Wondering what camera to bring? Just bring your phone

Would you like to have some snappies from Burning Man? Are you worried about ruining your “good” camera? Then keep it safe at home, or keep wrapped up in a plastic baggie, and use the camera you have with you — your phone.

Here are some pics from around and about over the past week. They were all taken (and edited) with the phone.

(And just for a second we’ll leave aside discussions of whether to take pics at all, what to take pictures of, and what you’ll do with them later. … They’re all good and worthy discussions, but let’s put them on hold for just a little bit.)

The evenings have been absolutely lovely. Cool, not cold, and very little wind most of the time. No dust storms to speak of. We don't know how long that'll last, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.


The Man base is beginning to take shape. It's clean and geometric, and in sharp contrast to the curve-y beauty of the Temple.


There are all sorts of beat-up vehicles here, serving out their useful lives doing work on the playa. This one wasn't broken. It was just resting. (And getting charged up.)


The Center Camp is going up fast! This is a shot from a couple of days ago. The tarps are up now, and we'll grab some shots of those a little later today.


The Power crew is setting up the electrical grid for everything that needs juice in the desert. It's a hard-working crew that's busy no matter what the conditions.


Another pic of the Man base build in progress. The base will be around five stories tall, and the Man will be another 50 feet on top of that.


Are you into old trailers? If so, you're going to be in heaven here.


There have been a few whiteouts, but none of them have been the daylong blasters that can happen here. Things will likely change when there are 50,000 people and their vehicles here to kick up the dust, but so far, so good.


Heavy machinery is all over the playa, mostly setting up the infrastructure now, but they'll be switching over to art projects soon enough.


The tech team has put up towers at various points around Black Rock City, and they've lined up the satellite dishes so they can bring internet to the desert. There are wifi "clouds" at the Depot and the Commissary and around the "Noc," where the tech team is centered. It's an amazing achievement. And it let's us share what's going on.


About the author: John Curley

John Curley (that's me) has been Burning since the relatively late date of 2004, and in 2008 I spent the better part of a month on the playa, documenting the building and burning of Black Rock City in words and pictures. I loved it, and I've been doing it ever since. I was a newspaper person in a previous life, and I spent many years at the San Francisco Chronicle. At the time I left, in 2007, I was the deputy managing editor in charge of Page One and the news sections of the paper. Since then, I've turned a passion for photography into a second career. I shoot for editorial, commercial and private clients. I've also taught a little bit, including two years at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and a year at San Francisco State University. I live on the San Mateo coast, just south of San Francisco in California.

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