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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC

This past weekend my 14 year old daughter went on a school trip to Washington DC. The news here was full of accounts of the famous cherry blossoms in bloom. Since she was taking my camera on the trip, I asked her to try to take a photograph of a cherry blossom for me.

There's a reason I labeled this post "Children's Gardens". You see, my thinking is that it's easy to give a 5 year old a seed and say "let's plant this". It's much harder to capture the interest of a child who is 10-17. My theory is that if you give them wonderful moments and memories while they are outdoors, as adults they will seek those outdoor moments again.

So here's the story of the cherry blossom photos. Sunday night we uploaded Emily's photos to the computer. I asked her to show me the cherry blossoms and she started to scroll through the file. The top photo popped up. I didn't have my glasses on and the colors were quite muted due to the overcast conditions. But, being a good mom I immediately said "ooohhh".

Emily turned to me and with that look that only a 14 year old girl can perfect, and said "Mom, those aren't cherry blossoms".

Next came this photo. I could tell it was a different type of tree so quickly I announced "aaahhh". I immediately got another look with the comment "Mom, those aren't the cherry blossoms either, I'll tell you when they're cherry blossoms".


A few photos later this popped up. I had learned my lesson and kept my mouth shut. At this time Emily informed me I was looking at cherry blossoms. When I asked her why the photos were blurry, she told me that she was shooting them through the tour bus window while the bus was moving.

You don't know how happy that thought made me. There was my daughter on a bus full of teenagers and she was shooting photos of trees. My secret agenda was working!

Thanks to David Perry's wonderful tips on his garden photography blog I used the magical "crop" feature to come up with a pretty decent photo of the cherry blossoms.

The last two photos are really blurry but they also made me so happy. As Emily was scrolling through the photos she pointed out a series of shots to me. She said "Mom, there was such an awesome sunset. I tried so hard to get a good photo of it reflecting on the water but the bus just was going in the wrong direction".

The reason this made me so happy was I had asked her to photograph the cherry blossoms. Photographing an awesome sunset though was her own idea.

Joy in the beauty of nature, that's what it's all about.


Frances, said...

What a doubly wonderful story of the cherry trees and your daughters mature thoughts about nature and even photography. You sound very proud of her, and rightly so, Mom.

Rurality said...

Wonderful trees, wonderful daughter. :)

Nancy J. Bond said...

I'd say all the photos are pretty fantastic. :) Your daughter has a good eye.

Dave said...

Great photos! I would love to see them in bloom someday. The Yoshino is my favorite of the flowering trees.

plantgurus said...

That's great, sounds like your daughter was inspired by nature's beauty, and perhaps she has a new hobby as a photographer now? I used to take 'at-risk' students out on hikes as an outdoor educator, and its amazing how a little time appreciating the outdoors can touch a young person's soul.

Gail said...

Oh my, this is a wonderful post, apparently, I am one of those moms who tear up when other moms talk as lovingly as you did about your daughter!

My son resisted gardening or any interest in it as a young man, now we talk about gardens, botany and ecology all the time..I love when seeds planted grow into wonderful plants.

BTW, great photos!


chey said...

What a beautiful post! I think your daughter did a wonderful job! She captured the essence of all those blossoms.

Cinj said...

As a child I really enjoyed taking pictures too. (Well, I STILL do too....) She did a wonderful job! Was there a particular reason they went the D.C. for their field trip?

In this digital age it is even better because you can reframe pictures easily to make them even better than they started out as. I was in Washington D.C. when I was 14 too (or was it 15?) on a marching band trip. There are two pictures I am still proud of to this day. Maybe if I get the computer with the scanner back up and running I'll post them one day soon.

Melanie said...

Frances, thanks, I really was so proud of her and how she enjoyed the nature around her.

Rurallity, love your puppy photo, it's wonderful too!

Nancy, she's really pretty good with the camera. I love letting her lose in a botanical garden and then seeing what she found in her viewfinder.

Dave, I've been to DC often but don't remember seeing the cherry blossoms. Someday...

Plantgurus, I love taking teens outside! You wouldn't believe how they love to hang out in my garden and swing in the swings and just wiggle their toes in the grass.

Gail, I'm so happy to hear that about your son! I think my older daughter will be a gardener some day, now maybe my younger one will also follow along.

Chey, I could almost smell the blossoms in some of those photos.

Cinj, the digital age really is wonderful in this instance. I only cropped one of her photos, the close up of blooms. The best thing is letting her take hundreds of photos and going over what was good and what wasn't so good in them.

Emily was in DC for a Heritage Music festival and our school (including her chorus) dominated the event taking home almost all the first place awards plus best school over all. Hooray!

june said...

Congrats on peaking your daughter's interest. I don't have any children of my own but I remember very well having my own agenda at that age.

I actually grew up in the DC area but haven't seen the cherry blossoms in years! Thanks for sharing the pictures!