Photo: My Shot of El Pulpo Mecanico is on

01:48 - El Pulpo Mecanico

El Pulpo Mecanico’s animated tentacles terrify and astound as they pump fire
to the beat of a nearby art car’s sound system at the 2013 Burning Man festival.

Squee!!! One of my photos from Burning Man was published on Initiate Snoopy Dance.

Chris Combs, Nat Geo Photo Editor, gave me this note:

What unhinged energy! Cat kept her cool and crafted a careful composition out of this wild machine.

I’m only hyper-ventillating a little bit.


I was asleep in our geodesic dome when I heard the puff puff blast of Pulpo Mecanico going by our camp. My fellow campmates were making the normal ooh, aahs and hurrays [I’m paraphrasing] that people normally make when they see this art car. It was a little after 1 am and I considered staying in bed, hoping I would see it some other time. But it’s my favorite art car on the playa and I’ve waited several years to be able to attempt this shot. So I put on my big girl pants and got on my bike chasing it as it made its way to the Man.

The main trick to this photograph was timing it so I could capture Pulpo when blasted all of its jets while at the same time positioning myself such that the face, especially the googly eyes, weren’t obscured by the flames. I shot for about half an hour (1:32 am – 2:06 am) making 60+ frames. This one was in the middle of the bunch.


Lens: Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8 II USM

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III

Light: Ambient

ISO: 800

Focal Length: 34  mm

f-stop: 2.8

Shutter Speed: 1/1000

Location:  Black Rock City, NV (Burning Man 2013)

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