I Built This. And Here’s Some Knowledge.

Teachers rule.

Black Rock Observatory at Burning Man 2014
Black Rock Observatory at Burning Man 2014

Photographer builds observatory. Wow. What a year. My English teacher Ms. Bonnie Strohm taught me not to start a sentence with ‘And’ like I did above, but I know that it can be cool in certain instances. There’s about a million reasons she’d shake her head over this blog. Sorry, Ms Strohm! She also tested us on the 4 Ways to Separate Two Independent Clauses about 1,000 times. Partially to make sure it stuck, but mostly to give us points when we needed them. We’d receive 100% every time. Here’s to you, Ms. Strohm.

The above photograph is of a sunrise at Black Rock City, Nevada, the setting for Burning Man. I took this photo, which is usually the kind of thing I do a lot, but this one is special. There’s an extra sense of pride that comes along with this one. As a freelance photographer, I’m often hired to photograph what other folks have created, their families, their weddings, their products, their food. When I photograph my child, there’s obviously more value in it for me, I have a sense of pride in capturing something that I created. This is how I feel about the above photo and all the photos I took of Black Rock Observatory. Full disclosure: I had a huge group of supporters, a famous architect, 650 or so financial backers and an amazing crew that helped me, but this was my idea.

I did not invent the telescope or the observatory or Burning Man for that matter. I’m not the first person to bring a telescope to Burning Man either. In fact, at the center of the city one year was art installation called the Observatory that served as a base for the Man, the giant effigy burned on Saturday night. No original ideas here, really. In fact, as I started out on this journey, I was told more times that I can remember “you’re building MY dream,” or “this was my idea” or “how can this not have been done before?!” Even if there was an amazing Observatory better than Chile out there, this one is mine.



Well, OURS really. This is not the work of one person. Here’s a gallery of photos: http://vardenphoto.smugmug.com/Clients/Black-Rock-Observatory/

Or, the Internet can teach you just about anything

When I first imagined what was possible when the Internet first started becoming popular, it was very exciting. I thought that the sum of the whole world’s knowledge could be right at your fingertips, a virtual Library of Alexandria in everyone’s home. So, we’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer and here’s a list to prove it: http://earthweareone.com/100-amazing-how-to-sites-to-teach-yourself-anything/

The above link is a list of educational websites and it’s pretty inspiring. Just a few short years ago, things were a lot different. All that knowledge is being scared out of the dark and into easy to find locations. Just imagine what a nation of Will Huntings would be like. Okay, so that’s not going to happen, but at least research is easier these days.

If you’re here for photography stuff, there’s a few links in the list above that may help, but I ran across this list pretty comprehensive list of photography related movies that I thought some folks might like. You can check that out here: http://resourcemagonline.com/2014/07/40-movies-about-photography/

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