Blog

The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

Summer Lightning Storm

With all the storms we've had the last two weeks, I thought you might enjoy some of the prettier and more dramatic sights and sounds inclement weather can bring.  I captured this lightning storm on May 15th, 2018, the day after our most recent derecho; unfortunately the Mind Flayer did not make an appearance. #StrangerThings

Scared To Be Lonely: Spring of 2018

DCA Planespotting - May 17th, 2018

Just like I did two weeks ago, I decided to drop into Gravelly Point after a photoshoot at DCA.  This time I only spent 10 minutes there, because it was raining, but I wanted to stop and check out the view, because it was raining.  Sometimes inclement weather can lead to more interesting action shots than a "perfect" clear day, because water vapor can condense and leave trails and vortices that add a little something extra. Sadly this was not the case that day, but I did get an interesting view through the approach lighting, and spoke with a couple who stopped on their bikes to enjoy the view and ask about my attention-grabbing lens.

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I also managed to capture this arrival and departure through the approach lights; this is 400mm handheld, and I didn't bring my microphone, so just enjoy the footage for what it is :-)

DCA Planespotting - May 4th, 2018

Despite all the aviation photography I capture, I've only been to Gravelly Point a handful of times; twice on dates, and a few other times just to stop in the parking lot and check my phone before hitting the road after leaving a photoshoot at DCA proper.  This may be shocking to you, but I've never photographed at Gravelly Point before.  Never.  I've just never taken the time to, since I normally am photographing on assignment on an active airfield for my aviation work.

Friday, Star Wars Day, was no different; I had left DCA after a full day of photographing and decided to stop and respond to a few texts before hitting the GW Parkway, except this time I actually had my telephoto with me and was in no rush, so I decided to hop out and see what I could capture for a few minutes.  Plus, it was odd lighting; the sun was setting, but a storm was moving in at the same time.

Before I left DCA I did spot one of these HC-144 Ocean Sentries; I heard there was a whole group that had flown in while I was there, but I only saw this one taxiing.  That was before I left DCA though.

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Now enjoy these photos I captured in a span of only 20min at Gravelly Point.  Gravelly Point geographically lies just over 1,000ft from end of R/W 19, squarely below the runway's glide slope on the Potomac River, giving an impressive perspective of aircraft turning to final only a few hundred feet overhead.

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The park also offers some great views of the DC skyline, though I didn't venture very far off the runway centerline; I have still never been to the waterfront at Gravelly Point, so I don't know what other views it may offer.

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I also decided to try catching video of one of the arrivals; with the storm moving in, all aircraft were performing crosswind landings, which, while routine flying for experienced pilots, is still impressive to see, especially to the uninitiated like some of the other onlookers enjoying the finally-warm weather in the park.

2018 Virginia Gold Cup

Another year, and another Virginia Gold Cup in the books!

This was on my second Gold Cup, and it took a bit of convincing to get me to go again after last year's disastrous first attendance; I am happy to report that I did not get assaulted and threatened with physical violence by any random attendees like I did at last year's rainy mud-fest of a horse-race.  In fact, if you watched the Kentucky Derby today, the weather at that event mirrored the Gold Cup's weather one year ago.  Although it did sprinkle off and on as the afternoon went on, it was still much drier and enjoyable than the introductory fiasco from last year.

One benefit to being a muddy mess is it makes for dramatic pictures.  I admittedly was more focused on relaxing than capturing photos this year, and my placement during the event was at the beginning of the home-stretch, not at the finish line like last year; for those reasons, I feel last year's photos turned out more dramatic, but that's no problem.

Since I presented last year's muddy photos in grungy black and white, I am sharing this year's captures in color.  If you'd like to see all the photos in color and black and white (or even make a purchase), you can do so by viewing the gallery here.

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Arterra Wines

Burnt out from last year's rain, we had a rain contingency plan this year since the weather was forecasted to be spotty; after enjoying a nice picnic lunch and spectating several of the races, the rain started rolling in and we packed up to head to a nearby winery.  Being wine people, we'd visited quite a few of the nearest ones (Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn is a unanimous favorite), so with a bit of driving around we landed on Aterra Wines; a small, modern rustic barn tasting room with a selection of varietal and blended wines.  With bold, fruity flavors and low tannins, this winery's offerings are on the sweeter side, and wine drinkers of all places on the sweet / dry spectrum will find a refreshing Summer wine to enjoy with a snack here.  This hit the spot on a warm, rainy day!

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Upon leaving The Plains, we spotted a controlled burn on the mountain opposite us; it appeared to be burning piles of branches from felled trees, with the satisfying smell to accompany this educated guess.

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Katie's Cars and Coffee: April 28th, 2018

It's been almost two years since I visited Katie's (though I thought I went last Summer, however don't have any pictures from it).  It was nice to get out to a car show again; I went to the Ferrari Club of America Spring Thaw last week, but Katie's has offerings from every make, model, era, and style, so I find it more enjoyable.

A friend of mine is borrowing a tilt-shift lens for fun to learn how they work, so this time I brought along my under-loved TS-E 90mm f/2.8; Canon's first tilt-shift lens ever, first introduced in 1991, and the world's first telephoto length 35mm tilt-shift lens - at 90mm, this lens is designed for tabletop product photography, such as foods, but I've found use for it as a portrait lens, and in my wedding photography for capturing wedding rings.  As it turns out, the lens my friend was borrowing was Nikon's 28mm f/3.5 PC, which only features a shift adjustment; no tilt - the PC stands for Perspective Correction.  Perspective adjustments via shift are useful for architectural photography; any focus plane effects you see in the photos below are tilt only, as I don't have use for shift in these types of images, plus the effect of shift on this focal length has very few useful applications.

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The RTR Mustang was a spot I almost missed.

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The heavily modified 350Z got a lot of attention.  While it's not my taste, it was well built.  I gathered that this is an example build for a local performance garage (there was a matching Ford truck also at the show).

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Algonkian Regional Park

After Katie's, we met up with Imran and decided to go to Algonkian Regional Park to at least enjoy some of the nice weather, and play with the 28mm f/3.5 PC (Great Falls was too packed).  I still have not been hiking since reconstructive knee surgery in October, and this was also a good warm-up / test, since Algonkian is just a simple dirt path.  There happened to be a 50 mile / 50K / 10K / 5K race sponsored by The North Face going on while we were there, and the thought of such a distance alone makes my knee ache.  I had pushed myself running a 5K the day before (my limit right now seems to be two 5Ks per week), so my knee was already hurting before we even got there.  Though for day-to-day I am 100%, athletically my knee is still recovering.

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