A cherry tree is sliced by the seasons of 2019. The photos were taken Jan. 13, March 31, Aug. 31 and Nov. 9. (Kevin Ambrose)

The unique beauty of all four seasons was on full display at Washington’s Tidal Basin this year.

I photographed the same scene at the same location in all four seasons, concluding with last week’s peak fall foliage and then created four-panel images to compare views of winter, spring, summer and fall.


Despite the differences in weather during the four seasons, the activities at the Tidal Basin were similar. (Kevin Ambrose)

Spring and summer are the most popular seasons for people to visit the Tidal Basin, of course, and there is always plenty of activity to photograph. When the cherry blossoms peak in spring, however, the crowd grows so thick that it is often challenging to take photos of the blossoms without lots of people blocking the view.


A cherry tree at the Tidal Basin was photographed during all four seasons of 2019 with the Jefferson Memorial in the background. (Kevin Ambrose)

During the fall and winter, especially on the cold and snowy days, the Tidal Basin is crowd-free, and only die-hard joggers and hikers seem to brave the weather as they traverse the Tidal Basin Loop Trail. Photography is easy during those seasons, if one dresses warmly.


A cherry tree branch at the Tidal Basin was photographed during the four seasons of 2019. (Kevin Ambrose)

Below, find summaries of my photo shoots from each of the four seasons …

Winter — photos from Jan. 13


Running in the snow at the Tidal Basin. (Kevin Ambrose)

I chose the largest snowstorm of our winter season for my winter photo shoot of 2019. Double-digit snowfalls were common across the area, with Reagan National Airport reporting 9.8 inches.


A snow-covered cherry tree. (Kevin Ambrose)

Moderate-to-heavy snow fell for much of the day, which provided beautiful winter conditions for photography. I did have to shoot under an umbrella, however, to keep my camera dry. Here’s a link to my photo post from that awesome, snowy day.


A snowy scene at the Tidal Basin.

A wide view of the Tidal Basin with snow. (Kevin Ambrose)

Spring — photos from March 31


Peak bloom at the Tidal Basin always draws a large crowd. (Kevin Ambrose)

The cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin officially reached peak bloom on April 1. Unfortunately, I was scheduled to fly to California for a week-long business trip that same day and couldn’t take photos. Instead, I made a trip to the Tidal Basin for a late-afternoon-and-sunset photo shoot the previous day, on March 31.


The Jefferson Memorial is framed by cherry blossoms. (Kevin Ambrose)

Check out the photos below. The cherry blossoms were pretty much reaching peak bloom during my photo shoot despite the official date of peak bloom being recorded a day later. And, of course, the crowds were thick as usual, and the temperature was pleasantly cool.


This cool pup poses for a photo near the Japanese Lantern with cherry blossoms as a backdrop. (Kevin Ambrose)

A wide view of the Tidal Basin with cherry blossoms near peak bloom. (Kevin Ambrose)

Summer — photos from Aug. 31


A summer bike ride around the Tidal Basin. (Kevin Ambrose)

Summer is Steady Eddie for photography at the Tidal Basin. The foliage is always lush green, and the weather is usually hot and humid. Early morning hours are typically calm, with hazy skies.


The Japanese Lantern at the Tidal Basin. (Kevin Ambrose)

I chose an unusually clear summer morning with good visibility for my summer photo shoot. The sunrise was not particularly colorful, but when the sun rose above the horizon, golden light flooded the Tidal Basin, which made for a beautiful setting to photograph the green foliage.


A cherry tree during summer. (Kevin Ambrose)

A summer sunrise at the Tidal Basin. (Kevin Ambrose)

Fall — photos from Nov. 9


Running at the Tidal Basin during a crisp fall morning. (Kevin Ambrose)

The temperature was 26 degrees when I left for my fall Tidal Basin photo shoot, just before sunrise, on Nov. 9. The temperature was almost the same as with my winter snowstorm photo shoot on Jan. 13.


Fall color at the Tidal Basin. (Kevin Ambrose)

But with bright sunshine during the morning hours, the temperature quickly rose above 40 degrees. And the foliage of the cherry trees at the Tidal Basin glowed red and gold with the light of the rising sun.


A cherry tree during fall. (Kevin Ambrose)

A wide view of the Japanese Lantern during fall. (Kevin Ambrose)

More seasonal photos at the Tidal Basin

2014 comparisons

2015 comparisons

2016 comparisons

2017 comparisons

2018 comparisons