How to get Unique Photos of Cherry Blossoms

Painted blossom 2
Photo by Jacques Domenge

D.C. local Jacques Domenge wanted to photograph the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin, which are finally blooming but swarming with the hordes, so he waited until dark.  He then used the very cool “light painting” method, starting by setting up a tripod and choosing a long exposure.  Then he lit up the frame with the strongest flashlight he could get hold of, and wow, what a gorgeous and surreal result, which has gone viral after being published on The Atlantic.  Kudos, Jacques!  Click to see more.

Me, I tried photographing the blossoms last week, but you may remember how that turned out (see “Blossomless,” etc).

Of course I could have returned to the Tidal Basin again this week and dealt with glaring sun and 90-degree weather (you read that right) but decided to catch some display at the much-closer and less crowded National Arboretum.  Trouble is, it’s only open 10 to 5, so there’s no way to avoid glaring sun on days like this.  Oh well.  Here’s what I found.


Above, cherry blossoms with the Capital Columns (taken from the U.S. Capitol) in the background.


My favorite spot was the Magnolia collection.

Next week the azaleas will be blooming and the Arboretum will be CRAZY.

More Photo Tips?

So how do YOU avoid photos of iconic garden shots that look like thousands – make that millions – of other photos?


  1. I have 15 acres of cherries and have taken many photos of blossoms because it’s always an exciting time of year. My favorites all have another element in them–a person, a pet, our local mountain, a bee, etc. Also, you’re right about the lighting. Cloudy days are great, or early morning and evening shots.

    Your magnolia shot is beautiful–blossom snow! And the bench invites the idea of sitting and drinking it all in, plus there’s a nice suggestion of a path winding off into the distance.

  2. I have lots of fun settings on my camera. That can make it interesting.

    Also if there is something you want to take a picture of take a picture of something else. Like “wow” that rose is really pretty, but I don’t take a picture of the rose, I take a picture of the little girl smelling it, or the bee pollinating it.

    Varying the angle or perspective is fun, too.

  3. Thank you for posting Domenge’s “light paintings.” They’re wonderful! Something new to try. And I really liked your photos, as well. The compositions are very effective with the leading lines, taking the eye on a brief journey.
    To get away from commonplace shots, I vary my angle, my aperture, and, recently, while at the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, I moved my camera–shook and swept it–to create the sense of motion I felt from the otherwise static pieces.

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