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.
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.
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.
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.