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The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

NASA SCA and Space Shuttles at Dulles 1 Year Anniversary

Happy Anniversary! Can you believe it? Just one very short year ago today, I was present for modern history where I shot this photo of Space Shuttle Discovery arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport, where it now calls the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center home, less than 3 miles from my home.

In a year's time I've met a lot of great people and done a lot of great things. I especially want to thank my friend Jim, who was on board this flight, for everything he's done; and a big thank you to the crew who also has been very friendly and welcoming to me. Huge thank you to Dennis for getting me involved in last year's historic events in a big way, and Erik for supporting me in pursuing my photography.

And to all those I have met and connected with in the last year, thank you all for making the last year a very special one - one for the history books!

Also, due to renewed popular demand, I've made my highlight photos of last year's NASA SCA and Space Shuttle Transport Missions available for order on my client site, for those of you who were not part of the NASA Crew or Fifty for 50th Event. Enjoy!

Here's a recap of what my week looked like just 1 short year ago:

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Eero Saarinen's Dulles Airport Main Terminal

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This January I was commissioned by Washington Dulles International Airport's Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to photograph Eero Saarinen's historic Main Terminal building.  When MWAA employees retire, they are presented with a commemorative photograph of the Airport's Main Terminal, normally signed by other employees who worked closely with them, giving support and leaving their good wishes.  Even I received one when my 7 years with the Airports Authority came to a close.

This photo is, however, dark, out of date, and no longer known where the negative is for reproduction.  The Airport wanted an updated version; a portrait of the historic Airport at its 50 year anniversary.  One that is bright and shows how the Airport has flourished.  It's a pretty picture; I like it a lot!... but it's reached its time, and I was tasked with creating a suitable replacement.  Quite an honor!!!

The photograph was taken from an unusual angle not often seen; most photos of the Terminal are shot from the West, given the ease of access to Daily Garage 2.  The retirement photograph is shot from the East, which requires access to the Signature Flight Support hangar's upper rooftop - the decision to shoot from this same angle was easy, as it is so unique.  Weather was a constant factor, and it took 3 attempted shooting days to get the final image.  Below are some of the shots I took while on the rooftop, waiting for the perfect lighting, chronologically from my first attempts to the final image.

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It was very strange seeing an aircraft depart for Germany that I know I've been aboard, and was present for its very first landing at Dulles.

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Finally I had the shot I was looking for; dramatic sky, and a brightly lit Terminal.  The lighting on the Terminal wasn't quite warmed up yet, so the final image actually is a composite of two exposures to bring the dynamic range back to what was visible at shooting.  I had been focusing on wider shots since that was what the previous photo had been, but I quickly noticed that a zoomed view offered greater perspective and overal character to the image.  My gut was right, and the Airport unanimously chose my final shot of the Terminal; zoomed in to 140mm, with vibrant streaking across the sky.

The final photo is available for print purchase on my client site here.

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The Airport LOVED it.  Absolutely LOVED it.  I was shocked how much; I actually got hugged when they saw it, and it quickly got around to other offices - the Finance Department will actually be using the image as the cover for Dulles' latest Annual Report, along with several other of my images inside.  The photo was an exercise in Photoshop as well, as there were two large utility trucks parked in front of the Terminal that proved challenging to remove; the end result is quite stunning!

Finally, as I turned to leave, my gear already packed in my bag, I saw the new full Moon, orange on the horizon as it had just risen as the sun set; I quickly set my gear back up and got a moon shot before retiring from the Signature Flight Support rooftop, a new portrait of Dulles saved to my camera's CF card.

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ANA 25th Anniversary at IAD: UPDATE!

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Press

UPDATED (August  11th, 2011):  Two of my ANA photographs have been featured in USA Today's Travel section photo gallery, accompanying an article about ANA's Annivesary flight.  Check out the article and the gallery (images 24 and 27).

A brief update on my coverage of ANA's 25th Anniversary flight between Tokyo and Washington, D.C.:  My photography was featured in an article on anna.aero last week, and now this week is featured on the cover of Capital Newspaper (Japanese).

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ANA 25th Anniversary at IAD

ANA recently celebrated its 25th anniversary flight between Washington Dulles International Airport serving Washington, D.C. and Narita International Airport in Tokyo.  The passengers and crew for both arriving and departing flights were treated to special Wadaiko drummer performances and complimentary gifts to mark the occasion. UPDATE (August 3rd, 2011):  Some of my photography from the ANA Anniversary has been published in an article in anna.aero.  Check out the article here.

UPDATE (August 12th, 2011):  I made the cover, and provided all images for the Capital Newspaper (Japanese)'s coverage of the ANA Anniversary, and as of August 11th have two photographs included in USA Today's Travel section story on ANA.  Read more about all my ANA press coverage here, or read the USA Today article, or skip direct to the gallery (look for images 24 and 27).

ANA 25th Anniversary at Dulles

ANA 25th Anniversary at Dulles

ANA 25th Anniversary at Dulles

ANA 25th Anniversary at Dulles

ANA 25th Anniversary at Dulles

ANA 25th Anniversary at Dulles

ANA 25th Anniversary at Dulles

ANA 25th Anniversary at Dulles