Cherry Blossom Peak in D.C. Delayed

Cherry Blossom Peak in D.C. Delayed

Once a year over a million people head to the tidal basin area of Washington D.C. in hopes of catching a glimpse of the thousands of beautiful cherry blossoms lining the streets. This year you may need to adjust your schedule to catch the peak bloom. 

Due to the inconsistent weather that the Northern Virginia and D.C. Metro area has seen in recent weeks, the cherry trees need a few more days before they will peak. The peak bloom date is based on when 70% of the Yoshino cherry trees are in bloom.  As I know many photographers who take the necessary steps to acquire proper permits for photo shoots during this narrow window, this could cause havoc in having to reschedule last minute. Instead of looking at a beautiful backdrop of thousands of blooms, you could be staring at dormant trees. 

In 1912, as a sign of friendship between the United States and Japan, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo presented a gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington D.C. Twelve varieties of trees were sent on board the S.S. Awa Maru which arrived in Seattle, Washington. From there the trees were loaded into boxcars and hauled across the country for delivery in the nation’s capital. Helen Taft and the wife of Japan’s Ambassador to the United States then planted the first two Yoshino cherry trees on the Tidal Basin banks. 

The Cherry Blossom Festival for 2018 is planned to kick off on March 17 and end April 15. As of yesterday’s update, the peak blooms are estimated to appear between March 27-31 versus the earlier anticipated dates of March 17. As the peak bloom timeframe draws closer pay special attention to the weather, as I’ve had more than one visit spoiled by a downpour which decimates the delicate blossoms.

Tips for Your Visit

  • Comfortable shoes are a must
  • Plan on taking the Metro. Your odds of finding a close parking spot is equivalent to winning the lottery.
  • Circulator Bus is also another easy way of getting to the blooms. Only costs $1!
  • Monitor Bloom Watch for up-to-date information.
  • D.C. Weather

When it comes to photographing the cherry blossoms, you really can’t go wrong. Whether you're thinking a wider landscape or a portrait you will have endless opportunities. The challenge will be finding a way to incorporate the seemingly endless line of people into your frame, getting creative when framing the shot, or spending some time in post cloning out all the distractions. Who from our Fstoppers community is planning a trip to D.C. to capture the blossoms this year?

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Pedro Blanco's picture

I'm local! I'll be going down multiple times including this weekend to scout and see how they are doing in person.

Ha! Try planning for a trip to Japan, coinciding with the sakura (cherry) blossoms! But at least there, you can travel north or south to adjust.

Jen Photographs's picture

Speaking as a former DC resident, I can confirm that most locals /liked/ it when weather screwed up the schedule or shortened the growing season. Tourists, get outta my backyard!

Eric Snyder's picture

im going to be there for a few photo sessions,

Im from D.C and this article reminded me of this! Time to plan a shoot. :D

D. Bradford's picture

Was just there on Tuesday and Wednesday. You can find cherry blossoms in DC...but none of them are at the Tidal Basin.