tidal basin

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We’ve been having a lot of stormy weather lately in the Washington DC area. It seems like almost every day I’ve been getting warnings on my phone about rain or thunderstorms. I’m not complaining though because it feels great to break up some of the hot, humid summer days. But with all these rainy days, I’m always thinking about the water levels at the Tidal Basin and how bad the flood walls need to be repaired.

Even though I took this image last summer, it reminds me of what it’s probably been like at the Tidal Basin right now. It’s pretty ridiculous to see how much the Tidal Basin gets flooded, even on a day that doesn’t rain that much. To be honest, this particular day was the worst I’ve ever seen it. The sidewalks are flooded and it has become un-walkable. At some point, I had to walk up the slight hill, up to the sidewalk in order to get around trees and the flooding in order to walk along the Tidal Basin. It’s crazy!

If you’re are just as concerned as I am about your grandchildren seeing the Tidal Basin in all its beautiful glory, including the iconic cherry blossoms, please consider taking the pledge from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It’s a national treasure that needs to be preserved.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/250th sec at ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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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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What do you do when the cherry blossom flowers have fallen? If you’re at the National Mall around the Tidal Basin, you find any way possible to gather and collect them. It was fun because I saw the NPS people use shovels and snow blower to pile them all up. Pretty much by any means possible.

But I kinda felt like a creeper because I followed them all around the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial with my camera just so I could capture this scene. I just couldn’t help myself. It was so beautiful. I already love it when the petals are  falling from the trees, they look so delicate and fragile. The snow blowers created a similar effect but x 3000. It was the coolest thing ever.

So when I captured this image, I actually had the person snow blowing the petals in the frame. In the end, I thought it was a little more mysterious cropping them out and removing all context. It just looks like a pink snow globe to me an I love it. You don’t get to see scenes like this very often.

It also makes you wonder though. Can you imagine how insane it would be if they didn’t pick it up? Just look at how much is on this little part of the wall and floor alone. That’s definietly a huge slipping hazard for when it rains. So thank you, NPS!

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/1250th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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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’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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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.