Updated: Apr 22, 2021
April 2021 | Scopo Photography Blog | Vancouver
Visiting the Cherry Blossoms in Peace
Spring is in full bloom and the cherry blossom-lined parks and gardens in Metro Vancouver are attracting visitors in droves. How can you view them safely in 2021 and avoid the busiest places? The best spots to take Sakura photographs are hidden in the residential streets of Vancouver and not in touristy destinations like Queen Elizabeth Park or the Rose Garden of Stanley Park.
Fortunately, Vancouver has many beautiful hidden gems with a variety of different species to choose from. Depending on the weather, the average cherry blossoms last about 2 weeks, but even if you're catching things at the end, there should still be options until May.
We will be guiding you through where and when to look for late bloom Cherry Blossom trees in Vancouver, what to look for to find the best spot, and of course, a few pro photography tips along the way.
Weeping Cherry Shidare-zakura | Model: Dana Krementz | Early Bloom: mid-Mar to Apr
Top 6 Underrated Cherry Blossom Streets in East Van
Take a walk in the residential streets of East Van to avoid the hordes of photography madness that happens during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Not only are these places free, but there is also nothing like finding yourself in a serene moment on an empty street covered in blossoms petals.
6. 43rd Avenue along Argyle and Fleming Street (Akebonos: mid-late spring) The best thing about this street is that is it not listed on festival maps and is only visited by local traffic.
5. Graveley Street between Lillooet and Windemere Street (Akebonos: mid-late spring) At peak bloom, Graveley is covered in a canopy of pink blossoms. The street is also on a hill and allows for creative angles. Photos taken on an angle capture more trees than on a flat street.
4. 7th and Windemere (Kanzans and Magnolias: late-spring)
Beautiful rows of late bloom blossoms line these streets and are amazing on a windy day. Don't forget to take an allergy preventative, the pollen can get crazy.
3. East 3rd Avenue and Rupert (mid-spring) There is a gorgeus tree covered in climbing vines on the north side of the street that really make the pink blossoms branches pop. (see below image) 2. North West Corner of Rupert Park (Weeping Cherry: mid-late bloom) Weeping Cherry Blossoms are delicate and droop closer to the ground, making it easier to take photos that look like you are lost in the flowers.
1. Charles and Windemere (white blossoms: late spring) Don't forget about the white blossoms that come out a little later in the spring. This street is covered in white petals that will take your breath away.
Photography Pro Tip: Most Cherry Blossoms are already planted in rows so that you can pose your model with natural leading lines, but did you know you can make your photos even better if you choose hilly streets? This is the same idea as getting super low to the ground to create better angles. Instead of laying on the street during a pandemic, why not just choose cherry blossom trees lined on a hill. Be sure you take photos from both uphill and down, they both make for interesting shots.
Getting low on the ground (left) vs using the slope of a hill (right) to achieve surreal angles
Timing is Everything
There are thousands of places to see cherry blossom flowers so it can be hard to know where to start because the window of peak bloom is so brief. Too early and the trees will still look bare, too late or after a windy day, and you’ll miss them completely. For the sake of simplifying your search, we will be using early/mid/late bloom labels to help guesstimate which locations are more likely to be in full bloom. Click on the photos to view the full reels from each session.
The time of day is also important to consider when taking photos of blossoms. Soft lighting is what will give you more options when taking photos. Morning light and partially cloudy days are the best time to go out for a walk if you are taking photos on your phone. This is the best time to get that "anime intro" petals floating in the wind feel that we are all looking for.
Sunsets lighting is also beautiful and dynamic, just keep in mind that the sky is constantly changing and will make it more challenging to take well-balanced portraits.
Pro Tip: It is tempting to plan your blossom adventure on a sunny spring weekend. Timing really is everything for a peaceful stroll under these flowers. Try to avoid arriving midday at your destination. Cherry Blossom hot spots will likely be crowded and if you manage to get pedestrians out of the way, you will still have to shoot around harsh lighting.
Yoshino Cherry Somei Yoshino | Model: Carissa Joy | Mid Bloom April
Mini Photo Therapy Sessions with Scopo
Don't want to deal with all the variables and would rather frolic under the blossoms? Have Scopo do the dirty work for you and you can be the talent.
These photos were all taken in mini 30min+ sessions with Scopo. The purpose of these shoots is to use a sense of play to find space for a mental break, with the photos themselves being secondary. Book a session to use as an excuse to escape.