I can't believe I only heard about Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens just a month or so ago, after living in D.C. for so long!  Located in the eastern part of Washington D.C., near the National Arboretum, this small park run by the National Park Service has several ponds of blooming water plants that arrive like crazy mid-summer.  Just make sure you visit in the cooler morning hours to ensure you see the flowers at their best.

When I first walked into the park, I was underwhelmed by the ponds that looked like the lily pads were not healthy and the water lily flowers were not abundant, but then I looked up and saw these gorgeous light fuchsia lotus blooms that seemed as big as a basketball!  And getting up even closer, they had this strange conical center that looks like a nozzle for a garden hose.  It was so much fun wandering around and taking different views of these magnificent flowers!  And the photos didn't stop at the flowers.  The giant elephant ear leaves that surrounded the lotuses were beautiful as well, especially with the tiny pool of morning dew in the center of the giant bowl shape.  If you're looking for opportunities to practice your photography skills, this is a great spot.  Bring your zoom, macro, and wide angle lenses to maximize your shooting styles!  Also, take notice of your shutter speeds.  I had a great photo of a lotus that, had the shutter speed been faster, I would have captured a bee mid-flight above the flower instead of the blur I actually got.  I wish I would have realized the bee was there at the time!  Save yourself the disappointment, and shoot with faster shutter speeds than you think you need!

Look at all these blooms!