Blog

The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

Leo and Chelsea: The Proposal

Leo and Chelsea have been dating since 2008.  The two met each other through friends at George Mason, and in the early times of their relationship, including their first date, they spent hours standing by the Reston Town Center skating rink talking into the wee hours of morning.  The two have been inseparable since they met and got together.  They graduated together; Leo watched Chelsea start her career with the Fairfax County Park Authority, and Chelsea watched Leo become a Fairfax County Police Officer.

Leo and I have known each other since high school; we had a math class together, and I always admired his car since we parked right by each other.  Incidentally, I met Chelsea in a psychology class at Mason.  So when Leo contacted me and told me he's popping the question, of course I was going to be there for them!

Because their relationship began in the plaza by the skating rink, it's only natural that that's the spot Leo had chosen to drop to one knee and pop the question.  The plan was simple; take Chelsea on a little date before Leo's family's weekly dinner... little did Chelsea know that it was just a ruse to get her back to the spot where it all began.  But that wasn't the biggest surprise Leo had in store for her; he had both their families and friends standing by waiting so they could all be witness to this big moment in their life together.

Leo had been giving me updates all afternoon, and when I spotted them, I hid behind some columns alongside the skating rink, just across from where they'd stopped.  Leo and Chelsea's longtime friends Emily and Ted had positioned themselves just across from me behind a directory to secretly film.  Finally it was time; Leo pointed out their family and friends, and even their dogs Calvin and Ollie, hidden in plain sight across the street, and dropped to one knee.

She said yes!

Some of the skaters had noticed what was going on the instant Leo dropped to one knee, and when he slipped on the ring and the kissed, the entire skating rink cheered for newly engaged Leo and Chelsea along with their family and friends.

Weddings

Coincidentally, while waiting for Leo and Chelsea to arrive, I spotted another couple get engaged; you never know if a couple has a photographer for marriage proposals, so I snapped away when I spotted the gentleman dropping to one knee, and got them my contact information before they walked away.  If you are this couple, please contact me so I can deliver your pictures.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park: August, 2016

Continuing with my focus on closing out personal projects from 2016, here are photos from a trip to the National Zoo.  This was only the second time I've been to DC's Zoo (I've been to the St. Louis Zoo many times), and I actually barely remember my first time, which was in middle school. The only thing I remember from that field trip was we had to do some lame scavenger hunt, and we finished at the prairie dogs before getting back onto the bus.  This trip was much more enjoyable, however I STILL have not seen a panda, and this trip was on Bao Bao, Bei Bei, and Tian Tian's birthday; I saw the cake but not the pandas!  Same goes for the elephants; the exhibit was completely open, but the elephants were nowhere to be found.

I thought the most fascinating birds were the Roseate spoonbills, which apparently are very common in Central America, and into parts of the US' Gulf Coast.  These guys were not very intimidated and would freely walk close by.

Katie's Cars and Coffee: August 20th, 2016

I'm slowly catching up on my backlog of personal work from this year; here are some pictures I took at Katie's Cars and Coffee back in August.

Yes, you saw that right; that last picture is indeed an LS swapped Polaris Slingshot.  The owner blew the original (tuned and modded) motor on a track, and dropped in an LS, doubling the cylinders as well as the batshit-insane-ness of this Slingshot - remember, all those 500+ horsepower are routed to a single rear wheel; better make that rubber thick and grippy, because this is a 24/7 smoky burnout machine.  Other mods beside engine and tuning include weight reduction, suspension, and big, beefy brakes to stop this beast.

2016 Waterford Fair

For several years now I've been making it a point to visit the Waterford Fair annually, although last year the Fair was cancelled due to flooding, but the town of Waterford, Virginia made up for it a month later with the Art Harvest.

This year was a little rainy, but that wasn't enough to keep me away, and it certainly wasn't a flood, even if it was caused by a hurricane just like in 2015.  My first stop was at a woodworker, who has begun making pens this year in addition to his other goods.  I bought my 6th fountain pen, and it's my absolute favorite, and my daily writer now; Hawaiian Koa with 24K Gold Nib.

Other stops I always make include buying honey from Loudoun Center Apiaries (1 bottle of their light honey lasts me the entire year!), the antique farm equipment display, the corner store to buy lamb sausage for slow grilling later on, and the beltmaker who I buy a belt from every year; he actually recognizes me now.

I always go through each art and photography gallery, mostly to admire the skills that other artists have that I lack - I so wish I could paint.  On this same note, I usually stop in on Katherine Riedel's studio for a moment or two, but this time we actually got to talking about my unexplored desires to learn to paint (specifically watercolors, if you're wondering).  Katherine and I spoke for about a half hour, and listening to her talk about art and paint and shape was so interesting I wish I'd been able to turn it into a full interview / spotlight.  I did ask if I could film her painting for a bit; the gourds and pumpkins in the video is what she was working on when I dropped by.

Finally, I always visit the wine tasting section (shocker, I know).  This is probably one of the best ways to go wine tasting for a beginner, because the 5 or 6 wineries that have booths all give an abbreviated tasting.  Most tastings at a winery sample ~6 - 12 wines, while each tasting at the Waterford Fair samples ~4 - 6; that means if you do the full tasting at Waterford of all the wineries, you're sampling ~25 - 30 different wines!  For $20 including a souvenir glass, this is an incredible bargain considering the amount of variety (and frankly, sheer amount, especially considering some of the wineries are heavy pourers); a full tasting at just a single one of these wineries including a glass will always run above $20, and here you're getting to try FIVE!  If you find a winery you especially like, you can buy bottles right at the tasting, or you can go visit their actual location some other day.  I've been to all but two of the wineries at the Fair this year, and with all the vineyards I've visited, I'm pretty well versed in Virginia wine (hint: I generally dislike Virginia wines - actually, I've noticed I generally dislike most American wines).  I have three favorite Virginia wineries, and unfortunately none of them display at Waterford - that is just personal preference and nothing against the wineries present at Waterford; most of them are very good and are highly regarded.  I even got a little something to bring back from Creek's Edge.

And don't forget to watch the video to see some of this stuff in action.

Senior Katie - Portraits In Virginia Horse Country

Summer has ended, the leaves are changing, and the hooves are galloping.  This Fall, Katie and her silly horse Retro shot senior portraits with me at their stable in Loudoun County, Virginia.

Like Savannah (who I photographed with her horse earlier this Summer), Katie has been riding horses for years, and now competes in equestrian showjumping events.  Katie is a Senior at my high-school alma mater, and will be graduating with the Class of 2017.

These horse themed portrait sessions are so much fun; I have so much respect for these beautiful animals and the people who love and take care of them.  I still, unfortunately, have never ridden a horse, but hopefully I will soon change that.  Who knows; someday maybe I'll be an avid horse person too!

Retro is another very well trained and obedient horse, and he was actually so comfortable during shooting that he even began to doze off with Katie on his back!  He and the other horses in the stable were very friendly, and between shots even nuzzled, licked, and followed me for a bit.  I felt right at home!