Cherry Blossoms at the University of Washington

Cherry Blossoms at the University of Washington

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My wife and I had planned to visit the Quad at the University of Washington over the weekend to see the cherry trees, which are at full blossom right now. Unfortunately, a persistent cold and chilly, rainy weather kept us inside. But I woke up Monday to beautiful sunshine despite a week that’s supposed to be rainy, and knew it was my best chance to go photograph the cherry blossoms at their peak.

I wasn’t disappointed. The trees are gorgeous right now, and the wind and rain on Sunday barely dispersed any of the petals. Although the sky was overcast, it was the best kind of overcast—lightly muting the sun with occasional bursts of sunlight.

Backlit Blossoms

Even with such a perfect picture, I had difficulty deciding what to shoot. Trying to capture the entire scene seemed fruitless, not least because even on a Monday morning the area was getting crowded with students and lots of people there to also photograph and enjoy being around the blossoms. I did try a few things, like a long-exposure (8 seconds) shot of the Quad with a pair of neutral density filters attached (much appreciation to the man at the bottom who didn’t move at all).

Long Exposure Quad

But beyond that, I mostly sought to find interesting patterns or colors, such as the bright green moss that also grows on the cherry trees, the wonderful benches (and particularly how the blossoms form lines underneath where they fall through the bench slats), and of course people doing interesting things. On the latter, I spied the puddle first (gimme reflections!), and was just lucky enough that this woman was posing for a photo with her friends in my line of vision.

Pink and Green

Bench and Blossoms


Although I didn’t spend a lot of time at the Quad (lots of other work on my plate right now), I felt pretty mentally tired when I left. Engaging one’s photographic eye is a lot of work, I find, especially when there are so many options for good photos. Still, it was absolutely a few hours well spent.

Quad and Clouds

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  1. Charlie Anderson March 18, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Nicely done, Jeff. It looks like our visit will be too late to see the cherry blossoms and the tulips. And we’ll be in Seattle when the Washington, DC cherry blossoms are at their peak!


  2. too wonderful!


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