Sep4 Burning Man 2012

Imagine trying to explain Disneyland to a child? Quite a challenge; they need to see it to even slightly understand it. It’s nearly as absurd a challenge trying to explain Burning Man to an adult. Yet here’s my attempt in a series of photos I took while attending the arts and music festival for the second time. A magical, altruistic, dusty wonderland, in photos.

They don’t just burn the man — it begins with fireworks that rival July 4th — then they completely blow him up.

Sunset over Black Rock City.

Josh plays doctor with some rum and a syringe.

The sun splays pink across the sky during a dusty whiteout.

A dark dust storm arrives on the Playa.

Home for the week: Camp Liquid Baptism, 9:30 & A.

Waiting for the evening to begin and enjoying the music.

Some of the wonderful people I spent the week with.

Burning the man.

Out at the Trash Fence, miles away from center camp, we found an open bar bustling with patrons.

After a night dancing, sunrise on the playa as seen from Robot Heart.

He said it was his birthday.

The photographer pauses for a photograph.

8:10 a.m., MSG‘s tutu after a long night.

Our new Canadian friends.

The Twins stayed at our camp. (There’s a camp on the Playa called Kidsville for kids to enjoy Burning Man, too.)

Someone gifted me these lovely necklaces.

A shipwreck on land.

Camp Boogaloo, our neighbors, hosted dance parties through the night and into the late morning.

Wall Street, before the burn.

Car Talk’s dusty cowgirl boots.

No idea who this is, but he was so happy when I met him.

A photographer with a film camera taking shelter in the Pink camp.

About two miles out, in a whiteout dust storm, someone yells “Santa!” and there he was.

Fortuitous friends.

Senset at The Temple is beyond words — or photos. It’s truly breathtaking.

Cookie dances the day away.

Preparing Black Rock City with lanterns for nightfall.

The movie theatre, set up on the edge of Black Rock City plays movies through the night.

My Playa People.

Choir on Sunday morning was astounding.

The South African moustache.

Apparition-like dust funnels emerge from the man as he burns.

Showing off some of my dance moves. (Photo credit: MSG.)

Stockings and a little bike trouble.

The Temple at sunset.

134 Responses to Burning Man 2012

  1. Cameron says:

    You completely captured so much of my experience at Liquid Baptism. It is a gift that you took these amazing pictures and posted them.

    P.S. I just wish there was one picture of Night Juice!!

  2. Scott Belsky says:

    Incredible capture of the uncapturable. I can never browse enough Burning Man photos.

  3. Cindy Gallop says:

    Nick, these photos are AMAZING! Love them to death. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Elan Miller says:

    some of the best shots i’ve seen yet!

  5. Maria Winter says:

    Was auch immer ist, oder sein wird in dieser unserer Welt, wir genießen den Augenblick – Jeder auf seine ureigene Art – Lebensgefühl!

  6. dirk says:

    so great pics. i never stay there but i like your fotos!!

  7. @jaygeraghty says:

    Words fail me Nick… simply mind-blowing photos #enlightenment

  8. Emily G. says:

    Such wonderful photos! I will be sharing.

  9. C.C. Chapman says:

    Absolutely amazing photos from start to finish. Wow!

  10. Theresa K says:

    What an amazing array of quality photos. Truly captures the heart of all that is Burning Man!

  11. playa cliche time says:

    wow, images of a dusty landscape, people half naked and fire/light trials…wow, never saw such images from a Burning Man before, these are most certainly groundbreaking images

  12. Paula says:

    Hey Nick – so random. You popped into my head as I headed to work this AM. Wondering how you were doing. Apparantley you’re fine:)
    Nice work with the photos!


  13. Melinda says:

    thank you for taking and posting these. For those of us who haven’t ever attended, these are so wonderful to look at. Gorgeous! thank you!

  14. velvet says:

    Hey Nick- I build the Saloon out by the fence. It was our eighth year doing so. We’re only “open” during sunrise, but keep it stocked all the time. Its always fun seeing people enjoying it after hours. Great shot. Thanks!!

  15. Elite Force says:

    Nick, these photos are captivating – thanks so much for sharing your gift with us buddy.

    What a year!

  16. mariel elisa says:

    golden hour on the playa is really spectacular–amazing capture.

    also, sign me up again and again for anything robotheart related

  17. Sheri says:

    Your photos are amazing. Thanks for capturing so much of the experience. I’ll post mine soon too.

  18. Julian says:

    Missed the Burn in London this year, but these brought it right back. 2013 is a total must.

  19. Commodore Dusza Beben says:

    The Santa photo and caption sum up some of my favorite playa memories in one grand sweep! Thank you!

  20. Mocha says:

    What amazing photo’s thank you for sharing…I do wish one day to be able to attend and take and share my own…until then I’ll jus keep trying to capture the feeling through others photos…thanks again <3

  21. Breathtaking. Utopian goodness!!! Love your work xxx

  22. jaida ross says:

    I’ve never been to burning man except as a virtual burner for the past three years. I thought the camera man/person did a great job for ustream, but nothing tops your photos. Thanks for sharing!

  23. james says:

    I was not able to nOw the burn this year. thanks for sharing your photos. great shots

  24. Cheryl Giefer says:

    OMG…I so miss everything about being there. Thanks for the incredible images..

  25. LunaticFringe says:

    AWESOME Pics!! Thanx for sharing such a Lovely Collection!!

    P E A C E !!

  26. Durga says:

    Love the crisp detail that help me recall the beauty. My memory feels more blurry each day I’ve been home, thanks.

  27. Danna says:

    Absolutly, beautiful photos. What an amazing photographer you are. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Bobby & Beth says:

    You Rocked Black Rock … Beautiful photo’s Nick … Thanks for sharing.

  29. Pam says:

    Wow, amazing photos! Thanks for sharing. You are a great photographer.

  30. R Shafer says:

    That you for sharing. Awesome photos.

  31. Babagene says:

    Nick, back in the default world and your amazing pics vault me HOME

  32. olivier says:

    I have to say that i really like your photos! you were able to simply catch emotional details from Burning man this year!
    It was my first time and wow … it was an amazing increadible moment.

  33. Nick, thanks for the pics. You’re an amazing photographer. I’ll share with your name. I was at DeMentha with my nephew, one of the Irish clan. What a wonderful first “burn” for my niece and me. See you at a local Texas burn. xox “Aunt Kay”

  34. Brandi Nicole Carney says:

    Amazing pictures! I want to take my three kids sooo bad, just amazin!

  35. Eleanor says:

    I watched BM on usstream every night. But your photos are so amazing. Your captured so many beautiful moments in such detail that TV didn’t. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Gnossos says:

    Found out at the last minute I couldn’t make it this year, but hopefully next year will happen. It looks like it was amazing, as always (I’m sure)!

  37. Therese Eskelinen says:

    What an eye you got Nick. Your photos are a true inspiration! Put a great smile on my lips and made me long back home to the playa as I missed this years gathering. You have made my day! Thank you and keep up your amazing work.

  38. Iris says:

    the woman with the camera looks like she could be the mother of the twins

  39. Sandy says:

    The dust devils were incredibly dramatic — they could not have been planned — and you captured them beautifully.

  40. Enoc Zamora says:

    Beautifull pictrues. Thaks for shareing I did not go this year. I’ve gone 3 years. Great pictures…Thank you..

  41. Chasity Carmichael says:

    Amazing!! Thanks for sharing!!

  42. Tom Ando says:

    really great shots, especially of some of the people.

  43. Michelle says:

    Stunning. I hope to take photos this beautiful some day :)

  44. Hooch says:

    Ridic! Find a publisher, expand your concept and you have a legit book.

  45. Rushir Parikh says:

    You really take amazing photos. Now I have to attend Burning Man some day!

  46. Klondike says:

    love your pics. thanks so much!

  47. Ratheesh Veliyathu Ravindran says:

    Great photography indeed…………

  48. Tex says:

    Fantastic set of pictures. Takes me back right when I needed a pick-me-up from the post-burn blues. 2012 was a wonderful year in BRC.

  49. michi says:

    so cooool! can i use your photo at my facebook profile photo?

  50. Brandee Barker says:


  51. tom byrne says:

    Nick, these pics are really special. Did you happen to get any of the Mummy show I did? My documentarian spaced the recording. Let me know if you did.

  52. Thank you for these beautiful images Nick. They are really great and they do show the beauty of our home xx

  53. Maryanne says:

    These are amazing Nick! I felt like I was home again. I really missed having my SLR out there. Thank you for taking yours and capturing many amazing moments. BRC is a photographers dream! You’re one of the best ones in my opinion.

  54. Pankaj says:

    Astounding photos. I will be there some day.

  55. Noelle foreman says:

    Oh my GRAICIOUS! I was there and only wish I could have gotten those shots! Absolutely mind blowing. The memories of those events came flooding back! Thank you so much for sharing those moments!!!!

  56. Mirjam says:

    This makes me want to go back next year so much. I missed this year.Now I know: i won’t let this happen again! Thank u!

  57. Linda says:

    So inspirational! Drumming up some courage… looks (ironically) like a the cleansing experience of a lifetime!

  58. Sean Ahrens says:

    “He said it was his birthday” … I take it you wisely didn’t offer him any presents…?

  59. Thomas Wayne Harris says:

    These pics strengthen my desire to come next year. Thank you.

  60. RiddimJack says:

    hey nice pic of our theater, but I don’t think we’re on the “edge” of Black Rock City. We’re in Deep Playa…away from the bridge and tunnel crowd. 😉 btw how did I miss the saloon being out there, when the saloon was one of our inspirations for the theater to begin with. Alas.

  61. I couldnt make it this year so I lived it through your photos. Thank you!!!!

  62. Reddick says:

    Great shots. I can’t believe we were neighbors and yet never met. We were around the corner on Dandelion. If you got any shots of “Tendrillar Woods”, the Seattle Effigy in the CoRE, please tag them #seacore2012, we’d love to see them.

  63. Mike Butcher says:

    See you next year I hope!

  64. Juli says:

    amazing pics, I will soooo go home in 2013 again :-) Anyway if you would like to know more about the concept of Burning Man check this out, it collects the main points:

  65. Roland says:

    Incredible! Thanks for sharing them! I felt like I was there and connected with each one!

  66. Brian Crain says:

    Sweet pics… We were across the street with the bus boogaloo… what a great corner 9:30 & A was, My sleep schedule is still kinda funky, so these pics were quite nice to stumble upon since I can’t talk any friends to go out for a sunrise!

  67. Jacqui Woolfson says:

    Absolutely awesome photos Nick! Thank you for sharing! Wow. Now I really want to go next year!

  68. Carl says:

    Thank you for posting these truly beautiful shots. Fantastic. I was there 2 years ago and you’ve made me just start saving again.

  69. Apewishiwasthere says:

    Beautiful pictures! You are an amazing photographer! :)

  70. Zeev says:

    Those are fantastic pictures that bring back incredible memories. Thank you for sharing!

  71. Tanya says:

    You’re photo’s are absolutely stunning! Maybe next year I will have the pleasure of running into you at the Burn!!! All my Playa Love

  72. Veronica LeBaugh says:

    Funkin whiz bang images!!!

  73. Martha Kuhn says:

    Oh my goodness Bruce! Your photography is amazing, as always. You make me want to experience what you experience.

  74. James says:

    EPic beautiful shots/moments! Thank You for Sharing!!!

  75. James says:

    EPic Beautiful shots/moments! Thank You for Sharing!!!

  76. Madrone says:

    great images thanks

  77. Hilary says:

    I LOVE THE PIC OF THE DUST DEVILS AT THE BURN! Wish I had been there. One of the only years since 2000 that I have missed. Thanks for sharing!

  78. Evi Pippi says:

    You captured the magic in a palpable way. Nice going! But with a Santa photo, you really need to balance the whole charade out with a Klown. I have a few choice clowny images that you can totally rip off if’n you like. Ha.

  79. Kim says:

    Amazing!! Thank you for sharing your great work! Love how you capture the feeling & emotion. :)

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  81. Love love love the photos.. you’re right it has to be experienced. 2013 here I come.

  82. catharine says:

    Stunning images Nick…I’m so glad to be a fortuitous friend! I have josh’s jacket for you too 😉

  83. NAOMI says:


  84. Eric Joa says:

    Great shot’s my friend!
    Thanks for sharing this. Always wanted to go. Now I feel like I was there.

  85. Brother Love says:

    A good photographer is one who sees what they are photographing rather than taking a picture of something. Gratefully, you are a good photographer. Thank you for capturing not only these magnificent images, but as well the spirit of the playa which was home to so many of us this past week. In Gratitude and Light …..

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  87. Beba Drakulovic says:

    beautiful pictures…….nicely captured

  88. Kevin Chinoy says:

    Nick, what a pleasure to see your artwork. I have always felt the beauty of BRC when there, and you have so expertly captured it in your images in a way that is rarely accomplished. Thank you thank you thank you.

  89. Pingback: Missing teen reunited with parents at Burning Man in Black Rock City, Nevada | Electrify Mag | Online Lifestyle Magazine for Electronic Dance Music

  90. Nik Nak says:

    Pure D-LSD-R pix man!

  91. Gong Diva says:

    Wow!! I’m a 14 year vet and your images made this year even better for me! Thanks for sharing. BTW I played gongs at Brand UR Ass ‘n More. Stop by next year!

  92. Brianna says:

    Loved each and every one of these photos you posted =). I WILL go to the Burn one of these years,I WILL 😉

  93. Steve J says:

    You bring it all back with these photographs, Nick.

  94. Nicoelle says:

    Absolutely breathtaking photos Nick! I love everyone of them, especially the one of you showing off your dance moves. Looks like some things havent changed!

  95. Bridget says:

    Wonderful photos! You captured some of the things I didn’t get to see at BM but saw through your lense post event. Thank you for telling your story! :)


  96. Bunny says:

    Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. These pics really captured the mental paradise that we experienced last week!

  97. Milena Stardust says:

    Ofcourse, like everyone else, I’m going to say how truly stunning these photos are…. but what I would like to know is- was it really that dusty this year as predicted -or did the dust just make for the more stunning pictures so we are seeing more of it!?
    Thanks for sharing!

  98. Trixie says:

    Thank you Nick — Truly amazing photos captured. It was my first burn and these make it even better. Thanks for sharing

  99. Shawna says:

    Wow! I had no idea. The photos you took made me feel the spirit of the event and the shared energy among the people who give so freely of themselves to others at this ephemoral event. I know and love people who go each year and have never understood the need to go. Now I feel like I will be missing out on a life altering experience if I don’t go.
    I am disabled, how fit do you need to be to go?

  100. Gus says:

    Nick, thank you so much for these photos, wonderful images and memories. So nice to see all our campmates in there, and to get a glimpse of the adventures you went on. Special photographs, beautifully captured.

    PS… that’s an Australian moustache!

  101. malinka says:

    Such beautiful pics !!!! Amazing !!

  102. Nymra says:

    Love your pictures….great memories comes to me! Thanks!

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  104. Franklin says:

    every year, I am not sure I will go back..and every year I go back….thanks for bringing bacl special memories

  105. Mike says:

    Poetic man poetika

  106. kelly says:

    i am so happy i ran into your site and into your camp! i am so happy you took pictures of me and my friends and cannot wait to see them in the future! you made my day! cheers to you :)

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  108. Vico says:

    Great set of photos!
    Thanks for sharing!
    ere is a link to my photo gallery I think that you may enjoy!

  109. Riley Arnason says:

    thank you for the pictures of my sisters; it really displays their character wh they left home with and proved to me they were still reppin it all the way out in the desertous landscape of >>Burning Man Festival,,,

  110. Thai says:

    Thank you for making these moments immune to time

  111. June Whitney says:

    I couldn’t go so thanks a million for these great pix…kinda like i was there only not with the
    sand in my mouth.

    hope you all just had gazillions of fun…june

  112. Katie E. says:

    Your photos are amazing!

  113. Kieara says:

    I am kind of in the picture of the bar during the white out. I think you may have gotten a shot of me sitting on Santa’s lap too… if so I would love to see it!
    )'( <3

  114. Jimmy Hall says:

    I was there 1st time and now I was back again. I was unspeakable and Burn People know that.

  115. These are some of the best Burning Man pics I’ve seen. Thank you!

  116. Nick this is amazing I’ve always wanted to do burning man, your picture collection makes me want to go bad.

    Cheers my friend.


    • Don breuler says:

      I believe you meant, ‘I want to go badly’. Please don’t forget to use the adverb to describe a verb. Adverbs generally end in ‘ly’,
      and tell where, when, how, and how many. They always refer to the verb, but may work to describe an adjective or gerund.




  117. Carl Same says:


  118. uuuuuhhh says:

    I guess having sex during this dust festival would be rather rough.

  119. Never been and these photos are awesome. Only spoke to a small few who have been and they say it’s to be experienced to be appreciated, much like your intro paragraph says. Great piece!

  120. David says:

    Hey Nick,

    Would love to pick your brains about the influence of Burning Man on the startup scene. I’m working on some essays and would love to hear your experiences and general thoughts.

    Please shoot me an email and I’ll share more. I’ll buy the drinks..


  121. Peter Chao says:

    Amazing photos, looking forward to my first burn this year. Any advice on how I should protect my camera?

  122. Verónica says:

    Hi! This photos are wonderful! I’ve never seen anything like this. Could someone explain to me what this is all about?

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  124. Jonah Armstrong says:

    I just love Burning Man! Only place I can stand these days. Only white people there, I love it! Cheers!

  125. cheri mon says:

    Hi Nick, I would very much like to be given permission to use your photo the shipwreck on land for the 1st decomp party in taiwan, yes, on month 7th lol… the party is called D-Comp actually, which also means compressing to the next one :) please let me know if you will have any objections to it. you can find the event page and us on the website link above. we are trying to bring the 1st significant chinese theme camp onto the playa this year. please join us!

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