Saturday, March 29, 2008


Cherry blossoms in full bloom with the Jefferson Memorial in the background.
Spring has arrived in Washington!
(P.S. This photo is not an overlay. This is pure, dumb luck!)

I looked out my window yesterday evening and noticed we were about to have a gorgeous sunset. I literally ran to my room, grabbed my camera, tripod, keys, and a jacket and ran out the door. Jumped in my car and drove from upper NW to the Tidal Basin via Beach Drive and Rock Creek Parkway in about 10 minutes. (No mean feat, let me tell you! It usually takes 20.)

These are just four of the 114 pictures I took of the cherry blossoms, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, Roosevelt Memorial, and a few sunset shots. Over the next few days, I'll post a few more pictures. I'm also going back tomorrow morning before sunrise to set up and take pictures of the blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial in the early morning light.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival signals the commencement of spring in Washington, D.C., as well as the arrival of trains, planes, automobiles, and busloads of tourists and high school touring groups from all over the United States and the world. More than a million people will pour into the city over the next two weeks to enjoy the blossoms and the festival.

In 1912, the Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, presented 3,000 cherry trees as a gift to the peoples of the United States in an effort to strengthen relations between our two countries. (In 1915, the United States reciprocated and presented Japan with flowering dogwood trees.) The cherry trees where planted around the Tidal Basin and the first festival was held in 1935. All festivities were suspended in the 1940s while the U.S. and Japan were at war with each other.

In 1947, the D.C. Board of Trade and D.C. Commissioners resumed the festival as an act of reconciliation and it has continued to this day. Events include a parade, martial arts demonstrations, and the crowning of a Cherry Blossom Princess, among other activities. In 1965, First Lady Lady Bird Johnson accepted an additional 3,800 trees from the Japanese.

Today, these trees have realized a full cycle of life when, in 1981, Japanese horticulturists took cuttings to replace trees destroyed in flooding in Japan. In 1999, a new generation of cuttings was planted from a tree in Japan reputed to be 1,500 years old!

To see larger versions of the thumbnails, click on them. And come back next week. There will be more! Photo thumbnail descriptions from top to bottom: Cherry trees in full bloom at the mouth of the Tidal Basin; pink clouds to match the pink blossoms: the Washington Monument from across the Tidal Basin; blossoms, tourists, and the Jefferson Memorial: our most popular and picturesque time of year!

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 3/08


Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

D.C. is a gorgeous city, but this time of year it is absolutely splendid. I wish I were there right now. Thanks for the lovely views, Janet. Can't wait to see the rest. :)

Neva said...

Thanks for stopping by..... your photos are awesome...I will be in DC(actually Manassass) in April but the blossoms will be gone by then. Love the first photo you showed!

Cowbark said...

I know that you have to post photos of this, but in a very selfish way I wish you hadn't! It's this time of year, and photos like these, that make me miss living in DC the most!

D.C. Confidential said...

Fenix: You're welcome! Come on down and we'll do a photo safari together.

Neva: Manassas is a lovely area. I need to get out there one day and shoot photos of the national battlefields before they get all swallowed up in development.

Cowbark: Sorry. :-( I know what you mean, though. I feel the same way every time I look at Fog Bay--a photo blog from San Francisco.

Mme. Meow said...

Wow. Am humbled. My pictures from today are very plain ;o) (you can see them on Flickr if you'd like though)

Maya said...

Beautiful light! Well worth the effort to capture it I imagine. It is spring in this Washington as well and the cherry trees are in full force here. It was a strange juxtaposition with the snow we had falling yesterday!

b.c. said...

what a great series of photos--i love the first one especially and am looking forward to more

D.C. Confidential said...

Mme. Meow: Your pictures on Flickr are fabulous! In fact, your close-up shots of the blossoms inspired me. I made sure to capture similar shots this morning.

Maya: Wow! That's wild! It didn't snow here, but it sure was nippy this morning. I was wearing a heavy t-shirt, two fleece jackets, a coat, and fingerless gloves when I went out this morning. Brrrrr. But well worth it! The blossoms are spectacular!

B.C.: Posting more shortly! I just shot another 141 pictures this morning. About 110 of them are just blossoms and monuments.

The Artful Eye said...

Janet, I hope you are framing some of these for gallery. Oh my goodness.. the top one is spectacular. I'm speechless. I couldn't wait to see these posts.

D.C. Confidential said...

Andrea: I've thought about printing and mounting them in mattes, then selling them at the Eastern Market. There's a guy who sells his up there and I think some of mine are nearly as good. If I did 5x7 and 8x10, how much would you pay for each?