Most days that the cherry blossoms were in peak bloom was either cold, windy, or cloudy. We even had a snowfall during the opening weekend of the cherry blossom festival. Spring seemed to take a break.
When I went on my blossom photo shoot to the Tidal Basin just over a week ago, I was greeted by a biting wind and a sky filled with dark, stratus clouds. An overcast sky is one of the worst weather conditions for photography if you want natural light from the sun to illuminate your subject. Most photographers hope for sunlight during the early morning or late afternoon hours to cast a golden light upon the cherry blossoms. With the cloudy sky on Wednesday, I decided to use an external flash with my camera to make up for the lack of direct sunlight.
Read below for more information and photos.
Since a flash can only illuminate blossoms relatively close to the camera, I decided to focus on shooting cherry blossom close-ups and not wide views of the Tidal Basin. I also decided to over-expose the relatively dark, cloudy sky to create a white backdrop for the blossoms. For each photo, I adjusted the angle of my flash to properly expose the blossoms in the foreground. The resulting photos show blossoms and monuments with much less color contrast than if the photos were taken with natural sunlight. In addition, the sky and water appear white, which is a bit unusual. Some may think that this gives an artistic impression of the Tidal Basin while others may think it just looks over-exposed. Either way, the photos show a representation of the weather we saw for most of our cherry blossom season. Hopefully, we’ll have better weather next year.