Friends and family know that I’ve been looking for an Eastern Redbud photograph for several years now:  it’s been a not so elusive and somewhat mocking pink Unicorn!  Redbuds dot the early Spring landscape with a blast of magenta and pink color and are fairly abundant around my range.  However, I’ve never been able to place any within a compelling frame, which was a bit frustrating if I might be honest.  Eastern Redbuds are generally found one of two locations…okay maybe three:  (1) as an ornamental in people’s yards, (2) as an understory tree within the chaos of sticks and branches that is early spring in the forest, or (3) along highways and roadways.  I was pretty sure that I would ultimately have to settle for a roadway photograph involving spring Redbuds, thus I was already doing my homework to at least find an attractive roadway (like the Blue Ridge Parkway or Shenandoah National Park) to make the frame.

Then, as it always seems to happen, I’m minding my own happy business in the last place that I would ever expect to find that elusive Redbud photograph (the Washington D.C. metro), when bam.  Looking back in hindsight, it makes more sense.  I even photographed several beautiful, mature Redbuds years back in the Senate Gardens of Downtown Washington D.C. and the National Mall.  So, they were there and I knew that they were there.  My mind just didn’t like equating beautiful tree pictures with a metro city!  Anyhow, I was shooting the annual tulip bloom at the Netherlands Carillon within Arlington’s Ridge Park one morning, a location west of the city in nearby Virginia that offers elevated views of the National Mall and the various well-known monuments (Lincoln, Washington, Capitol, Jefferson etc.), when I became disheartened by the general conditions.  The National Park Service decided to place rope barriers around the tulip gardens this year, which understandably keeps folks from destroying the colorful little dudes.  However, it also creates a lot of garbage in the frame–weird horizontal lines and vertical poles that distract attention thoroughly from the desired.  I did what comes naturally when things are not as desired in one location and began wondering around.

Previous trips to the tulips this year I had commented that there was a cool Redbud on the property.  It grew low to the ground and was all gnarled up and twisted looking.  I’m not an arborist or expert of any kind on trees, but this certainly appeared to be a mature dude that had grown rather large and full over the years.  On this morning–unlike my walks of recent–I decided to walk around the backside of the tree and the view was unmistakable.  Funny how perspective can completely change your view of something.  Here it was:  the Eastern Redbud!  It didn’t need a monument or another subject in the frame.  It was the frame!  It had plenty of character to play the lead role.  I returned a few times and always came back to this composition with the tree front and center, filling the frame top to bottom and left to right.  I’ve always wanted a photograph of an Eastern Redbud in Spring but I never thought that desire would be fulfilled in the Nation’s Capitol, Washington D.C.  Keep your eyes open out there folks; beauty can be found just about anywhere!

See this photograph in the gallery!

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Spring Pink: An Eastern Redbud Tree in the Nation's Capital

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