Burning Man 2010, Metropolis: my experience

My first Burning Man experience far exceeded my expectations. Word can’t describe the experience, but my 5 days spent on the playa reminded me of the importance of being true to yourself, the power of giving and sharing in a community, and the positive outcome of not judging others. I expect to return year after year to fill my fountain of creative inspiration.
wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo01-2010-09-19-15-012.jpg The first day we had a small dust storm early on, but after a desert rainstorm and a double rainbow, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo02-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo03-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo04-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo05-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo06-2010-09-19-15-012.jpg John Mireles knows his technicals when it comes to lighting and I enjoyed our geek out conversations. I recommend his contracts at Photographer’s Toolkit. wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo07-2010-09-19-15-012.jpg Tony Bisson’s chillness made the atmosphere around the camp uber pleasant complete with his hammock, guitar, and great attitude.wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo08-2010-09-19-15-012.jpg A big teddy bear, Nikonian, awesome musician, Nick Adams took me under his wing and made sure I didn’t blow out my highlights:) He lent me his 3-stop neutral density filter to shoot portraits near out camp, which made shooting at f/2 a breeze. I enjoyed getting to know him and look forward to developing our friendship. wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo09-2010-09-19-15-012.jpg
Becker, a great photography mentor and and industry leader, never failed to share his humor and wit. The guy’s “high on life” energy and personality makes him super easy going. Here’s his best Marilyn: wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo10-2010-09-19-15-012.jpg Typical mornings would start with a great cup of coffee, listening to the guys playing the guitar, and watching Becker eat kids cereal. wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo11-2010-09-19-15-012.jpg I had a great time getting to know lots of other photographers from around the world by hanging out at Media Mecca, the Burning Man media center with the best happy hour. With 13 of years of Burning Man experience, Patrick Roddie is argueably the best know Burning Man photographer and he’s got some great tips for getting awesome Burning Man portraits.wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo12-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo13-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgTrey Ratcliff from Stuck in Customs shared his insight in balancing priorities while staying true to his photography passion. He’s got it together and I applaud his efforts in his HDR art and technique with the world.wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo14-2010-09-19-15-012.jpg Marti Mueller from France had a great outlook on the creative potential of Burning Man and we had an awesome opportunity to shoot together.wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo15-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo16-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo17-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo18-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo19-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo20-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo21-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo22-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo23-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo24-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo25-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgWriter and impresario Shawn Holiday shared his writing skills as he wrote a short story on a vintage type writer in front of me. Seeing his creative brain work reminded me of the similiarity between writers and artists. His favorite thing about Burning Man: “It’s a place where engineers can be artists.”wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo26-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo27-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo28-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo29-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo30-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo31-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo32-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgThe man behind the Man.wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo33-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo34-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo35-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo36-2010-09-19-15-012.jpgHad to create a little art for myself. wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_kern_photo37-2010-09-19-15-012.jpg A special thank you to all of my portrait participants for granting me permission to photograph them.

33 Responses to “Burning Man 2010, Metropolis: my experience”

  1. carrie sanders — September 19, 2010 @ 8:33 pm (#)

    lovely images! are you going next year? i would love to stop by your camp if you are.

  2. mills — September 20, 2010 @ 8:15 am (#)

    Fantastic shots! Wonderful! Thank you! I was coming here to look for Temple shots (I see one in the background) – I am the Temple image archivist, but I found so much more thank you for your photos! If you do have any temple ones you are hiding please send them along!

  3. Michelle Simpson — September 20, 2010 @ 6:02 pm (#)

    Wow! Love all your pics. You captured so many emotions and amazing images from Burning man. Love it all.

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  6. Andy H — February 9, 2011 @ 4:58 am (#)

    Love the pictures, you took a photograph of my girlfriend and I next to your screen (it was quite windy at the time) and we never managed to find it, I checked this album and the Playa Couples album but it’s not there, is there somewhere else I can check ? Thanks for the incredible pictures.

  7. michael baumann — February 9, 2011 @ 12:34 pm (#)

    great photos!! almost like being there …
    my favorite: the guy on the motorbike and the 3 guys (b/w) under the ‘tent’

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  9. Grand Junction CO Photographer — February 17, 2011 @ 6:53 pm (#)

    This looks like a riot. I may have to plan on going this year. Thanks for posting these amazing images. Karen

  10. Andy — April 20, 2011 @ 11:28 am (#)

    Those are the best Burning Man pictures I have seen. Digital or film? What camera?

  11. R. J. — April 20, 2011 @ 12:06 pm (#)

    Andy, thanks for the comment. I use a digital Nikon d700 and my 24 1.4 and 85 1.4 lenses.

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  14. rif — June 24, 2011 @ 8:01 pm (#)

    Hi! I’m the fire spinner in one of the photos, the one with the fireball. You have my express permission to use that photo however you see fit.

    Great work!


  15. Paul "Big PHREEKY" Neumann — June 26, 2011 @ 10:35 am (#)

    Ken ! ! ! !
    OMG! Your stuff ROCKS!
    I’m throwing away my camera’s and just looking at your stuff from now on! LoL!

  16. veronica dondero — June 26, 2011 @ 7:05 pm (#)

    awesome, thank you

  17. Paul Hurschmann — June 27, 2011 @ 3:17 am (#)


    Wow! You. Are. The. Man!!!

    What awesome portraits, best I’ve ever seen from the Playa (and probably anywhere else with regard to creativity w/ one light (and some background additions).

    It was so much fun hanging with you after the wedding and watching you shoot. You definitely have the energy of a child ; )

    And, thanks for including me in your selection above (I’m the one holding the Nikon wearing an American flag shirt, for those of you wondering).

    I’m definitely interested in learning more about Camp Photon (but their website is down right now). Are you going back? (I think I already know the answer to that one).

  18. Pooh Bear — June 27, 2011 @ 10:06 am (#)


  19. MICHI — June 27, 2011 @ 4:36 pm (#)

    ah maze ing …. thank you

  20. karen — July 1, 2011 @ 5:33 pm (#)

    woww, i love your pictures!! they makes me feel like if where there now!!! From Argentina, thank you

  21. Eric Schwarz — July 5, 2011 @ 7:09 am (#)

    Love the Photo’s! I hope you will be doing this again.

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  25. Sarah — June 12, 2012 @ 5:28 pm (#)

    Beautiful exposure. Especially love the man.

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  33. shaylin manning — December 17, 2014 @ 5:26 pm (#)

    I am curious if you still have all your photographs from 2010 burning man. My boyfriend and I had our photo taken I was bummed we never connected again so we could see how the pictures turned out. Our friend that was with us when we took the pictures is in this album he is the one wearing the blue sarong jumping over the mountain. I figure there was probably a lot of photos taken so our pictures may be hard to find. But I thought I would put it out there just incase there might be a chance our picture could be found.

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