A four panel view of the seasons of 2016 at the Tidal Basin.  (Kevin Ambrose)

The cherry blossoms of spring steal the show every year, but all four seasons present unique beauty and appeal at the Tidal Basin. This post showcases a single view at the Tidal Basin photographed in each of 2016’s four seasons.

Here are the dates of my seasonal photos in this series:

Winter – February 15, 2016
Spring – March 29, 2016
Summer – August 4, 2016
Fall – November 10, 2016


A time slice view of the Tidal Basin from winter to fall 2016, right to left. (Kevin Ambrose)

Heavy snow fell at the Tidal Basin on the morning of Feb. 15 as I stood under an umbrella framing a photo of a bare cherry tree with the Jefferson Memorial. I felt like I was the only person at the Tidal Basin at that cold and blustery morning. As I snapped the snowy scene, I made a mental note to myself that I would return each season to take the same photo. It seemed so simple at the time.

But it’s never that simple. Spring is always a challenge. Walking around the Tidal Basin with 20,000 tourists during the peak cherry blossom bloom while looking for same photo location from winter is a little slow and tedious, but framing the scene without a lot of people in view is especially difficult.


A winter view at the Tidal Basin, February 15, 2016. (Kevin Ambrose)

It took three trips during the cherry blossom bloom to get my spring photo. During the first trip, clouds moved in which made for a rather drab blossom shot.  During the second trip, the crowd was much too thick for a good photo.  The third trip, however, was a charm and I found a gap between the never-ending stream of blossom viewers and I captured a rather uncrowded scene.

What made the spring shoot particularly challenging was that many tourists stopped to take selfies under my tree. Lots of selfies. One group of young ladies stopped for at least 15 minutes to take repetitive group selfie photos. They must have taken over 20 shots.  But I was patient and waited for a wide gap in the crowd to take my photo.


A spring view at the Tidal Basin, March 29, 2016. (Kevin Ambrose)

Summer was a much easier shoot. There were very few people at the Tidal Basin during my shoot and photographing a green tree scene is rather simple. The real challenge with my summer shoot was just remembering to make the trip. I procrastinated away the entire month of July before finally making time in early August for a trip. One trip was enough to get my summer photo.

My fall shoot was almost as easy as my summer shoot but it did take two trips because on my first trip the cherry tree was much too green. On my second trip, which was yesterday, the tree was still rather green but it was starting to show shades of red and yellow.  And I didn’t want to wait too long to shoot the photo because cherry trees drop their leaves rather quickly and I’d rather not photograph a semi-bare and scraggly-looking tree.

I chose a sunset view for my fall photo because I thought it was an appropriate setting for the final photo in the four season series.  By the way, if I have to choose my favorite season to shoot at the Tidal Basin, it’s always winter, provided there is plenty of snow.


A summer view at the Tidal Basin, August 4, 2016. (Kevin Ambrose)

Let me know if you have ideas for seasonal comparison views for next year.  Perhaps a dogwood tree on the Capitol grounds? I said that last year but I keep coming back to the Tidal Basin.  I love that place.


The fall view at the Tidal Basin, November 10, 2016. (Kevin Ambrose)

The selfies of spring. The spring photo for this series was the most challenging shot due to the large number of blossom viewers who slowly walked around the Tidal Basin and the many people who stopped in front of my camera to take selfies.  I never complained and I patiently waited for a gap in the crowd to take my spring photo.  While I was waiting, I photographed a few people taking selfies.  (Kevin Ambrose)

Related:

The singular beauty of the Tidal Basin in all four season

Delayed fall foliage: What a difference a year makes

Comparing the seasons at the Tidal Basin