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The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

Harpers Ferry: Maryland Heights Trail

Summer is unfortunately drawing to a close, and after several consecutive weekends of thunderstorms and blazing humidity, this past weekend offered temperatures in the low 70s, so local hiking staple, the Maryland Heights Trail in Harper’s Ferry was an obvious choice for a hiking fast fix. Unsurprisingly, it was an easy choice for everyone else in the region itching for some outdoors time after some Summer cabin-fever, making the summit, which I’ve visited when deserted on multiple occasions, the busiest I’ve ever seen it. It’s a beautiful, albeit locally stereotypical, overlook a bit over 300 feet above the Potomac River and Civil War era town beneath. Its steep climb means you reach the summit in ~40min at a moderate pace, making the 3.3mi round trip (skipping the 2.2mi Stone Fort Trail Loop) taxing for the distance covered, but quickly worth the extra uphill effort. This trip was the first time I’ve seen a train use the Southern CSX rail line, however I was on the summit, not the rail bridge like I’d have preferred (just to finally experience how sketchy standing on a rail bridge with a train rumbling alongside feels). Before heading over to the trailhead, I head up High Street to look for evidence of the 2015 fire, which engulfed shops I’ve visited, and impacted a restaurant I ate at just months before the mysterious fire broke out. Evidence of rebuilding is there if you look closely enough, but to the ordinary unaware passerby, you wouldn’t be able to tell a difference - they did good work restoring the historic area!

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Bonus: Photos of me at the summit, and see 4K footage of trains and the over-friendly moth. The video footage was shot handheld at 720mm, so yeah, difficult to hold perfectly still at that focal length.

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David and Tiffany: Married July 6th, 2019

Although their wedding was two days after Independence Day, David and Tiffany kept the fireworks going for their Summer wedding day in Arlington; a fitting contrast to their Autumn engagement session in Shenandoah.

As with many traditional Chinese weddings, David and Tiffany celebrated among family and friends with a dinner party, which gave us extra time for portraits that steamy July afternoon. After exploring sites inside and around their hotel in Arlington, it was time to head to a nearby Chinese banquet hall to greet family and dear friends before the small ceremony began. Following toasts from close friends, the ten-course dinner feast was served, offering a spectrum of traditional and American Chinese flavors. And of course there was cake and champagne to conclude the meal as guests began parting ways for the evening.

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After the formal events had wrapped up, a small afterparty group met at Whitlow’s On Wilson in nearby Clarendon to buy David and Tiffany some drinks and enjoy some dancing to 90s and 2000s rock hits for the first time as newlyweds.

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Taste Leesburg

This weekend, after attending the Lexus Experience Amazing Drive Event (photos coming very soon), I stumbled onto the Taste Leesburg street food festival with some friends. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve really explored old town Leesburg, and between barhopping Leesburg for a friend’s birthday a few months ago, and walking around this weekend sampling the restaurants, food trucks, stores, and local wineries and breweries, I’ve happily learned that Leesburg has quite clearly undergone a revitalization since I last explored it in depth.

I’m not sure if Taste Leesburg is a new food festival, or if I’ve just been missing out for a long time, because I usually go to similar festivals in DC, Reston, Herndon, Fairfax, and even further West into Aldie, Middleburg, and Waterford. All participants got a tasting glass, and I was very surprised at how generous all the vendors were being with the servings of their samplings. Of the local wineries that had tables this weekend, I’ve visited about half of them in person at some point or another. Full sets were played by King Street Kats, Hard Swimmin’ Fish, and Hungry on Mondays.

Silly me, I had my camera and took pictures of everything except the food! I didn’t take a single picture of any food or drink, even on my phone, which is crazy considering the event. But enjoy some photos of the festival as a whole and a few things that caught my eye along the way!

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Fredericksburg Antiquing

Heading to the DC Big Flea tomorrow? Kick off your weekend with some Fredericksburg antique shop finds from last weekend!

I didn’t pick anything up this time, but window shopping in antique shops is exciting to me enough on its own, plus I discovered a new favorite singer in one of the stores, so I have new albums I’m eating up as a result.

Always bring home memories, even if they’re not physical.

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Old Rag Mountain: August, 2018

Lately I’ve been slowly working my way through unedited personal sets in my photo library. This week’s offering is from last Summer, when I finally got to hike Old Rag once again. After my Spring, 2017 knee mishap which led to surgery and a long recovery in PT, this was my first time hiking Old Rag since making a full recovery.

My friend Patrick, who you may recognize from many of my car posts, and I hit the trail on a steamy August mid-morning. I’d come to find out later that day there were other people I know on the mountain at the same time we were, but we simply never crossed paths; funny how that works sometimes.

Old Rag is the tallest peak in Shenandoah National Park, and naturally provides some of the most incredible panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley. It is known for its extensive granite rock scrambles along the trail with some locations along the trail and at the summit offering opportunities for bouldering or full-on rock climbing for those feeling more daring.

All photos in this post are available for print here.

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If you’re unfamiliar, parts of the trail run through and under the massive granite boulders; here, the trail proceeds up a natural staircase inside the opening between the rocks, in the center of the frame below. As you ascend and eventually descend the mountain, you can changes in foliage, ground composition, and wildlife.

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