Blog

The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

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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Best of 2017

Each year I publish a year-in-review which shows the highlights of my year in photography.  2017 is a year I am very happy to see end; it has been the most challenging personal year of my life, bringing bad news and personal injury which unquestionably held me and my photography back this year.

As some of you may know, I fell and tore a ligament in my knee in May, which culminated in surgical intervention to replace the ligament in October.  Luckily I have an excellent surgeon (he served as Surgical Team Chief for President George W. Bush while he was in office) and I am still reportedly progressing well through physical therapy.  I am doing well now, but being knocked off my feet for a month after the injury and for two months after surgery took a serious toll on my work and morale.  I am expected to make a full recovery and be back to normal mid 2018, but this injury with such a slow recovery time has been very disheartening, even with a cutting edge new surgical method employed which was less invasive and is allowing for a quicker recovery than previously able with this relatively new ligament reconstruction I've had to have.  This is why I haven't posted too many pictures this year; most of my work has been straightforward photoshoots with existing clients since I've had to be selective with what photoshoots I've taken on during my recoveries.   If my 2017 can teach you anything it is don't dislocate your bones and tear ligaments - 0/10, would not recommend.

This isn't to say 2017 was all bad; I did quite a bit of great photography before, and after (and during, for that matter) my various adventures in knee problems.  I spent about ¼ of the year recovering from knee injury and surgery, but the other ¾ of the year had quite a lot of photography.  2017 was a year about change, and that change began in January, even before the 20th, which began bringing even more change and seemed to set the tone for the rest of the year.  My knee didn't change until five months into the year, but every month held some kind of change; just two months after that quite possibly the biggest thing that has happened in my photographic career happened, pointing to the future from my past; 2018 is here, and I am eager to move forward to that future beginning now.

Washington Dulles International Airport Manager Christopher U. Browne addresses Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority guests as he "Departs the Pattern" and steps down as Airport Manager after 29 years with the Airports Authority.  Chris is now Deputy Director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Washington Dulles International Airport Manager Christopher U. Browne addresses Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority guests as he "Departs the Pattern" and steps down as Airport Manager after 29 years with the Airports Authority.  Chris is now Deputy Director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

A protestor gives a white rose to an arriving international passenger.  White roses are traditionally known to represent purity, innocence, sympathy, and spirituality.  Following President Trump’s executive order implementing a travel ban on seven countries, protests initiated at international airports across the United States where individuals affected by the rapidly enacted ban were detained. The Trump administration justified the executive order as part of the “extreme vetting” of immigrants promised during his campaign, while those opposed to the ban question the constitutionality, motives, and execution of the ban. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) was on-site denouncing President Trump’s travel ban in a press conference.

A protestor gives a white rose to an arriving international passenger.  White roses are traditionally known to represent purity, innocence, sympathy, and spirituality.

Following President Trump’s executive order implementing a travel ban on seven countries, protests initiated at international airports across the United States where individuals affected by the rapidly enacted ban were detained. The Trump administration justified the executive order as part of the “extreme vetting” of immigrants promised during his campaign, while those opposed to the ban question the constitutionality, motives, and execution of the ban. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) was on-site denouncing President Trump’s travel ban in a press conference.

Internationally arriving passengers exit the International Arrivals Building to a sea of cheering protestors welcoming their arrival after clearing customs.  Following President Trump’s executive order implementing a travel ban on seven countries, protests initiated at international airports across the United States where individuals affected by the rapidly enacted ban were detained. The Trump administration justified the executive order as part of the “extreme vetting” of immigrants promised during his campaign, while those opposed to the ban question the constitutionality, motives, and execution of the ban. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) was on-site denouncing President Trump’s travel ban in a press conference.

Internationally arriving passengers exit the International Arrivals Building to a sea of cheering protestors welcoming their arrival after clearing customs.

Following President Trump’s executive order implementing a travel ban on seven countries, protests initiated at international airports across the United States where individuals affected by the rapidly enacted ban were detained. The Trump administration justified the executive order as part of the “extreme vetting” of immigrants promised during his campaign, while those opposed to the ban question the constitutionality, motives, and execution of the ban. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) was on-site denouncing President Trump’s travel ban in a press conference.

Tom Veirs, in his glassblowing studio, giving a demonstration on how patterns are made in extruded glass, such as wine glass stems. Tom retired in May, 2017.

Tom Veirs, in his glassblowing studio, giving a demonstration on how patterns are made in extruded glass, such as wine glass stems. Tom retired in May, 2017.

Captain John Prater with a ceremonial cigar in the cockpit of his United 787 Dreamliner upon landing his final commercial flight before retiring.

Captain John Prater with a ceremonial cigar in the cockpit of his United 787 Dreamliner upon landing his final commercial flight before retiring.

Adrianna McVay graduates with a Bachelors of Arts in Biology from George Mason University.

Adrianna McVay graduates with a Bachelors of Arts in Biology from George Mason University.

Jockies on the main straightaway approach the finish line at the Virginia Gold Cup.  2017 hosted one of the rainiest, muddiest Gold Cups of recent history.

Jockies on the main straightaway approach the finish line at the Virginia Gold Cup.  2017 hosted one of the rainiest, muddiest Gold Cups of recent history.

Myself wearing a knee immobilizer at a portrait photoshoot two days after my initial knee injury.  The next day I would meet my orthopedist and find out the extent of the damage.  The doctor told me I was truly lucky that I'd only torn one ligament and had no other damage; the MRI showed no loose bodies, no damaged cartilage, and no torn menisci; all extremely common injuries with the type of fall and injury I experienced, but was able to avoid from sheer luck.  In October, later in the year, I would undergo a successful MPFL reconstruction surgery to stabilize the kneecap and prevent future dislocations, instability, and additional damage.  While this picture may be a personal low point ironically placed in a "Best of" post, this was a life-altering event, and more than qualifies in this "Year in Review."

Myself wearing a knee immobilizer at a portrait photoshoot two days after my initial knee injury.  The next day I would meet my orthopedist and find out the extent of the damage.

The doctor told me I was truly lucky that I'd only torn one ligament and had no other damage; the MRI showed no loose bodies, no damaged cartilage, and no torn menisci; all extremely common injuries with the type of fall and injury I experienced, but was able to avoid from sheer luck.

In October, later in the year, I would undergo a successful MPFL reconstruction surgery to stabilize the kneecap and prevent future dislocations, instability, and additional damage.

While this picture may be a personal low point ironically placed in a "Best of" post, this was a life-altering event, and more than qualifies in this "Year in Review."

Michaelangelo Pistoletto's "Venus of the Rags" on display at the Smithsonian's Hirshorn Museum.

Michaelangelo Pistoletto's "Venus of the Rags" on display at the Smithsonian's Hirshorn Museum.

Succulents growing in a flowerpot in Washington, DC.

Succulents growing in a flowerpot in Washington, DC.

Bokeh of exhibit lighting inside the National Museum of the American Indian.

Bokeh of exhibit lighting inside the National Museum of the American Indian.

An Operations Manager listens to an airfield radio while walking between two Plane Mates at Washington Dulles International Airport.

An Operations Manager listens to an airfield radio while walking between two Plane Mates at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Terry McAuliffe, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, speaking at Air India's inaugural event at Washington Dulles International Airport; "We don't believe in walls; we believe in bridges."  The comment alluded to President Trump's recent efforts to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Terry McAuliffe, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, speaking at Air India's inaugural event at Washington Dulles International Airport; "We don't believe in walls; we believe in bridges."  The comment alluded to President Trump's recent efforts to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Air India's 777-200LR departing Washington Dulles International Airport for the first time.

Air India's 777-200LR departing Washington Dulles International Airport for the first time.

Polo players competing at the Great Meadow Polo Club.

Polo players competing at the Great Meadow Polo Club.

"A Planespotter’s Dream Gig: A Look into the Life of an Airport Photographer;" an article on AirlineGeeks.com profiling my work as an aviation marketing photographer.  Although my photography has been featured in many articles and publications, this marks the first time a publication has written an article specifically about me and my work.

"A Planespotter’s Dream Gig: A Look into the Life of an Airport Photographer;" an article on AirlineGeeks.com profiling my work as an aviation marketing photographer.  Although my photography has been featured in many articles and publications, this marks the first time a publication has written an article specifically about me and my work.

A nighttime aerial image of T. F. Green Airport in Rhode Island.

A nighttime aerial image of T. F. Green Airport in Rhode Island.

Grapes growing on 200 year old vine at Newport Vineyards, a winery in Newport, Rhode Island.

Grapes growing on 200 year old vine at Newport Vineyards, a winery in Newport, Rhode Island.

Fishing vessels docked at Galilee Salt Pond Harbor in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

Fishing vessels docked at Galilee Salt Pond Harbor in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

Alyssa McGuire posing with a moped on her birthday on Block Island, Rhode Island.

Alyssa McGuire posing with a moped on her birthday on Block Island, Rhode Island.

A blood red sky at sunset in Fairfax County, Virginia.

A blood red sky at sunset in Fairfax County, Virginia.

In Niotta, Tennassee a man uses a paper plate to safely view the projection of the 2017 solar eclipse after the solar filter for his telescope broke mere days before the eclipse.  Solar filters were in high demand, and became unavailable months prior to the day of the eclipse.  The ray of sunlight emitted from his telescope's eyepiece was hot on the skin when placed in the beam.

In Niotta, Tennassee a man uses a paper plate to safely view the projection of the 2017 solar eclipse after the solar filter for his telescope broke mere days before the eclipse.  Solar filters were in high demand, and became unavailable months prior to the day of the eclipse.  The ray of sunlight emitted from his telescope's eyepiece was hot on the skin when placed in the beam.

The sun half eclipsed by the moon as seen from Niotta, Tennessee.

The sun half eclipsed by the moon as seen from Niotta, Tennessee.

Totality of the 2017 solar eclipse as seen from Niotta, Tennessee.

Totality of the 2017 solar eclipse as seen from Niotta, Tennessee.

The Washington Redskins Burgundy & Gold Club restaurant and bar at Washington Dulles International Airport.

The Washington Redskins Burgundy & Gold Club restaurant and bar at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Portrait of Ryan Ewing, owner and founder of  AirlineGeeks.com .

Portrait of Ryan Ewing, owner and founder of AirlineGeeks.com.

Ryan Ewing, owner and founder of AirlineGeeks.com, walks on the airfield at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Ryan Ewing, owner and founder of AirlineGeeks.com, walks on the airfield at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Local DC Brau and Atlas District Common beers on display for sale at Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Local DC Brau and Atlas District Common beers on display for sale at Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Portrait of Cyrina Yarbrough, Marketplace Development Marketing and Customer Service Manager at Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Portrait of Cyrina Yarbrough, Marketplace Development Marketing and Customer Service Manager at Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Orville, NASA's flying squirrel mascot, marshals in a Southwest Airlines 737 at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Orville, NASA's flying squirrel mascot, marshals in a Southwest Airlines 737 at Washington Dulles International Airport.

A Day at the Museums

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Every year I try to visit the Smithsonian Folklife Festival; this year was no different.  As we always do, Adrianna and I arrived hungry and enjoyed several of the different cultural food vendors.  With this year's festival, however, that was about all we did, as we found the entire festival quite small underwhelming, particularly in comparison to previous years; it seems as though the festival has been shrinking over the last few years, much to our disappointment, as we both look forward to attending each year.  The nearby waste bins reminded me of some fine art photography series I've seen done on trash.

We perused the entire grounds of the festival, and barely anything was going on - we saw two discussion panels, which the speakers seemed to be attempting humor that was falling flat on the gathered audiences, and there were no demonstrations taking place even at the scheduled times posted.  Disappointed, we decided to hit a few of the less trafficked museums.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

At the Hirshorn we saw parts of Yoko Ono's exhibits which were nearing their close, and Ai Weiwei's "Trace" exhibit of large LEGO portraits of political dissidents.  This of course was alongside some of Hirshorn's collection of rotating artifacts on display.

One piece that initially confused us was Reynier Leyva Novo's "5 Nights," which appear as different sized rectangles of black ink on the walls, each equal to the amount of ink used in writing five totalitarian leaders' manifestos; at the museum, we did not see a plaque explaining this, but we did notice the plaque underneath the largest rectangle labeled "Adolf Hitler: Mein Kampf" and we incorrectly surmised that these were placeholders for an upcoming exhibit, one of which would be a painting by Adolf Hitler sharing the title of his infamous autobiography.  It wasn't until later that evening on the Hirshorn website that all was made clear; the conclusion we'd drawn earlier just didn't feel as though it added up, and had been bugging me for clarification and correction all day.

The detail and depth in Weiwei's repeating patterns is breathtaking, and a designer's delight.  Overtones of surveillance, oppression, suppression.  The rise of Twitter, resistance, transparency through opposition.  It's bleak and hopeful and applicable to the political state in many governments the whole-World over.  It is a modern illustration of a timeless struggle.

Weiwei's LEGO art was expansive and reminiscent of 8-bit art, eliciting thoughts of the digital age in which many of his subjects relied upon in their tasks.

National Museum of the American Indian

Next we decided to visit the nearby National Museum of the American Indian.  Adrianna is part Native American, so she's visited many times and is well versed in the exhibits and history.  I, on the other hand, had never been before, and my entire knowledge of Native American history is limited one learns in 4th grade; that is, to say, I admittedly have no significant knowledge of Native American history.  Our visit was rushed because they would be closing in less than two hours, and frankly this is a museum to fully absorb a whole day would be required; I will need to return to devote an entire day to give it the attention this museum requires and deserves.

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At closing time we split a pastry in the cafeteria head off back to Virginia for dinner.

2016 Waterford Fair

For several years now I've been making it a point to visit the Waterford Fair annually, although last year the Fair was cancelled due to flooding, but the town of Waterford, Virginia made up for it a month later with the Art Harvest.

This year was a little rainy, but that wasn't enough to keep me away, and it certainly wasn't a flood, even if it was caused by a hurricane just like in 2015.  My first stop was at a woodworker, who has begun making pens this year in addition to his other goods.  I bought my 6th fountain pen, and it's my absolute favorite, and my daily writer now; Hawaiian Koa with 24K Gold Nib.

Other stops I always make include buying honey from Loudoun Center Apiaries (1 bottle of their light honey lasts me the entire year!), the antique farm equipment display, the corner store to buy lamb sausage for slow grilling later on, and the beltmaker who I buy a belt from every year; he actually recognizes me now.

I always go through each art and photography gallery, mostly to admire the skills that other artists have that I lack - I so wish I could paint.  On this same note, I usually stop in on Katherine Riedel's studio for a moment or two, but this time we actually got to talking about my unexplored desires to learn to paint (specifically watercolors, if you're wondering).  Katherine and I spoke for about a half hour, and listening to her talk about art and paint and shape was so interesting I wish I'd been able to turn it into a full interview / spotlight.  I did ask if I could film her painting for a bit; the gourds and pumpkins in the video is what she was working on when I dropped by.

Finally, I always visit the wine tasting section (shocker, I know).  This is probably one of the best ways to go wine tasting for a beginner, because the 5 or 6 wineries that have booths all give an abbreviated tasting.  Most tastings at a winery sample ~6 - 12 wines, while each tasting at the Waterford Fair samples ~4 - 6; that means if you do the full tasting at Waterford of all the wineries, you're sampling ~25 - 30 different wines!  For $20 including a souvenir glass, this is an incredible bargain considering the amount of variety (and frankly, sheer amount, especially considering some of the wineries are heavy pourers); a full tasting at just a single one of these wineries including a glass will always run above $20, and here you're getting to try FIVE!  If you find a winery you especially like, you can buy bottles right at the tasting, or you can go visit their actual location some other day.  I've been to all but two of the wineries at the Fair this year, and with all the vineyards I've visited, I'm pretty well versed in Virginia wine (hint: I generally dislike Virginia wines - actually, I've noticed I generally dislike most American wines).  I have three favorite Virginia wineries, and unfortunately none of them display at Waterford - that is just personal preference and nothing against the wineries present at Waterford; most of them are very good and are highly regarded.  I even got a little something to bring back from Creek's Edge.

And don't forget to watch the video to see some of this stuff in action.

The Renwick Gallery: WONDER

Recently my dear friend and fellow #hashtagger Ellen invited me to join her in touring the newly reopened Renwick Gallery, a modern American art museum operated by the Smithsonian.  I'd actually never heard of the museum, even with its prominent location: it neighbors The White House.

Admittedly, I didn't photograph half of the exhibits.  Actually, we breezed through it pretty quickly.  We both love art, but honesty on a few pieces grabbed us.  The first thing we both noticed actually was the curvy-cut-carpet leading up the stairs, and the LED installation above.

After that, we went back downstairs, where you were supposed to begin and tour in order.  The number of visitors was incredible - astounding to me, for a museum I'd never even heard of.  After visiting, we learned that Renwick is the current fad on Tinder - selfies among the "Photography Encouraged" exhibits; it explains why so many people were taking so many selfies.  Photography Encouraged is something I can get behind though - I wish more places embraced that photography is a non-threatening recreation; the 9/11 fear of cameras being weapons is still unfortunately widespread, probably forever. #PhotographyIsNotACrime

One of the installations that grabbed us grabbed everyone - the colorful suspended threads of Gabriel Dawe.  It's beautiful, it's mesmerizing, it's disorienting, it's fantastic for selfies - you can actually spot a selfie in the making in this picture.

The polyester thread is loomed through eyelets on the floor and ceiling, and woven amongst its neighbors.  The individual threads are so thin that walking past them feels almost as though you are captured within a large, colorful spider web.

Next was Tara Donovan's index card towers, which reminded me of anthills, and Ellen of her dark days in architecture school, building models without seeing sunlight for days on end during finals.  We moved along.

Upstairs we were confused about why so many people were lying on the floor watching Janet Echelman's colorfully lit netting - it's pretty, but we wouldn't view it as if we're cloud watching.  Ellen challenged me to produce a picture of it that made it "not boring."  I definitely win this round, young lady; this is actually my favorite picture from the entire day.

We were also confused as to why there was a line wrapping around all four walls of this room to enter the next - peeking around the door, we saw what was next, and proceeded into the line to continue through.

We were greeted by John Grade's Middle Fork; a wooden sculpture of a hemlock tree.

Ok, I'll admit, this one is tied for my favorite picture of the day.  It's beautiful.  If you want to see it, but with someone's head in the middle, go on Tinder.

Next we saw Chakaia Booker's Anonymous Donor, and Hiram Powers’ Greek Slave.  Booker's piece smelled fantastic to a petrolhead; I commented that it needed some straightpipe hydrocarbon smell to complete it (that's not sarcasm; I really did like it, being a gearhead).  Powers' sculpture deserves some hashtags, since Ellen and I often have entire text conversations in hashtags, and the work itself spurred some discussion which I thought was outrageous, particularly since it is 173 years old.

#NudityIsNotSex #NudityIsNotPorn #BoudoirIsNotPorn #SensualAndSexualAreNotTheSame #FreeTheNipple #EveryoneHasNipples #ItsJustANipple #TheHumanBodyIsArt #ArtMakesYouThink #ArtCreatesDiscussion #WhyAreYouThatOffendedOverANippleYouHaveTwoOfThem #IfSomethingOffendsYouThatMuchDontPurposelyGoToPlacesWhereYouKnowYoullGetOffended #2015TheYearPeopleGotOffended #2015WasLastYearSoStopItAlready #WhyArePeopleOffendedByTheHumanBody #EveryoneHasABody #EveryoneIsArt

Next was the pink, bug filled display In the Midnight Garden, by Jennifer Angus.  This, moreso than the other exhibits, was difficult to photograph because of the number of people.  It was very unsettling  - I really liked it.

Lastly we visited the gift shop; lots of cool, artsy stuff.  I am SO tempted to go back just to buy this journal.  If you know me, you'll know its *very* "me."

The museum was packed to start, but when we left, there was a freaking line to get inside, and guards were metering entrance to the gallery!  Unreal!  Drugged up tiger selfies are so 2014 (thank God - can we please put an end to that? - #SwipeLeftOnTigerSelfies #ExceptForMyOneFriendWhoIsTheNationalTigerSanctuarysPhotographerShesCool).