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Frozen cherry blossoms to fall color: Photos of all four seasons at the Tidal Basin

A patchwork of seasonal photos are integrated into a composite view of the Tidal Basin representing 2017. In this photo collage, there are three parts autumn, two parts of winter, one part spring and one part summer. The photos were taken on March 14, March 25, July 29 and Nov. 9. (Kevin Ambrose)
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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 seasonal views at the Tidal Basin photographed in each of 2017’s four seasons, with some side-by-side seasonal comparisons.

Here are the dates of my photos in this series:

Winter — March 14, 2017
Spring — March 25, 2017
Summer — July 29, 2017
Fall — Nov. 9, 2017

What was particularly interesting this year was that my winter shoot and my spring shoot were ridiculously close together — March 14 and March 25.  I actually had to wait until mid-March to photograph D.C.’s biggest (and only) winter storm of the season, and it really wasn’t that big.

Hard freezes followed the March snow and ice storm, however, and 50 percent of the cherry blossoms were killed.  The blossoms that survived the freeze reached peak bloom March 25, only 11 days after the winter storm.  The peak bloom was not spectacular, but it was still quite good considering the freeze damage.

A rare summer nor’easter occurred July 29 which provided wet and windy conditions for my summer photo shoot.  Leading up to that date, there was ample rainfall to provide a thick, green canopy of leaves at the Tidal Basin.  During my summer shoot, puddles were numerous and a cool, northeast wind with spits of rain made the conditions rather pleasant for late July.

During late summer and early fall, however, the weather turned warm and dry, which both diminished and delayed the fall color at the Tidal Basin.  But color did appear in the trees by early November.

On Nov. 9, many cherry trees at the Tidal Basin were starting to show good color, but many other cherry trees still had green leaves.  The fall color at the basin this year was quite inconsistent and remarkably staggered, much like the cherry blossom bloom in the spring.

Record cold immediately followed my Nov 9. photo shoot with a hard freeze, and the leaves that remain on the trees at the Tidal Basin surely won’t last long.  It’s been a tough year for the trees.

I wonder when we’ll have our first winter storm to shoot in D.C.?  Hopefully, before March 14.  And no more cherry blossom freezes, please!

Let me know if you have ideas for seasonal comparison views for 2018.


Cherry blossoms steal the show but all four seasons are uniquely beautiful

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