Cherry blossoms begin to bloom at the Tidal Basin, March 16, 2012. I used a 15 second exposure, F-stop 14, ISO 100, White balance - Daylight, and an external flash. (Kevin Ambrose)

Here’s a tip for viewing the cherry blossoms in Washington. Try visiting the Tidal Basin after 9 p.m. The monuments are illuminated, the crowds are gone, the parking is easy, and it’s a beautiful setting at night. There were moments during my photo shoot Friday evening when I felt that I had the Tidal Basin all to myself.

Regarding Friday evening’s photo shoot, most of the trees were just starting to bloom. Only a few trees had any full blossoms and it was slim pickings for photos. I did manage, however, to find a few scenes worth shooting. By the way, I’ve always liked photographing cherry blossom scenes that have both full blossoms and partial blossoms grouped together. I find that it adds more dimension and color to the photos.

I have assembled a small collection of images from Friday evening’s photo shoot showing some of the cherry blossoms that were beginning to burst out. They should be peaking later this week. Larger resolution photos can be viewed here.

Read below for more photos of the cherry blossoms.

A canopy of cherry blossoms over the Washington Monument. (Kevin Ambrose)

The Jefferson with blossoms. (Kevin Ambrose)