10 things i learnt at burning man. {2013: the sexy, crazy, transcendental… and everything in between}

September 30, 2013

It’s time for a juicy personal post!!! I’ve been meaning to share more of our lives behind the scenes with all you sweet people, so here we are – a photo essay from the BEST week EVER (seriously, it’s a very close tie with our wedding week). There’s so much I want to say about the Burning Man experience…

It was crazy, sexy, healing, transcendental… and everything in between!

Since 1986, the coolest people from all over the world come together to create Black Rock City in the Nevada desert, a community dedicated to sharing, art, limitless self-expression, self-reliance and leaving NO trace. This year, we were among nearly 70,000 Burners… it’s overwhelming how much love, selflessness, inspiration, and mind-blowing awesomeness we witnessed over the week. For Rob & I, this was our second Burn and I know there will be many more. I didn’t take many photos throughout the week because I really wanted to take it all in, but the images you’re about to see were totally worth getting our gear completely destroyed by Playa dust.

If you’re one of our Brides – this is how Rob & I replenish our ‘creative juices,’ hehe! I feel we’re always bursting with love – but now you’ll see it from a slightly different perspective.

Waiting in line to get in, at sunrise. 

Acro yoga bliss at Center Camp. 

Whisked away in an art car…

A pickle Martini Bar… big pickles, small pickles, dill pickles, uber garlicky pickles, baby pickles, diced pickes, juicy pickles, absinthe pickles… love pickles!!!

My favourite art installation on the Playa, a stunning church with walls of some of the most moving and provocative fine art photography I’ve seen. 

Get your ass stamped as you down a shot of tequila infused with garlic and hot peppers. And like it. 

She accepted cookies, fine booze, and hugs from sexy men. 

Rob: ‘God, what should I do?’ 

God: ‘Go to the Hookadome.’

God is Gold. Gold is God.

Our dearest friend & brother Cole sets an intention for our crazy day of exploring the limits of human consciousness. 

Many couples get married at Burning Man. If you want to get hitched, come to the Bridezilla lounge to borrow super sweet wedding attire, get an officiant and a buzz on. 

I wanna marry this man… over and over again!!! 

A goddess wild child, Sophia Ocean. 

Random find, deep Playa. 

My gorgeous sister-in law Vanessa and her brilliant fiancee Cam a.k.a. ‘Dad’… here’s the beginning of their engagement photos in the desert!

At ‘Distrikt’ day club, amongst all the sexy people, a man borrows Rob’s stick in hopes of reaching enlightenment.

Our sizzling hot Lacy bear.

Momentarily caught in a dust storm. 

Thank you, stranger, for the only photo of me … in focus! 

The Dandelions. 

A super cool find from a souvenir shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This glorious hoof was my perfect wine vessel all week and only fell apart on the very last day the festival. 

Don’t be fooled, Regis means serious business! 

Thank you dear Regis for taking this one – looks like Rob & I are two of a kind 🙂 

‘You only get one chance at nail polish.’

The uplifting forces of Burning Man. 

Peaceful Warrior. 

Stopping to write down funny shit. 

The background – totally spontaneous. 

Was there or was there not a backflip?!

Big thanks to Regis again. I already can’t wait for our grandkids to see this. 🙂

Rob’s beer cooler. 


The only night image I took all week… a telling one. Here, our friend Curtis is just holding a flashlight above Cole’s face. At camp, after dinner. 

It only took about an hour for us to break the Polaroid camera. Here’s impermanence at its finest. 

Strumming about love and stuff. 

The little things. 

Thanks again, Regis, for capturing freedom. These make my soul sing. 

On our way out… 13 hours in line. The spirits are still high, and there’s still toilet paper. 

FINALLY… 10 things I learned about at Burning Man, on a cellular level:

1. everyone perceives reality in *at least* a slightly different way than you do. be sensitive, accepting, and do not jump to conclusions. 

2. pickles are a legitimate breakfast food.

3. always just breathe. respond instead of reacting… because it’s most likely not even about you.

4. succumb to glitter. and dust. in fact, embrace them. the world is pretty much made of that shit anyway. 

5. heartfelt smiles & hugs are deeply healing. so is laughing. so is crying. so is coconut oil full body massage. for everyone involved. 

6. clean drinking water is a big deal. a blessing and a privilege. 

7. men secretly love nail polish. especially if it’s gold. i like me a man who can pull off nail polish. 

8. all-time favourite festival snack: roasted seaweed topped with avocado & coarse himalayan salt. it’s heaven.  

9. i love love love the people in my life. some relationships cannot be labeled or put in a box. it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. also, i really value being loved back. 

10. it’s okay to be vulnerable and let it all hang out sometimes. it’s into a broken vessel that light may come in.

another 10. there is an infinite amount of love in the world; love is our true nature; we are love.




  1. Helgi

    October 1st, 2013 at 01:40

    I loved every single image Katya! Thank you for sharing, HUGE inspiration for me, Love you and miss you!

  2. stephscade

    October 1st, 2013 at 01:47

    This is one of my favourite posts you’ve ever posted, and I don’t even think i understand it all.. 🙂

  3. Jarusha

    October 1st, 2013 at 02:02


  4. Renee Bell

    October 1st, 2013 at 02:25

    ummm – WOW! freaking amazing xx

  5. Charley McCoy

    October 1st, 2013 at 02:39

    My Whatever… these are just beautiful… I’ll see you next year. Peace.

  6. Ashley Douthit

    October 1st, 2013 at 09:57

    You captured your week and the experiences you shared with your camp perfectly!!! Made me wish I was there and miss the playa so much!!! I loved every single photo!!! (and yes, especially the ones of you Regis!) 🙂

  7. Tad

    October 1st, 2013 at 11:07

    you take the most remarkable photos. you somehow capture both who people are and who they yearn to be. you capture people’s strength and their vulnerability.

  8. Karol

    October 1st, 2013 at 12:06

    What a lovely summary of your experience. I wish I could download my memories and store them in such a way.

  9. asia

    October 1st, 2013 at 13:20

    Guau what a great life you have girl!!. Hope I’ll get over my karma and soon will deserve such a freedom and happiness.

  10. Tanja

    October 1st, 2013 at 17:47

    Waw… These are amazing. It makes me want to go there even more. 🙂

  11. Heather

    October 1st, 2013 at 19:59

    Great post. The photo chapel is by Michael Garlington. Here is the kickstarter for it http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1386193791/photochapel-by-mike-garlington-and-crew-0

  12. Sandy

    October 2nd, 2013 at 13:46

    This is so breath taking. Thank you for sharing. I feel inspired living through your art.

  13. magorn

    October 2nd, 2013 at 19:57

    Those are the most astonishing Burn photos I have seen in a very long time. But in a strange way, the hoof bottle was my very favorite… On my first trip to the playa on 1999, one of my first memories was an older man in a serape emerging from a ferocious dust storm we we both caught in and handing me a bottle that looked just like that filled with homebrew tequila. We waited out the worst of the storm sheltered by an art installation sharing that bottle. Since I never saw the stranger again, and in retrospect, the bottle seemed so improbable I had since convinced myself that both must have been hallucinations brought on by too much playa dust inhalation. Seeing that bottle tells me that playa magic may have been at work, but the man, his tequila and the next day hangover were all too real

  14. Nicole

    October 2nd, 2013 at 23:19


    I think these photos are just fantastic and are representative of all the things you learnt. I did not know photos could do that, it is remarkable.

    Experiences like these, for me, have always been etched with words, and am thrilled to be inspired by the eyes you have been able to capture. I am truly awe struck. Thank you very much for sharing – and thanks cole for being a fb friend… without him, I would not have had this moment 🙂

  15. Christian

    October 3rd, 2013 at 10:52

    Wow. What STUNNING photos! A very unique way of seeing the burn though another’s eyes, very beautiful! 🙂 Om

  16. el kowal

    October 4th, 2013 at 19:05

    wow! so fun to look through. it’s so on my wishlist to go there!

  17. Kari

    October 9th, 2013 at 21:44

    Amazing photos Katya… Makes me sad I didn’t go! Next year!

  18. Lacey

    October 19th, 2013 at 18:05

    I’m so glad to see the porta potty line! I’m fourth there in the baggy black clothes. Thanks so much for all of these. A great memorandum for a great year. Are you planning to return? (Please say yes!)

  19. namaste friends! we are Katya & Rob! | Katya Nova Photography

    October 23rd, 2013 at 14:50

    […] 10 things i learnt at burning man. {2013: the sexy, crazy, transcendental… and everything in b… […]

  20. Erin Nicole Anderson

    June 3rd, 2014 at 21:01

    These are so amazing.

  21. Ben Tamblyn

    August 11th, 2014 at 11:25

    great photos! great realizations – enjoyed reading this – THANKS!

  22. Jamie Woodall

    August 11th, 2014 at 21:52

    LOVED all of these images… so excited to return with my husband and soul mate Ben Tamblyn this year xo

  23. Charly Calisti

    September 15th, 2014 at 04:28

    L’Esprit Burning man…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Download your free Crafting the Perfect Wedding Timeline pdf, wedding planning tips, drool-worthy inspiration, special offers, recent love stories and behind-the-scenes glimpses into our Caribbean dream life!