yesterday morning i joined hundreds of other photographers for the pre-dawn trek down to the tidal basin to watch the sunrise and capture some of the glorious light that magically lights up thousands of little white and pink cherry blossoms. i prepared everything the evening before:
- battery charged? check
- tripod? check
- new 50mm len? check
- old 24-105mm? check
- comfy shoes & warm fleece? check
- camera body? check
with travel mug of hot tea in hand (it was pretty chilly!) and lowepro backpack strapped on, i was ready. of course, there were a few surprises… first, it’s amazing how many people were already there by 6:20am. i was able to find a good spot along the basin but many photographers had clearly staked their prized spots much earlier. second, there was more mud than i expected, making maneuvering a bit tricky. third, no flash. oops. while the tidal basin was filled with glorious colors from the sun, the cherry blossoms around me were shrouded in darkness… i watched jealously as photographers around me fired their speedlights, illuminating the delicate canopy. instead, i opened up my aperture and lengthened my exposures, hoping to find that perfect balance. i would work with natural light and be proud. by 8:00 am the sun was up, the air colder and the crowd thicker than you would imagine. my patience wore thin and hunger ruled (note to self – next time bring snacks) so i ended up leaving by 8:45, before i fully walked around the basin as i had originally intended.
my goals for this project were twofold:
- i’d never actually done a sunrise shoot in dc (i’m not an early riser) so it was really important for me to actually do it. no snooze button!
- last year i loved my photos of the blossoms – i had just bought my camera and it was an experimental shoot. this year i wanted to be more conscious about what i was shooting and try to get some different types of shots. while there were some disappointments, overall i’m happy with the shoot and the preparation i put into it. there will always be some disappointments, but when you put in your time, and stay present, there are always at least a few magical surprises that turn up in the end.
here are some pics from sunrise. as the morning progressed i focused more on the blooms – i’ll post more of those later this week.