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Old 09-09-2010, 06:25 AM #1
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Default 445nm lasers at Burning Man

I got back from Burning Man, and it appears that 445nm lasers have made their mark there. What better place to see the laser beam than the dust of the playa? Even without the dust storms, the beams were visible a kilometer away, flying above in the sky.

Most of the (445nm) lasers were way above the access level of the people attending, but I did see some being used from ground level. For my own part, I did not bring one because of safety concerns; however I did bring a 50mW green (shined only upwards) which looked awesome in the dust clouds. The mechanical shutter on that one stopped working after a while because of the grit.

Here are some picture. If anyone else attended from this forum, post some as well! I'm only showing two, because people should attend and enjoy Burning Man themselves for an incredible experience.
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445nm lasers at Burning Man-bm_img_0594.jpg   445nm lasers at Burning Man-bm_img_0596.jpg  


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Old 09-09-2010, 08:18 AM #2
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

Nice pics! Dust mask needed for the amount of dust shown in those photos. Well you didn't lose your 445 so that's a plus. Tents and tents of different experiences.(Never been there) How was the food and what was available?
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:28 AM #3
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

Oh man was the dust mask a requirement, though not all the time. Unfortunately, I didn't think to bring my goggles for that night too! I did on other nights which helped a lot. Ski goggles work a lot better than chemistry goggles if you ever bring some.

There were definitely tents, but most of the action takes place out near the playa (the "empty" center area) itself--often in tents too!, which had lots of open space. For food, we were part of a larger camp, and brought our own food. Each sub-group cooked a dinner for everyone one of the nights so we had a nice variety of food.

There were a lot of drinks, clubs, art, music, and light! Everything was free with exception to ice and coffee if you wanted some. The place was so surreal, and I felt like I was in a movie the whole time. People were everywhere walking, on bikes, or on moving mutant vehicles, all adorned with crazy outfits with lights and fur and frills.

None of my photos captured the place, nor the videos. Amazing place, and if you get the chance to go, take it!
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:22 PM #4
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

So whats the deal with burning man anyway? In my mind I always envisioned it as being some kind of hippie love-fest where everybody is high, hallucinating and doped out of their minds the whole time. How 'commercialized' is it? And it is like a week or two long? Whats the draw of going to this place? Good techno music, people watching, interesting things to buy or see?

From that second pic, it almost looks like some kind of city!
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:58 PM #5
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

Typically Carl Cox flies to the US and plays a set there for free.. or so I've heard several times. Supposedly it's one of his favorite crowds. Where there's Carl Cox, there's good techno. The people watching is second to none, from what I've seen.

I can't say how commercialized it is these days, but as i understand it it's meant to be the opposite of commercial.

obviously I've never been... and probably never will. No time in my life for huge week-long festivals anymore.

Wonder if they had a variance for all of those lasers in airspace? I'm thinkin' not.. not that I really care. I'm not the laser police or anything..
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:03 PM #6
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

at least one of the big blues over burning man was built/previously owned by me. i know one was going to be used as a "home base" beacon.

alot of people WANTED 445nm for bm this year.
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:12 PM #7
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

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Originally Posted by ElektroFreak View Post
Typically Carl Cox flies to the US and plays a set there for free.. or so I've heard several times. Supposedly it's one of his favorite crowds. Where there's Carl Cox, there's good techno. The people watching is second to none, from what I've seen.

I can't say how commercialized it is these days, but as i understand it it's meant to be the opposite of commercial.

obviously I've never been... and probably never will. No time in my life for huge week-long festivals anymore.

Wonder if they had a variance for all of those lasers in airspace? I'm thinkin' not.. not that I really care. I'm not the laser police or anything..
That area is not that busy with aircraft. The closest airports are Reno/Sparks and Fallon Naval base. They are both at least 50 miles away.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:07 PM #8
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

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That area is not that busy with aircraft. The closest airports are Reno/Sparks and Fallon Naval base. They are both at least 50 miles away.
i know one of the laserists present filed for all shows he would be a part of with the cdrh>FAA

so they were just fine, there are always LOTS of lasers at burning man
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:16 PM #9
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

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So whats the deal with burning man anyway? In my mind I always envisioned it as being some kind of hippie love-fest where everybody is high, hallucinating and doped out of their minds the whole time.
Haha! I thought that too! In fact, everyone in my immediate circle of friends and family, including everyone I traveled with to BM (we were all first-timers) thought that as well. I describe my pre-conception of the place as a "dirty hippie festival" that people used as an excuse to hang out in the desert half-naked, sitting in a circle looking at a burning straw man while smoking on bongs and singing songs.

Boy was I wrong. I barely saw any qualified "hippies," and the vast majority of people there were in their mid-20s and early-30s. There were older people as well, but the ones I met were just nice older folk who had gone there before. I met many professionals, from engineers and specialists, to company owners and directors, though their "real life" positions in life rarely made it into conversation, nor into how people treated you.

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How 'commercialized' is it? And it is like a week or two long? Whats the draw of going to this place? Good techno music, people watching, interesting things to buy or see?
Virtually no commercialization at all. No sponsors, no advertisement, no exchange of money (except for ice and coffee in the center if you really want). In lieu of currency, there is an emphasis on sharing and "gifting" with people (but not "bartering"). Note, however, that BM isn't a big "share fest" or collective; the gifting is just something to do from the general feel of the festival (it's fun!), and because people are generous with you. While on our way out (4.5 hour wait!) people were regularly bringing around food for other people in their cars, and we packed out some of the trash and belongings of people who had left their stuff behind just to help out.

The length of BM is about 2-weeks, but we only went less than one week (Wednesday night to Monday). It was just about the right length of time for me because of the "disruptive" sleep schedule (we wanted to go out at night all the time, and sleeping during the day can be a pain), and our supplies. The want of a shower also helped, though our camp did have a porta-shower. I'm sure with a well-equipped camp and good pacing the 2-weeks is quite nice, especially with friends. Rent a car if you don't want your car covered in dust. An RV is even better.

There is a ticket price, and it was $210 at its lowest this year, up to about $350 I think. However, once past the gates, everything is free with respect to what you can participate in, including many of the "bars" that are around (bring a cup). The most commercialized aspects of the event are the scalpers that you might see on your way there, and all the supplies you have to provide yourself. You need to provide all the food, water, and shelter you're going to need for yourself to survive, but many people just hopped from camp to camp seeing if they could get some free food.

BM does provide excellent toilet (porta-potty), medical, and security facilities, especially for a festival on that scale. Toilets were regularly cleaned, did not smell, had toilet paper and hand sanitizer except in super busy times, and were nicely spaced out around the camp areas, with some rest spots in the middle of the playa. The graffiti in the toilets was pretty funny, and there were some signs in there encouraging people to mark them up.

One thing nice about the relatively high ticket cost is that it keeps the riff-raff out. I saw no fights, no douchebags (I'm sure there were some), no beggars, no transients, no groups of teens, no hoods or gangs. Some people did bring their kids (I saw two the entire trip), but that was a very rare case, and I believe they were charged for a full ticket, which helps discourage BM from being one of those "family" events full of annoying kids and babies. From what I saw, nearly everyone was well behaved, and some people even pointed out a drug dealer to the law enforcement there, who was promptly hauled away.

What I really liked about the festival was that there wasn't an "agenda" to it. BM isn't a drug-fest, a hippie-fest, or a free-love fest. There are no environmentalism, anarchy, or religious platforms trying to draw you in. Nobody is preaching to you, trying to sell their agenda. It's just what you want to make of it. If you're not into the techno, or partying, or the night life you can hang back, or go at a different time of day or night. There's literally something for everyone, and it was refreshing to take breaks to go out and enjoy the art that was everywhere, away from the lights and sounds.

Quote:
From that second pic, it almost looks like some kind of city!
Yup, it's called "Black Rock City" and it appears for the duration of Burning Man and essentially disappears after it is over. The center circle is about a half-mile in diameter. Many volunteers go across the desert/salt flat to find trash and other remnants of the festival and clean it up.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:17 PM #10
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

I used to live in Winnemucca, NV that isn't that far away. A guy I know works for the health deprtment and he had to go out here to do inspctions on some of the places that served food, anther was a paramedic and he would be out there also. I heard sories from them. I left there in 2000.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:48 PM #11
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

Thanks for that in-depth info Bionic!

Sounds like one heck of a interesting experience to me, one of these days I may have to check it out. I love techno/electronic music so I bet I would enjoy it. I remember reading internet articles years ago about techno artists having shows there, or tents showing off equipment or demoing stuff.

Also glad to hear that it is agenda free.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:51 PM #12
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

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From that second pic, it almost looks like some kind of city!
It is.

Black Rock City
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:53 PM #13
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

I was there also (tent at 2:45 & Hanoi), but didn't bring a camera - you don't take anything to Burning Man that you care about or want to be working at the end of the week.

Google Earth has a satellite image from this year:
http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2...-man-2010.html

I brought a couple of swimminsurfer's ~30mW green pens, but didn't use them much. Maybe next year I'll have a 445 build ready - at least I'd know know to fix it! I saw a lot of 405's (one guy claimed his was 0.9W), but didn't register any as being 445 - they all looked 405 purple to me... The one in the first post definitely looks 445, so maybe I missed it somehow.

Last edited by JohnD; 09-09-2010 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:57 PM #14
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

Nice 445 pics! Hope you guys didn't shoot down any UFO's, heh ;P
With all that dust, how do you protect the lasers' lenses?
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Old 09-11-2010, 01:39 AM #15
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaniteux View Post
Nice 445 pics! Hope you guys didn't shoot down any UFO's, heh ;P
I hope if any aliens do visit the Earth that they land there instead of elsewhere. It's alien-like enough for us humans out there!

Quote:
With all that dust, how do you protect the lasers' lenses?
Short answer: you don't. I did my best to close the shutter when I could, but eventually the shutter stopped working and I only barely managed to work it to keep it open (better open than closed). Next time I'll bring some canned air for those things that shouldn't get wiped down. I was surprised by just how well my camera held up, even in the middle of dust storms; the camera of my friend got mechanically stuck and wouldn't open. I figured the memory from the photos were worth more than the camera, and I could always get it repaired if necessary.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:48 PM #16
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Default Re: 445nm lasers at Burning Man

Nice thread, I would have + rep for sharing, but I must spread some around first.
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