The Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms

As usual I went down to the tidal basin to take photos of the cherry blossoms; however, this year there were not as many as normal.  Several of the cherry blossoms died due to frost and cold temperature due to the odd weather patter we had this spring.  In February we had a few days in the upper 60’s and low 70’s, which caused the cherry blossoms to start to wake up, and start the blooming process. Though, in March, we went back to winter weather temperatures in the 30’s with some snow and ice, which damaged many of the blooms.  This resulted in a slightly less fluffy pink tidal basin, and a shorter bloom period. 

I went down to the tidal basin early in the morning of the first day of peak bloom with my Canon 70D a 18 -200mm lens, a 60mm macro (which I did not use), a Manfroto tripod, a 430 EX-RT III flash, and a bounce attachment for the flash.  It was a densely clouded morning and only a scant amount of light from the sunrise was breaking through the clouds, thus I used the flash with the bounce attachment to light up the blossoms while metering for the monument.   I was able to capture a few shots as the light streamed through a break in the clouds, which lasted for about 5 minutes, but could not capture the brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows when the sun just crests the horizon due to the clouds.   The clouds did break up later in the morning but that was after the sun was sufficiently over the horizon and to the point where it could start burning off the cloud layer.   Even though the conditions in the morning were less than ideal, I did manage to capture a few acceptable shots, and use some Lightroom magic to improve the final image.

As you can see in the image below, there are some dead blossoms, as indicated by the brown. This image was at ISO 100, a focal length of 18mm, using an aperture of f9, a 1/6s shutter speed, a flash to light the blossoms.  As you can see it was fairly cloudy, and this was one a few moments when the sun was peeking through the clouds. I did edit the image in light room to bring out the pinks a bit more and then gave it more of a faded look.  

This second image was taken a bit later in the morning.  You can tell because the sun is poking through the branches of the cherry tree and creating a reflection on the water.   I took this image at ISO 100, a focal length of 18mm, using an aperture of f9, a 1/125s shutter speed, and direct flash to light the tree branch.  This image was post-processed in light room by bringing up the clarity and then adjusting the highlights and shadows to bring out the details in the tree branch without blowing out sun reflection in the water. Then because I wanted to give it a warm sunrise feel, I tinted the image an orange filter. Overall, I’m pleased with how this image turned out.  

While I did not walk away with as many images of the tidal basin I usually do, the images I did captured allowed me to work on editing skills to bring mood and feeling to images captured in lack luster conditions.  You can see all the images here


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