Above: The illumimated Jefferson Memorial framed by Cherry Blossoms in the colorful light of dawn.
I'd like to thank the wonderful people who attended my 2011 Cherry Blossom Photo Workshop. There are few urban landscapes as impressive as Washington DC, and the crowds showed up in appropriate fashion. Donning tripod legs, white lenses and external flashes, the Tidal Basin was transformed into a hotbed of photographic activity. In order to catch the magic light, our group of four met in the dark for a very early 6am start.
Coming from a bitter New York winter which featured no less than eight snow storms, I was delighted to breathe in the delicate scent of flowering trees. Thankfully the rain stayed away yielding spectacular conditions at both sunrise and sunset. My research on the peak blooming period proved to be accurate with nearly every tree cascading in abundant flowers.
Above: Delicate pink blossoms appear to surround the Washington Monument just before sunrise at the Tidal Basin.
When teaching a workshop, I generally don't shoot much. My main priority is to provide each participant with detailed individual instruction. The ultimate goal is for everyone to go home with breathtaking photos and a deeper understanding of the finer aspects of photography. Over the course of the day, we covered fill flash, manual exposure, graduated neutral density filters, polarizers, histograms, and composition. Besides shooting, we also had the opportunity to enjoy a delicious lunch while relaxing in each others company and forming new friendships. This was followed by an informative portfolio review.
Above: An ideal place to sit, and soak in the beauty around the Basin.
Later, the Lincoln Memorial lit up the dusky night sky and we ignored frozen fingers to concentrate on long exposures and interesting compositions. Balancing ourselves on precarious cement blocks, more pictures were made of the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building glowing in the distance. We worked every angle, attempting each possibility until there was no more light to be had.
The following morning I made a solo trek to the Tidal Basin to create some of my own images. As I peered through the viewfinder, I thought about the origin of the trees given by Japan in 1912 as a gift of friendship. Today, as the people in their region suffer devastating losses from the earthquake, I can only hope that peace and comfort will blanket those affected. In talking with the cab drivers, bartenders, and various DC locals, the consensus was of a record breaking turnout this year. Perhaps our appreciation of these magnificent trees is a way to show our solidarity with our friends overseas. My thoughts are with them, and I plan to return next year to honor the 100th anniversary of their most generous gift. If you would like to join me for the 2012 workshop, please drop me an email.