Washington’s world famous cherry blossoms peaked this weekend, accompanied with perfect weather for blossom viewing.
The peak bloom also coincided with the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on Saturday and the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run on Sunday. The combination of good weather and good timing for peak bloom is not often seen in Washington.
We were fortunate that the warm front on Friday never made it through the Washington area. While we hovered near 60 degrees with clouds and showers Friday afternoon, Central Virginia experienced temperatures in the 80s with severe thunderstorms. The blossoms benefited from the gradual warm up into the weekend without the strong winds, hail, and roller coaster temperatures that was experienced just to our south. Hail and strong winds would have devastated the blossoms.
As expected, the crowds were huge on the Mall and Tidal Basin on both Saturday and Sunday. By 6 a.m. on Sunday, the Tidal Basin was already full of photographers and early bird tourists. By 8 a.m., the Tidal Basin trail was packed with people. By afternoon, it was challenging just to walk one loop around the Tidal Basin.
Sunday marked the end of my seven week cherry blossom photographing series. Starting on Feb. 28, I photographed the same cherry tree and park bench every weekend until full bloom (full series below). I was amazed that each weekend featured a clear sky sunrise to show the position of the sun on the horizon.
Often, early spring weather in Washington is dominated by clouds and precipitation. The weather cooperated this year for seven weekends in a row of clear weather! In the photo sequence below, check out how fast the sun tracks north across the horizon from week-to-week. The days have been rapidly growing longer.
I joked with friends that the last photograph of my series would not show an empty bench, even at sunrise. I was right. For most of the moments after sunrise, the scene around my bench was crowded with at least a dozen tourists and photographers. I was fortunate to capture a scene with only a few people around the bench as a gap developed in the constant stream of people walking the trail along the Tidal Basin.
I’ll return to the bench to photograph it in summer and fall to have a four panel series showing the seasons at the Tidal Basin. I bet summer and fall will feature an empty bench.
Cherry blossom tracking series
Some more images from my photo shoot on April 12: