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Cherry Blossom Watch Update: February 27, 2018

The National Park Service determined that 70 percent of the buds had reached the "Green Buds" stage on February 25. That is just a day later than last year and is earlier than the average.
UPDATE: The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang has just issued their own peak bloom prediction. They are predicting that peak bloom will come "during the window between March 23 and 27 this year, centered on the 25th." That would make it about a week or so earlier than the historical average.

The cherry blossoms are done for 2018. They reached peak bloom on April 5.

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

Photo taken February 27, 2018.

Photo taken February 27, 2018.

Winter jasmine at the MLK Memorial. Taken with a Nikon D810 and a Nikon AF-S 24-70mm ƒ/2.8G ED lens with a 77mm Tiffen circular polarizer @ 32mm . ISO 80 . 1/60 sec . ƒ/8.

The saucer magnolias (or tulip magnolias) aren't quite ready to pop yet.

Photo taken February 27, 2018.

Daffodils at the LBJ Memorial Grove, looking across the Potomac with the Washington Monument in the background. Taken with a Nikon D810 and a Nikon AF-S 24-70mm ƒ/2.8G ED lens with a 77mm Tiffen circular polarizer @ 70mm . ISO 250 . 1/160 sec . ƒ/11.

The main statue of the MLK Memorial. Taken with a Nikon D810 and a Nikon AF-S 24-70mm ƒ/2.8G ED lens with a 77mm Tiffen circular polarizer @ 70mm . ISO 64 . 1/1000 sec . ƒ/2.8. It's the polarizer that makes the blue sky so dark.

Photo taken February 27, 2018.

Photo taken February 27, 2018.

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.

For Photographers

Gear Deals

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.

Photo Tours

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.

Renting Gear

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.

This post was last modified on May 8, 2018 10:13 pm

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