tidal basin

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Every year Washington DC welcomes millions of visitors traveling to the National Mall to take in all the sights and history. Many will start coming in the springtime to catch a glimpse of the beautiful cherry blossom trees at the Tidal Basin. They are alluring, but can sometimes be elusive. Especially when you are dealing with nature, you never know exactly when they are going to bloom or how long they will even last. In general, they will stick around for a week to 10 days. This already leaves a short window of time to see them and that doesn’t include the fact that these flowers are fragile and can fall off their branches with a sudden gust of wind or rain.

So this guide is for all you flower nature lovers who may have missed the cherry blossoms and are here to see what else the city has to offer. Don’t worry because there’s a lot! From Saucer Magnolias to Star Magnolias, Tulips and Forsythia, there is no shortage of beautiful blossoms in the city. You just have to know where to go to see them.

But if you are only interested in the cherry blossoms, I’ve got your back. Click here for the cherry blossom guide!

The National Mall:

Washington DC, especially the mall area, is a very nice area to walk. I highly suggest just taking the day to wander and get lost. There is no doubt that you will run into flowers and beautiful trees while walking around the area. Even the side streets that lead up to the Mall have pretty florets to look at. But if you’re on a time crunch, here are a few specific places to go:

Enid A Haupt Garden

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Spring is my favorite time to be in Washington DC. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and everyone seems to have a smile on their face. What’s not to love? It’s a special time to be in the city where tourists and locals alike flock to the famous cherry blossoms to admire their beauty.

To fully prepared, I reference this website a lot. It’s National Park Services’ Bloom watch. I think they have the most accurate up to date information about the peak bloom. They also break down the stages so that you know what you’re looking at in case you are overly eager and want to check out the trees asap.

2020 Update: National Park Service is predicting an even earlier peak bloom on March 21-24th due to this beautiful, warm weather we’ve been having. <3

So if this is your first Cherry Blossom experience in the Nation’s Capital, let me try to break it down for you…

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It’s as if they’re coming right at you! LOL

But the cherry blossoms are coming! It’s so crazy to say because it’s only the beginning of March, but we had such a warm winter season in the Washington DC area that the flowers are expected to bloom in a couple of weeks. I’m pretty sure the National Park Service will be announcing their estimated peak dates soon, and when they do, I’ll be sure to update my guide to the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.

As for now, I’m just enjoying images I’ve captured in previous years of the blooms.

My camera setting for this image are F5.6 at 1/1600th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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Sad to say but I have kind of given up on the idea of snow this year. We may be getting a little bit today, but it doesn’t look likely. So as of now, I’m looking forward to spring.

On the other hand, I heard from the grape vine that we may be seeing cherry blossoms earlier than expected. I’m talking way earlier like before St Patrick’s day. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to wait to see what happens. The weather in DC is always so crazy. When the cherry blossom predictions come out, I’ll be sure to update my cherry blossom guide.

Who knows thou. Snow in March has happened before!

My camera settings for this image are F8 at 1/25th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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This past weekend I am glad I was able to go out and capture the super snow moon at sunrise (moonset) with my friend Zack and a few others. Zack picked a great location at the Tidal Basin so that we can see the moon with the Rosslyn, Virginia skyline. To my surprise, we had a great view of the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial as well.

A clear sky made for a great showing of the moon but I love how you can see some of that early morning sunrise glow on the buildings to make them shine a bit. I’m not going to lie though, even with all that sun shining down on us, it was cold. Like, wear 3 pairs of pants cold. But it was worth it because I had a great time with my friends.

Here’s another view of the moon when it was a little bit higher in the sky. I was looking for an interesting foreground so I used my friend, Andy to sort of give a little context as to what it was like seeing it in person.

washington dc, rosslyn virginia, va, arlington, virginia, moonset, snow moon, supermoon, sunrise, tidal basin

The snow moon setting over Rosslyn, VA as seen from Washington DC

My camera settings for the Rosslyn image are F9 at 1.320th sec and ISO 500. The camera settings for Andy’s image are F9 at 1/16th sec and ISO 640. Both captured with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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So the Thomas Jefferson memorial is still under scaffolding. It’s been like this for more than 6 months and I don’t like it.

There have been times when there’s been scaffolding around other memorials and monuments that I don’t mind. But the scaffolding around the Jefferson is just so much that it’s very difficult to find the good out of it. It’s there because the roof is getting restored and clean so it may not come down until later this year.

Until then, I’ve been purposely avoiding the tidal basin because it’s just so distracting. However, I met up with a few friends on Sunday to capture the moonset and the best spot to watch was the Tidal Basin. So on my way to the location, I tried my best to try to think of it differently and make the best of it.

I found this puddle that had very interesting textures in the mud and thought it went well with the sunrise clouds. I also like how you can see the entire memorial and see that it’s not entirely covered by scaffolding. Maybe next time I’ll just go to the back and take pictures of that. LOL.

My camera settings for this image are F9 at 1/5th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.