The Dock in the Desert – and New Packages!

November announcement: Updated package offerings!

We updated the package offerings for you for the HDR Video Tutorial. If you click that page, you can see a little intro video that shows what the whole thing is about. Enjoy! BTW, as always, there is 100% money-back guarantee and we have a 24-hour support team to help you out at support@stuckincustoms.com — thanks :)

Daily Photo – The Dock in the Desert

Here is a new photo from the most recent Burning Man.

The playa is covered with endless artistic creations — every year new and fresh. This was a strange but inspired idea to build a dock that slowly rises out of the desert. It attracted all sorts of strange characters and activity.

I didn’t take out my main camera too much because of the sand problem, but I did for this occasion. This was a standard 5-exposure HDR with some cleanup to fix the problem of movement between frames.

She stood in the light while in shadow.  The path led endlessly into the fog and she saw it for what it was.  The path was just one, and she had already chosen.  In the distance, it fell away into a blue haze.  Every few steps would reveal something impossible and unforeseen.  What would appear next was beyond reason and what would appear underfoot would be enough to make any mortal’s heart shudder.  She had a hundred paths within her, even though she only stood on one.

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The Temple at Sunset

New 50mm Update

I’ve updated my Nikon 50mm review to now point to the new “G” model of the lens. It’s more expensive, but it’s also more flexible with various cameras as well as having better quality.

Daily Photo – The Temple at Sunset

Burning Man is the only place I can go and: a) Not have any idea what I am going to see and b) just know it is going to be awesome.

So, that’s kind of a unique situation, I think. For example, if I go to London, England, I know I’m going to see the Tower Bridge and it’s going to be incredible. But how often do you go in completely blind to a place, and just know you’re going to be amazed?

This is the main temple that lies on the 12 o’clock axis from the burning man himself. Every year it is different. It’s always non-denominational, but it has hints of all the major religions… So, that way, the 1 billion+ Buddhists are happy, the 1 billion+ Hindus are happy, the 1 billion+ Muslims are happy, and the 500 mil+ Christians are happy, and so are the other 2 billion various belief-systems floating around out there. I don’t know how you can make a temple for everyone, but, well, here it is… and everyone seems to like it!

Coming Soon...

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Burning Man Fire Dancer

New Photos coming to Roku Channel

Good news! This week, we are adding a bunch of new photos to our Roku channel. Thanks again to everyone that put the channel on their Roku. We’ll keep adding more and more images… I want to keep everything fresh for y’all!

Daily Photo – Burning Man Fire Dancer

Burning Man this year was just fantastic. I don’t even know how to describe it… I think I will describe it the best way I can – through photos.

I was happy to spend a lot of time there with old and new friends. I ended up camping very close to Cliff Baise, who was nice enough to make me an awesome fur-covered bike for the event. I’ll get photos of that up soon… it’s so ridiculous and awesome.

One sunset, we walked over near the temple. Every year the temple has a totally new design, and this year it looked like this. It’s not a religious-thing, so I think the designers always go for something that has shades of religion but with nothing in particular in mind. This fire dancer was performing out front, so I got down low to take a photo.

The fire spun in a time the lasted forever in an instant.  The man inside obeyed and commanded it, weaving himself into a veil between what we saw and what he felt.  Inside, we saw each flame and it stayed with with us.  In another day, the tower behind would burn.I watched him dance.  There was a fine powder of sand above the hard-packed earth.  The powder was like a dust, a cloud, a fog, a mist that where his toes slipped around and through.  The mist would eddy and fall and rise in time for him to slide back through, the orange light from the flames above fell into and through the mist, dancing with his gentle feet.

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Thunderdome – Blood on the Sand

Live Hangout – Sunday 5 PM ET (2 PM PT)

Come watch the live video hangout from my Google+ account or on Keithbarrett.tv on Sunday at 5 PM ET. We’ll have on Gordon Laing, Jeremy Cowart, Thomas Hawk, Lotus Carroll, and more!

Daily Photo – Thunderdome – Blood on the Sand

I was only partially injured while getting this photo from the wild sands of Burning Man.

A group tenderly called the “Death Guild” erected a Thunderdome in the desert city here at Burning Man. I was riding home on my customized Mad Max bike (thx for making it for me +Cliff Baise !), and I saw hundreds converging on the Thunderdome for a massive fight. Screaming hordes started climbing the super-structure to get a closer look. By the time I arrived, the observers were 10 deep on all sides, everyone crushing in to get a view of the big fight.

I jumped off my bike, grabbed my tripod, D3X, and 14-24 lens. I ducked down and crawled through legs clad in leather and spikes to get just inside.

There were latex-clad women with billy clubs and spiked cudgels roaming the perimeter, keeping people from coming inside. I gave one of more severe-looking gals the international nod of, “Hey, everything is cool, let me stay here – I’m here with purpose.” This is a hard look to communicate with words, but I have perfected it through hundreds of iterations. Anyway, I settled down low to the ground.

Heavy metal music started blaring and the master-of-ceremonies-in-leather came in to announce the combatants. The screams of the fans mixed with the music in an aggressive cacophony. People mashed harder into my backside as another climber used the legs of my tripod to launch himself up into the super-structure.

I was rained upon by bits of rock, sand, and occasional strange fluids while the combatants got locked into their flying harnesses. These were complex bungee-systems designed to let them jump and fly in any direction. It seemed the only inevitability was that they harnesses would get slung around one another in a death-spiral where the fighters would just wail away at one another until one gave out.

I finally got everything set up (+1 EV, f/4, 14mm, ISO 1600, with shutter at 1/20th of a second) and fired away as they backed up then flung themselves at one another. It was brutal and the crowd was going absolutely crazy. Even more debris rained down on me from above as the crowd jammed me more from behind and above. I gathered a series of shots, watched more of the amazing desert violence, then crawled out, barely keeping my wits about me.

The ground shook and the air crackled as the metal bent and strained around my body.  The screams went animal and blood fell folded back into the sand.

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One Week Till Burning Man!

All Burning Man Photos

See all the Burning Man photos from this category by clicking that link… enjoy!

Another Batch

I’ve put together another set of photos… each of them is captioned below for you.

Coming Soon...

A few steampunk partiers get ready for the night of the burn.

 

Everyone on the playa is in costume. And, if you’re not in costume, then you’re the one that is standing out. This is one of the only Japanese people I saw there… but she certainly seemed really into the scene!

 

Coming Soon...

Every night as the sun is setting, these lamplighters come out with lanterns and hang them high along the main roads in the make-shift city.

 

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One of the hundreds of art displays all over the playa. This one was in the very middle… alone and interesting.

 

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Almost Burning Man Time

All Burning Man Shots

Just visit the Burning Man Photos here on the site, and you’ll be in good shape!

An Unexpected Camera

I love trying out new kinds of cameras! I was afraid to use my main Nikon equipment at Burning Man because of the bitter conditions, but I did end up using a special camera for most of the shots! A guy from Olympus sent me a PEN E-EPL1 and I ended up running that thing into the ground! I used it to take 95% of my Burning Man shots, including the first one below. It takes RAW photos, and I was able to convert these in HDR with no problem… anyway, I thought you would find that was interesting.

Daily Photo(s) – Almost Burning Man Time

I’m getting ready for another big year at Burning Man.  Thank you for all the camp invitations – I am still deciding!

I put captions below each photo to give you a bit of context…  enjoy!

On one of my first mornings, I walked away from my camp towards the middle of the playa. This gypsy was dancing around in the sun and having fun… I smiled and squatted down low to grab a photo.

 

Coming Soon...

Center camp is a mecca for all kinds of artistic activities. Artists set up canvases, jugglers toss knives, and dancers gyrate around the court. It’s really a feast for the eyes… and there was never a dull moment for my camera!

 

Nobody is really shy there, and that’s nice. Or, maybe if people are shy, they get over it pretty quick. After a few days, everyone is very relaxed and everything seems okay and natural.

 

Coming Soon...

Huge and fanciful cars trek back and forth across the playa. They always draw a crowd, and they add to the other-worldly nature of the scene…

 

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Burning Man Alive

More Burning Man Photos

To see them all, select the Burning Man Photos category here on the site.

Daily Photo – Burning Man Alive

I’ve been releasing these photos in little batches.  I don’t usually add captions to photos, but I have been doing in these cases.  Enjoy!

Coming Soon...

There is a central area in the middle of the camp where people come to do yoga, get coffee, perform magic, or do other carnie-like activities. Some people just go and watch, like this gal here.

 

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This was my favorite land vehicle. I wanted to ride around in it for a while, but I was too busy following it with my camera.

 

Coming Soon...

One of the many wild custom land vehicles heads out to tour the playa as the sun sets. As soon as the sun starts to go down, everything comes alive in a fanciful way.

 

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On the final night of the temple burn, a huge sandstorm blew across the desert, blinding all of us out in a dreamy haze.

 

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Exploring the Playa

Have a camp at Burning Man 2011?

Do ya?  I’m homeless and interested in some camps!  I am also completely useless.  The only thing I can do is take photos.  I can’t cook or build things very well.  Everyone else at Burning Man seems to be extremely handy.  All I can offer is my sardonic wit, my camera, and I come with a full load of gourmet chocolate from Europe that I keep refridgerated in my RV.  So that’s not so bad.

More Burning Man Photos

To see the other photos from the big event, click on the “Burning Man Photos” category.

Early Morning ABC Appearance

I’m going to be on in the morning… have to drive into the studio about 6:30 AM, of all things.  Good god man… I’m a blagger.  I sleep then!  But, I gotta go… I missed the last one because of a scheduling conflict and missed my appearance time.  The producer had to call me… it was too late.  I didn’t mean to rockstar-out on her, and I promised I won’t pull another charlie-sheen.

Daily Photo – Exploring the Playa

Here is another set of photos for you! I’m releasing these in small groups, just because I have so many… and it goes against my one-photo-per-day thing. But that’s just a thing you know. Ain’t nothin’ but a thing.

I usually don’t put captions, but I have been for these Burning Man shots… so see below for more details.

Coming Soon...

In the central gathering area, I found all sorts. I mean all sorts. I felt woefully regular, but I did have my steampunk stuff on, so I liked paying attention to other steampunk stuff, like this guy. We just kinda stared at each other for a while. It was kinda weird, but kinda cool.

 

Coming Soon...

I was taking photos of this heiro-jeweled skull, and then an Indian gal in a yellow dress came up and started dancing all over it. I have photos of that too, but I ended up liking the skull alone, best. Bejeweled skulls don’t need Indian dancers to make them more awesome!

 

Coming Soon...

The metal dragon-car was my favorite of the vehicles. It wasn’t the biggest, but the fully movable and fire-breathing head was incredible.

 

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Close to sunset, lamplighters in white robes start to roam the desert. They take these lanterns and hang them high on poles so burners can find their way through the dark of night.

 

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Biking Across the Playa

More from Burning Man

Today I’ll just post one from Burning Man, even though I have been posting them in smallish groups. If you want to see more, explore the Burning Man category here on the site.

Daily Photo – Biking Across the Playa

I think I need a bike this year at Burning Man! And, I need an awesome bike… with all kinds of lights and perhaps some speakers where I can plug in my iPod. The only problem is that I am not handy. I have only a few skills, and none of them seem to include all the things that everyone at Burning Man can build except me. Wherever I go, I’m surrounded by all kinds of nice hand-made art exhibitions… fanciful and crazy stuff is everywhere. Sure, I’m handy with a stylus and a Wacom tablet, but that doesn’t do me much good in the desert.

So, if you come out to the playa and have an extra amazing bike sitting around, let me know. I’ll bring you some Belgian gourmet chocolate for the trade.

High Dynamic Range Photo

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More Burning Man and Chris Pirillo

HDR Video Tutorial Giveaway by Chris Pirillo

Hurry and visit Pirillo’s blog to enter! It’s very simple, just “Like” his FB page and leave a comment, and you are entered!

The HDR Video Tutorial has been very popular, and we’ve done a few of these giveaways… I’m glad to drive traffic around to nice guys like Chris!

I met Chris in Dallas when we jumped out of a plane together with the US Army. I also met his dad and we talked for a little while… he was a heck of a nice guy too. I guess, with a dad like that, Chris can’t help but to be so likable. Anyway, if you don’t know who the chap is, then this is a good chance to check out his site.

More from Burning Man

This is my fourth or fifth post that has a collection of these photos – to see the others, click the Burning Man category.

Getting in the Groove

I usually don’t put captions on photos, but I did for my last mini-set of Burning Man photos, so I will here too.

Coming Soon...

On one of the final afternoons, a bitter sandstorm blew across the playa. It was also the night of the big burn, so people began to amass near the man himself. I saw this fellow photographer setting up on the periphery, bracing himself against the storm.

 

There they flow, the man and his familiar.  If every human has an animal companion that lurks and smells and protects and admires as we walk through the world then, on occasion, it meets another.  Not everyone believes in this universe of multiple animal daemons, but some do, and that's more than enough. The animal familiars meet one another, when the human souls open and share, and they walk around one another, like galaxies colliding.  They search and crane their necks around the get a sense of the otherness. The animal feeds the human a sense of the shadowself and they fold into one another, as a mountain folds into itself as the dark melts into the crease.

Burning Man is also a week-long costume party. In fact, if you are NOT in a costume, then you are the odd one out. We had a little PhotoWalk while I was there, and these characters came galloping through the middle of it.

 

Coming Soon...

What is more Mad Max than Thunderdome? Not much! This was a great landmark that helped me find my way home around 3 AM… My camp was pretty close by.

 

Coming Soon...

The playa is filled with one performance after another. Groups and troupes work on special performances, costumes, and other routines that they perform at their camps and out in the middle of the desert. This girl was in the middle of a rehearsal when I found her.

 

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