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360° panoramic photography documenting life behind the festivities at Burning Man. Make a pledge via Kickstarter by clicking on the BLUE title above.
31 backers pledged $2,993 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$2,993

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Context

For those who don't know, Burning Man is the colloquial name for an annual arts festival in Black Rock Desert Nevada. It occurs annually in the week before Labor Day and last year was attended by nearly 50,000 people.

Every year a dense metropolis arises in the Black Rock Desert; every year it disappears without a trace. Tumult and change, churning cycles of invention and destruction - these forces generate the pulse of urban life. Great cities are organic, spontaneous, heterogeneous, and untidy. They are, like Burning Man, magnetic hubs of social interaction. This year's theme [Metropolis: The Life of Cities] will function as a micro and a macro-scope, an instrument through which we will inspect the daily course of city life and the future prospect of civilization.

-BurningMan.com: 2010 ART THEME

Project

There are so many photos that show the incredible public beauty and vitality of Burning Man. (Over 10,400,000 if you believe Google.) There are far fewer that capture the efforts of the thousands of volunteers and participants who make Black Rock City the event that it is. There are fewer still that capture both the environment and the activity of Black Rock City: the tents, domes, yurts, RVs, trailers and other structures that burners live, work and play in.

This year, the theme Metropolis: The Life of Cities begs for that effort and its result to be recognized. It is my intention to photograph as many of the outstanding camps as I can, and to photograph them “in the round” – broad panoramas capturing all of the activity in a space, as well as the space itself, all in an instant. The resulting portfolio will document the effort put forward by these campers and the incredible environments they create.

Process

Panoramic photography is commonly used to capture vast environments. Panoramic photographs (panos) of mountain ranges appear natural when we look at them. The format allows a perspective that can’t be accomplished in a standard snapshot, and reflects the way we perceive the world – emphasis on the horizon, with the sky and land in from of us diminished. Taken indoors, panos distend and distort space. Lines that one normally perceives as straight are curved in direct relation to the distance from the camera to a given point on the line. Something else occurs to though – you gain a new understanding of the environment and how it and the activities within it interact.

There are many ways to capture panoramic photos, from specialized panoramic cameras that have a broad horizontal field of view relative to their vertical to the new “gigapan” devices that automatically drive a camera through a series of dozens or even hundreds of photos in order to build a complete and detailed record of a scene. I use a fisheye lens that allows me to capture nearly everything in front of the camera in a single snapshot, and then take multiple photos in each of the four cardinal directions. Here's an example of the images as they come out of the camera.

Composing the final image requires computer manipulation to stretch the circular picture recorded by the camera into a rectangular format that can be joined to others to form the whole. Multiple shots in any given direction allows me to select for the best capture of activity. Composition requires attention to layering of the various images, and blending between images to account for unavoidable activity and changes in light and shadow. It may take anywhere from a few minutes to prepare a simple shot in a still room to hours for a complex shot with lots of activity.

The final composition can be viewed on a computer as a virtual space, with interactive navigation, but I prefer the impression made when seeing the entire view in a single instant. It is both absorbing and informative. The image below is a near-final image, still needing adjustment for light balance and color.

At this size, they are a bit difficult to see. You can see larger images on my website bp2e.net by following the link "more Panos".

Funding

Funding for this project will help defray travel and equipment costs, the cost of prints and preparation of a draft manuscript, and allow me more time to prepare the images. Successful funding will make the difference between doing the work for my own enjoyment and the opportunity to prepare something that can be readily shared.

In case you are new to Kickstarter, here it is in a nutshell: Kickstarter is a new way of funding creative ideas. It is similar to the pledge drives that you’re familiar with from NPR, or PBS, but with a difference. Typically those pledge drives go on and on until they make their goal. Kickstarter, however, relies on a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.

On the right side of this page are a number of underwriting opportunities for this project - different levels just like what you’re used to from listening to NPR or watching PBS. And similar to underwriting an NPR or PBS program, in return for your paid pledge, you will receive a thank-you gift, and have the satisfaction of knowing that that you supported a project that you believe in.
Note: If the project does not get fully funded by it deadline, your credit card will not be charged, the gifts will go away, but you will still have my appreciation for your consideration in supporting me in this venture!

Time Frame

I expect to have all images processed and available by the end of January 2011. I’ll keep my underwriters up to date on my progress, and get the thank yous out as soon as I can!

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    and you will have the opportunity to purchase prints (for your personal enjoyment) of any of the images at cost (plus tax, shipping and Burning Man Fees if applicable)

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    or more and you'll be recognized as a "Backer" in any publication or display of the collection and be invited to every gallery opening.

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    5 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    and if the funding is successful, you will receive a personal pano-postcard of thanks from me when the final images have been uploaded to the web.

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    7 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    and you will have the opportunity to purchase a copy of Living Working Burning Man -the book- at cost (plus tax, shipping and Burning Man Fees if applicable) when it becomes available. The book is as yet undefined. It will most probably be self-published. It may be simple, it may be complex, but it will include all of the best photos from the project.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    and you will receive a set of 10 pano-postcards from Living Working Burning Man for you to use or keep.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    and you will receive a 12" print of the image of your choice from the collection.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    and if funding is successful you will receive a set of 10 pano-postcards from Living Working Burning Man, a 12" print of the image of your choice, and a CD of 25 Images from the collection, sized for use as a computer screen saver, or for other digital display.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    and put me in touch with your favorite 2010 theme camp and the camper in charge; I’ll schedule a shoot and provide all of the resulting images to you (for personal use and sharing among camp-mates) - even if they don’t wind up in the final portfolio. Plus you'll still get the CD of 25 Images from the collection, sized for use as a computer screen saver, or for other digital display. (Note that the $400 pledge is not a requirement for my photographing a camp, It just provides a guarantee that I will.)

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    Limited 1 backer
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Funding period

- (45 days)