Bonsai, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, The United States National Arboretum

The United States National Arboretum has a lot to offer photographers almost year round.  One of my favorite spots within the grounds is the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum.  Open from March through October, the museum contains amazing examples of bonsai and penjing.  In addition to the standing collection of bonsai and penjing, the museum also rotates special exhibits.  On the day I was there they had a collection of miniature azaleas.

Photography can be a bit tricky within the museum.  Since the plants are against walls, there are some shadows to deal with when the sun is low on the horizon.  Note also that the hours for the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum (10 – 4) do not match those of the National Arboretum itself (8 – 5).  I usually arrive as the guards open the gates at 8 and roam the grounds getting those early morning shots until the Bonsai museum opens.

Oh, be careful with your tripod legs in the special exhibits wing.  One of my legs went under the rope and tripped a motion detector which brought one of the curators running.  I received a stern lecture, apologized profusely, and had a nice talk about the museum with the curator.

The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum is a great photography location, and a very quite and peaceful place to spend the day.

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