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Cherry Blossoms at Night

This year we thought we'd try something new:
seeing the Cherry Blossoms at night.
The DC Cherry Blossom Festival is very popular, and in order to accomodate more people,
the festival organizers try to come up with new and different ways for people to enjoy themselves.
We went for a "Lantern Light Tour", but didn't know we needed reservations. So, a National Park Service Park Ranger
was nice enough to take all the overflow people, in one large group, and do a sort of impromptu tour.
We didn't get lanterns, but we got to watch the Reservation Group walk by with their Japanese-style lanterns,
and it was very pretty and looked cool enough that we might try to get reservations and do the 'official' tour another time.

We took the Metro in, emerged at Smithsonian station, and made
our way down toward the Tidal Basin.
The sun had recently set, and there was still light in the sky,
and enough light that these first pictures are
naturally lit.
WA monument amidst Cherry Blossoms
Here's Erika in the Tulip Library.  None of the signs for the tulips
were there, as they were 2 years ago when Doug and Erika went.
As you can see, only a few sections were in bloom. Though this
was supposedly the peak weekend for the Cherry Blossoms,
the Festival and the Tulips will be enjoyed much later.
tulip library
Perhap my favorite picture of the night.
Sunset over the Tidal Basin,
through the Cherry Blossom limbs
which were lit by my camera flash.
The Money Shot
Again, the Washington Monument,
peaking through the Cherry Blossoms.
night falling on Washington Monument
I have to confess to photoshopping this one.
I had a great one of the 3 of them, lit by the flash,
and the limb was lit too.
And a different shot, no flash, where the
Jefferson Memorial looked great.
I cut and pasted the well lit people
into the pretty background.
Don't you love the reflective strips on the
Kat backpack?
Doug, Kat and Erika, pre-tour
Kaz taking a picture of Erika
Me taking a picture of Erika, taking a picture of me.
Erika taking a picture of Kaz
Erika, taking a picture of me (Kaz), taking a picture of her.
The Cherry Blossoms were quite beautiful,
even at night.
As we were waiting for our tour to begin,
I took this picture. There were huge floodlights around
the area where the Tours began, and several of the
nearby trees 'benefitted' from this.
Or at least our picture taking opportunities were better.
floodlit cherry blossoms
Another floodlit tree.
As you can see, the sky was getting quite dark.
another floodlit tree
Happiness while waiting for our tour to begin.
You can see the lady that Kat was charming
while we waited.
last picture: Kat, Doug and Erika
I didn't take any pictures during the tour, because A) it was getting
too dark to get any real good shots without a tripod, and B) it
was obnoxious to use the flash.
Our tour guide was EXCELLENT!
Since he wasn't the 'official' Lantern Light
Tour Guide, he sort of did an off the cuff
tour, and he had a large group to talk to!
The information we had said 'Lantern Light Tours, 8 to 10 pm'
We didn't know if this meant one tour, 2 hours long, or several
shorter tours offered within that time frame.
I'm still not certain which is is.
Our tour, however, seemed to be a
2 hour tour, from 8 to 10 pm.
We left the tour group a little after 9 pm,
as it was going to be about a 2 hour trip home,
I twisted my ankle, and the tour was walking
further and further away from the Metro.
Erika's usually in bed by 8:30, and we
all had a big day ahead of us the next day.
It was a great time, I wish we could have stayed the whole time
and I recommend the Cherry Blossom Festival to you
in general, and this tour specifically.
Don't forget to make reservations!
Just do a web search for Cherry Blossom Festival and you will
get all the info you need. The site changes from year to year.