pacman inkee

burning man post #3 - the art cars

boombox art car by hep
boombox art car, a photo by hep on Flickr.

and now for my second favorite part of burningman: the art cars. nothing is more fun, and there is no more fun way to experience the open playa than roving across it in a tricked out art car with a band of your merry companions. the bulk of the 1500+ images i shot were of various art cars in various states of use, from the completely empty stowed away for the day car, to the fully lit ready to party the evening away car. i could post all day on all the cool cars we saw this year, but i will keep this to a (somewhat) brief highlights reel of some of my favs.

i am fond of wheeled ships of all kinds. i think the idea is funny. this viking ship was pretty amazing, it was even very quiet when it drove so it felt very shiplike. they would constantly buzz the pier during the afternoons.

this giant steamboat was pretty elite, and looked even better once true night fell. click the cut for a not so safe for work view of the gorgeous masthead mermaid.

i was very fond of discofish. we spent a lot of time sitting on his side padded benches that folded down. however he was very bass heavy and occasionally if he parked near to other bassheavy art cars it would make me physically ill. pretty sure i threw up near the side of him post-burn after the man went up. sorry discofish!

we called this the night train. it had a pretty killer light display that rotated through the rainbow on all of it's outlines. this was a train heavy year, which i am NOT complaining about, i absolutely love trains more than most things. one of the trains which i tried and failed to photograph, was life sized to the size of an actual freight train, and had about 5 cars attached that it pulled across the playa. each car had a different light theme, a rocket, a rainbow coal car, and several other lit up themed cars trailing behind it. it was so long and magnificent that i did not have a lens wide enough to do it justice. anything that gave me a full view of all the cars in the line made them entirely too small to pick out the detail. not to mention no still image could do the engine justice: it was a rainbow cascade of constantly shifting light patterns.

this was about the best ufo i saw out there this year, which is pretty surprising since there are usually some good ones. i much prefer the metal streamlined 1950s saucer look, but this one was ok and the lights made up for it's lack of post-deco structure.

as mooflyfoof said: "is that a giant chicken on top of a lightspeeder? why yes, yes it is!" self explanatory really.

even tho this truck played non-stop dubstep, i cut them some slack because at least they were funny about it. a+++ use of topical construction zone signage.

as we were camped next to bunnycide this bunny car took on a special meaning for me. i couldn't help seeing him as one of the many deaths of dead bunnies adorning the camp next door.

friday night as we headed out for an evening of adventure before ending up at the trojan horse burn, geoff exclaimed to us "have fun storming the castle" as we toddled off in search of fun. we found this castle art car and spent the night with them. as they passed us early in the evening we stuck out our thumbs and hitched a ride along with them to the other side of the city. we made friends with a bunch of international wanderers, from germany, switzerland, and much of eastern europe, and spent the rest of the evening careening back and forth across the playa hitting up all the best parties before ending up at the giant rave that surrounded the horse burn.

renee shows off our judging look. you think we aren't judging you? well fuck you we are.

sometimes hitching a ride doesn't work out so well. after walking from 10oclock back to 6oclock we saw the ganeshbus parked outside a friend's camp. we hooked up with some friends and heard that the ganeshbus was heading towards 2oclock, right where we wanted to be to see a friend's dj set at one of the giant rave camps (non-dubstep brand). after boarding and hanging out on the top level with our friends the bus got under way. unfortunately they decided to head back to their own camp instead of continuing on to 2oclock, which left us right back where we started trying to escape from, the 10oclock side of the city, aka project "play as much dubstep as you can, as loudly as possible, all right next to each other so you can't tell which song is which". not like you can with dubstep anyway. there, i said it.

my favorite car tho was the boombox, despite their propensity to play all the dubstep possible, as as loud a volume as they were capable. such a simple design, but the lights and the paint combined just right to make it look seriously polished.

always surrounded by a dancing crowd (and even if you can't help but look totally stupid dancing to dubstep, at least in still images one dancer usually looks just as silly as the next. so these images came out pretty all right. look, only dubstep parrot can dance to dubstep and not look totally ridiculous. and that is because he is a parrot.)

next year i want to make a bone ship/thunderbird/roc of death type of thing, something super scary to breathe fear into those who are tripping their asses off on hallucinogens. something where you can intone "I AM THE LORD OF DEATH AND I AM HERE TO LAY CLAIM TO YOUR SOUL" with complete believability, at least to those under the influence. not that i am PLANNING to do that, but you know, some people have their hobbies, i have mine. and going around posing as the lord of death and demanding people's souls happens to be one of them.

I hate the fact that I've known about BM forrrrreeevvvveerrr and have had friends that have gone to BM for the longest time, but I've never gone.

What lens did you mostly use?
i used a couple different combos: a 18-55 kit lens that i didnt care about so i could have AF during the times my eyes were tired, a 35mm prime that is MF only, and a 0.42x (i think) fisheye screw on adaptor that turns any lens into a fisheye (either full circle or just ultra wide depending on the focal length of the original lens). i also had a 70-200mm tele that i used sometimes, but i didn't haul out the tripod all that much and i hate handheld shot tele stuff. you can always tell. i did a little of it, and i can totally tell that it was handheld. i hate that. i think i brought a 50mm MF prime too but i rarely took it out either since i mostly shoot at 35mm.
i used a lot of canned air and usually only switched lenses inside in places where dust activity was low. i also used a body that is already pretty dusty because it's my hiking/beach body. there is plenty of dust in it, this weekend i will have to recondition the inside and the mount side of all the lenses.
I know i always say it, but your photos are just STUNNING. Thank you for sharing them! I love so many of them.
These are fantastic, phenomenal pictures! Looks like a grande time had by all.
This whole thing fascinates me. I hadn't heard of burningman until this year. Your pictures are really awesome though. This looks like such an interesting time even though I don't understand what it is, still haha.
Sweet rides. The fact that you are a professional photographer comes in very handy when I want to see detailed photos of things that move and glow in the dark.
Where are all the dirty, smelly people? I'm a staunch "burning man isn't for me" supporter because of them. These pics make me want to go. And I swear to god, Hep, if I ever do go and it's not as awesome as your pics, I will sue you. Do you hear me?

My upstairs neighbor just got back the other day and brought me a brand new free beach cruiser his campmates left for him so now I'm all 'Thanks generous people from Burning Man!'

It seems like it'd be really loud at night and I love sleeping too much....I dunno...
Boombox was one of my favourites too from 2008 - I guess they are regulars!
OMG the art cars are awesome. I really want to go to Burning Man now.
You have opened my eyes about BurningMan.
My knowledge of it before your posts was:
-there's this giant thing that gets burned and everyone goes to it.

It now seems pretty cool to go to!
Where do the art cars refuel? I wonder if they bring extra gas in so they can constantly buzz the pier... those things can't be super fuel efficient.
they do. extra gas cans are one of the most ubiquitous items on the playa because everyone needs gas for everything, for rvs, for generators, for art cars. you can also get an in&out pass to run to gerlach which is 8 miles away for more gas (at $5/gallon!) we brought i think 10 5 gallon containers of gas for the rvs and generators (yuriy and i tent camp but we camped with a bunch of rvers) and it was just enough i think. for an art car we would probably load the car full of them too, on the trailer it's towed in on. they usually aren't that fuel efficient, but you never go above 5mph, and you pretty much just cruise around one 3sq mile area all the time, so they probably go through a tank every couple days.