Caption: I've long dreamed of taking an aerial shot of the night city, and have been working with Ken Jobsky and skydive camp Burning Sky for a couple years to make this one happen. It took three attempts (one thwarted by change of plans, the next thwarted by bad weather), but here it is! A rare shot - I've never seen another photo of Black Rock by night - as very few aircraft are permitted to overfly the site past sundown.
View of Black Rock City from the skydive plane, night of the temple burn. This jump was supposed to be coordinated with the Rocketship show, but heavy winds made that jump impossible. We ended up sitting around the airport for a couple hours, with the skydivers pacing around impatiently with explosive pyro effects strapped to their chests. Anyway. We made it up on temple night.
This shot was actually pretty tricky to take, since the city lights are really tiny and thus surprisingly faint from up in the sky. To make matters worse the plane was of course moving and vibrating quite a lot. I also had to shoot out an open door into the freezing buffeting wind, while wearing a bulky parachute and strapped down to the floor of the plane so as not to fall out. This shot was taken at ISO 6400 at f/1.8 for 1/10 second.
The comet shaped lights are mostly vehicle headlights. Note the stream of cars heading out towards Exodus, and a handful of art cars meandering across the playa towards the temple.
Thanks to Ken and pilot George Woods for a chance of a lifetime opportunity.