Cherry Blossom Festival in DC

Cherry Blossoms with the Jefferson Memorial in the Background

As promised in last week’s photo-related entry on this blog, I am dedicating a post to the world-famous Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. This year, the festival was special not only because it was celebrating its centennial, but also because the weather had been so nice and warm. The trees blossomed relatively early during the month-long festivities, and people were happy to be out in t-shirts and shorts rather than wearing heavy winter clothing.

I took my fair share of photos and am posting here my favorite ones. I decided to split the photos in four categories: 1) cherry blossoms; 2) blossoming trees and famous monuments; 3) blossoms and the animals that live on the National Mall; 4) blossoms and the people who admire them.

1) Cherry Blossoms

Let’s start with a few typical cherry blossom shots.

Close-Up of Beautiful Cherry Blossoms

Tiny Blossom Suspended Mid-Air by an Invisible Spider Web

Cherry Trees Along the Bank of the Tidal Basin

Cherry Blossoms Bracketing the Tidal Basin

There were so many tourists taking photos of the same cherry trees over and over. I started fearing that my photos would look so bland and trivial — just another version of the thousands almost identical photos from the exact same spots on the National Mall. So I began looking for more alternative and dynamic ways to capture the beauty of the Cherry Blossom Festival. I quickly realized that the blossoms were as beautiful on the trees as they were on the ground. And I came up with the following two shots.

Close-Up of Fallen Cherry Blossoms

A "Red Carpet" of Cherry Blossoms

Afterwards, I started thinking what the trees would look like at sunset. Most of us have probably seen so many snapshots from the Festival in the past few weeks that the mere shape of the trees looks somewhat iconic by now. As the sun started setting on my first day of taking photos on the National Mall (March 23rd), I quickly snapped the shape of a cherry tree exposed against the magnificent sunset.

Cherry Blossoms at Sunset

Although the weather had overall been very good, we did have a few rainy days. Last Saturday (March 24th) was one of those lousy days but the bad weather reminded me how impressive the trees’ blossoms could be in the rain, as well. They almost look like they are crying.

Crying Blossoms

2) Blossoming Trees and Famous Monuments

You can’t claim you’ve covered the Festival without having at least a few nice photos of the cherry blossoms with the landmark monuments in the background. So here goes my tribute to the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial.

Washington Monument Viewed from Under a Cherry Tree

A Cherry Blossom Grove with the Monument in the Distance

Cherry Blossoms Bracketing the Jefferson Memorial

Blossoms Contrasting Nicely Against the Prominent White of the Jefferson Memorial

3) Blossoms and the Animals that Live on the National Mall

We tend to get so carried away by the beauty of the cherry blossoms that we often forget about the tiny inhabitants of the National Mall. I saw a raven in one of the cherry trees and was struck by the contrast of the bird’s solemn black color against the blossoms’ jovial red. That prompted me to look around for other ways the little animals on the Mall were interacting with the blossoms. Below are two examples.

Raven Perched on a Blossoming Tree's Branch

Squirrel Eating a Fallen Cherry Blossom

4) Blossoms and the People Who Admire Them

Finally, we should not forget ourselves — the people — enjoying the great weather and admiring the beauty of the cherry blossoms. It’s good to keep in mind that not everyone on the National Mall is either an aspiring photographer or a tourist snapping away those blossoms from every possible angle. There are many people that have simply elected to spend a few hours outdoors, surrounded by the magnificent view of the blossoming trees.

Some had brought a blanket and hid from the sun under the colorful shade of the blossoms.

Picnicking Under the Blossoming Trees

Others had opted for a more active and romantic entertainment, renting a paddle boat in the Tidal Basin.

Family on a Paddle Boat in the Tidal Basin

Watching the people on the paddle boats reminded me of one of my own romantic experiences in the Tidal Basin nine years ago, when my then-girlfriend and I paddled around the Jefferson Memorial for a blissful hour. I can attest from my personal experience that those people on the paddle boats surely were getting great glimpses of the cherry trees from the water.

Paddle Boats in the Tidal Basin

A few guys had decided to exercise their extreme sports hobbies against the backdrop of the cherry trees. They seemed to remain oblivious of the whole Cherry Blossom Festival frenzy surrounding them.

Kite Skateboarder with Cherry Trees as Backdrop

Even the younger crowd had found a hip place to enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms blended with the magnificence of a sunset.

Kids Sitting by Tidal Basin Enjoying Cherry Blossoms at Sunset

Of course, there were also those who were just going about their after-work chores, rushing along the lines of cherry trees, while the setting sun was casting a beautiful orange hue on everything around them.

People Rushing Along Tidal Basin at Dusk

Do you have your own original memories of any Cherry Blossom Festival that you may have captured on photos throughout the years? Care to share those with us? Please drop a link in the Comments section.

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5 Responses to Cherry Blossom Festival in DC

  1. Kitty says:

    The one of the Raven is gorgeous!

  2. lizfruitberry says:

    Wonderful Photos! We just visited D.C. in March, the Cherry Blossoms were just blooming. It was wonderful. Love D.C. It is such a beautiful city. Finally able to go to Arlington Cemetary and Ford’s Theatre, and the Library of Congress – LOVED IT! It is one of those cities where each time I go learn something new. The Museum of American History is my favorite museum! The tidal basin, oh so beautiful. The squirrels, well they just own D.C. – Love the picture of the squirral! What is your favorite place in D.C.? Could write all day about the Capital, Union Station, etc. Alot of construction going on there right now though.

    • Emil_M says:

      I love DC as well! I’ve lived in so many other places but something always pulls me back to DC. The city offers lots of diversity but at a more affordable and less hectic rate than NYC or London, for example.

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