Cherry Blossoms–Now?

Things are moving fast down at the Tidal Basin.  The partial eclipse at dawn on Saturday was a bust because of clouds, but there was a full moon rise that evening, and the Cherry Blossom Festival decided to launch a bunch of fireworks at about the same time.  .So of course I went down to practice my Fireworks-Moonrise-Jefferson Memorial-Night Scene technique.  The image below is the result.

Jefferson Fireworks

Moonrise and Fireworks, Jefferson Memorial

I’m not sure when I’ll get another chance at this combination, so I’ll have to be satisfied with this one unless I want to cheat.

On Sunday morning I returned for another moon image, this time the setting moon with the Jefferson which would also give me a chance to check on the status of the cherry blossoms. Even in the pre-dawn twilight it was obvious that they had been busy that night because there was a pink cast to the trees that had been absent the day before.  It’s hard to see in the small image below, but the so-called “indicator tree” that is typically a few days ahead of all the others was indicating good things were coming soon.  There were 9,000 people attending a sunrise church service on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial but there was hardly anyone around the Jefferson Memorial.

Jefferson Moonset 01

Setting Moon at Dawn, April 5

I returned again this morning and found the walkways were still virtually deserted.   However, there was an incredibly long line waiting for admission to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing which was fine with me. The pink tone in the trees was much stronger and the lack of wind before sunrise enabled some nice reflections.

Tidal Basin 02

Tidal Basin, 10 Minutes before Sunrise, April 6

Tidal Basin 01

Tidal Basin, 30 Minutes after Sunrise, April 6

Today was quite warm so there should be further progress on Tuesday.  The forecast for Tuesday calls for some rain and cloudy weather but a while back I stupidly made a morning dental appointment for this day.  But I’ll definitely be back there on Wednesday, rain or shine.

22 thoughts on “Cherry Blossoms–Now?

    • Hi, and thanks for your comments and for the question. My settings on this shot were: Nikon D800E on a tripod with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens extended to 70mm. The exposure was 1.3 seconds @ f/16, ISO 800. I should note that the meter was telling me at the time that the setting was -3.0 EV underexposed. But in a scene like this, the meter isn’t much help. These settings are probably different than what one reads in guidelines for fireworks, but this is an unusual scene. The moon is extremely bright, you can see that it is blown out and the Memorial is considerably dimmer. I needed f/16 to maximize depth of field, the fireworks were not that close to the Jefferson Memorial. I shot in RAW so I would be able to have a lot more control during post processing, but the original image was in pretty good shape when I downloaded it. My practice with fireworks is to do trial shots at the beginning, checking the LCD display for general exposure,composition, and good trace lines following the burst. I only check the big bursts and adjust until I have a combination that seems to be working. Then I shoot every one, trying to anticipate when the burst will happen. It’s best when you catch it early and have the shutter open as the colored traces fall to the ground. Bear in mind that 95% of them are not worth keeping. That’s OK with digital.


  1. Hello Robin, I’m glad to hear our long awaited photo opportunities are finally here. I wish I could be with you for the moon gate shot. I’m looking forward to sharing in the fun on Friday. Get some great shots. Carla

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good morning, Robin. I have been walking on that walkway several times. It’s so beautiful this time of the year. I like all photos, particularly love the 3rd. Looking forward to seeing more. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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