Blog

The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

Harpers Ferry: Maryland Heights Trail

Summer is unfortunately drawing to a close, and after several consecutive weekends of thunderstorms and blazing humidity, this past weekend offered temperatures in the low 70s, so local hiking staple, the Maryland Heights Trail in Harper’s Ferry was an obvious choice for a hiking fast fix. Unsurprisingly, it was an easy choice for everyone else in the region itching for some outdoors time after some Summer cabin-fever, making the summit, which I’ve visited when deserted on multiple occasions, the busiest I’ve ever seen it. It’s a beautiful, albeit locally stereotypical, overlook a bit over 300 feet above the Potomac River and Civil War era town beneath. Its steep climb means you reach the summit in ~40min at a moderate pace, making the 3.3mi round trip (skipping the 2.2mi Stone Fort Trail Loop) taxing for the distance covered, but quickly worth the extra uphill effort. This trip was the first time I’ve seen a train use the Southern CSX rail line, however I was on the summit, not the rail bridge like I’d have preferred (just to finally experience how sketchy standing on a rail bridge with a train rumbling alongside feels). Before heading over to the trailhead, I head up High Street to look for evidence of the 2015 fire, which engulfed shops I’ve visited, and impacted a restaurant I ate at just months before the mysterious fire broke out. Evidence of rebuilding is there if you look closely enough, but to the ordinary unaware passerby, you wouldn’t be able to tell a difference - they did good work restoring the historic area!

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Bonus: Photos of me at the summit, and see 4K footage of trains and the over-friendly moth. The video footage was shot handheld at 720mm, so yeah, difficult to hold perfectly still at that focal length.

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Old Rag Mountain: August, 2018

Lately I’ve been slowly working my way through unedited personal sets in my photo library. This week’s offering is from last Summer, when I finally got to hike Old Rag once again. After my Spring, 2017 knee mishap which led to surgery and a long recovery in PT, this was my first time hiking Old Rag since making a full recovery.

My friend Patrick, who you may recognize from many of my car posts, and I hit the trail on a steamy August mid-morning. I’d come to find out later that day there were other people I know on the mountain at the same time we were, but we simply never crossed paths; funny how that works sometimes.

Old Rag is the tallest peak in Shenandoah National Park, and naturally provides some of the most incredible panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley. It is known for its extensive granite rock scrambles along the trail with some locations along the trail and at the summit offering opportunities for bouldering or full-on rock climbing for those feeling more daring.

All photos in this post are available for print here.

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If you’re unfamiliar, parts of the trail run through and under the massive granite boulders; here, the trail proceeds up a natural staircase inside the opening between the rocks, in the center of the frame below. As you ascend and eventually descend the mountain, you can changes in foliage, ground composition, and wildlife.

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Adrianna: GMU Class of 2017

It's right around the corner!  Adrianna, a dear friend, hiking buddy, and sushi aficionado, is graduating from George Mason University with a degree in Microbiology this May!  Here she is looking cute in this plaid wrap that makes me think of places closer to the West coast.  I'm proud of ya girl!

Senior Savannah - Portraits in Virginia Horse Country

For the longest time horses have fascinated me, but I've never had the chance to go riding (yet).  So, each time I am near horses I am some combination of awestruck by their majestic nature and jealous of the people who get to ride them frequently.

Savannah takes that a step further, since she not only rides horses, but has several years of training under her belt so she may compete in equestrian show jumping and dressage events.  As we waited for a missing part of her riding uniform, Savannah showed me how she grooms and prepares her horse before a ride, and told me about what the high school is like these days - Savannah will be a Senior at my (high school) alma mater beginning this September, and is a member of the Class of 2017.

We didn't photograph any jumps because it was becoming too dark to safely perform any.

Rose Corps

Rose Corps, a synth-pop solo project, burst onto the DC music scene earlier this year with the release of their first single, “Frosted Glass;” an icy track with ambient warmth and rich vocals.  Aeron, the singer / songwriter and synthesizer player behind Rose Corps, brought her background in dancing to the streets of DC for a sultry nighttime photoshoot.

Rose Corps is currently producing her next single, expected to release later this year, but for now you can listen to “Frosted Glass” while enjoying Aeron’s pictures.

I can’t encourage you enough to go follow Rose Corps on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reverbnation, and most importantly, go buy “Frosted Glass” on Bandcamp to help support Aeron’s new music career.

A big thank you to Patrick and Rupeng for being my human lightstands in a short-notice pinch!