Thursday, March 30, 2006

Crack o' friggin dawn

Drug my butt outta bed at 5:00 this morning to drive down to the tidal basin in DC. Rumor had it that today would be the start of the peak bloom for the Cherry Blossoms. Couple that with a good weather forecast and no winds, and you end up with a decent photo op.

What a madhouse! By the time I got there (at 5:30), about half of the parking spaces were taken in the paddle boat parking lot. By sunrise, the place was full. I'd guess that there were well over a hundred photographers (with tripods), and at least 4 morning news crews (with lights, vans, cables, satellite antenna, cameras, and pretty people with fancy hair), and some random large groups of high school aged kids (some was kinda weird).

I spent a fair amount of time when I first arrived wandering around looking for prime real estate. What made things more challenging was the bigass ugly grey box that the park service (I assume) decided to leave dead-center in front of the Jefferson Memorial:

(Click the photo for the for the full sized version. Note, this is ugly pre-dawn light and an unprocessed image taken specifically as a "look how ugly that thing is" image. Don't judge my maad photo skillz by this shot please.)

I'm guessing it's part of a stage; some piece of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Whatever it was, it made for some crappy photo opportunities. Here's hoping it gets moved before the peak bloom is over. (HEY PARK SERVICE...YOU LISTENING?)

Anyway. I managed to find an OK spot with foreground branches that would mostly obscure the grey monolith. I set up the tripod and waited for the good light.

Unfortunately, the cloudless sky didn't have much interesting color as the sun rose. I snapped away anyway with the film, digital and 3D cameras, occasionally turning my lens on my fellow photographers.

I browsed throught the digital shots I captured, and did some quicky-processing to this one. Hopefully, with a little more time invested, the final version will be a bit nicer. But here's a teaser:

(Click the photo blah blah blah).