April 14, 2010

National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.

Travel
Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C.
Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C.

Wow, ok so maybe this once a week thing should really be called every OTHER week? We did have a good reason though for last week’s hiatus, we were traveling in DC! For me, it was my first visit but Betty had been there two years ago. Our reason for visiting was mostly a photographic one the National Cherry Blossom Festival! This was the perfect excuse to make a long weekend out of the event and see the sights with the backdrop of cherry blossoms.

Washington Monument and Cherry Blossoms
Washington Monument and Cherry Blossoms
Once we got to Washington, DC we set out with trying to come up with something unique. There were literally thousands of people at the festival enjoying the warm weather and the beautiful blossoms. This of course presents some interesting challenges when it seems everyone has a DSLR these days (we’re in the group too!). After fighting the crowds and looking for the new angles on old monuments, I was fairly happy with the shots we got. Looking through the photos when we came back it seems over 50% of our photos have the Washington Monument in it, but I guess that’s unavoidable when it’s such a huge piece of architecture!

The War's End: WWII Memorial
The War's End: WWII Memorial

The second problem with the weekend was really picking what to bring and what to shoot with. As you probably know, Betty and I own an online camera equipment rental company, Camera Concierge, so we’re a little spoiled when it comes to be able to choose gear. Loading up our Naneu bag, we decided on a basic setup of wide and zoom with a fun lens thrown in for each of us for good measure.

Korean War Memorial
Korean War Memorial

Zac’s Setup:

Canon 5D Mark II
24-70mm f/2.8L
70-200mm f/2.8L
100mm Macro f/2.8L IS

Easter Sunday HDR - Washington, D.C.
Easter Sunday HDR - Washington, D.C.

Betty’s Setup:
Nikon D700
24-70mm f/2.8
70-300mm f/3.5-5.6
14-24mm f/2.8
16mm f/2.8 Fisheye

Monument at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC
Monument at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC

This allowed us a good amount of coverage so I could be shooting one thing while Betty did another. I packed the Macro lens for some close-up shots since we would be focusing on the cherry blossoms. Betty brought the ultra-wide 14-24mm to help take in all of those monuments if we needed to. So what did we learn from the setup? Well, that each lens has its strengths based on where you’re standing and the coverage. I loved using the 70-200mm to take people shots and really compress the photo at the full 200mm range. On the other hand, the 24-70mm is a great all-purpose travel lens to be able to get the people portraits when you’re up close and still go wide enough to really take it all in. I guess there really is no such thing as the perfect one lens solution, huh?

Sunset at the Lincoln Memorial
Sunset at the Lincoln Memorial

Overall it was a great trip, visiting a city I had never been to and exploring is always a ton of fun. We stayed at the Renaissance downtown by the convention center, which was also right next to Chinatown. We had a great dinner at one of the Chinese restaurants there followed up by some amazing Dim Sum the next day at the very same restaurant. Who doesn’t love some Peking Duck for brunch? We also explored Georgetown for dinner one night and tried our first Ethiopian meal at Zed’s – not half bad I must say. We ordered the combination platters and I preferred the spiciness of the vegetables over the meat platter. Ethiopian beer and wine are a whole different story, the honey wine was very unique! Did I mention we also met up with some former Orlando-ites who had relocated to DC? Catching up with Andreas and Claudia was a ton of fun and they got to show us around the National Mall area a bit and catch up on old times.

Tulips at the Capitol
Tulips at the Capitol

So that’s our D.C. trip in a nutshell! Some travel photography practice before our trip to China next month as well as exploring a new city. Betty was already warning me that the crazy crowds in D.C. were nothing like the crowds in China! That makes me worried because D.C. was PACKED that weekend!!

The Three Major Monuments
The Three Major Monuments

Until next time…

Zac

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