Sakura Screening

[Note: I wrote this yesterday, but didn't get a chance to post it.]

Like, apparently, half the population of DC, I went down to the Tidal Basin Saturday morning to take pictures of the sunrise. I thought, after looking at the Cherry Blossom webcam, that the trees would have reached peak bloom by then. I also, stupidly, it seems, thought that the crowds wouldn't hit until a bit after sunrise.

But it was a zoo. There was already a very sizeable crowd half an hour before sunrise (some of which is pictured above), so I headed to my secondary location. It turned out that that was a better spot than where I'd planned on. For unknown reasons (too much light somewhere nearby?), the normal coloration that precedes sunrise never happened (at least, not visibly), so dawn was a bust. But I waited for sunrise shooting back towards the west, and got a couple of shots I was really happy with.

Only two trees had reached full bloom that morning, but both were on the southeast stretch of the tidal basin, and a bunch more there were quite close.

Hearing about the 10k race, and other stuff happening Sunday, I gave the area a pass, and mostly ended up shooting birds on the Potomac at sunrise Sunday morning. Nothing too thrilling, but I did find a couple of interesting places for future possibilities.

But I went back to the tidal basin this morning to try again. The exact spot I'd found for the equinox was taken, but I was able to get some shots with the cherry blossoms very close by. Then I went back to the side of the Jefferson Memorial (with my dad's 80-400mm AF-D lens instead of my 150-500mm, since he was planning on joining me and I'd be able to return it), to get west-facing shots again. Again, much better shots of the blossoms themselves, that way.

Got interviewed by a local TV station (today's the first day of spring, they were saying. I thought the equinox, ten days ago, marked the beginning of spring, but what do I know?), which was kind of interesting. Doesn't look like they used the footage, and I'm curious how it looked. I certainly felt like I did a much better job than the last time I got interviewed for TV (that was in Hong Kong, which didn't help, I'm sure. That time, I know the footage didn't get used; it turned out they were looking for foreigners spending lots of money at the time), and would like to see if that was the case.

Also found the time to take some macro shots of the blossoms, which cold prevented me doing on Saturday (left my gloves in the car; thought it wasn't going to be so chilly). Unfortunately, a bit of wind prevented me from doing a good job making use of the Really Right Stuff macro focusing rails I got recently. The wind necessitated shooting blossoms as close to the trunk as I could manage. Having a very tall tripod facilitated this (I think I ended up with the camera about seven feet up), but the camera still needed to be at a very steep angle, and the focusing rails couldn't advance "uphill" on that much of an angle. I was still able to get some shots I liked, but I couldn't use the fine adjustments.

Anyway, I still need to process today's shots; we'll see how they came out.

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