National Cherry Blossom Festival…[updated]

12 03 2012

…these words strike fear into the locals. Long lines on the Metro. Restaurants that are packed. People shoulder to shoulder around the tidal basin. With that being said, the festival is a big event that is loved by many.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of the relationship between Japan and the United States (you know, the good parts of it) that started with hundreds of cherry trees being sent from Tokyo to Washington, D.C. in the early 1900s. It attracts visitors from all around the world that take over the District of Columbia for a few weeks each spring.

The blossoms are a sight to see. Early morning (sunrise) is a great time to see the blossoms. The weather is cool, downtown isn’t year crowded, and the light is beautiful. I’d recommend it to anyone willing to crawl out of bed while it’s still dark to get down to the Tidal Basin. The cherry blossoms are expected to be at peak bloom from March 20-23 March 24-28, 2012; early this year due to the mild “winter”.

Below are a few photos of the Tidal Basin that I’ve taken during previous visits to see the cherry blossoms. You may also view other photos from Washington, D.C .by visiting my Washington, D.C. gallery.

Washington Monument at Sunrise - Cherry Blossoms

Sunrise at the Tidal Basin

Sunrise at the Washington Monument

Abstract sunrise

Sunrise at the Jefferson Memorial - Cherry Blossoms

Sunrise at the Jefferson Memorial

Cherry Blossoms and the Washington Monument

Early morning light with the Washington Monument


George Washington may have…

20 04 2009

…chopped down the cherry tree, but Japan sent some replacements. Spring has alledgedly come to Washington, DC. During a season full of rainy 50 degree days, I managed to find a clear and sunny morning to take in the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom.

The Jefferson Memorial framed by cherry blossoms.

The Jefferson Memorial framed by cherry blossoms.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a busy and exciting time in Washington, though it is one that I have avoided for the first 4 springs that I have lived in this area. While the blossoms certainly didn’t disappoint, the crowds around the Tidal Basin and the Washington Monument did make taking photographs a challenge. It was an exercise of waiting for people to pass and ducking under the camera range of others.

Early morning sun lights up the east side of the Washington Monument.

Early morning sun lights up the east side of the Washington Monument.

The bright early morning light, blue sky, and pink blossoms combined for some strong photographs. While walking through downtown, I found that I enjoyed the Washington Monument better with the cherry blossoms. This might have been because it was easier to maneuver, but I’m going to say it was the dramatic angle of the light.

Washington, DC provides many opportunites to enjoy the monuments to some our nation’s founders. But some of the best perspectives come from exploring off of the beaten path. One of my favorite shots from my morning with the cherry blossoms came from an approach to the Washington Monument from the southwest. From this direction, I approached the monument from a grove of cherry trees and I found a nice window for the shot.
Washington, DC is a great city to explore and while the Cherry Blossom Festival is not one of my favorite events in DC, the beauty of the blossoms is unrivaled. For additional photos of Washington, DC, please feel free to visit my DC Gallery.