Be sure to check out my newly converted survival guide here on the blog (thanks Stu and also the team at Pressable for the conversion!) or on the original Adobe Spark site.
Daily Photo – The Path to The Man
I took this a few years ago but only recently edited it. I was able to fly the drone a lot easier a few years ago, but they have become more and more strict. In fact, they are so strict, that I don’t even try anymore. I don’t ask to be a special case or anything… It seems to go against the ethos of Burning Man to ask to be a special case. Although, if they sent me an email on their own and offered it, I would not turn it down!
To celebrate September… (how is it September already?) – here’s a great video sent to me from a friend…
Some Free Content from KelbyOne
I talked to my friend Kalebra Kelby and we decided, in honor of Burning Man, to release this whole interview free for a week! It’s called “The Personal Side of Trey Ratcliff” – haha I find that title funny because I’m always very open… but Kalebra is so lovely and she asks some very interesting questions. It’s one of a ton of different videos on Kelby One…maybe the strangest one, in fact. We don’t just talk about Burning Man, of course… all sorts of stuff! But I did record this about 24 hours after I left Burning Man and flew right to see her in Florida. I don’t even know how I was able to be mildly functional after that wild week! Anyway, yeah if you sign up with just your email and the basics (no card), you can see the full interview and some other content for free. I’ll share snippets of it over the next few days on social media. Thanks, Kalebra! BTW, right after I filmed this I almost got stuck with her and Scott before the hurricane hit Florida (I think this was 2017 after my 8th Burning Man?) but I got the last flight out! And not too long after that, they came out to New Zealand to spend some great times… very special. Thanks again for making this free, Kalebra! Here’s the link to join!
Whelp, there’s no Burning Man this year, which totally harshes my mellow. But, that’s okay! I’ll share some of my favorite photos with you that maybe you haven’t seen… Most of these are unpublished… Feel free to check out the whole Burning Man Gallery on my Smugmug if you wanna see more!
Today’s daily photo gives me a good opportunity to mention my Burning Man Portfolio that you can enjoy at your leisure! 🙂
Daily Photo – The Lost Lighthouse
I’m not sure if that is the exact name of this art piece or not, but it’s my name for it. Sometimes people online get REALLY ANGRY when I don’t name the art piece and the artist. Man, I take thousands of photos out there of everything and I can’t remember. Besides, I know a lot of artists out there and they really don’t care one way or another. Anyway, I hope you enjoy all the Burning Man photos above!
Here’s a new highlight video from Burning Man 2019 – its theme of “Metamorphasis” now seems presciently apropos eh?
Until last week when it was canceled I’d put my odds on Burning Man this year at an optimistic 50/50 since it was over 5 months away… However, I know Burners, and none of them would be afraid to hug people… so even if there is just one person with a virus, all 80,000 will have it by the end. At the very least I’m sure the R0 contagion rate would be a tad higher than my grade-school church dances where we could barely see our partner in many Victorian layers from across the room.
I have more videos on the way… if you check my YouTube here – you can see in the description that I also am giving away my best photography tutorial for free… something to keep you busy in all this free time! Also, this BM video was not made by me to be clear – it was made by Morgan Oliver-Allen and I think it’s amazing!
Daily Photo – Indoor Waterfalls in Singapore
I’ve always thought Singapore was a bit of a strange city. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but nothing feels 100% organic there, even though they try really hard. For one thing, it’s super-hot most of the year, so most of the attractions are inside. This is one of the inside rainforests, which obviously sounds quite unnatural. I mean, as far as unnatural things go, I guess it’s pretty cool!
Back when it was easier to use a drone at Burning Man, I got quite a few cool shots. This is one of them that shows “Center Camp” there to the left. That’s the area that people come to for all sorts of activities. There’s yoga, juggling, coffee, art, beat poets… man, you name it. Now, it’s quite a bit harder to get the license to fly a drone there. I applied the last two years but was denied 🙁
I took over 5,100 photos this year, but that’s not really the point. Well, it’s part of the point, at least for me. I really enjoy being off by myself with my camera and enjoy random connections with art and people. This is year #10 in a row for me and I’m slowly figuring more and more and more about the event and about myself! I went again with my two roommates (Jonatas from Brazil and Rene from New Zealand), and this year I brought my virgin friend: Hugh Howey! We call people virgins who have never been to Burning Man before, and you’ll see a photo of him below. You may know him from his Wool series of books… we got to be close friends recently when we hiked the Camino de Santiago together. Anyway, if you can’t tell, he really enjoyed himself!
I spend about 8 hours a day sleeping, 8 hours a day taking photos, and 8 hours a day involved with molecular compounds to expand my mind and consciousness. Of that, my roomies and I do a 50% mix of “fun” molecules and 50% “spiritual, personal deep-dive” molecules. The latter creates perhaps the most interesting journeys, as we now have a lot of experience in understanding the nature of reality, love, and fearlessness. I could talk forever about this… don’t get me started! But I do have a whole chapter about it in my new book towards the end.
To another end, I’ve been working with a group of friends in Silicon Valley and beyond to help bring this kind of consciousness to the world. If you want to read more about the latest successful experiments and upcoming FDA approval (to treat depression, PTSD, and others) at Johns Hopkins Medicine, read this article entitled “First Major Center for Psychedelic Research Opening in the U.S.”. It features my friend Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress and fellow Camino to Santiago pilgrim), Tim Ferriss, and others. If you find this intriguing, there is a deeper dive you can do with Michael Pollan’s new book, “How to Change Your Mind,” which is on my recommended book list!
Anyway, enough with that, let’s look at some photos and hear some stories! 🙂
Here is “Folly,” one of the most awesome art pieces at Burning Man this year, as the Monaco sailed up for a visit. It was one of the first giant works to burn. I would have taken photos of it burning, but my two crazy roommates and I decided to go dance at the Opulent Temple instead. It’s hard to explain… I don’t take photos ALL the time there, even though I got several thousand over the week.
This year I brought a virgin! His name is Hugh Howey (Pictured here with my friend, the fully clothed Joe Azure) – and you may know him as the sci-fi author of Wool and many other books. We hiked the Camino de Santiago recently and I slowly convinced him to join my friends at Burning Man. I’m super persuasive… ya know? Anyway, he didn’t bring a lot of clothes, but that seemed to work for him. He’s an awesome friend and it was a really good chance to bond and blow his mind via various molecular compounds. More to come about that… I know he got ideas for some new fictional works! I look forward to seeing what comes out of that brain (and shorts). Haha… yeah… he basically kind of owned Burning Man in his first year. Well done, Hugh, well done… *all 80,000 people there giving him a golf clap…
Here’s my friend Eleanor Preger hanging out in the saloon at Folly out in the deep playa. It’s so strange meeting friends there because 98% of the meetings are completely by accident. I often intend to meet 20+ people out there, but since no one really uses mobile phones to communicate (thank goodness), finding your friends is almost impossible. So, you can imagine the surprise when 1 out of 80,000 people shouts out your name! I was over here taking photos and Eleanor screamed out my name! It’s always an exciting time to connect in this incredible serendipitous manner. She was here randomly serving free drinks (all drinks are free at Burning Man) to whoever came by. As soon as I arrived, she had just finished a fine bottle of Pinot Noir.
Here’s a photo of Root Society, one of the 100+ camps where DJs play music all night and all day. This is one of the bigger ones that can hold over 1,000 people. Well, they are all outside, so they just kind of expand out into the night winds, so the numbers can go way up. It’s a great time to go out and dance because at night it really cools off and there is an incredible breeze. This year was not as cold as others. Sometimes it gets down to below freezing! I’d usually go out with Rene and Jonatas and other random people that get attached to our little silly crew. We jump around to about half a dozen camps per night… we’re big on the comedy along the way, always cracking one another up with some of the most ridiculous commentaries you’ve ever heard…
Here’s a fun little story from Burning Man if you don’t know much about the thousands of events that happen out there. This one is from the Bunny March (a fake protest of faux conflict) where about 5,000 people dress up like bunnies and hop across the desert to The Man. Waiting there, in secret, are a bunch of children – about 100 little Black Rock Scouts dress up like “Animal Control,” running around and trying to catch the bunnies with huge nets. The grown-ups give them a good run but always end up getting caught. After you’re caught, you are given a giant syringe full of tequila to cure you of your faux conflict for one more year. Kids get to pose with the bunny they caught and we exchange necklaces and hugs and then hop off into the desert.
Here’s the giant 747 that made it out to Burning Man this year. It was converted into a huge dance club that would taxi across the playa every night to a different location. I took this just before sunrise. This year, I think I saw about 80% of the sunrises which was a new high for me! On this particular night, the plane had taxied way into the deep playa out near Michael Benisty’s work, “Broken Together”. I have a photo of these two together that I am still working on…
I always spend Temple Burn night by myself, out in the deep playa, several miles from the rest of the city where there are pieces of art randomly scattered. This piece is by Michael Benisty, who you may remember from last year (he did the two chrome figures hugging entitled “In Every Lifetime I Will Find You.” I knew he had a new work out here somewhere… I finally found it late in the week and this one is called “Broken Together.” Actually, I wasn’t totally by myself. There were two other people here… and it reminds me that I randomly meet some of the most interesting people in the world here. You can see this gentleman here, who was also out taking photos. He was with his wife. 16 Burning Mans for him (10 for me… a common question amongst burners). Anyway, he used to be a Southern Baptist Preacher. I talked with them for a while… I said, “I assume after a few burns you were no longer a man of the cloth?” He nodded his head and laughed… saying yes…yes…you know… and then we gave one another a hug and went off into the night.
Well, I try to make workflow as fun as possible today for Passport Members. Today, you see the process I went through before Burning Man to make sure I had a clean library for the event. I did this again before Africa!
Speaking of Burning Man…
Here are a few of my favorite photos for you!
Now on with the show…
Workflow Fun on Passport Sunday!
This is another common question I get: how do I set up different LR Catalogs for the road? Well this shows what I did to set up my catalog for Burning Man this year!
Every day I stayed on Laucala Island, I got the quadcopter up as many times as possible. Charging batteries is always a pain, so I had to make sure I saved enough charge to fly at sunset. Almost every sunset was perfect, and this was one of my favorites.
Right before I headed out this year, I did a fun interview with Steve Brazill on his podcast called “Behind the Shot.” Check it out below – thanks again Steve!
Daily Photo – A Pixel Panorama
I was visiting some friends over near Jack’s Point for a dinner and I walked down on the beach around sunset. I didn’t have my big-boy camera with me, but I did have the Pixel 3. I often use it to take a series of vertical photos and then I stitch them together later using Lightroom. I don’t like using the panorama mode in the camera app because it doesn’t produce as high-res of an image.