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The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

NASA's Orville and Santa Claus Visit the Dulles Funway

This past Wednesday, just a few days before taking off on his 'round the World trip to deliver toys to all girls and boys on his nice list, Santa and Mrs. Claus landed at the Dulles Funway to meet kids and wish them a Merry Christmas.

Santa's timing was perfect; Orville, NASA's flying squirrel mascot (named after Orville Wright), also dropped by to present Santa Claus with Quiet Super-Santa Transport (QueSST) technology which will enable him to circumnavigate the World faster and quieter than ever before, thanks to NASA Aeronautics.

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After the technology transfer, it was time to relax and have some fun; Santa and Orville spent some time playing with kids awaiting their flights at the Dulles Funway kids play area.

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Even flight crew stopped by to with Santa a safe Christmas flight and show off their holiday cheer!

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All that play wore Santa out, and he decided to get a massage at Be Relax in Dulles' Concourse B.  He is sure to now be loosened up and ready to fly tomorrow night!

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Meanwhile, Orville had decided to head outside and check out the aircraft; he is a flying squirrel after all!  A Southwest flight was just arriving and he helped marshal in the 737, and even  assisted ramp crew offload luggage!

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Before going back inside, Orville greeted passengers boarding the outbound flight, giving high-fives and taking selfies.

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As his day came to a close, Orville checked the flight status boards to see when he was scheduled to take off from Dulles; thankfully, Travelers Aid was there to help Orville find his way to the gate.

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...and of course on the way there Orville had to join in singing with the carolers!

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Black Friday: 25% Off Portraits and Engagement Sessions

The Black Friday Sale

25% Off Portrait and Engagement Sessions

This offer is not applicable for commercial work / commercial business clients, weddings, newborns, pets, or existing bookings.  Portrait sessions are booked per hour, and headshot / professional portrait sessions are priced by delivered volume.  Sessions must be booked for a date before March 1st, 2018.  Deposit is due at time of booking confirmation and is non-refundable.  Discounted rates are applicable to photography session fee only; discount does not apply to any other fees, including but not limited to permits, parking, travel, or print products.

Holiday portraits with deadlines (ex: Holiday Cards and prints), please say so upfront; space for these sessions is very limited, as deadlines must be given consideration.

Hurry; this deal ends 12:01AM Friday, December 1st, 2017 (or if no more openings are available; whichever comes first)!  Understand that holiday volume makes December slots sell out first; this posting will be updated if December sessions are no longer available for December holiday delivery.  I also reserve the right to decline an inquiry if I feel your needs don't match up with my photography.

Reserve Your Session Here

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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.

2016 Dulles Day Plane Pull and 5K / 10K on the Runway

Dulles Day 5K / 10K On the Runway

In 1993 Dulles International Airport held the World's very first Plane Pull, a charity event in partnership with Special Olympics, that began a phenomenon of other plane pull charity events worldwide.  In 2013, Dulles added a 5K (and in 2014 a 10K) to Dulles Day.  While technically the 5K / 10K is a separate event from the Plane Pull, it is always held on the morning of as the newest annual part of Dulles Day.  Each year 2,500 participants are able to run on R/W 1R and return to the Start / Finish via T/W K.  It is one of Potomac River Running's most popular runs, both because it offers the unique opportunity to be a pedestrian on an airfield (and run under the wing of a United 777), and there is no other run of that distance which offers a perfectly flat venue other than a track.

In previous years I've been on the ground for photos (thank you to Airport Operations for always providing me with speedy transport anywhere I need to go), but this year I was in the helicopter circling the event to capture new angles and promo photos I haven't gotten for this event before. In contrast to the other photographers at the event who are tasked with capturing each runner's photo, my assignment for the Plane Pull each year is to document the entire day and capture marketing photographs in a photojournalistic manner.

Thanks to an unexpected, last-minute delay of the race start, I was able to capture some great photos and video footage of the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center before the run got underway.

Also visible is Washington Dulles International Airport's Concourses and Terminal, ATCT, VMF, and R/W 12/30.

Huge thanks to Bussman Aviation and all the fine folks in Dulles Airport Operations who make aerial photography and the entire day possible!

If you're looking for the video footage, scroll to the bottom of this blog post.

Dulles Day Plane Pull

The Dulles Day Plane Pull is a Summer festival suitable for all ages, and is great for families and aviation enthusiasts alike.  There are food vendors, games, giveaways, booths and displays, demonstrations, a classic car show, ARFF and Mobile Lounge rides / tours, live music, and ~50 private, vintage, and military aircraft on display, but the main attraction is the Plane Pull itself; ~100 teams compete in pulling a FedEx 757 or a United A320.

The first pull to kick off the day every year is always the Special Olympics team.  This year they had a little help from Superman!

Another notable team is the Fairfax County Police Department.  Dulles's property crosses over between Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, and many of the teams that compete are police and sheriffs offices in the surrounding communities.  The police community is already a tightly knit brotherhood, and that family is brought together every year with this friendly competition amongst neighboring jurisdictions.

Something of my own tradition I've begun since I began documenting the Plane Pull in 2013, every year I capture an aerial portrait of Eero Saarinen's famous Dulles Main Terminal Building.  This year’s Plane Pull was overcast - excellent for pictures of people and scenes, but not the most flattering light for glamour shots of buildings.  The iconic Main Terminal Building is seen here with ongoing construction for the Dulles Metrorail Project entering the bottom of the frame, including excavation and two cranes.

For 10 straight years now eyes have been on the Chesapeake Sheriff's Office; the team with an outright dominant reign as the Dulles Plane Pull's fastest.  They successfully defended their title for the 10th year in a row, with a time of 4.872s; 2016's fastest pull, however just short of setting a new Plane Pull record - a record of 4.753 they set in 2015.

The Dulles Day Plane Pull is also a planespotter's / AVGeek's dream; ATC does their best to route as much international, heavy, and otherwise interesting traffic to the nearby center runway.  Guests are encouraged to bring their cameras, and it's common for folks to come just to grab a lobster roll and planespot alongside the taxilane the entire afternoon in anticipation of spotting a jumbo like Lufthansa's 747-8i or Air France's A380.  This is completely in addition to the static private, vintage, and military aircraft on display.

Once again, I have to thank Bussman Aviation and all the fine folks in Dulles Airport Operations who make aerial photography and the entire day possible!  I rely on these fantastic folks to get me from A to B in speedy fashion, and what I do wouldn't be possible without them!

Video Footage

Here is a collection of the video footage I captured at this year's annual 2016 Dulles Plane Pull benefitting Special Olympics Virginia. Still photographs are my main focus, so this is content I captured between the still photos I captured to document the day.

Katie's Cars and Coffee, November 2nd, 2013

It's been quite some time since my last visit to Katie's, but now that I've wrapped up some client shoots I've had waiting, and am back in the area after several trips, I decided to stop by Katie's.  There were some interesting additions to be seen; until last weekend, I'd only seen one C7 Corvette Stingray in the wild, out at Leesburg Outlets of all places.  It's clear that the takeover is imminent, because there were 5 C7s that I counted at Katie's this past weekend - I wouldn't be shocked if there were more.  It won't be long before these beautiful cars will become commonplace, and, well, not shocking anymore, like most Corvettes (sorry Corvette lovers...  it's true.  But don't be sad; Ferrari has quite a few models that are the same way.  Let the flames begin...).  I think it looks good in silver, but better (evil) in black.  The Corvette finally has been given a proper, though long overdue, refresh.

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With the time change, Cars and Coffee began wayyyy before the sun was up, but this also prompted some folks to show up a bit later, and run Cars and Coffee a bit longer.  Even given the Daylight Savings Time change, I think most people missed seeing the Shelby GLHS, and Washington Nationals Right Fielder Jayson Werth arrive in his lifted F-250.  This was the first I can recall seeing a Carrera GT in person.

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This street rod and Toyobaru are what I love about Katie's; it's about car  enthusiasts coming together to appreciate car culture, young and old, stock and modified.  Katie's is very Come As You Are.  Anything and everything can fit in.

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And the most Jalopnik-ist car ever goes to?...

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...and yes, it was a diesel.

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"Ohhhhhh shit....  OHHHHHH shit!  Shit, shit, shit!  Ohhhhh shit!...  Awwwwwwwwwwww......."

This thing died pretty hard; note the black smoke as the engine says it's had enough.  It got trailered home... but not before the amazing reactions of the two gentlemen riding it.

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This blog post has been republished by J. David Buerk onto Oppositelock.  For the full set of photos, view the album at his Facebook Page. All photography is by J. David Buerk, and is copyrighted All Rights Reserved.