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The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

2015 Film Scans

You guys, I’m super excited! I found some rolls of old, expired film laying around that I’d never gotten developed, so I sent them to the wonderful folks at The Find Lab last week and I just got the scans back!

I had no idea what was on them, but it turns out I shot 3 rolls on the same weekend in October, 2015. These rolls were all expired Kodak Gold given to me to kill off, and were definitely underexposed even though they were all shot at speed; I’m not quite sure why they were underexposed for this reason. Kodak Gold isn’t the best film in the World, and I prefer the soft teal hues of Fuji 400H as opposed to the oversaturated warm tones Kodak films tend to have.

Katie’s Cars and Coffee: October 24th, 2015

Saturday morning I went to Katie’s Cars and Coffee and shot the show on film. I have a hunch I used the 35mm f/1.4L for the whole show and most of the next day in Shenandoah, but I’m not 100%. It was a foreign invasion, with offerings from France, Germany, England, and Japan.

These photos are available for print and download here.

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Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive

The next day was the annual trip to Shenandoah National Park to take in Skyline Drive - this part I shot on film and digital.

I wish I could remember what trail we hiked while there. When the wind chill is bearable and we have the time we often go hiking during our annual trip. This was my first trip to Skyline Drive with my new car, and we spent most of our time there photographing all our cars. This was the first and only time Jake, Patrick, and I had our cars together on Skyline Drive, so the majority of my digital pictures were of the cars, and I used the film for nature and landscape photography. I used a mix of lenses, but I can say for sure the first photo was shot using the TS-E 90mm f/2.8.

These photos are available for print and download here.

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Katie's Cars and Coffee: April 28th, 2018

It's been almost two years since I visited Katie's (though I thought I went last Summer, however don't have any pictures from it).  It was nice to get out to a car show again; I went to the Ferrari Club of America Spring Thaw last week, but Katie's has offerings from every make, model, era, and style, so I find it more enjoyable.

A friend of mine is borrowing a tilt-shift lens for fun to learn how they work, so this time I brought along my under-loved TS-E 90mm f/2.8; Canon's first tilt-shift lens ever, first introduced in 1991, and the world's first telephoto length 35mm tilt-shift lens - at 90mm, this lens is designed for tabletop product photography, such as foods, but I've found use for it as a portrait lens, and in my wedding photography for capturing wedding rings.  As it turns out, the lens my friend was borrowing was Nikon's 28mm f/3.5 PC, which only features a shift adjustment; no tilt - the PC stands for Perspective Correction.  Perspective adjustments via shift are useful for architectural photography; any focus plane effects you see in the photos below are tilt only, as I don't have use for shift in these types of images, plus the effect of shift on this focal length has very few useful applications.

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The RTR Mustang was a spot I almost missed.

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The heavily modified 350Z got a lot of attention.  While it's not my taste, it was well built.  I gathered that this is an example build for a local performance garage (there was a matching Ford truck also at the show).

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Algonkian Regional Park

After Katie's, we met up with Imran and decided to go to Algonkian Regional Park to at least enjoy some of the nice weather, and play with the 28mm f/3.5 PC (Great Falls was too packed).  I still have not been hiking since reconstructive knee surgery in October, and this was also a good warm-up / test, since Algonkian is just a simple dirt path.  There happened to be a 50 mile / 50K / 10K / 5K race sponsored by The North Face going on while we were there, and the thought of such a distance alone makes my knee ache.  I had pushed myself running a 5K the day before (my limit right now seems to be two 5Ks per week), so my knee was already hurting before we even got there.  Though for day-to-day I am 100%, athletically my knee is still recovering.

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Katie's Cars and Coffee: August 20th, 2016

I'm slowly catching up on my backlog of personal work from this year; here are some pictures I took at Katie's Cars and Coffee back in August.

Yes, you saw that right; that last picture is indeed an LS swapped Polaris Slingshot.  The owner blew the original (tuned and modded) motor on a track, and dropped in an LS, doubling the cylinders as well as the batshit-insane-ness of this Slingshot - remember, all those 500+ horsepower are routed to a single rear wheel; better make that rubber thick and grippy, because this is a 24/7 smoky burnout machine.  Other mods beside engine and tuning include weight reduction, suspension, and big, beefy brakes to stop this beast.

Regular Car Reviews - October, 2016 Car Meet

If you've never heard of Regular Car Reviews, well, first we need to get you up to speed.  RCR, as it's affectionately called, is a YouTube channel that started four short years ago, quickly gaining popularity in the car enthusiast blog circuit communities, namely Jalopnik.  Mr. Regular, the faceless (until last year) voice behind the reviews, along with music and filming assistant Roman, release a new "regular" car review each week, broken into seasons.

Regular has multiple meanings all used at once: RCR reviews "regular" cars for "regular" folks in a way a "regular" guy would see it.  In other words, RCR reviews pedestrian cars by means of pop culture references and fart jokes.  It's very popular.

Neither of my cars have been reviewed despite offering my 2001 Sebring Coupe (which DEFINITELY would have fit in perfectly) before I got rid of it, nor my G37S 6MT or Jake's Jaguar XF or Ford Cougar, but my friend Patrick's 2004 VW Phaeton was reviewed, and at the time Mr. Regular said it was a tie between the Phaeton and the Tesla Model S for the nicest "regular" car he's reviewed.  Here is the Phaeton video as an introduction.  The most iconic RCR video, however, is of modern motoring's most loved little sportscar, the answer to all questions, the Miata.

Headlights go up, headlights go down! Track day bro!

So, now you should understand RCR and the international following it's gathered.  While there have been two previous meetups, both at the same combination rec-center-and-bar (huh? small town) in Mr. Regular's hometown in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania, those were both just pub nights - grab a few drinks and talk cars - I went to the first meetup this past January.  Mr. Regular is in fact in the picture below.

January, 2016 Regular Car Reviews meetup, posed with Silicone Sally.

January, 2016 Regular Car Reviews meetup, posed with Silicone Sally.

This weekend was special though, because it was the first time Mr. Regular has organized a car meet.  I wouldn't miss it.

The meet started at 9AM, and Orwigsburg is ~3hrs away, so Jake and I hit the road before sunrise to get there on time, even stopping for breakfast at the same Sheetz we hit every time we make the trip.

As it turns out, I was the 2nd G37 at the meet - the other was a 2013 7AT xS.  Andrew, the owner, was a really chill guy I wish I'd gotten to chat with longer.  For full disclosure, there wasn't much chatter and I didn't shoot many pictures because I was so tired - I am *not* a morning person.  I've always liked the facelifted front bumper with lower foglights (my fogs are built into the headlights), but they didn't start using that bumper until 2011MY, and my 2010 was an incredible, unheard of deal for a 6MT in black with 33K miles.  No regrets.

A fun fact some DMV residents may not know; Pennsylvania does not require front plates, which is why many of the cars at this meet lack front plates without fear of a ticket.  My car was a former lease car in Allentown, PA, so when I bought it it had no front plate mount.  I actually am running an aftermarket mount that mounts under the bumper, so if I ever wanted to remove the front plate I don't have any unsightly holes.

The PugCityRacing bagged Mustang attracted a lot of attention thanks to its lowrider status and stripped interior - simplify and add lightness.

There were plenty of other regular cars on hand, including a few TDIs awaiting refund checks.

I was informed that caffeine adds +25HP.

You can never go wrong with a W10 or W20 MR2; I am wondering if they are undergoing some kind of revival, because this is the 2nd one I've seen in the last two weeks.

For me, the AE86s were the most interesting "regular" cars on hand... until the Infiniti M30 Convertible rolled in at the end of the show.  Apparently it shares engine, suspension, and electronic bits with the Maxima of the time, but has the frame of the previous generation Maxima (even though it looks like the equal gen Maxima).  I actually didn't know this car was made in drop-top form until this weekend.  The car was only produced for 3 years, and Nissan contracted American Sunroof Corporation to convert half of the M30s into convertibles brand new.  The 1992 M30 was Infiniti's only convertible until the G37 convertible was introduced in 2009 (one year after the G37 coupe and sedan were introduced to replace the G35 / 350Z platform).  I totally fan-girled over this car.  This is a car from the late 80s with an electronically adjustable suspension (Comfort / Sport switch on center console).

The star of the show of course was Mr. Regular's very own Vagabond Falcon, which if you follow Regular Car Reviews on YouTube, you've watched Mr. Regular complete a full restoration to the car.  Silicone Sally, the 2007 Honda Fit funded by RCR viewers was not on hand this time around.

I love Instagram Stories (hate Snapchat though), so here is my Story from the day; check out the crazy amount of play in the stick of this Ford... Fox Body(?)... ...Mustang???

Sorry for the long post; have a corgi!!!

Jaguar: The Audition

There are many car brands out there, but few are truly iconic marquees with a rich heritage.  Some are obvious stand outs; Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, my love Porsche.  But when you think England, there are two standouts; Aston Martin, the good-guy brand of 007 legend, and Jaguar, the British automaker who in recent years has made its name as the "bad guys'" transportation of choice.

Truly, it's good to be bad, and once again Jaguar has given the opportunity to experience its entire brand in one event, celebrating the release of the new XE, F-Pace, and F-Type SVR.  Several years ago I was invited to a similar event for the release of the F-Type and XFR-S, where the focus was on Jaguar's refinde driving capabilities.  In 2013 Jaguar let us autocross a 550HP XKR-S, and this year it was the new 340HP XE R-Sport.  I also drove the diesel models of the XE and F-Pace, which seemed to have a lot more ponies than their 180HP seemed to, thanks to the amount of torque on tap (although I'd still prefer the 360HP gasoline engine).  This all means that I've once again driven the entire Jaguar lineup except for the F-Type.

My takeaway from the F-Pace is that it's a fantastic driving crossover, with an exhaust note that will surprise anyone - SUVs simply don't sound like exotic sports cars, but this one does.  The interior was nice, but will probably get refined in a facelifted version several years from now.  The panoramic roof captures you in awe.  My only complaints are that the steering wheel is off-center, and the window controls are too high located on the door sill.  I do like the wide door sills though.

The real interesting part is that this time the focus was on being filmed for your own short film.  A small production suite, including MUAs, is on hand to film several cutscenes which are spliced into a pre-recorded action sequence, making you the bad guy who wins out over worse bad guys.  It's good to be bad.

The first step was to have makeup applied to even skintone and eliminate shine - this was the first time in my life wearing makeup - they even put me in mascara, but held short of lipstick.  Five cutscenes were filmed; three in an XE, and two on a soundstage.  The entire process is automated by software, which is outright fascinating to me.  Obviously I'm no actor, spending my time almost exclusive behind the camera, but the operators did give good direction, and even refilmed one clip, showing they are paying attention to the quality of recording (as much as possible with amateurs).

Jake was with me, and I later that day I brought my Dad back to come have the same fun.

Here's my finished product.

After the filming, which took less than 10min, test drives in the F-Pace and XE were enjoyed, followed by a painfully short track session in an XE R-Sport.  Only two measly laps - one to gain familiarity with the course (as much as you can in one lap), and one actually run with some gusto.  Barely any instructions were given by the driving instructor, which led to confusion, because this event was set up differently than the 2013 event (which was in stages, whereas this event was not), but I wasn't informed of this until I'd almost stopped the car on the course.  In summary, the track portion of this event was disappointing due to poor instruction and short duration - a stark difference between the 2013 event and this year's, though not surprising since the focus was on filming this year instead of track time (which was still short in 2013).

The whole event and resulting video was so much fun that upon leaving I asked the organizers if I could go grab my Dad to bring him over to surprise him with a bit of fun.  They were more than happy, so 2hrs later I watched him get filmed, run a few laps, and experience the Jaguar lineup.

I can't wait for next time!