Blog

The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

DCA Planespotting - May 16th, 2019

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).

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Summer Lightning Storm

With all the storms we've had the last two weeks, I thought you might enjoy some of the prettier and more dramatic sights and sounds inclement weather can bring.  I captured this lightning storm on May 15th, 2018, the day after our most recent derecho; unfortunately the Mind Flayer did not make an appearance. #StrangerThings

Scared To Be Lonely: Spring of 2018

Executive Order Travel Ban Protest - IAD, January 30th, 2017

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.

I captured these photographs while on-site for an unrelated meeting.  During the several hours I spent watching the protest and presser, there were no Trump supporters visibly present; reportedly only one had been there in the morning, and only a handful over the weekend, and some cases MWAA police had to move in to ensure the supporters' safety as tempers of the crowd were exacerbated.  During my time on-site, I witnessed only one individual lose their temper; a lawyer, who eventually calmed down when others spoke to them and explained they had already taken the necessary actions.

I am presenting these images and my account for the importance of photojournalism and documentation.  Captions below each image briefly explain what is being seen in each image.

Do not use these photographs or videos without express permission of J. David Buerk.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport and speaks with legal counsels volunteering on-site.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport and speaks with legal counsels volunteering on-site.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) addresses media to discus legal action the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking in opposition to the travel ban.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) addresses media to discus legal action the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking in opposition to the travel ban.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) addresses media to discus legal action the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking in opposition to the travel ban.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) addresses media to discus legal action the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking in opposition to the travel ban.

A Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police officer directs passengers' traffic as they exit the International Arrivals Building after clearing customs.  Protestors fill both sides of the exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.

A Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police officer directs passengers' traffic as they exit the International Arrivals Building after clearing customs.  Protestors fill both sides of the exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.

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

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

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

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

A young protestor offers Loudoun County and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police officers donuts and water and thanks them for keeping the demonstration safe.

A young protestor offers Loudoun County and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police officers donuts and water and thanks them for keeping the demonstration safe.

A young protestor offers volunteer lawyers donuts and water and thanks them for donating their time.

A young protestor offers volunteer lawyers donuts and water and thanks them for donating their time.

Protestors of various backgrounds were present to display multicultural unity in opposition to the travel ban.

Protestors of various backgrounds were present to display multicultural unity in opposition to the travel ban.

NBC News4 Reporter Julie Carey preparing for a live hit.

NBC News4 Reporter Julie Carey preparing for a live hit.

Some protestors' signs were artwork without words.

Some protestors' signs were artwork without words.

Protestors fill both sides of the International Arrivals Building exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.  Greetings and welcomes were given to each individual arriving passenger, with cheers each time the IAB doors opened.

Protestors fill both sides of the International Arrivals Building exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.  Greetings and welcomes were given to each individual arriving passenger, with cheers each time the IAB doors opened.

Protestors fill both sides of the International Arrivals Building exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.  Greetings and welcomes were given to each individual arriving passenger, with cheers each time the IAB doors opened.

Protestors fill both sides of the International Arrivals Building exit pathway which is normally surrounded with people awaiting the arrival of their friends and family.  Greetings and welcomes were given to each individual arriving passenger, with cheers each time the IAB doors opened.

Some protestors brought their children along to teach them about political activism firsthand.

Some protestors brought their children along to teach them about political activism firsthand.

NBC News4 reporter Kristin Wright preparing for a live hit.

NBC News4 reporter Kristin Wright preparing for a live hit.

ABC 7 / NewsChannel 8 reporter Ryan Hughes live on the air.

ABC 7 / NewsChannel 8 reporter Ryan Hughes live on the air.

FOX 5 reporter Ronica Cleary preparing for a live hit.

FOX 5 reporter Ronica Cleary preparing for a live hit.

A woman waves an American flag as arriving international passengers are greeted by the crowd of protestors.

A woman waves an American flag as arriving international passengers are greeted by the crowd of protestors.

A woman shows a peace sign while holding a sign; "ALL are WELCOME here."

A woman shows a peace sign while holding a sign; "ALL are WELCOME here."

"Love Trumps Hate" is a play on words that has been used as a rallying cry and hashtag in opposition to President Trump since almost the beginning of his presidential campaign in 2016.

"Love Trumps Hate" is a play on words that has been used as a rallying cry and hashtag in opposition to President Trump since almost the beginning of his presidential campaign in 2016.

Hashtags are used on protestors' signs to aid in spreading their message and promoting online unity.

Hashtags are used on protestors' signs to aid in spreading their message and promoting online unity.

Vice President Mike Pence's December 8th, 2015 tweet, "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional" printed on a protestor's sign; the widely circulated tweet is seen as directly contradictory to the Trump administration's travel ban rolled out just over a year later.

Vice President Mike Pence's December 8th, 2015 tweet, "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional" printed on a protestor's sign; the widely circulated tweet is seen as directly contradictory to the Trump administration's travel ban rolled out just over a year later.

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

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

Many of the protestors present also took part in the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, 2017; the day after President Trump's inauguration.  Some of these protestors brought their signs from that protest to use at this one; this sign is an original artwork.

Many of the protestors present also took part in the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, 2017; the day after President Trump's inauguration.  Some of these protestors brought their signs from that protest to use at this one; this sign is an original artwork.

Many of the protestors present also took part in the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, 2017; the day after President Trump's inauguration.  Some of these protestors brought their signs from that protest to use at this one; this sign is an original artwork.

Many of the protestors present also took part in the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, 2017; the day after President Trump's inauguration.  Some of these protestors brought their signs from that protest to use at this one; this sign is an original artwork.

Volunteer lawyers and translators held signs to readily identify themselves to passengers and family who need legal counsel.

Volunteer lawyers and translators held signs to readily identify themselves to passengers and family who need legal counsel.

Even some arriving international travelers had signs in protest easily in view as they exited the International Arrivals Building upon clearing customs.

Even some arriving international travelers had signs in protest easily in view as they exited the International Arrivals Building upon clearing customs.

Reunions upon clearing customs are often emotional regardless of residency, citizenship, and immigration status.

Reunions upon clearing customs are often emotional regardless of residency, citizenship, and immigration status.

A man holds a sign in (language confirmation pending) outside the International Arrivals Building.  (Translation pending.)

A man holds a sign in (language confirmation pending) outside the International Arrivals Building.

(Translation pending.)

Water, food, and other supplies donated to sustain the protestors, lawyers, translators, and legal observers.

Water, food, and other supplies donated to sustain the protestors, lawyers, translators, and legal observers.

A Black Lives Matter protestor and attorney speaks with an ACLU legal observer while holding ACLU legal advice pamphlets.

A Black Lives Matter protestor and attorney speaks with an ACLU legal observer while holding ACLU legal advice pamphlets.

A woman holds a sign that simply reads, "Don't be Mean."

A woman holds a sign that simply reads, "Don't be Mean."

Protestors who came together hold signs which complement one another's messages.

Protestors who came together hold signs which complement one another's messages.

Volunteer lawyers stand close to the International Arrival Building's exit with clearly legible signs reading, "FREE LEGAL HELP."  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers and translators converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

Volunteer lawyers stand close to the International Arrival Building's exit with clearly legible signs reading, "FREE LEGAL HELP."  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers and translators converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

Four women hold signs next to the International Arrival Building's exit; one woman's sign had flashing lights, reading, "Actions Speak Louder Than Words."

Four women hold signs next to the International Arrival Building's exit; one woman's sign had flashing lights, reading, "Actions Speak Louder Than Words."

Excerpt from Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus;" a sonnet written in 1883 to fundraise the Statue of Liberty's pedestal.  The poem became a permanent part of the Statue of Liberty when it was mounted to the statue's pedestal on a bronze engraving in 1903.

Excerpt from Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus;" a sonnet written in 1883 to fundraise the Statue of Liberty's pedestal.  The poem became a permanent part of the Statue of Liberty when it was mounted to the statue's pedestal on a bronze engraving in 1903.

One of several lawyers tables set up around the International Arrivals Building to aid travelers and their families in need of legal assistance.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers and translators converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

One of several lawyers tables set up around the International Arrivals Building to aid travelers and their families in need of legal assistance.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers and translators converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

Leftover and abandoned signs collected and stored behind the Lawyers for Good Government's table, available for anyone to choose from and use to protest.

Leftover and abandoned signs collected and stored behind the Lawyers for Good Government's table, available for anyone to choose from and use to protest.

An American Civil Liberties Union legal observer in a blue high-visibility vest.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers, translators, and legal observers converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.  The ACLU was quick to file a lawsuit in opposition to the executive order, resulting in an emergency stay granted by Brooklyn Federal Judge Ann Donnelly late Saturday night, which allowed travelers caught in the ban's rapid rollout to be released from detention.

An American Civil Liberties Union legal observer in a blue high-visibility vest.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers, translators, and legal observers converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.  The ACLU was quick to file a lawsuit in opposition to the executive order, resulting in an emergency stay granted by Brooklyn Federal Judge Ann Donnelly late Saturday night, which allowed travelers caught in the ban's rapid rollout to be released from detention.

A group of volunteer lawyers working in the baggage claim area of Washington Dulles International Airport.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers, translators, and legal observers converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

A group of volunteer lawyers working in the baggage claim area of Washington Dulles International Airport.  When news of the travel ban broke on Saturday, lawyers, translators, and legal observers converged upon airports to donate their time and efforts in investigating and protecting against civil liberty violations.

A short video of footage I collected while on site Monday afternoon.

The Arc of Northern Virginia - Housing Choice Voucher Mini-Series

Last year I was hired to film a short documentary series that quickly became the most meaningful project I've ever worked on in my professional career to-date.  That project was The Arc of Northern Virginia's Housing Choice Voucher web series.

I first became familiar with The Arc during my time filming the Wings for All program, which is a simulated commercial flight experience so individuals with disabilities may learn and practice what it's like to navigate an airport, get screened by TSA, and board a real aircraft.

After my work on several Wings for All events, The Arc of Northern Virginia tapped me for a new video project - a documentary web series portion of a grant in partnership with the Virginia Housing Development Agency and Virginia Housing and Supportive Services.  Each short film educates viewers about the Housing Choice Voucher option offered in Virginia.

Housing Choice Vouchers give individuals with disabilities affordable access to independant housing, which increases quality of life and satisfaction over other housing options, such as group homes.  This allows other sources of income, such as Medicaid waivers, to go further in paying for other necessary services such as in-home caregivers.

Filming the series took place over the course of several months, in various locations across the Northern Virginia region.  Filming this series introduced me to many vibrant people with incredible stories, and all do great work in the local, state, and even national community, which you'll see in the series itself.  This series was truly and incredible experience to work on, and even though it was definitely the most challenging project I've taken on to-date (this series required an immense amount of post-production; each interview was about 1.5 - 2hrs long), this documentary series is by far the most meaningful project I have ever completed - I am truly proud to have been a part of it in cooperation with The Arc, and I truly look forward to more projects similar to this one.

Before we get into the series itself, I'd like to share some useful links which will help you learn more information about Housing Choice Vouchers in Virginia.

And now, here are all films in the series.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series: #1 - Brian

Brian, his family, and caregivers detail how his life has improved thanks to the Housing Choice Voucher following his traumatic brain injury.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series: #2 - Gail and Esther

Gail and Esther are best friends who live independently in the same apartment complex, and have technological aids to help them.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series #3 - David and Rory

David and Rory live together in spacious apartment, and are now able to cook their own meals and travel their own community, which was impossible in the group home setting they both lived in before receiving their Housing Choice Vouchers.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series: #4 - Rogan

Rogan's Housing Choice Voucher has helped provide him with a stable home with a live-in caregiver, as his parents begin to age.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series: #5 - Theresa

Theresa Rankin was homeless from the medical expenses following her traumatic brain injury, but a series of events turned that around and now she has an apartment where she lives independently.  Theresa then founded BrainLine.org, a national non-profit organization in partnership with PBS specializing in preventing, treating, and living with traumatic brain injuries.  Theresa continues to be a National Community Educator with Brain Injury Services.

Housing Choice Voucher 2016 Series: #6 - Robert

Robert was able to receive a Housing Choice Voucher even after a legal misunderstanding resulting from his disability, after he completed a Reasonable Accommodation Application.

Finally, I have to thank Kymberly DeLoatche, Lucy Beadnell, Rikki Epstein, Janene Shaw, and everyone else who was instrumental in making this large, technical, and wonderful project a reality!  Thank you for all your help!

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!