Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Has Sprung in DC!

This is the most beautiful time of the year in Washington. When you drive into the city over the 14th Street Bridge, you can see all the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. I went on a Photo Safari Tuesday morning and wanted to share some of my photos - ones taken with my new Nikon D90 camera!! The only bad part of this was having to be at the Tidal Basin at 6:15 am and having to park 1 mile from the meeting point. Needless to say, I didn't get there in time. Here are some pictures of just the blooms. I found out during the shoot that the idea for the trees came from a woman photographer who had been to Japan and taken pictures of the trees. She had tried for many years to get the National Park Service to do something like this. It wasn't until she talked to Mrs. Taft, wife of the President, that something was accomplished. The city of Tokyo gave the tress to the US in 1912. The first tree was planted by Mrs. Taft and the second was planted by the wife of the Japanese ambassador. Some of the pictures show older trees - you can tell because they are so gnarly. Some of the shapes of the trees are very interesting. One is called the "Maid of the Blossoms." The tree looks like a woman throwing the blossoms backward over her head into the basin. Here are a few views of her. Another lady, Jean, her daughter, and I finally met the group near to the paddle boats. There were many photographers around - not just the ones with our group. Ohio Drive filled up quickly with cars. I took about 250 pictures in the two hours we were there. I like so many of the pictures, I might just make a Creative Memories book just for the Cherry Blossoms! We walked from near the paddle boats around the basin to the Jefferson Memorial and continued on to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. As we journeyed around, we almost froze to death. After a few nice days of warmer weather, Old Man Winter tried to come back! The sky cleared and turned a beautiful blue while the sun rose. The trees were in full bloom so everything was just beautiful. Here are some pictures taken while walking around the Tidal Basin.
One of my favorite memorials is the Jefferson. It's is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome which was also Jefferson's model for his home in Charlottesville, VA - Monticello. The architect was John Russell Pope who also designed the National Art Gallery. Even though Jefferson was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States, he always said his main accomplishment was founding the University of Virginia, which also has a building like the memorial. The cornerstone was laid by President Franklin Roosevelt on November 15, 1939. It was dedicated in 1943. Roosevelt was instrumental in the development and completion of the memorial. He wanted to be able to see it from the White House so he had all the trees cut down to make sure it was visible. In one of the pictures taken from the memorial, you can see the White House and the open space.

Rudolph Evans was the sculpture for the statue of Jefferson, which looks out between the columns toward the White House. The statue is 19 feet tall and weighs five tons. Around the inside of the memorial are quotations from speeches made by Jefferson. I love taking pictures of the inside of domes - as you can see! When exiting the memorial, some helicopters flew by so I caught an image!
We continued on the path as the sun rose. Unfortunately, my polarizing filter didn't fit, but I continued taking more and more pictures. Here are some photos of the gnarly trees. Hope you enjoyed the Photo Safair and the cherry blossoms as much as I did!!