photo. That will make your job even more difficult. I didn’t make Lightroom adjustments to make the trivia harder – I just did this style of post-processing on each photo because I thought it was kind of beautiful. And see that one I put in there with the spiral of fire? I DID put that one there just to mess with you a bit.

Anyway, I’ve never made any apologies about my love of hardcore post-processing. I think the photo itself is just the beginning, and then the real magic happens when I can bend the light to my will later.

In that sense, I really quite like this trivia contest. Since I’m not alone in my love of post-processing, it makes an even stronger case that the camera with which you initially capture the light is a smaller and smaller part of the equation. The bigger part of the equation is you, yourself – your personality, your tools, and how you choose to use them on any given day.

Trey’s Lightroom Presets

All of the photos below were simply edited in Lightroom. I used the newly released Trey’s Lightroom Presets in case you want to play with them yourself. I thought I’d get that little plug in there… hope you don’t mind. :)

The Cameras

Here are the cameras I used:
A – The Olympus Tough TG-1 – $369
B – The Pentax Optio WG-2 – $299
C – The Pentax K-01 – $546
D – The Sony NEX-7 – $1348
E – The Nikon D3S (closest Adorama link) – $4499 (note that I kept my Nikon D800 in the trailer the whole time and never used it… )
F – The Phase One (closest Adorama link) – Over $10,000

ANSWERS (Spoiler!):

1 – F
2 – A
3 – C
4 – B
5 – D
6 – E

The Photos

And here are the 6 final photos with the six different cameras. I put little captions under each one to give you a bit of context for the story…

HDR Photo

While riding by on my bike, I saw these three dancers-al-fresco enjoying the sun. It seemed to be the sort of thing that was interesting and just begging for a photograph, and, well, you can see what happened. And no, none of this was posed… it just happened.

 

HDR Photo

In the middle of the pink party, this girl was at center camp with pink ears and her dust cover. She was a very pretty bunny, so I gave her the international eyebrow-sign of “is it okay to take a photo?” and she lit up happily.

 

HDR Photo

On the night the man burned, 60,000 people crowded around the bonfire of mammoth proportions. Photographers did anything they could to see over the crowd, including this enterprising photographer-wizard.

 

HDR Photo

A girl rides in front of the most wonderful truck I’ve ever seen. Do you know the history behind it?

 

HDR Photo

On the night of the temple burn, millions of burning embers filled the sky like golden dust from the heavens. I aimed my camera up and twisted it with the beat of nearby music.

 

HDR Photo

There are over a hundred art-cars that roam the desert during the day and night. You can get on any one at any time and it will pick you up at a random place and drop you off at another. This little gypsy car was one of my favorites, and the music that flowed out of it was eclectic and relaxing.

 

Sample Answer (probably not right)

Photo 1 – B
Photo 2 – F
Photo 3 – D
Photo 4 – A
Photo 5 – C
Photo 6 – E

(And you can add some of your thoughts below your answer too if you would like to ruminate on one thing versus another!)

The Answer

I’ll give the final answer in one week after the initial posting…

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