Last week after a photoshoot at DCA, I dropped by Gravelly Point for a few minutes since I was feeling up to it (I am recovering from a shoulder injury). I didn’t stay long, but couldn’t resist the beautiful weather. I snapped some photos, but really wanted to try the EOS R shooting 4K through a 400mm lens, which equates to 700mm with the EOS R’s 4K crop. In short, 700mm handheld makes for great photos, but is really hard for video (duh).
The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.
I've been sitting on a huge backlog of personal photos I've been working through; this set of plane spotting photos from Gravelly Point were edited and completed within a week of me shooting them, but somehow I forgot to get them online. So here are some highlights for you to enjoy - some Summer sunset planespotting for you.
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.
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.
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.
Even flight crew stopped by to with Santa a safe Christmas flight and show off their holiday cheer!
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!
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!
Before going back inside, Orville greeted passengers boarding the outbound flight, giving high-fives and taking selfies.
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.
...and of course on the way there Orville had to join in singing with the carolers!
This morning, AirlineGeeks.com features a profile of me, highlighting my aviation photography, and giving a glimpse into what it’s like when I cover large-scale corporate events. I invite you to read the full article on the AirlineGeeks website by clicking here or the article preview below.
It is an immeasurable honor that my photography has inspired a profile to be written about me and my work. I’m proud to work so closely with so many people at Dulles International and Reagan National airports, amongst the Airports Authority, the airlines, and their partners, all of whom work hard to keep the DC airports operating smoothly, and welcoming passengers the whole-world over.
I especially have to thank Ryan from AirlineGeeks for shadowing and interviewing me during the Air India inaugural a few weeks ago. I also must thank Airport Operations; without their skilled assistance, I would never be able to cover airfield actives with the depth I capture. Finally I must thank my many partners in the numerous PR, marketing, communications, and media departments and outlets I have worked with over the years - it is because of their efforts on many projects that my photos have been presented to a global audience.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me in growing my career to where it stands today - today marks a true milestone; I can’t begin to describe how honored I am to be receiving such recognition, and I am excited to learn the next heights my career will take. Thank you!