national mall

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On this particular morning, I heard my alarm go off twice before realizing why it was even going off in the first place. It had been a while since I made myself get up for sunrise. Mostly because I hadn’t been feeling well and I was using my sickness as an excuse. So once I started feeling better, I felt like I needed to get back out and take some pictures. Even if it wasn’t going to be the best sunrise, I just needed to have that time to get out in some fresh air and do something creative.

The forecast had called for cloudy skies. And it definietly was cloudy. So much so I could barely tell when the sun had actually risen. But it was ok because I hopped onto a scooter and scooted over to the Jefferson Memorial to capture some images. It was nice because I was there all by myself for most of the time. So I figured I would try something different.

I was standing in the portico and looked up. I love the how the wide angle lens was able to capture both the dome and portico ceiling and how the shapes sort of mimic each other. I think the columns in the center divided up the space very nicely.

By the way,  it looks like they’re about to start some major construction or clean up at the Jefferson Memorial. If you’ve been wanting to go, I’d go soon before another scaffolded memorial pops up in the skyline. With all the construction that’s been happening around the National Mall, I’m not surprised that the Jefferson Memorial is the next one to be restored.

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/30th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Sometimes I go through my “Haven’t blogged yet” folder and I can’t believe some of the images that I haven’t blogged yet! Like this one! It was one of the first I captured this season and I love it because of the unique perspective.

I just happened to be walking around the Tidal Basin by myself when I noticed a group of people taking selfies. They looked like they were having fun so I didn’t want to interrupt them by walking past and being in the background of their shot. So I stood there a little while until they were done. But that’s when I noticed that to the right of them was a straight shot of the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial statue. Now that I think of it, I don’t know if they were capturing the memorial or the cherry blossoms in the background but the sun had just come up a little and the light was shining very nicely on the memorial and the trees surrounding it. It was like the beacon in the middle of cherry blossom trees and just screaming for me to capture it.

I probably spent a good 10 minutes just standing there trying to get this shot how I wanted it. It took longer because there were floating heads in some shots from people walking in front of my lens but it was totally worth it. I feel like the lighting and the framing worked so well to bring attention to the distant memorial.

I’m actually surprised because it doesn’t even look like there’s that many people in front of the memorial. Usually there are wayyyy more people during cherry blossom season.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/640th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m also a fan of when the cherry blossoms start falling. I think it adds a lot of interest when there is pink the trees but also pink in the grass.

I captured this when the petals first started falling. It was the first day of rain after a week of blue skies and I wasn’t mad about it. It ended up being a peaceful day at the Tidal Basin that allowed me to get a little creative with the petals. Luckily, there weren’t as many people out taking pictures so I had time to try different things without worrying about being in other people’s way. Trust me when I say that the Tidal Basin can get PACKED. Like tripod legs within tripod legs. It’s bananas. So a day without that many people is so freeing.

This image was almost by accident. I wanted to photograph the petals in the water, but I accidentally left my camera settings as the same as I was shooting when I was photographing the trees. Obviously, pointing up towards the sky allowed a lot more light coming in than pointing down into the water. So when I expected this image to turn out crisp and clear, it turned out a little blurry. But in such an interesting way that I tried a couple of different compositions until I came out with this one. The water was particularly choppy because of the rain so each time I clicked, I came out with something completely different. It was fun turning my camera in different angles to try something new. In the end, it’s the circular motion of these petals that really makes the image more interesting to me.

My camera settings for this image is F11 at 1/8th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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I’ve already started to scout out cherry blossom trees for next year. I’m committing to the idea of photographing the cherry blossom trees around the city and staying away from the Tidal Basin. I’m sad I came up with the idea too late to do it this year because it was such a great bloom, but at least it has given me time to think about other locations.

For example, Hains Point. It’s just east of the Tidal Basin and you sort of get the same feels as being at the basin since they are close to the water, but I really liked this location because there were a variety of cherry blossom trees. In this image you can see the Yoshino trees that you see at the Tidal Basin, but then you also get the weeping cherry blossoms as well as a peek of the Kwanzan trees. I love the variety of whites and pinks and it’s a great location for some cherry blossom portraits. The flowers are just as abundant if not more but it just doesn’t have as many people around.

When I was there I saw at least 3 photoshoots going on with professional photographers on a Saturday morning but these two girls had the right idea. From the moment I got there, they were having a blast with their own photoshoot. It reminded me of things my girlfriends and I would do when we’re on a trip together. Just having so much fun doing crazy things to get a fun shot. But I think the pulled out perspective really gives you an idea of just how much is blossoming in the area. I loved the rows and rows of trees.

My camera settings for this image is F9 at 1/125th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Unfortunately, the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin have pretty much lost all their flowers. Whenever that happens it sort of feels like the official end to cherry blossom season but I’m not sad about it. It’s expected for the cherry blossoms to last about a week-ish but there was something very special about this year’s bloom.

They seemed to be puffier and more colorful than ever. We had beautiful weather the entire week with nothing but blue skies. It was so exciting to capture. And it seemed like there were so many more photographers out because of the beautiful weather.

This image was actually captured 2 weeks ago, my first official day of photographing the trees this year.

I got to the Tidal Basin a little bit earlier than my usual time. I say I’d got there around 6:20a and it was ALREADY PACKED! I couldn’t find a parking anywhere spot along Ohio Dr at all. In my head, I thought that since it was Monday and that I was there earlier than I usually am, I should be fine with parking, but I was totally wrong. I ended up parking closer to the Smithsonian museums along the National Mall.

It was all good though because I was able to capture some of the cherry blossom trees by the Washington Monument on my walks to and from the Tidal Basin. This one was taken on my way back to the car. The sun had been out for quite some time but I just loved the cherry blossom trees looked like they were about to engulf the Washington Monument. I think that little bit of cloud adds a nice touch to the framing as well.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/640th sec and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle.

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Now for something COMPLETELY different from what I usually do, portraits.

This was fun though. My friend from Colorado, Sam came to visit Washington. This was probably my 3rd year in a row trying to get him to come during cherry blossom season and this year we finally made it happen! Although the cherry blossom trees were not as full as they would have been during peak bloom, he still could not stop saying “Wow this is so beautiful”. It was funny to hear him say it so much because I know I kept on saying it during peak but to hear him say it so often when the petals were falling off made me realize how lucky I really am to live so close to the cherry blossoms.

This image was actually inspired by my friend, Larry. He had taken a similar image of his wife and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to recreate it with Sam. He was completely down for it and it made it even more fun.

We started grabbing all the petals we could from the grass and collecting them in our hands. I love the way this turned out. His facial expression is just perfect! LOL. And I can’t stop looking at all the different ways the petals flew out of his hands. We tried this three times before we stopped and this was the second attempt. I don’t think it could have come out any better.

Luckily, Sam had a faster lens that he let me use for this image. Now I am really considering the 24-70mm F2.8. It’s a beautiful lens and the bokeh is just amazing. Don’t be surprised if you see an updated gear list soon 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F2.8 at 1/1000th of a sec and ISO 1250 with my Sony A7II and the 24-70mm lens.