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Like stars above us’: Taking in the spectacle at the Rise Lantern Festival

Participants inflate more lanterns and release them to the already speckled sky during the Rise Lantern Festival at Jean Dry Lake Bed on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, in Jean.
Photo: L.E. Baskow

Rise Lantern Festival | Jean, Nevada | October 18, 2014

Rise Lantern Festival in Jean

The inaugural Rise Lantern Festival at Jean Dry Lake Bed was a visual experience not soon forgotten. Photographically, the space was so vast and contained so many people I initially concentrated more on specifics than taking in the spectacle as a whole. Using a flash would have been too intrusive, so I sought out the patches of light being emitted from lit columns, headlamps, flashlights and phones as lanterns were inscribed with thoughts of life, love and peace.

As the torches and lanterns were lit, the light vastly improved and faces began to glow, the dark Mojave Desert illuminated by thousands of paper cylinders ready for flight. Several exposures of 20 and 30 seconds created amazing light trails as lanterns floated into the sky and twinkled like stars above us. It was a scene unlike any I have witnessed before, and I feel lucky to have documented it.

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