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The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

Executive Order Travel Ban Protest - IAD, January 30th, 2017

Following President Trump’s executive order implementing a travel ban on seven countries, protests initiated at international airports across the United States where individuals affected by the rapidly enacted ban were detained. The Trump administration justified the executive order as part of the “extreme vetting” of immigrants promised during his campaign, while those opposed to the ban question the constitutionality, motives, and execution of the ban. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) was on-site denouncing President Trump’s travel ban in a press conference.

I captured these photographs while on-site for an unrelated meeting.  During the several hours I spent watching the protest and presser, there were no Trump supporters visibly present; reportedly only one had been there in the morning, and only a handful over the weekend, and some cases MWAA police had to move in to ensure the supporters' safety as tempers of the crowd were exacerbated.  During my time on-site, I witnessed only one individual lose their temper; a lawyer, who eventually calmed down when others spoke to them and explained they had already taken the necessary actions.

I am presenting these images and my account for the importance of photojournalism and documentation.  Captions below each image briefly explain what is being seen in each image.

Do not use these photographs or videos without express permission of J. David Buerk.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport and speaks with legal counsels volunteering on-site.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport and speaks with legal counsels volunteering on-site.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) addresses media to discus legal action the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking in opposition to the travel ban.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) addresses media to discus legal action the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking in opposition to the travel ban.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) addresses media to discus legal action the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking in opposition to the travel ban.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) addresses media to discus legal action the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking in opposition to the travel ban.

A Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police officer directs passengers' traffic as they exit the International Arrivals Building after clearing customs.  Protestors fill both sides of the exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.

A Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police officer directs passengers' traffic as they exit the International Arrivals Building after clearing customs.  Protestors fill both sides of the exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.

A protestor gives a white rose to an arriving international passenger.  White roses are traditionally known to represent purity, innocence, sympathy, and spirituality.

A protestor gives a white rose to an arriving international passenger.  White roses are traditionally known to represent purity, innocence, sympathy, and spirituality.

Internationally arriving passengers exit the International Arrivals Building to a sea of cheering protestors welcoming their arrival after clearing customs.

Internationally arriving passengers exit the International Arrivals Building to a sea of cheering protestors welcoming their arrival after clearing customs.

A young protestor offers Loudoun County and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police officers donuts and water and thanks them for keeping the demonstration safe.

A young protestor offers Loudoun County and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police officers donuts and water and thanks them for keeping the demonstration safe.

A young protestor offers volunteer lawyers donuts and water and thanks them for donating their time.

A young protestor offers volunteer lawyers donuts and water and thanks them for donating their time.

Protestors of various backgrounds were present to display multicultural unity in opposition to the travel ban.

Protestors of various backgrounds were present to display multicultural unity in opposition to the travel ban.

NBC News4 Reporter Julie Carey preparing for a live hit.

NBC News4 Reporter Julie Carey preparing for a live hit.

Some protestors' signs were artwork without words.

Some protestors' signs were artwork without words.

Protestors fill both sides of the International Arrivals Building exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.  Greetings and welcomes were given to each individual arriving passenger, with cheers each time the IAB doors opened.

Protestors fill both sides of the International Arrivals Building exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.  Greetings and welcomes were given to each individual arriving passenger, with cheers each time the IAB doors opened.

Protestors fill both sides of the International Arrivals Building exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.  Greetings and welcomes were given to each individual arriving passenger, with cheers each time the IAB doors opened.

Protestors fill both sides of the International Arrivals Building exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.  Greetings and welcomes were given to each individual arriving passenger, with cheers each time the IAB doors opened.

Some protestors brought their children along to teach them about political activism firsthand.

Some protestors brought their children along to teach them about political activism firsthand.

NBC News4 reporter Kristin Wright preparing for a live hit.

NBC News4 reporter Kristin Wright preparing for a live hit.

ABC 7 / NewsChannel 8 reporter Ryan Hughes live on the air.

ABC 7 / NewsChannel 8 reporter Ryan Hughes live on the air.

FOX 5 reporter Ronica Cleary preparing for a live hit.

FOX 5 reporter Ronica Cleary preparing for a live hit.

A woman waves an American flag as arriving international passengers are greeted by the crowd of protestors.

A woman waves an American flag as arriving international passengers are greeted by the crowd of protestors.

A woman shows a peace sign while holding a sign; "ALL are WELCOME here."

A woman shows a peace sign while holding a sign; "ALL are WELCOME here."

"Love Trumps Hate" is a play on words that has been used as a rallying cry and hashtag in opposition to President Trump since almost the beginning of his presidential campaign in 2016.

"Love Trumps Hate" is a play on words that has been used as a rallying cry and hashtag in opposition to President Trump since almost the beginning of his presidential campaign in 2016.

Hashtags are used on protestors' signs to aid in spreading their message and promoting online unity.

Hashtags are used on protestors' signs to aid in spreading their message and promoting online unity.

Vice President Mike Pence's December 8th, 2015 tweet, "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional" printed on a protestor's sign; the widely circulated tweet is seen as directly contradictory to the Trump administration's travel ban rolled out just over a year later.

Vice President Mike Pence's December 8th, 2015 tweet, "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional" printed on a protestor's sign; the widely circulated tweet is seen as directly contradictory to the Trump administration's travel ban rolled out just over a year later.

Internationally arriving passengers exit the International Arrivals Building to a sea of cheering protestors welcoming their arrival after clearing customs.

Internationally arriving passengers exit the International Arrivals Building to a sea of cheering protestors welcoming their arrival after clearing customs.

Many of the protestors present also took part in the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, 2017; the day after President Trump's inauguration.  Some of these protestors brought their signs from that protest to use at this one; this sign is an original artwork.

Many of the protestors present also took part in the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, 2017; the day after President Trump's inauguration.  Some of these protestors brought their signs from that protest to use at this one; this sign is an original artwork.

Many of the protestors present also took part in the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, 2017; the day after President Trump's inauguration.  Some of these protestors brought their signs from that protest to use at this one; this sign is an original artwork.

Many of the protestors present also took part in the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, 2017; the day after President Trump's inauguration.  Some of these protestors brought their signs from that protest to use at this one; this sign is an original artwork.

Volunteer lawyers and translators held signs to readily identify themselves to passengers and family who need legal counsel.

Volunteer lawyers and translators held signs to readily identify themselves to passengers and family who need legal counsel.

Even some arriving international travelers had signs in protest easily in view as they exited the International Arrivals Building upon clearing customs.

Even some arriving international travelers had signs in protest easily in view as they exited the International Arrivals Building upon clearing customs.

Reunions upon clearing customs are often emotional regardless of residency, citizenship, and immigration status.

Reunions upon clearing customs are often emotional regardless of residency, citizenship, and immigration status.

A man holds a sign in (language confirmation pending) outside the International Arrivals Building. (Translation pending.)

A man holds a sign in (language confirmation pending) outside the International Arrivals Building.

(Translation pending.)

Water, food, and other supplies donated to sustain the protestors, lawyers, translators, and legal observers.

Water, food, and other supplies donated to sustain the protestors, lawyers, translators, and legal observers.

A Black Lives Matter protestor and attorney speaks with an ACLU legal observer while holding ACLU legal advice pamphlets.

A Black Lives Matter protestor and attorney speaks with an ACLU legal observer while holding ACLU legal advice pamphlets.

A woman holds a sign that simply reads, "Don't be Mean."

A woman holds a sign that simply reads, "Don't be Mean."

Protestors who came together hold signs which complement one another's messages.

Protestors who came together hold signs which complement one another's messages.

Volunteer lawyers stand close to the International Arrival Building's exit with clearly legible signs reading, "FREE LEGAL HELP."  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers and translators converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

Volunteer lawyers stand close to the International Arrival Building's exit with clearly legible signs reading, "FREE LEGAL HELP."  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers and translators converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

Four women hold signs next to the International Arrival Building's exit; one woman's sign had flashing lights, reading, "Actions Speak Louder Than Words."

Four women hold signs next to the International Arrival Building's exit; one woman's sign had flashing lights, reading, "Actions Speak Louder Than Words."

Excerpt from Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus;" a sonnet written in 1883 to fundraise the Statue of Liberty's pedestal.  The poem became a permanent part of the Statue of Liberty when it was mounted to the statue's pedestal on a bronze engraving in 1903.

Excerpt from Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus;" a sonnet written in 1883 to fundraise the Statue of Liberty's pedestal.  The poem became a permanent part of the Statue of Liberty when it was mounted to the statue's pedestal on a bronze engraving in 1903.

One of several lawyers tables set up around the International Arrivals Building to aid travelers and their families in need of legal assistance.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers and translators converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

One of several lawyers tables set up around the International Arrivals Building to aid travelers and their families in need of legal assistance.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers and translators converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

Leftover and abandoned signs collected and stored behind the Lawyers for Good Government's table, available for anyone to choose from and use to protest.

Leftover and abandoned signs collected and stored behind the Lawyers for Good Government's table, available for anyone to choose from and use to protest.

An American Civil Liberties Union legal observer in a blue high-visibility vest.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers, translators, and legal observers converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.  The ACLU was quick to file a lawsuit in opposition to the executive order, resulting in an emergency stay granted by Brooklyn Federal Judge Ann Donnelly late Saturday night, which allowed travelers caught in the ban's rapid rollout to be released from detention.

An American Civil Liberties Union legal observer in a blue high-visibility vest.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers, translators, and legal observers converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.  The ACLU was quick to file a lawsuit in opposition to the executive order, resulting in an emergency stay granted by Brooklyn Federal Judge Ann Donnelly late Saturday night, which allowed travelers caught in the ban's rapid rollout to be released from detention.

A group of volunteer lawyers working in the baggage claim area of Washington Dulles International Airport.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers, translators, and legal observers converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

A group of volunteer lawyers working in the baggage claim area of Washington Dulles International Airport.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers, translators, and legal observers converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

A short video of footage I collected while on site Monday afternoon.

Houston, Texas: July, 2016

Lately I've been catching up on some personal work leftover from last Summer.  Today I'm bringing you pictures from my short trip to Houston to be a part of Imran and Hina's wedding.  Since I was there for several days, of course, the wedding was only a portion of everything I did while on my first trip to Texas.

Arrival

This was only my second time flying out of DCA even though I am there often enough for photoshoots.  It was a pretty day, although it had a low, hazy ceiling, so I captured some pretty pictures of the airport while taxiing, but began battling haze with a little altitude.  I did still manage to catch some great shots of the new MGM Casino (it was still under construction at this point) , and National Harbor... and the DC Water and Sewer Authority; water treatment plants look pretty cool from the air too.

Arriving in Houston, the terrain is noticeably very flat, with long stretches of interstates and service roads, cookie-cutter neighborhoods, and snaking rivers.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) reminded me a lot of Dulles, however their facilities seem to be more spread out and reliant on shuttle busses.

Reaching downtown Houston was a shocker; not only was downtown very small at only a few blocks of city space, but on a Saturday, at noon, there were *literally* no people to be found.  There was no traffic downtown; never once did I have to stop and wait for traffic when crossing streets.  There were no people walking around.  Half of the businesses weren't even open.  I was the only customer in a coffee shop which, inexplicably, had three employees working.  There was an international grocery store with an amazing wine selection upstairs that had a few customers inside, but that was about it - Houston, at lunchtime on a Saturday... completely dead and devoid of life.

Arriving at the hotel at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), I found that directly next door was an... establishment... called "The Landing Strip."  I just found it ironic that Imran's wedding was being held at an airport Marriott with a titty bar a stones throw away.  It actually became a running joke of the trip, culminating in me sitting down in Imran's lap before his wedding, straight out of the shower, wrapping my legs around him and sensually saying, "Hey baby, is this your first time at The Landing Strip?" just to get a reaction out of him; it was pretty funny!  You can't make this stuff up!  That actually happened the next day, while everyone was getting ready for the wedding, but I shot these pictures as the sun set on my first night in Houston.

Johnson Space Center • Imran and Hina's Wedding

Imran's wedding was at night, so that left all day to go explore.  I'd already seen downtown, which was disappointing, to put it politely.  I decided to see something guaranteed to make me smile; I head over to Johnson Space Center, just 20min from the hotel.

Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition

Little did I know until walking inside, the Mythbusters (who had just a few months prior aired their last episode) had a full exhibit visiting the Space Center.  Not only did I get to meet the real Buster, but I got to see artifacts from all my favorite myths; Jamie's steel sphere from "Painting with Explosives," Adam's Flatus Ignition Seat from "Franklin's Kite," Adam's Tornado Shield from "Storm Chasing Myths," and a destroyed hot water heater from "Exploding Water Heater."

By the way, if you haven't seen it already, go check out White Rabbit Project on Netflix; that's where Kari, Grant, and Tori ended up after being cut from Mythbusters.  It's a very Mythbusters influenced show, but with a modernized program format that fixes a lot of the staleness Mytbusters struggled with toward the end, and the extremely high production quality we've become familiar with from Netflix.  I cannot recommend the show enough.

Johnson Space Center

The rest of Johnson Space Center (or Space Center Houston, as the museum portion is called) contains all the space geekery you expect; I love it.  Most of the exhibits here focus on historic space missions, such as the Gemini and Apollo programs.

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

Outside the Space Center is of course one of Johnson's most noticeable, newest additions, and the most relevant to me; NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft I photographed and followed for a week in April, 2012, which led to some amazing opportunities for me, and which I consider to be the launchpad for much of my career today.

It was a surreal experience boarding the retired 747 for the second time in my life, knowing that everyone else seeing the aircraft with me that day are enjoying a museum piece, but I was on board while the aircraft was still in service and even met the flight and ground crews, and they autographed copies of my photos on a table that's now blocked off as part of an exhibit.  Knowing that I've been on the upper deck and sat in the pilot's seat of this aircraft, whereas now it's not even open to the public to view... it was a surreal feeling, and it's still truly an honor to have been invited to be part of such a journey in 2012.

For fun below, I'm including some side-by-side comparisons of what the SCA looked like in 2012, and what it looks like now after its decommission and subsequent transformation into an exhibit.  You'll notice that in addition to some hardware being moved and a lot of plexiglass being added, they've also had to add fireproofing and sprinklers for fire code, and they've added carpeting, HVAC, standard glass entry doors, and of course lighting.  Crew-members and mission critical employees have also signed all over the fuselage, as is tradition.

Since it's closed to the public, here is what the upper deck looked like in 2012.

And finally, a few more photos of the SCA in it's final resting place as it is today.  This table is where the crew autographed my photos.

Astronaut Training Facility

Later in the day, after some inclement weather had passed through the area, campus tours finally resumed, however unfortunately there was only time for one tour before having to leave, and I didn't get to go on the tour of Mission Control like I'd wanted.  Seeing the Astronaut Training Facility was still interesting, and I was able to snag some awesome swag at the gift shop before heading out.  I still don't have my SCA 747 & Space Shuttle Discovery scale model though :-(

Imran and Hina's Wedding

Finally was the main event; Imran and Hina's wedding.  I was just a guest, which is an odd feeling for me since usually I'm behind the camera.  I didn't even bring my camera to the wedding; these are a few photos off my iPhone.

Departure

The next morning immediate family (which I'm considered in Imran's family) was invited for brunch.  After that, there were still a few hours to kill before catching the flight home.  Checking out the Texas' Gulf beach and getting some photos of the EcoBoost Mustang rental seemed like the best thing to do.

Mustang on the Beach

I was extremely disappointed with the beach in Texas; it seemed *very* dirty.  The Mustang, however, was very satisfying.  The EcoBoost Mustang, even with two fewer cylinders, makes only 20HP less than my G37, though since it uses a turbo to achieve this, the power came on with a delay.  Still a very peppy, very capable car.  Would I buy one?  No; this rental had less than 3,000 miles on the clock and already had multiple rattles, probably since day one from the factory.  But it was still a fun, very hoonable ride; I may have gotten a few donuts in this thing... which is convenient, because Houston seemed to be a never-ending sprawl of donut shops, fast-food joints, rug stores, and titty bars; between all that and the beach, it was time to skip town.

Departure

Flying home, I got a little work done, but eventually got distracted by the band of thunderstorms we were passing over about halfway home; this was my first time seeing lightning from the sky, and it is a beautiful sight.

With a steady hand, and a bit of luck, I was able to capture this photo of the storm over Charlotte, North Carolina.  I even managed to get some video footage too!

Finally, we landed at DCA (also only my second time flying into Reagan), and the lights of Alexandria was a welcome sight just before touchdown.

The Arc of Northern Virginia - Housing Choice Voucher Mini-Series

Last year I was hired to film a short documentary series that quickly became the most meaningful project I've ever worked on in my professional career to-date.  That project was The Arc of Northern Virginia's Housing Choice Voucher web series.

I first became familiar with The Arc during my time filming the Wings for All program, which is a simulated commercial flight experience so individuals with disabilities may learn and practice what it's like to navigate an airport, get screened by TSA, and board a real aircraft.

After my work on several Wings for All events, The Arc of Northern Virginia tapped me for a new video project - a documentary web series portion of a grant in partnership with the Virginia Housing Development Agency and Virginia Housing and Supportive Services.  Each short film educates viewers about the Housing Choice Voucher option offered in Virginia.

Housing Choice Vouchers give individuals with disabilities affordable access to independant housing, which increases quality of life and satisfaction over other housing options, such as group homes.  This allows other sources of income, such as Medicaid waivers, to go further in paying for other necessary services such as in-home caregivers.

Filming the series took place over the course of several months, in various locations across the Northern Virginia region.  Filming this series introduced me to many vibrant people with incredible stories, and all do great work in the local, state, and even national community, which you'll see in the series itself.  This series was truly and incredible experience to work on, and even though it was definitely the most challenging project I've taken on to-date (this series required an immense amount of post-production; each interview was about 1.5 - 2hrs long), this documentary series is by far the most meaningful project I have ever completed - I am truly proud to have been a part of it in cooperation with The Arc, and I truly look forward to more projects similar to this one.

Before we get into the series itself, I'd like to share some useful links which will help you learn more information about Housing Choice Vouchers in Virginia.

And now, here are all films in the series.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series: #1 - Brian

Brian, his family, and caregivers detail how his life has improved thanks to the Housing Choice Voucher following his traumatic brain injury.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series: #2 - Gail and Esther

Gail and Esther are best friends who live independently in the same apartment complex, and have technological aids to help them.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series #3 - David and Rory

David and Rory live together in spacious apartment, and are now able to cook their own meals and travel their own community, which was impossible in the group home setting they both lived in before receiving their Housing Choice Vouchers.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series: #4 - Rogan

Rogan's Housing Choice Voucher has helped provide him with a stable home with a live-in caregiver, as his parents begin to age.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series: #5 - Theresa

Theresa Rankin was homeless from the medical expenses following her traumatic brain injury, but a series of events turned that around and now she has an apartment where she lives independently.  Theresa then founded BrainLine.org, a national non-profit organization in partnership with PBS specializing in preventing, treating, and living with traumatic brain injuries.  Theresa continues to be a National Community Educator with Brain Injury Services.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series: #6 - Robert

Robert was able to receive a Housing Choice Voucher even after a legal misunderstanding resulting from his disability, after he completed a Reasonable Accommodation Application.

Finally, I have to thank Kymberly DeLoatche, Lucy Beadnell, Rikki Epstein, Janene Shaw, and everyone else who was instrumental in making this large, technical, and wonderful project a reality!  Thank you for all your help!

Best of 2016

Each year I release a set of photos showcasing the highlights I've photographed over the previous year.  It's a Year in Pictures, similar to how news outlets also compile Year in Review columns which rely almost solely on photojournalism (which is an important and unfortunately underappreciated art, by the way).  This year's "Best Of" is coming a bit late - I usually release this on New Years, but I've been rather busy and distracted upon return from my trip to St. Louis.

So now I present to you the Best of 2016: A Year in Pictures.  Photos are presented in order in which they were photographed, and contain captions and links to relevant articles when applicable.

Janet Echelman's 1.8 Renwick at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  This photograph of Echelman's woven sculpture is displayed upside down to create additional dramatic discord and illusion to the already intricate landscape of mesh. 

Janet Echelman's 1.8 Renwick at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  This photograph of Echelman's woven sculpture is displayed upside down to create additional dramatic discord and illusion to the already intricate landscape of mesh. 

John Grade's Middle Fork at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  Viewed from the base, or roots of the molded tree recreated from cedar planks, the natural béziers of organic growth are showcased with a feeling of fluidity.

John Grade's Middle Fork at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  Viewed from the base, or roots of the molded tree recreated from cedar planks, the natural béziers of organic growth are showcased with a feeling of fluidity.

Portrait of Dennis Hazell, Customer Service Manager of Washington Dulles International Airport, photographed in Eero Saarinen's historic Main Terminal Building.

Portrait of Dennis Hazell, Customer Service Manager of Washington Dulles International Airport, photographed in Eero Saarinen's historic Main Terminal Building.

Rim and caliper of the 2016 Alfa Romea Giulia sport sedan, photographed at the Washington Auto Show.

Rim and caliper of the 2016 Alfa Romea Giulia sport sedan, photographed at the Washington Auto Show.

Cabin crew serve champagne in a First Class compartment aboard Emirates' new A380, which began inaugural service between Washington, DC and Dubai on February 23rd, 2016.

Cabin crew serve champagne in a First Class compartment aboard Emirates' new A380, which began inaugural service between Washington, DC and Dubai on February 23rd, 2016.

The First Class cabin aboard Emirates' new A380, which began inaugural service between Washington, DC and Dubai on February 23rd, 2016.

The First Class cabin aboard Emirates' new A380, which began inaugural service between Washington, DC and Dubai on February 23rd, 2016.

Portrait of Scott C. Booth, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Chief of Police.

Portrait of Scott C. Booth, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Chief of Police.

The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck; a new restaurant offering at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Much of my work, many of which goes undisplayed on my website, is photographing commercial marketing imagery of concessions and products for the DC area's two airports.

The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck; a new restaurant offering at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Much of my work, many of which goes undisplayed on my website, is photographing commercial marketing imagery of concessions and products for the DC area's two airports.

The bar inside The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck; a new restaurant offering at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Much of my work, many of which goes undisplayed on my website, is photographing commercial marketing imagery of concessions and products for the DC area's two airports.

The bar inside The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck; a new restaurant offering at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Much of my work, many of which goes undisplayed on my website, is photographing commercial marketing imagery of concessions and products for the DC area's two airports.

Portrait of Sidney Woods, Marketing Director at Washington Dulles International Airport, photographed in Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport's Main Terminal.

Portrait of Sidney Woods, Marketing Director at Washington Dulles International Airport, photographed in Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport's Main Terminal.

My own Infiniti G37S 6MT photographed in Frederick, Maryland on a day and place reminiscent of the iconic Windows XP background, Bliss by Charles O'Rear.

My own Infiniti G37S 6MT photographed in Frederick, Maryland on a day and place reminiscent of the iconic Windows XP background, Bliss by Charles O'Rear.

Wedding portrait of Amy and Brandon.

Wedding portrait of Amy and Brandon.

Wedding portrait of Nina; it rained on their wedding day, pushing the ceremony inside, and rushing the portrait session in Leesburg between bands of drizzle and high winds.

Wedding portrait of Nina; it rained on their wedding day, pushing the ceremony inside, and rushing the portrait session in Leesburg between bands of drizzle and high winds.

A Piper tow plane for Jersey Ridge Soaring takes off from Blairstown Airport (1N7), lifting a glider into the sky.

A Piper tow plane for Jersey Ridge Soaring takes off from Blairstown Airport (1N7), lifting a glider into the sky.

View inside the cockpit of a glider being towed to 2,500ft before release of the tow cable.  The tow plane is visible directly forward, with instrumentation on the console and the red lever which releases the tow cable.

View inside the cockpit of a glider being towed to 2,500ft before release of the tow cable.  The tow plane is visible directly forward, with instrumentation on the console and the red lever which releases the tow cable.

A selfie inside a glider soaring around 2,500ft.  A maximum altitude of 3,500 was reached on this flight using thermal for lift.

A selfie inside a glider soaring around 2,500ft.  A maximum altitude of 3,500 was reached on this flight using thermal for lift.

Aerial view of Blairstown Airport (1N7) from 1,000ft.  The small public use airport in New Jersey is home to Jersey Ridge Soaring, a glider service and school.

Aerial view of Blairstown Airport (1N7) from 1,000ft.  The small public use airport in New Jersey is home to Jersey Ridge Soaring, a glider service and school.

All-Nippon Airways' "BB-8" Star Wars 777 departing Washington Dulles International Airport after a promotional visit by the aircraft.  The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority held a Discover Dulles event to mark the occasion, welcoming 50 lucky participants to watch the aircraft's arrival on the runway itself, and providing a tour of Airport Operations and Dulles' Ramp Tower.

All-Nippon Airways' "BB-8" Star Wars 777 departing Washington Dulles International Airport after a promotional visit by the aircraft.  The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority held a Discover Dulles event to mark the occasion, welcoming 50 lucky participants to watch the aircraft's arrival on the runway itself, and providing a tour of Airport Operations and Dulles' Ramp Tower.

LATAM Airlines begins inaugural service between Lima, Peru and Washington, DC on May 2nd, 2016.  LATAM is the result of LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines merging at the same time this inaugural flight took place; the LAN Airlines livery seen above has been discontinued.

LATAM Airlines begins inaugural service between Lima, Peru and Washington, DC on May 2nd, 2016.  LATAM is the result of LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines merging at the same time this inaugural flight took place; the LAN Airlines livery seen above has been discontinued.

Portrait of Manuel Rodriguez, Award Winning Chef, photographed making lamb chops in the kitchen of Kapnos Taverna by Mike Isabella.

Portrait of Manuel Rodriguez, Award Winning Chef, photographed making lamb chops in the kitchen of Kapnos Taverna by Mike Isabella.

An American Airlines Douglas DC-3 parked outside the original terminal building at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, formerly known as Washington National Airport.  The aircraft was on site to commemorate the airport's 75th anniversary, after opening it's doors on June 16th, 1941.

An American Airlines Douglas DC-3 parked outside the original terminal building at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, formerly known as Washington National Airport.  The aircraft was on site to commemorate the airport's 75th anniversary, after opening it's doors on June 16th, 1941.

Portrait of Rose Corps, a synth-pop musician and singer, photographed at CityCenterDC for promotional portraits before the release of her first two singles Frosted Glass and Making it Hard.

Portrait of Rose Corps, a synth-pop musician and singer, photographed at CityCenterDC for promotional portraits before the release of her first two singles Frosted Glass and Making it Hard.

Portrait of Rose Corps, a synth-pop musician and singer, photographed at CityCenterDC for promotional portraits before the release of her first two singles Frosted Glass and Making it Hard.

Portrait of Rose Corps, a synth-pop musician and singer, photographed at CityCenterDC for promotional portraits before the release of her first two singles Frosted Glass and Making it Hard.

Portrait of Rose Corps, a synth-pop musician and singer, photographed at CityCenterDC for promotional portraits before the release of her first two singles Frosted Glass and Making it Hard.

Portrait of Rose Corps, a synth-pop musician and singer, photographed at CityCenterDC for promotional portraits before the release of her first two singles Frosted Glass and Making it Hard.

Portrait of Rose Corps, a synth-pop musician and singer, photographed at CityCenterDC for promotional portraits before the release of her first two singles Frosted Glass and Making it Hard.

Portrait of Rose Corps, a synth-pop musician and singer, photographed at CityCenterDC for promotional portraits before the release of her first two singles Frosted Glass and Making it Hard.

Portrait of Savannah, a rising high school senior, Class of 2017, photographed at her stable where she cares for her horse Tosca, and trains with him for equestrian events.

Portrait of Savannah, a rising high school senior, Class of 2017, photographed at her stable where she cares for her horse Tosca, and trains with him for equestrian events.

Portrait of Savannah, a rising high school senior, Class of 2017, photographed at her stable where she cares for her horse Tosca, and trains with him for equestrian events.

Portrait of Savannah, a rising high school senior, Class of 2017, photographed at her stable where she cares for her horse Tosca, and trains with him for equestrian events.

Portrait of Alyssa McGuire, fitness coach and newborn photographer, photographed atop Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah, Virginia.

Portrait of Alyssa McGuire, fitness coach and newborn photographer, photographed atop Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah, Virginia.

Portrait of J. David Buerk, Washington, DC area commercial photographer, photographed by Alyssa McGuire atop Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah, Virginia.  Photo by Alyssa McGuire, edited by J. David Buerk.

Portrait of J. David Buerk, Washington, DC area commercial photographer, photographed by Alyssa McGuire atop Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah, Virginia.  Photo by Alyssa McGuire, edited by J. David Buerk.

Portrait of James Dingell, Airport Management Intern at Ronald Reagan National Airport for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, photographed on his last day working for the Dulles Jet Center, where he worked continuously for over 10 years.

Portrait of James Dingell, Airport Management Intern at Ronald Reagan National Airport for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, photographed on his last day working for the Dulles Jet Center, where he worked continuously for over 10 years.

A blue poison dart frog photographed at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, DC.

A blue poison dart frog photographed at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, DC.

Royal Air Maroc begins inaugural service between Casablanca, Morocco and Washington, DC on September 8th, 2016.

Royal Air Maroc begins inaugural service between Casablanca, Morocco and Washington, DC on September 8th, 2016.

A limited edition Translucent Pink autographed Lindsey Stirling "Shatter Me" 33 RPM vinyl on an Audio-Technica turntable.

A limited edition Translucent Pink autographed Lindsey Stirling "Shatter Me" 33 RPM vinyl on an Audio-Technica turntable.

Aerial photograph of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles, Virginia.  Photographed via helicopter, 250ft AGL.

Aerial photograph of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles, Virginia.  Photographed via helicopter, 250ft AGL.

"Superman" leads the way at the 23rd annual Dulles Day Plane Pull benefitting Special Olympics.  The Special Olympics team is always the first team to pull the FedEx 757 to kick off this family fun charity event which draws 10,000 - 15,000 visitors every year.

"Superman" leads the way at the 23rd annual Dulles Day Plane Pull benefitting Special Olympics.  The Special Olympics team is always the first team to pull the FedEx 757 to kick off this family fun charity event which draws 10,000 - 15,000 visitors every year.

Aerial photograph of Washington Dulles International Airport's iconic Main Terminal Building designed by architect Eero Saarinen.  Cranes which are part of the "Silver Line" rail construction project can be seen at the bottom of the frame, as construction of the Dulles Metro Station commences.  Photographed via helicopter, 500ft AGL.

Aerial photograph of Washington Dulles International Airport's iconic Main Terminal Building designed by architect Eero Saarinen.  Cranes which are part of the "Silver Line" rail construction project can be seen at the bottom of the frame, as construction of the Dulles Metro Station commences.  Photographed via helicopter, 500ft AGL.

A promotional image for the Dulles and Reagan concessions program, photographed at The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck; a new restaurant offering at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Photographs from this photoshoot were selected to be used as cover images for Shop & Dine guides at Dulles International and Reagan National airports.

A promotional image for the Dulles and Reagan concessions program, photographed at The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck; a new restaurant offering at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Photographs from this photoshoot were selected to be used as cover images for Shop & Dine guides at Dulles International and Reagan National airports.

View of the lounge area inside Turkish Airlines' new Business Lounge at Washington Dulles International Airport.

View of the lounge area inside Turkish Airlines' new Business Lounge at Washington Dulles International Airport.

A Turkish coffee with Turkish Delight served inside Turkish Airlines' new Business Lounge at Washington Dulles International Airport.

A Turkish coffee with Turkish Delight served inside Turkish Airlines' new Business Lounge at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Exterior promotional photo of Duty Free Americas after renovation at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Much of my work, many of which goes undisplayed on my website, is photographing commercial marketing imagery of concessions and products for the DC area's two airports.

Exterior promotional photo of Duty Free Americas after renovation at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Much of my work, many of which goes undisplayed on my website, is photographing commercial marketing imagery of concessions and products for the DC area's two airports.

Interior promotional photo of Duty Free Americas after renovation at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Much of my work, many of which goes undisplayed on my website, is photographing commercial marketing imagery of concessions and products for the DC area's two airports.

Interior promotional photo of Duty Free Americas after renovation at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Much of my work, many of which goes undisplayed on my website, is photographing commercial marketing imagery of concessions and products for the DC area's two airports.

Artist Katherine Riedel painting still-life in her Waterford, Virginia studio.

Artist Katherine Riedel painting still-life in her Waterford, Virginia studio.

The tide rolls in on the Chesapeake Bay with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the distance on a cool Summer day at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Maryland.

The tide rolls in on the Chesapeake Bay with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the distance on a cool Summer day at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Maryland.

Portrait of Katie, a rising high school senior, Class of 2017, photographed at her stable where she cares for her horse Retro, and trains with him for equestrian events.

Portrait of Katie, a rising high school senior, Class of 2017, photographed at her stable where she cares for her horse Retro, and trains with him for equestrian events.

Portrait of Katie, a rising high school senior, Class of 2017, photographed at her stable where she cares for her horse Retro, and trains with him for equestrian events.

Portrait of Katie, a rising high school senior, Class of 2017, photographed at her stable where she cares for her horse Retro, and trains with him for equestrian events.

Portrait of Katie, a rising high school senior, Class of 2017, photographed at her stable where she cares for her horse Retro, and trains with him for equestrian events.

Portrait of Katie, a rising high school senior, Class of 2017, photographed at her stable where she cares for her horse Retro, and trains with him for equestrian events.

Tire and rim detail on a bagged Ford Mustang at the first Regular Car Reviews car show in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania.

Tire and rim detail on a bagged Ford Mustang at the first Regular Car Reviews car show in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania.

A Translucent Green Lindsey Stirling eponymous LP 33 RPM vinyl on an Audio-Technica turntable. 

A Translucent Green Lindsey Stirling eponymous LP 33 RPM vinyl on an Audio-Technica turntable. 

Leo surprises Chelsea with a marriage proposal at the skating rink at Reston Town Center, Reston, Virginia.  She said yes!

Leo surprises Chelsea with a marriage proposal at the skating rink at Reston Town Center, Reston, Virginia.  She said yes!

Leo and Chelsea and their two dogs, upon getting engaged at the skating rink at Reston Town Center, Reston, Virginia.  She said yes!

Leo and Chelsea and their two dogs, upon getting engaged at the skating rink at Reston Town Center, Reston, Virginia.  She said yes!

2016 has been a great year in my photographic career, bringing me new experiences, introducing me to new faces, and taking me new places.  Here's to 2017 being just as interesting and continuing to take my career to new heights!  Thanks to all of my fans, and especially those who have helped to make my career the career of my dreams!  I'll see you all in 2017!

J. David Buerk, Washington, DC area commercial photographer, on Washington Dulles International Airport's R/W 1C high-speed hold-short line while photographing on assignment for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority during the All-Nippon Airways' "BB-8" Star Wars 777 event.  Photo edited by J. David Buerk.

J. David Buerk, Washington, DC area commercial photographer, on Washington Dulles International Airport's R/W 1C high-speed hold-short line while photographing on assignment for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority during the All-Nippon Airways' "BB-8" Star Wars 777 event.  Photo edited by J. David Buerk.

Christmas in St. Louis 2016

Not every year, but most years, my parents and I travel to St. Louis to visit our family; most of my extended family is from and lives in St. Louis, Missouri - as a result, St. Louis is something of a second home to me.  This year was no different, especially as my last remaining grandparent pushes past 96 years old.

Since this is more of a family trip, I'll be sharing some highlights of the trip.  I think the most logical way to do this is to break it up by day, since every day holds a different event.

Last Photoshoot of the Year

A lot of what I do for the Airports' concessions program is documenting events and brand activation.  This is exactly what I did for my last three photoshoots of the year... with Santa Claus.

After completing that and some photos of new retailers, I popped in to the Airport Managers Office (I used to work in this office at Dulles) to wish all my friend there a Merry Christmas before I left town the next day.  In Dennis' office (this actually used to be my physical office), I found a giant photo of Dennis' head that was apparently left over from some pranks - I had to get a picture with it.

I haven't determined yet if the head is from a picture I shot - my hunch is that it is :-)  This joke head will mean the most to folks in the Dulles aviation community

I haven't determined yet if the head is from a picture I shot - my hunch is that it is :-)  This joke head will mean the most to folks in the Dulles aviation community

Arrival

Usually the trip by car has poor weather and slow pacing, but the weather is unseasonably warm and dry, and the trip was made in 15hrs non-stop (barring gas / bathroom breaks and driver swaps), making it one of the rare time the journey was made non-stop on the way there.

In the middle of nowhere Illinois I woke up from a nap and looked out the window to see the most stars I've ever seen all at once in my entire life.  Light pollution really is a shame, and even though I travel this route almost every year, I've never seen such a clear sky - usually the sky is threatening snow this time of year.  The biggest reason I moved to a 1D X years ago (rather than the 5D Mark III at the time) is its incredible low-light abilities.  On a whim, I tried shooting the stars from a moving car.  Even though I really dislike the 24-105mm f/4 IS USM lens (for reasons I may get into in another blog post - I only purchased it to do video work earlier this year), I've found it to be the most versatile zoom lens I've used... so despite its many shortcomings and my many frustrations with it, it is a good travel lens; this is what I brought with me on this trip.

The one thing that does shine on this lens it the image stabilizer, which allowed me to shoot 1 second exposures handheld wide open at ISO 51,200 to capture the stars.  Remember, this is from the backseat of a car going 80MPH - the image stabilizer combined with the fantastic sensor of the 1D X allowed me to really push the limits of what is possible; I ended up with a pretty good picture considering I did it under the most adverse conditions for night sky photography.

1D X • EF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM • 24mm • 1s • f/4 • ISO 51,200

1D X • EF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM • 24mm • 1s • f/4 • ISO 51,200

Christmas Eve

It's been quite a few years since my family attended Christmas Eve mass; as my parents and relatives age, it's made more sense to choose an earlier vigil mass time.  Christmas (Eve) mass with my family at All Saints Catholic Church in St. Peters, Missouri is a tradition I look forward to every year because how beautiful the small church always is at Christmas.  This is the church where my parents were married, I was baptized, and most funerals in my family have taken place. The priest who celebrated this mass actually knows my family very well, since he visits my grandfather (who was a eucharistic minister for this parish until he aged to a point where he can no longer leave home).

Christmas Day

Christmas in my family always works out pretty conveniently.  My mom's side has always had Christmas in the morning (after Christmas lunch), and my Dad's side has always traditionally had Christmas in the evening (after Christmas dinner).  This works great, because it means we can attend both Christmas gatherings without missing any of the festivities from both sides of my family.

My grandfather on my mom's side has always been fascinated with flight, although he never got a pilot's license; he's like me in that sense (though I hope to one day).  He sees all the stuff I get to do with aviation and in a way lives vicariously through me.  This year, someone showed him video from my glider flights, and he's been asking for prints of the photos ever since; this Christmas I brought him prints of the glider flights, plus photos from other helicopter flights and my trip in a hot air balloon.  My cousin's kid Alex always loves to take pictures with my camera, so I asked him to get pictures of my and my grandfather together.

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy: Winter of 2017

I always let him play with my camera, so here is a small selection of ones Alex shot on my camera.  I of course edited these for color to match my own eye, but he's pretty good - no other edits were needed.

Next was Christmas for my Dad's side, at my Aunt Diane's.

My cousin Scott has a new 3 month old puppy, Danica (named after Danica Patrick, of course; Scott is a huge NASCAR fan).  She's a sweet Jack Russell Terrier with energy abound; she made friends with my cousin Sarah's dog Oliver, and the two dogs played non-stop all day.

So here is me with all my cousins on my Dad's side.

Mom's Birthday

My mom's birthday is right by Christmas, so traditionally it marks our last day in town so she can celebrate her birthday with family.  This year, like the last prior few, has been more subdued, and more-so focused spending time with my grandfather, whose age is beginning to catch up with him; that hasn't stopped his sense of humor though.

Departure

The trip back home was pretty regular, and we actually made spectacular time.  During a stop I watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I've seen in my entire life... ruined by gas station and power line sprawl.  And conditions were great until they weren't hitting a snowstorm bounding in the mountains of West Virginia; you'll have to watch the video for that.  We did make it home safely and in still in record time for the return trip... I still prefer flying this trip though.

Video Footage

Something I've done a bit more work with over the last year, as you may know, is video; as a result, I've been incorporating video into my personal work a little bit more as well.  Some pretty cool footage of the West Virginia snowstorm at the tail end!