My attempt to document 40 sunrises in Eastern Cincinnati. Spring 2011.

Sunrise 122: Columbia Tusculum (Exploring in the Urban Fog, Macro Frost Crystals)

Ice Crystals!

My morning coffee spot @ the “auxiliary” area in Alms Park. I didn’t make it all the way up to the top of the hill. It is so quiet here. The perfect spot to study or swing while listening to the planes come in.

Frost crystals on a picnic bench @ Alms Park

A strange break in the clouds and fog made for a surreal sunrise at Lunken Airport

This morning was one of those rare days when both the weather and my mood for exploration aligned perfectly. I was anticipating getting up early today all week after watching the forecast closely to see when the weather was expected to break. We’ve had two solid weeks of rainy overcast mornings with only one exception, which was last friday (after Thanksgiving). I was travling to visit family so I wasn’t able to see it! I was so excited for this morning that I woke up a half hour early and started off on the bike while it was still dark and foggy. I’m hoping tomorrow’s sunrise has some surprises for me because the sunset today was truly fantastic – deep blue and teal with purple clouds and orange highlights. We’ll see! I’m also looking forward to doing “find the Christmas Lights” in the fog, but this morning was too early in the month and only a handful of homes had their lights on at 7:15am.

The weather helped support my naive theory that states “overcast and rain followed by clear sky sunrise = fog in mt. lookout”. This morning was no exception! Although I can say that I was a bit disappointed that there was no clear sunrise, I can’t pass up an opportunity to explore in the fog. This morning’s fog was thick, too, one of the thickest so far. I’m getting spoiled with these foggy days! I only had a couple in the spring, almost none in the summer, and now this is like the fifth or sixth one this fall! (you can usually check out the “fog” tag or “foggy” for more foggy posts).

So far I’ve spent foggy sunrises at Alms Park (one of my favorite posts this fall), Lunken Airfield, and Ault Park. This morning when I set out for my twilight ride, I decided that I wanted to go back to my roots and explore some residential pockets that I haven’t visited for awhile. You see, last autumn before Ault Park Sunrise was even an idea, I started my exploration of my local neighborhoods, hills, and parks on my bike. At the time of course I didn’t know I was actually training for Ault Park Sunrise. My first fog explorations was when the neighborhoods were new and unexplored and so I would creep along the No Outlets and see the beautiful homes and landscapes that Cincinnati’s old residential neighborhoods are known (because the homes and plots of land fit snugly into the hillsides so there are lots of creative designs). This morning I wanted to revisit some of these No Outlets in the fog and see what else I could come up with.

As it turns out, the weather this morning was one-of-a-kind. Normally when the fog comes through, it is in both Mt. Lookout AND down in the river basin. OR it is in the river basin alone and not in Mt. Lookout. This morning, however, there was no fog down in the basin so Mt. Lookout was covered in a low-laying cloud layer. I ended up dropping down into the basin to visit Lunken Airfield after realizing that I could get a much needed workout in. The clouds and fog had just broke and the sun was blazing through across the horizon underneath the cloud banks. It was really pretty and surreal because I could look behind me and see the hillside of Mt. Tusculum rising up from the clear streets of Columbia Tusculum and East End to disappear into the thick fog.

Here we go! Be sure to check out the fog crystal macro shots, they’re my favorite 🙂

My first “No Outlet” of the morning. A bit blurry because of the low light. I love this house and the way the gates open into the cul-de-sac.

On the way to Alms Park, I swing down Kroger Ave to check out Kroger Valley. The white fence and street disappear off into the fog. There is a home at the end of this “No Outlet” as well, but we can hardly see it in the fog.

This magnificent Oak first caught my eye in the last Alms Park fog run. That’s the neat thing about fog, it causes different patterns to emerge and make themselves present if you’re paying attention. This oak sits in the lawn of St. Ursula’s Villa.

A bit closer up. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but there is a light aura in the fog just above the horizon where the sunrise is getting ready to make an appearance. This made a perfect backlight for this oak tree’s silhouette.

Same picture as before, but with focus on the ice crystals. A chilly 22F degrees with 96% humidity!! I’ve found that biking in this weather requires a bit of preparation, but a long sleeve shirt and hoodie with insulated running pants does just fine at keeping me warm. (Plus gloves and hat of course!)

I love the frozen dew.

If you’re on the front page, click to continue! You’re halfway to the end of this article, about 23 pictures total 🙂

When I got up, I realized I left an imprint in the grass. Hah.

I ventured on down the hill towards Alms Park and snuck up into one of the “No Outlets”. Have I mentioned how much I love the No Outlets in these old Cincinnati neighborhoods? In this particular No Outlet we can see the curvy road winding along the forest of Alms Park. There are cherry trees that line the hidden street, something that I haven’t seen very often. Although they may be maintained by the park service now that I realize they’re on the forest side of the street.,,

Here is another No Outlet off of a No Outlet. I actually love this hidden little spot because it appears to have been designed before the “cul-de-sac’. It just kind of ends into a split between the two homes’ driveways. A large juniper bush guards the split and we can see soft Christmas lights down the right driveway.

Heading back out to the main road, I was surprised to see this vapor trail high above me in the sky. Sometimes the fog is weird like that – foggy all around your peripheral but clear straight above.

My morning coffee spot @ the “auxiliary” area in Alms Park. I didn’t make it all the way up to the top of the hill. It is so quiet here. The perfect spot to study or swing while listening to the planes come in.

More frost crystals on a picnic bench!

Probably one of my favorite spots to study and read. Especially in the fog! Believe it or not, my thermos and cup wouldn’t stop sliding around on that table.

After two cups of coffee I booked it down the hill to East End and decided to take the bike path over to Lunken Airfield. I was feeling a bit self loathing after taking so much time off during the Thanksgiving break from biking and the climb up the hill did me some good! I love this picture because it conveys what I meant when I said that it was clear along the streets, but the hill disappeared up into the fog! Up on top of that hill in Alms Park’s western overlook.

Ahh. Here we begin to see some of the “weirdness” that the weather is showing. The sunrise is starting to get bright, but only around the horizon where the fog has broken.

I bike over to Lunken Airfield and I realize that the fog must have just broken within the past few minutes because three planes are taxing out on the runway. I grab my camera and hope the settings are OK and take this picture as quick as I can through the chain linked fence. It was a surreal landscape with the sun glowing brightly against the backdrop and the fog still consuming the hill to my left.

This gives you an idea of how clear it was but the fog was just a few hundred yards away.

Over the bike path the sky was trying to clear up. Frost crystals, fog, and blue skies.

Heading back home through East End I stopped to take a picture of this empty lot. There are many patches in East End where you can tell homes were ounce proudly standing but now only foundations remain. Sometimes there are staircases and raised front yards still remaining even as the forest attempts to reclaim them. These all tie in with the stairs that run up to Columbia Parkway (that are almost entirely closed off now). They serviced the commuter rail that used to run through this area before Detroit came in and redesigned Cincinnati’s transit system to be almost exclusively automobile based. I always wonder what happened to the families that lived in these homes. Did they just up and leave? How much did they lose when the homes finally were demolished?

Down on Eastern Ave is an old Public Library. The building is really beautiful and now it sits empty, but can be reserved as a wedding reception venue.

Climbing back up the hill I get a peek at the Meridian. It is now lit up with sunlight as it rises up out of the fog. I have the manager of the Meridian’s phone number and I have been meaning to call and ask if she’d let me do some sunrise pictures from atop the building. I’m kind of afraid to ask because I the idea of the possibility is sometimes more thrilling than the possibility of rejection 😉

A final picture as I climb back up the hill and head home.

4 responses

  1. eremophila

    Very interesting journey, great images, but the macro frost shots are fabulous! Gee, you’re keen getting down into that cold ground!

    December 2, 2011 at 1:03 am

    • It was warmer than I expected with all these layers! And with the fog all around, it feels more private. Normally I’d feel a bit weird laying down in the front lawn of the school…. OK I’d still do it but the fog makes it less guilty. Hah.

      Thank you for the compliments! Blaine

      December 2, 2011 at 8:45 am

  2. Pingback: Sunrise 127: Alms Park (Macro Clover Ice Crystals/Cubes, Breaking Sky Sunrise) « Ault Park Sunrise

  3. Pingback: Sunrise 157: Alms Park (Misty Hills, Tall Oaks, Spring Blooms) « Ault Park Sunrise

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