Over the past several years I have attended the Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. If people have heard of it before, they generally think of it as a bunch of naked drunk people using drugs and partying in the desert. Well, for some people, that might be what they choose to do, but many of the other nearly 40,000 people have various other things in mind.


People often wonder why I, a fairly conservative Christian would ever want to go to such a place, and there are actually quite a few reasons. Burning Man is known for having a lot of art and music, and most of all, people willing to be creative and break out of some of the constraints of the "default world."

I think of it this way, you've probably heard people say things like, "If you knew you couldn't fail, what are some things you might try?" Well, at this event, people do some of those things... they build massive art, they paint pictures, they take the stage and sing, they drive silly cars, and they they wear funky costumes.


I think of our God as a very creative God, look at the examples of plants, people, and animals around us every day, that is a lot creativity. I think most people miss the creativity and willingness to express that creativity that we often experienced in our childhood and then put away when it is time to be a "grown-up."

This year was the first year I was able to have Ellen join me, I skipped last year since it was just a few months after getting married and she had just started her job. This is also the first year I drove to the event instead of flying in. We drove up to Reno the first day, then got up early and headed in to the event.  The dust storm on Monday was really bad and not much fun at all... if the forecast was for it to continue we probably would have left early Tuesday morning. But instead, we knew winds were going to calm down and stay nicer through much of the week.

On Tuesday we were able to travel around and see much of the art and camps, and it was Tuesday night that I was finally able to get to some of the more serious photography. I was so thankful to have Ellen along for many reasons, but one of the minor reasons was that she was able to assist me with the night pictures and with lighting on them.

On Wednesday morning we packed up our camp, took some final pictures on a walking tour, and then headed for home since she had a class she had to attend on Thursday back in Watsonville.

Attached are a few pictures from the event, and if you are at all interested in seeing more please feel free to check out my Flickr page with many more images from the event: https://ddphoto.cc/burningman.

As with previous years, I've given permission for people to use my images for non-commercial uses through a Creative Common's license, and just today I've already spotted some of my images being used to illustrate blogs and newspapers. Here is a link to a French website that linked to several of my images:






And remember, many more images from the event are available here https://ddphoto.cc/burningman.

This post is quite a bit delayed, but thought I might put a follow-up post on the topic just to wrap it up.


Early this summer when we had various fires popping up around the county we all really feared this was going to be a really bad summer for fires. Luckily we have had milder temperatures, our regular summer fog cycle, and very few fires since those original three.  The rest of the state wasn't as lucky but I'm thankful our local communities have been spared.

As a part of the Mill Gallery show, Kirby Scudder had asked me if I would be willing to be interviewed for his radio show announcing the gallery exhibit.  I'm usually the "behind the scenes" kind of person, but I learned long ago when asked to speak publicly it usually ends up being a lot of fun and quite interesting, so I said yes.

I guess I talked too much, as Kirby ended up splitting my interview over two episodes of his show, the first one covers more of the fire photography and gallery exhibit, and the second covers a bit more of my amateur radio (ham radio) experience and how I find out about the fires as quickly as possible.  Feel free to take a listen if you'd like, the shows are available on the KUSP Art Studio web page or directly linked here:

Aug 4, 2008 (mp3) KUSP Wildfire Photography Interview: Dan Dawson (1 of 2)

Aug 11, 2008 (mp3) KUSP Wildfire Photography Interview: Dan Dawson (2 of 2)

Thanks to Ellen for writing the great description of our honeymoon adventures, you know me, I usually document such things with less words and more pictures 🙂 So, if you're interested in the pictorial tour of our honeymoon, here are a few of the snapshots from my little point-and-shoot 🙂

Honeymoon Flickr Photoset

Ellen and Dan on their honeymoon Carnival Cruise

Here's a note from Ellen about our Honeymoon Cruise so far!

Hi Everyone!

Sorry I didn't have time to talk to y'all before we left. The flight was uneventful...very late (10pm-6am) and that was my 3rd night in a row of not getting much sleep, so that was a little rough. On the flight over we watched Freedom Writers...a very good movie as far as movies the airlines show. When we arrived, a Carnival crew member was waiting for us at the baggage claim. Boy, was I ecstatic about that! We thought we'd have to wait at the airport from 6 am until 12. She knew who we were and corralled us with another newly wed couple going on the cruise 🙂

I slept in the car on the way to the dock, it took about an hour. And all of that was just driving through the city. New York drivers are just as bad as California drivers. Our driver drove over a cement curb to avoid traffic! Glad I wasn't awake for it all.

We got to the dock much earlier than we expected; around 10 o'clock. This turned out to be very, very nice. We checked in and were on the boat, eating lunch by 1. Meanwhile, people were waiting in line to check in until 4. This was great because we got to SLEEP for a few hours before we were rudely awakened for the lifeboat drill. It wasn't enough sleep, but at least we were a little pepped for dinner and sparkling conversation with another couple.

I know when Dan and Wes cruised, they sat at a huge table with lots of people. But we got a very intimate table that seats 4. The other couple is originally from New York, so I got a chance to talk to them about things to do in NY after we get back. The man works for a Christian company that sells "Biblical" health products. He gave us a sample of their hit product, but I haven't tried it yet. It is some sort of pomegranate vitamin supplement drink. The company can be found at symmetrydirect.com if you are interested. They are a young engaged couple, so it's fun for us and we seem to have a few things in common 🙂

After dinner, WE GOT TO SLEEP!! After a full 7 hours of sleep, we woke up at 4:30 am to a WARM thunder/lightening storm. We climbed out on our balcony to take in the beauty. The time between the thunder/ lightening was quite a while, so we knew it wasn't close. But it was neat to see lightening touch down over the water. After that, we went back to sleep until 10:30am and we needed it.

We got to book our shore excursions yesterday. It looks like we are taking a walking tour of old San Juan, PR. We'll proably hit the beach and shops while we are there. At Tortola, we are taking a Hike, Kayak and Snorkel tour. Apparently we take a hike in a wildlife area, kayak to a private beach and snorkel. At St. Thomas we will do a SCUBA wreck dive of an 1800's mail ship. And also, we will do the gondola skyride. It's touristy, but it sounds like a pretty view; Cathy cued me in on that one.

Last night was the formal dinner and Captain's cocktail party (free drinks). Dan and I danced for the first time as a married couple up on stage 🙂 We got lots of beautiful pictures of us all spiffed up for the night. To check out our pictures of the cruise (which we will update periodically) go to the honeymoon gallery at Flickr. The photographers are all over you like a dog after a three legged cat. You couldn't walk 10 feet without the paparazzi wanting to take your picture.

Oh, I forgot to mention the food is excellent...I have no words to describe it. I will deal with losing weight later!

Today we have a another full day at sea, and then we hit Puerto Rico in the afternoon tomorrow! Today we hit the gym, went to a margarita and chips party, Dan taught me how to play roulette, got connected to the internet, enjoyed our chocolate dipped strawberries and relaxed a little. I can't wait to get off the boat and see the sights tomorrow.

After we get back to New york, we are hoping that Mark, Terri and Becca (best man + family) can join us in seeing the sights. The ship had "Night at the Museum" playing on TV. I had wanted to see the movie before going to the Museum of Natural History in NY myself. So that was kind of fun it worked out that way 🙂 There is about 50 million things I'd like to see in NY, but we don't have that much time! The only scheduled event we have in NY was a tour of the Statue of Liberty, Hudson bay and Ellis Island. Other than that, we'll see what comes our way!

Um, that is the skinny on things so far... we are just out in the middle of nowhere, sailing along. I hope everyone is well and the sun is shining on your end 🙂


In preparation for my own wedding, Mark Bronson and brother of the bride, Wes Taft, took me skydiving in Hollister! Five years ago, when Mark was getting married, I took him skydiving, so this allowed him another chance to go and return the favor! Thanks Mark and Wes! It was awesome!

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