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Posted at 11:25 AM ET, 04/ 3/2008

Photography: Glorious Cherry Blossom Sunrise

By Kevin Ambrose

The sun rises yesterday behind the Jefferson Memorial as cherry blossoms hit peak bloom.

Let me start by saying I seriously dislike waking up at 4:30 a.m. to shoot sunrises -- I'm just not a morning person. But after seeing yesterday's sunrise with the cherry blossoms at their peak against the backdrop of the Jefferson Memorial, it was SO worth it.

And to think, I almost didn't make it on time. There's nothing worse for me than waking up that early and still missing the sunrise. Only after a brisk mile-or-so run from the Smithsonian Metro station to the Tidal Basin did I arrive just minutes before the sun began its climb above the horizon. Whew!

Keep reading for more photos and commentary. Waiting for the right weather to visit the blossoms? See Josh's full forecast through the weekend and beyond.

The Washington Monument just before sunrise yesterday.

About two years ago, I saw a beautiful cherry blossom print from Rod Chase with the Jefferson Memorial and blossoms in a foggy, cloudy setting. I loved the print because it set such a peaceful mood, and I have waited for such a drizzly, drab day for the past two years.

On Monday, we had such a day. I rushed down to the Tidal Basin and took the shot I've been envisioning all this time. On the way out, I saw another photographer taking a close-up shot of a cherry blossom. I struck up a conversation and found our that she had traveled from Europe and was extremely disappointed because she had been there all day waiting for the sun to break through the clouds, which never happened. I started to tell her I had waited two years for just this kind of day, but then I quickly thought it best to just reassure her that the sun would be back soon.

My photo is below, and Rod Chase's inspiration for my shot can be seen here. By the way, I still like Rod's scene better.

Monday's low clouds, calm winds and drizzle set the scene for a peaceful-looking Jefferson Memorial.

Below is a close-up shot of cherry blossoms illuminated by the sun, taken later in the day on Wednesday. With the ugly trailer stage that the National Park Service sets out in front of the Jefferson Memorial every year during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, I was happy to put the background of this photo out of focus.

Cherry blossom close-up, with an out-of-focus Jefferson Memorial in the background.

By Kevin Ambrose  | April 3, 2008; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Cherry Blossoms, Photography  
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