At 6:45 AM this morning the cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin were not quite ready to strut their stuff, but the magic moment is getting close. Although the weather was nearly perfect, the walkways were almost deserted. Several photographers with tripods were lurking about, probably scouting compositions in advance. The usual number of joggers and bikers were making their rounds and a small gaggle of photo tour visitors were getting briefed on what was going to happen after they left town. A few trees have decided to jump the gun, but most are still in bud, as shown by the image below. (Technical data: Nikon D800E with 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens set at 24 mm; handheld and exposed at 1/250th sec. @ f/8, ISO 400, on-camera flash used for fill light on the buds)
I should note that the forsythia and tulip trees over by the George Mason Memorial are usually a few days ahead of the cherry trees and they were looking very nice this morning. I made a complete circuit around the Tidal Basin, and noticed that the parking lot next to the paddleboat concession has a café set up with lots of tables and chairs. It looked pretty nice, but it wasn’t open yet, so apparently early risers are not considered worthy customers. But the sun was up, the crowds were somewhere else and that’s enough for me.
As I approached the Martin Luther King Memorial, I found a nice stretch of walkway that was completely deserted. (Technical data: 4 separate images, photomerged; Nikon D800E with 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens set at 24 mm; handheld and exposed at 1/320th sec. @ f/8, ISO 400)
It turned out that the Memorial was also empty so I took the opportunity to get my first image of the statue since the controversial inscription was removed on the east side. Background on this issue can be found here. (Technical data: 5 separate images, photomerged; NikonDd800E with 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens set at 26 mm; on tripod and exposed at various speeds between 1/25th and 1/60th all at f/16, ISO 400)
Today was probably the last morning before the crowds really start building, so if you are headed down there in the coming days, remember the words of Michael Buffer and be prepared.