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.
Here's another set of planespotting from a few months ago; some days after photoshoots at DCA I'll briefly drop by Gravelly Point since it's on my way home. I typically don't spend but a few minutes, but this time I spent about an hour actually exploring the grounds a bit and trying different perspectives than before - it's a larger patch of land than I had realized. This day had lots of puffy clouds and lots of traffic; most pictures have multiple aircraft visible, with one even containing 6 airborne planes and 1 helicopter. I also managed to capture a view of the Washington Monument with the Jefferson Memorial and a VRE train, which I think is just fantastic.
Just like I did two weeks ago, I decided to drop into Gravelly Point after a photoshoot at DCA. This time I only spent 10 minutes there, because it was raining, but I wanted to stop and check out the view, because it was raining. Sometimes inclement weather can lead to more interesting action shots than a "perfect" clear day, because water vapor can condense and leave trails and vortices that add a little something extra. Sadly this was not the case that day, but I did get an interesting view through the approach lighting, and spoke with a couple who stopped on their bikes to enjoy the view and ask about my attention-grabbing lens.
I also managed to capture this arrival and departure through the approach lights; this is 400mm handheld, and I didn't bring my microphone, so just enjoy the footage for what it is :-)
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!
Dulles Day 5K / 10K On the Runway
In 1993 Dulles International Airport held the World's very first Plane Pull, a charity event in partnership with Special Olympics, that began a phenomenon of other plane pull charity events worldwide. In 2013, Dulles added a 5K (and in 2014 a 10K) to Dulles Day. While technically the 5K / 10K is a separate event from the Plane Pull, it is always held on the morning of as the newest annual part of Dulles Day. Each year 2,500 participants are able to run on R/W 1R and return to the Start / Finish via T/W K. It is one of Potomac River Running's most popular runs, both because it offers the unique opportunity to be a pedestrian on an airfield (and run under the wing of a United 777), and there is no other run of that distance which offers a perfectly flat venue other than a track.
In previous years I've been on the ground for photos (thank you to Airport Operations for always providing me with speedy transport anywhere I need to go), but this year I was in the helicopter circling the event to capture new angles and promo photos I haven't gotten for this event before. In contrast to the other photographers at the event who are tasked with capturing each runner's photo, my assignment for the Plane Pull each year is to document the entire day and capture marketing photographs in a photojournalistic manner.
Thanks to an unexpected, last-minute delay of the race start, I was able to capture some great photos and video footage of the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center before the run got underway.
Also visible is Washington Dulles International Airport's Concourses and Terminal, ATCT, VMF, and R/W 12/30.
Huge thanks to Bussman Aviation and all the fine folks in Dulles Airport Operations who make aerial photography and the entire day possible!
If you're looking for the video footage, scroll to the bottom of this blog post.
Dulles Day Plane Pull
The Dulles Day Plane Pull is a Summer festival suitable for all ages, and is great for families and aviation enthusiasts alike. There are food vendors, games, giveaways, booths and displays, demonstrations, a classic car show, ARFF and Mobile Lounge rides / tours, live music, and ~50 private, vintage, and military aircraft on display, but the main attraction is the Plane Pull itself; ~100 teams compete in pulling a FedEx 757 or a United A320.
The first pull to kick off the day every year is always the Special Olympics team. This year they had a little help from Superman!
Another notable team is the Fairfax County Police Department. Dulles's property crosses over between Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, and many of the teams that compete are police and sheriffs offices in the surrounding communities. The police community is already a tightly knit brotherhood, and that family is brought together every year with this friendly competition amongst neighboring jurisdictions.
Something of my own tradition I've begun since I began documenting the Plane Pull in 2013, every year I capture an aerial portrait of Eero Saarinen's famous Dulles Main Terminal Building. This year’s Plane Pull was overcast - excellent for pictures of people and scenes, but not the most flattering light for glamour shots of buildings. The iconic Main Terminal Building is seen here with ongoing construction for the Dulles Metrorail Project entering the bottom of the frame, including excavation and two cranes.
For 10 straight years now eyes have been on the Chesapeake Sheriff's Office; the team with an outright dominant reign as the Dulles Plane Pull's fastest. They successfully defended their title for the 10th year in a row, with a time of 4.872s; 2016's fastest pull, however just short of setting a new Plane Pull record - a record of 4.753 they set in 2015.
The Dulles Day Plane Pull is also a planespotter's / AVGeek's dream; ATC does their best to route as much international, heavy, and otherwise interesting traffic to the nearby center runway. Guests are encouraged to bring their cameras, and it's common for folks to come just to grab a lobster roll and planespot alongside the taxilane the entire afternoon in anticipation of spotting a jumbo like Lufthansa's 747-8i or Air France's A380. This is completely in addition to the static private, vintage, and military aircraft on display.
Once again, I have to thank Bussman Aviation and all the fine folks in Dulles Airport Operations who make aerial photography and the entire day possible! I rely on these fantastic folks to get me from A to B in speedy fashion, and what I do wouldn't be possible without them!
Here is a collection of the video footage I captured at this year's annual 2016 Dulles Plane Pull benefitting Special Olympics Virginia. Still photographs are my main focus, so this is content I captured between the still photos I captured to document the day.