Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

The Man
Burning Man 2001


Aerial shots of the effigy as the sun sets on his last day. Black Rock City can be seen in the distance on the left  (Canon 24-mm, August 2001)

It was about this time, sunset on the day of the burn, that it occurred to me how well the effigy's pose seemed to fit the moment. It is the pose assumed by the good guy surrendering to crooks in a B-grade Western, "reach for the sky Stickman" the desperados would bark. Where the good guy would stand awkwardly in a momentary disadvantage in the old westerns, the situation proved more dire for the effigy. But I am getting ahead of the story.

As preparations for the burn progressed on the man's last day I headed out under a thankfully clear sky to shoot the scene. The kite of choice was the Sutton 30 which provided just enough lift to fly the Canon rig. 

Aerial images of the man on his last evening with us (Canon 24-mm, August 2001).

As the sun was setting I flashed on a previous evening in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There an effigy called Zozobra event is burned each year by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe as a fiery and exciting kick-off to the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe during, as it turns out, the weekend following Labor Day. I can see the beginnings of a SAT analogy question here -- effigies are the Labor Day what turkeys are to ____?  Although the Fiestas celebration dates back to 1712, Santa Fe artist Will Shuster added Zozobra in 1926. 


Images taken just after the sun had set (Canon 24-mm, August 2001)

After the sun set I was primed. The light was mellow and I had three rolls of 800 ASA film for the burn. My Sutton 30 purred aloft as evidence of a cooperative breeze and the atmosphere was delightfully free of dust. As preparations proceeded apace for the upcoming pyrotechnics show, fate presented a wrinkle in the form of Sky Squid.aka Timothy Childs, a long time burner and member of MadScientists camp. Timothy launched after sunset and was flying low altitude swaths above the inner playa crowd in his paramotor (powered paraglider). Down came my camera and kite -- I didn't want to know what would happen if his parasail intersected by 220# dacron line. 

I then relaxed and joined the prolonged and rather spectacular process of burning the man.

The charred spot representing the earthly remains of the man the next morning. Evident are the square pan placed below the man to protect the playa from burn scars and a gathering of those with a forensic bent on top of the remains ( Canon  24-mm, August 2001)

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