You can see the green buds everywhere now, and the National Park Service horticulturalists determined that 70 percent of the buds had reached the first development stage, the "Green Buds" stage, on February 25. That's early, although it's not the earliest it has ever been. It's just a day later than last year.
Elsewhere, the first daffodils are just starting to pop. The photo below was taken this morning at the LBJ Memorial Grove.
The National Park Service will be announcing their peak bloom prediction at a press conference on Thursday. As of right now, spring is coming early. But the National Weather Service is expecting things to cool off as we get into the first couple of weeks of March. If that pans out, it'll slow things down.
This time last year we were also well ahead of the average schedule and looked set for a record-setting early bloom, but then winter came roaring back to bite us in a big way. So there's still plenty of opportunity for things to change.
Photos taken this Morning
March for Our Lives Rally
The March for Our Lives rally on gun control is scheduled for March 24, 2018. That coincides with the first week of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
The rally's organizers are planning for up to 500,000 people to attend. While DC handles big events in its stride, that's likely to create a lot of competition for hotel rooms that weekend. So if you're planning to come into town then, it's probably best to book sooner rather than later.
B&H has some really good deals at the moment on everything from cameras and lenses to tripods and lighting. These are running through March 3 to coincide with the WPPI conference.
Walking photo tours can be a great way to learn some new photography skills with the help of experts. And photo tours for the cherry blossoms can take advantage of expert local knowledge to know where to be when to get the best light and vantage points.
If you're looking to do a photo tour while you're visiting, there are a few options. The best place to start is with Washington Photo Safari, but there are also some other options, which you can find on the DC photo tours page.
For the best experience, they usually limit them to small groups. So it's a good idea to book well in advance if you can. Of course, that also means rolling the dice in terms of when the cherry blossoms will be in bloom.
If you're looking to rent some gear, whether something specialized or just to try out something different, I can recommend both BorrowLenses and Lens Pro to Go. They're the ones I typically use when I need something specific for a client shoot or am just curious about trying something out. Lens Pro to Go currently has 15% to 25% off through March.
For local options, Ace Photo, District Camera, and f8 Rentals also offer rental gear, although their selections are often not as extensive as the big online places. And if you're shooting video, DC Camera's offerings are worth a look.
Want to Help Support DC's Cherry Trees?
If you'd like to help support the care and upkeep of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin, the Trust for The National Mall has launched an Endow a Cherry Tree Campaign. Donations go to the official Cherry Tree Endowment, which will give the National Park Service additional resources to fund the care, maintenance, and possible replacement of the cherry trees. You can find more information here.
The Trust is dedicated to marshaling private support for maintaining and improving the history National Mall area. I'm not affiliated with the Trust--just an admirer of their efforts.