Did you know that cherries shrivel up like a rose when they’re engulfed in a globe of ice? Me neither. Or perhaps they were already shriveled before being frozen. Either way, it adds a bit of color to this otherwise grey-scale set.
This post is coming a day late! The weather has been downright crazy in the past few days and so it’s funny to see that by the time this is posted, all the ice is gone and it almost feels like t-shirt weather!
Late Friday night an ice storm rolled into the tri-state. Saturday was marked with careful maneuvering over exposed sidewalks. It rained heavily in the early morning, and then the temperature dropped out and froze everything. The trees glistened all around, covered in a half inch of clear ice. Sometime late Saturday afternoon I realized that I really wanted to get a picture of my “Tree of Heaven” silhouette while it was still covered with ice. I headed up to the park early Sunday morning for “sunrise” and found that the park was an icy wonderland. This is particularly interesting because all the ice was melted away by Sunday afternoon and today’s high was 63F. 63F! In January! We had an ice storm followed by t-shirt weather within 36 hours. Insanity!
I saw this on /r/columbus today and thought it was appropriate. A hat tip to the show Whose Line Is It Anyway?
The park this morning was particularly solemn. On one hand, it was a Sunday. This meant that the commute up to the park was quiet with little car traffic. However, normally a Sunday means that there is more people in the park on their day off. This morning, while there were certainly some dog walkers hanging by the sidewalks, I found no patrons who ventured much beyond the ice-covered streets.
There was a lot of moisture in the air which made a light layer of fog that hung in the backdrop, blocking the view of the valley through the forest. It also had that quality that I love about fog – the muffled air effect. Far off sounds, like an airplane landing at Lunken Airfield, become drowned out as the fidelity is lost. Other sounds in the foreground, such as bird calls and branches straining under the cold, bring themselves more to the front of attention.
I found that the streets were mostly clear of ice, so I had no problem climbing the hill to the park. Upon entering the park, however, I was greeted with a Road Closed sign. Having wiped out several times over the past year on my bike, but curiously enough none in the past 10 months (I am a slow learner, but when I finally learn I’m not quick to forget!), becoming intimate with the asphalt was not something I was hoping to accomplish this morning. Apparently the city trucks do not service the roads through Ault Park (or at least not as a high priority) because beyond the park entrance the road was covered with a thick layer of ice. I had to walk my bike to the overlook, a task which made me appreciate the mobility that a bike offers oneself.
I quickly found that walking through the grass was much more safe than trying to walk over the sidewalk. I did slip a couple of times, and I was being careful! It was quite hazardous, but also quite beautiful. One thing that struck out to me was the distant calling of a murder of crows. It occurred to me that I only notice them in the fog. Or is it that they’re only noisy in the fog? I made up an armchair theory that they use their loud “cawing” to communicate the flock’s location in the low visibility of the forest fog. Last time I saw over 100 crows, so it takes some serious logistics to organize a murder of that size 🙂
There was no sunrise this morning due to the valley fog. My little “Tree of Heaven” silhouette worked out nicely against the gray backdrop.
Please click to continue if you’re on the front page! 40+ icy pictures from this morning’s “sunrise”. (more…)
If you were to look at the forecast right now, or even out the window, you would probably be surprised to find out that the sunrise this morning was another beautiful winter display. As I write this, the sky has filled with clouds and it looks like we’re hunkering down for some snow. But just two hours ago, the skies were clear and misty with humidity, and the sun rose amid a bright twilight display featuring some deep purples and bright oranges. Not bad for “71% cloud cover”, eh? Once again the changing weather has proven impossible to accurately predict.
I woke up a bit early this morning because my wife and I had the intention of trying out, for the first time, a 6am spinning class at the local gym. As 5:45am rolled around, it didn’t sound like the best plan. We continued to sleep, but fortunately I mustered up some mental energy and peered out the window to see if I could see any stars. What did I see through the silhouetted trees? Why, a misty halo surrounding a crescent moon! This was enough to get me up by 6:45am, catch up on some email, and then head down to Mt. Lookout for some coffee.
As it turned out, the atmosphere held off the clouds that vacated the sky last night just before sunset. There was a substantial amount of misty humidity in the air, causing quite a beautiful scatter of the early morning twilight colors. Purple was well represented this morning, probably due to the thicker haze that tends to keep the yellows and oranges subdued until just before sunrise. The fuchsia palette was present throughout the early twilight, but it wasn’t the dominant player. Just before sunrise, the sky exploded, for about 20 seconds, in this brilliant orange glow, similar to the shade I saw during Sunrise 137 that basked the overlook in its rich hue.
I imagine that the ice crystals up in the humid atmosphere have a lot to do with these extended winter twilight displays. I was worried about the winter, but as it turns out I love the winter sunrises just as much as the ones during the rest of the year.
Oh, before we continue, I’d like to share some exciting news. This week, the Eastern Hills Journal is featuring a follow up to the May 2011 article on Ault Park Sunrise. It’s a nice piece and Lisa Wakeland, as always, did a great job. The journal is available at local book stores and other venues around the city. I picked up a copy at Joseph-Beth bookstore in Norwood.
I’m starting to amass a nice, but small, collection of twilight pictures with this tree of heaven as the subject. I was looking for a large tree silhouette, but I’m quite content with this little guy for the time being.
My friend, the adolescent Tree of Heaven. A new project favorite and the subject of an unexpected series.
The early twilight colors of Sunrise 138 over the Little Miami River Valley. The thick haze that hung high over head once again broke just above the horizon, similar to Sunrise 137. This time, however, the haze was thin and the opening much larger. My camera had no problem with the lighting today.
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It “warmed” up a bit this morning to just under freezing, a brisk 30F. The sky was clear last night before bed, but by the time sunrise rolled around most of the sky was filled with clouds. The horizon, however, was mostly clear. The forecast for this week puts us with some rain tonight and hopefully some snow later this week. The clouds that started to fill the sky this morning have successfully blocked out the night skies as I write this post late in the day. (I had to make a trip to the dentist this morning which pushed my schedule behind quite a bit!). Actually the dentist visit went great. It was one of those things where modern anesthesia makes getting a cavity filled a mere inconvenience, where as 100 years ago it would have been a memorable event marked with lots of whiskey and excruciating pain.
While I drove out towards the Mt. Carmel office, I found myself winding through the Little Miami River Valley, upon which Ault Park and Alms Park sit. I have recently been in contact with a graduate student who studies the Ft. Ancient culture, specifically the earthworks and burial sites that were at one time located in the Little Miami River Valley. Hopefully we will be working together in the next few months as we piece together old documents that he has uncovered from the late 1800s. These documents were surveys of the valley and identified interesting ruins and burial sites uncovered during the development of the region. Just a few miles over in Mariemont, a large serpent mound was recently uncovered and it may be the world’s largest. Matt tells me that this area would have, at one time, been home to tens of thousands of mounds. How many are left after 200 years of development? It would be most excellent if we are able to locate some of these sites that have not been documented in recent history and help set into motion the necessary actions that would lead to their protection. It is fascinating to me that while I’ve been concerned with the last 150 years of history in this region, there is a much larger and older story that dates back several thousand years. Matt has identified several old buildings and landmarks that may go by different names today (or be gone all together). It is my hope that with the resources I’ve explored in developing this project I can help Matt put some of these historical landmarks into the context of modern day. There are some old estates that are referenced that have probably long since been sold to developers, and also lots of locations that are given relative to old rail lines, tresses, and stations that existed in this area in the 1800s. Stay tuned, it should be a fun project.
On to the sunrise! This morning’s sunrise was a strange one. The thick cloud layer over head broke right above the horizon. This affect is always interesting because it can expose the open atmosphere to allow the sunrise colors to become visible, but at the same time the puffy pseudo-cumulus clouds can be just as interesting to watch due to the nature of the shadow patterns that dance around while the sun is rising and the light is changing. The clouds take on this bright blue/gray color with sharply defined boundaries. It’s very hard to pick up on the camera, but with the human eye it looks interesting. Speaking of the camera, this morning was one of the hardest sunrises to get a decent picture of. The bright twilight sky was restricted to being just above the horizon, while the rest of the sky was dark with clouds. This made my little camera’s sensor very confused as to what its white balance and exposure should be. A more configurable camera would have come in handy. Oh well! I turned down the exposure so that the twilight colors weren’t washed out and away I went.
One last thing about the sunrise this morning. Right when First Light peaked over the ridge line, the park was bathed in this brilliant deep orange glow. I caught it on camera but, as usual, the picture doesn’t do it justice. It was one of those shades of color where my vocabulary simply is at a loss to describe it. A deep red/orange/neon/yellow. Very rich.
This is like -1 exposure, about as dark as I typically am comfortable doing. That’s the only way I could get a picture without the entire horizon looking bleached out white! This is my new favorite sunrise target. It’s a tiny little “Tree of Heaven” that rises up in front of the lower overlook. I used to get a bit annoyed at it when I realized the sun was moving across the horizon and it would be in the way.
So I think this little guy is an adolescent Tree of Heaven. Wikipedia tells me its latin name is Ailanthus Altissima. Want to know something interesting, fair reader? I hope you do, because I’m about to lay it on you. The answer to a mystery I pondered earlier this year, coming together in a full circle of life. Ready for it?
- I found a caterpillar back in spring. Species Unknown at the time. (Sunrise 24)
- I found this moth back in the summer. I identified it as an Ailanthus Silkworm, and postulated that it may be the adult form of the caterpillar from Sunrise 24 (Sunrise 91)
- Now it comes full circle. As it turns out, this Ailanthus Altissima (Tree of Heaven) is a host of the moth. As the tree migrated north (apparently it is considered a pest in some circles), it brought it’s orange and white colored moth friend with it. Cincinnati is in the northern tip of the “Humid Sub-Tropic” climate, so there are a lot of species around here that have crawled up from the wet forests of the southern USA and survive here quite well.
I just scrounged around and found a picture from Sunrise 48 that showcases this lovely little tree. Here she is (on the right) with a full coat of summer leaves, back in the middle of a hot and sticky day in Cincinnati. It’s also interesting to look back on this sunrise from the middle of winter. So much humidity. The sun rose that day with a shade of deep, blood red. Note how far to the left the sun is.
This morning’s sunrise was a special one. The atmosphere was clear and the twilight provided beautiful colors, once again, so it turned out to be quite the pleasant, if a bit chilly, morning. Lisa Wakeland contacted me yesterday to ask if I’d be interested in doing a follow up for the Ault Park Sunrise article that originally ran last spring in the Eastern Hills Journal. Of course I said “heck yeah!” and so she agreed to met me to talk. She was a good sport and humored my request to meet at sunrise at the park for the interview. I figured it was worth a shot since these are some of the latest sunrises of the entire year! I’m looking forward to seeing what she ends up putting in the article and I’ll be sure to link to it here. Thanks again Lisa!!
I was able to get up to the overlook a bit early again to appreciate the half hour of twilight display before the sun crested over the ridge line. This may be one of the last colorful sunrises for while as it appears we have some winter weather heading our way. Looks like we’re in for some rain and snow during the rest of the week. Boo.
There were light pockets of clouds that were slowly moving across the sky, seeming to line nicely with the part of the sky where I was expecting the sun to come up. Twilight colors are a nice set of light pinks and purples.
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Hello party people! I’m just going to start off and say that this post is a bit of a doozy! Hang in ’til the end, it’ll be worth it. This morning was one of those times when the stars aligned and everything came together in a great way. What’s the saying – luck favors those who are prepared? I was up early, had a fresh charge in the camera, was full of creative and explorative energy, and it just so happened that the sunrise was AMAZING. One of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. That’s saying a lot coming from me! The pictures, as beautiful as they are, do not do the true sight of the atmosphere justice. It was a true winter sunrise that was both illuminated by the clear skies, highlighted with a light cloud slurry, and from what I understand the ice crystals in the atmosphere can lead to all kinds of neat cloud formations that made an ever changing cloudscape.
As I mentioned previously, the wife has a bit of acute bronchitis. She started taking anti-bacterial medication for it and last night was the first time that the coughing had completely subsided. I fell asleep on top of the covers with my clothes on and promptly woke up in the exact same position at 6:15am, the first full night’s sleep without interruption I’ve had in weeks! As a result, when I got up to turn off the lights in our place, I felt fully rested and ready to go. I decided that rather than go back to sleep I’d go ahead and start the day. By 6:45am I was fully suited up and headed out to the park.
It was quite amazing to watch the transformation of the sky from a deep dark black into the colorful display of the twilight atmosphere. In fact, when I left the apartment it was so dark that not only could I see the stars, but I had no way of knowing that on the other side of the hill the twilight show had already started. I was planning on getting set up at the park by 7:00am (65 minutes before sunrise) and having nothing to do for about 45 minutes. I could not have arrived at the park at a better time. At 7:00am the low horizon had already taken on a deep red mohogany that was compact and restricted to the region of the sky just above the ridge line. The clouds were just beginning to take on a dark shadowy navy purple. It was still dark enough that the street lamps cast long shadows across the lawn while the sky began to change in the background. This was by far the earliest sunrise I’ve ever witnessed and really changed my perspective on “how soon” one should expect to show up for a clear sky sunrise if they wish to witness the entire ordeal.
The sunrise palette was the most rich I’ve ever seen, and again this was due to the fact that I happened to show up extra early during a morning where the sunlight just so happened to start penetrating the lower atmosphere during early twilight. The sky started off with deep purples that faded into red. The pinks, magentas, and finally fuchsias started slowly to brighten along the lower atmosphere and then moved upward across the sky as the thin layers of ice crystal clouds provided a canvas backdrop. After the fuchsias subdued, the dark oranges and finally bright yellows scattered throughout the atmosphere until the sun finally made an appearance at 8:05am.
I was as giddy as a school girl, running to and from taking pictures now to sort out at home later. In the process I explored some ideas for a project that I plan on pursuing throughout the winter. Namely, finding tree “candidates” for a Winter Tree Silhouette project. I’ve long been fascinated by the underlying fractal and organic form that the naked tree branches form against the winter sky. There are some beautiful old trees around the local forests, many of then “Century” trees. There are not, however, very many trees that are isolated enough to provide a decent silhouette and also on the top of a hill, positioned in such a way that they can be captured against the open sky. There’s one specific tree (Oak I think) in the yard of St. Ursula Villa that fits this perfectly. There’s also one down by Lunken Airfield although there is a chain linked fence and lamp pole in the view. Today I was able to try and find some new candidates around the Ault Park area as well. Some are good and one may make for a great choice, although none of them are completely isolated. I’m hoping to have some good luck down at Reeve’s golf course by Lunken Airfield where most of the century oaks have been well taken care of and sit by themselves along the fairways of the course.
To top it all off, at the end of my ride I discovered that one of the local roads in the neighborhood that Ault Park sits next to still has some authentic gas lanterns. I was unaware that there were any gas lanterns in this area as the only ones I’ve heard of are the iconic street lamps in old Clifton’s “Gas Light District” off of Ludlow Ave. I found ten of these lanterns along a side street that runs right by the Cincinnati Observatory. The homes that were built in the blocks surrounding the observatory have so many architectural features and it is excellent to see the gas lanterns still alive and kicking. They’re at the end of this post if you are particularly interested in them.
Without further ado, here’s the set from this morning. Some of them are a bit blurry from the low light and for that I apologize. There is one picture in particular that I really loved but for some reason it’s completely out of focus. Low lighting can be a pain!
On the way to the park, this home with its Christmas lights still out caught my eye because of the various accent lighting. Nothing too crazy here but I was hoping the picture turned out better. It’s difficult getting the settings on the camera right while wondering if anyone thinks I’m a weirdo for standing on the sidewalk taking pictures of the neighborhood.
Arriving in the park, I am surprised to find that the sky is not dark at all. Early twilight colors abound. On the left side of the frame we can see the light from a lit street lamp illuminating the lawn.
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After missing yesterday morning’s beautiful and rare atmospheric sunrise (complete with a light layering of cirrus clouds [That’s a link to “cirrus sunrise” image search] that no doubt would have cast pink highlights throughout the twilight sky), I felt it was necessary to make sure that this morning’s sunrise was not missed. This week has been a bit hectic, so my schedule did not align perfectly with the 8:05am sunrise. The wife caught a bout of acute bronchitis. It really is nothing serious, it’s just one of those things that doesn’t bother you until a half hour after you lay down to sleep, that’s when the coughing starts and the restlessness begins. As it goes the last week was spent with unwholesome sleep, making sleeping in until 8:00am or beyond during overcast mornings more frequent. Her car also is in the shop for a hopefully minor repair so she’s using mine for her commute. I’m lucky enough to live less than 4 miles from my work place so I decided to suck it up and commute to work this morning on my bike. Why not catch the sunrise on the way?
My commute to work really is one of the best I could ask for, as far as diversity goes. It certainly is not boring. I am able to wind through some of the old urban roads of Cincinnati, most of which are low traffic by design. The only thing about it is that if I were to give it a descriptor, it would be “classic Cincinnati topography”. From Ault Park to Silverton, Ohio where I work, the 3.8 mile bike ride is anything but easy. It’s fun, fast, slow, and testing. The first half of the commute is mostly downhill because I’m actually traveling from the top of one Cincinnati hill where Ault Park is located, down into the valley that runs through the Red Bank / Norwood area, and back up through a cut in the two hills where Drake Park sits on one side, and Madeira on the other. The last half (in both directions!) is up hill and painful, so I really try to enjoy the first half. This creates an interesting affect because I always start out the commute thinking about how wonderful biking is, and end the commute wishing I was in better shape! This winter I haven’t been going on as many longer treks so this morning’s ride was pretty rough. I made it, though, and by the time I made it to work it was almost 50F – way warmer than I had expected. A perfect day for biking around town.
The sky is clear with vapor trails from the upper atmospheric air travelers. The forecast of course put the cloud cover at roughly 50%, reinforcing the idea that it must be pretty difficult to accurately predict the weather even 6 hours in advance during the season change.
I rode away from the overlook and swung by the pavilion. I realized that the sun is still on the right side of the horizon, and should be moving back towards the left any day now. I’m going to keep my eye on the columns of the pavilion and try to nail down a sunrise where the sun rises up directly in the middle of the columns. Hopefully the trees are still bare and it’ll make for a nice picture.
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First and foremost: Happy 2012! Another year under the bridge as we move ever onward. 2011 was a great year and I should probably think about doing a “best of 2011” (which would end up being best of Ault Park Sunrise) post. I had planned on updating the “best of” page anyway, so this would be a great time to do it. It’s already a bit late so what’s a few more weeks?
This morning’s sunrise took place in an atmosphere that was, once again, completely unforecastable. This weather has really been strange recently, it reminds me a lot of the unpredictable weather changing that occurs during spring. I checked the weather report last night and it said “93% cloud cover”. As it turned out, the skies were almost crystal clear with a couple of aircraft vapor trails and a light low lying cloud bank. The current outlook for the rest of the week is mostly clear as well, even though it currently reads both “Clear” and “89% Cloud Cover”… I’m not sure what that’s about! One is probably the reality while the other is still based on forecast, perhaps? After what seems like a month of overcast mornings, it was a pleasant surprise to see the clouds gone this morning on this cool record-braking-low-temperature winter morning.
As I write this post, the temperature is hanging out at 19F. I think that breaks the record for the coldest temperature for an Ault Park Sunrise ride. And cold it was. I got some new gear from my parents for Christmas, so this was my first chance to try them out. My new reflective winter riding jacket (with light-up LED strip on the back, hah!) did a great job with my hooded sweatshirt on under it. I tried out a winter face-mask which did the trick nicely. Just as I headed home, however, the heat in my fingers finally gave out and I had a bone-chilling ride down the windy hill into Mt. Lookout. From now on I think I’ll trade my running gloves for the bulky but well insulated wool gloves. Warmth +10, Agility -5.
Yesterday morning through the afternoon we received our first minor snowfall. We received about a half an inch or so of a light dusting and some of it stuck around through this morning. I was hoping for a bit more snow on the ground, but there was enough to create some subtle highlights around the park. I’m still looking forward to my first true fresh snowfall sunrise, something that I expect to see as our humid tropical-climate gives into the cold fronts that creep down from the North. There was no ice on the road today so I didn’t have to worry too much about safety, and overall the sunrise was a welcomed break to the gloomy mornings that we’ve been used to.
The sunrise this morning was a humid one, with lots of deep orange and reds that filled the atmosphere just after first light. I actually arrived a bit early, unintentionally, so I was able to watch the sky slowly evolve from the twilight deep blues into the post-sunrise oranges before heading back to our warm apartment.
After roughly 15 minutes, the sky is starting to lighten up. It’s quite humid, however, so there isn’t a bright aura forming above the horizon. Instead, the light is being scattered by the moisture in the atmosphere and spread out throughout the sky.
Due to the high humidity, I was only given about 20 seconds notice as to where the sun would pop up over the horizon. The clouds were starting to move from their deep purple into a highlighted pink shadowy palette. Bright pink/orange highlights started showing up across the low lying cloud bank, and even though you can’t see it from the picture, there was a glowing misty patch just above where the sun would soon show up. You can see it, kind of, in this picture above as the small circular orange spot in the center of the picture.
It was at this point I started to realize that the defenses of the gloves I was wearing were starting to give. I wasn’t planning on waiting around to see how bad it could get in under 19F (-7C) weather. Take care!
Last night the wife and I were up late watching Christmas movies (OK we actually watched Machete after realizing there nothing good on TV) so this morning would have been a highly appropriate time to sleep in before embarking on our holiday travel to see our families up north. I woke up at 7:15, however, and peeped outside through the blinds. I saw a sight that I haven’t seen in a couple weeks: a dark but promising turquoise sky! I realized that it was the first clear sky morning after a long streak full of overcast skies and wet air. Given that it was a Saturday morning, especially, I hopped on the bike and headed down to UDF for a $1 refill and was on my way.
Given that I had a bit more time this morning I decided to head on down into the valley to check out Lunken Airfield’s bike trail. It’s a spot that I do love visiting, but it’s about a 20 minute bike ride to my favorite bench that looks out over the airfield under the open sky, so with these late 8:00am sunrises it’s a bit difficult for me to make it down there during the week and still have a reasonable expectation of getting to work on time. There was no traffic on the roads this morning, which I found both surprising because I’d expect to see holiday traffic, but also appropriate since most people are on holiday today.
It was quite chilly this morning, with very high humidity and around 27F. The dew point was estimated to be roughly the same as the ambient temperature so I was actually very surprised that there was no fog. By the time I arrived at Lunken Airfield, however, I realized that the sun has drifted rather far to the right. The sun ended up being hidden behind the Little Miami River Levee for the first fifteen minutes after sunrise. I ended up getting in a nice little workout by biking around the five mile loop that surrounds the airfield. It’s a rare treat that I get to shift up higher than second gear in my bike since I tend to ride mostly along the hill sides in Eastern Cincinnati, so the quicker pace was a welcomed change to the morning routine. Although I still had to climb back up the hill to get back to Mt. Lookout!
I arrived at Lunken Airfield about 15 minutes before sunrise. The bright aura of the impending sunrise had already faded, and the sky had lost most of its turquoise shade. This giant tree sits right next to the air strips and is about the same height as all the other trees located on the Eastern side of the airport throughout Reeve’s golf course. I made the realization that this winter I should try to make it to the golf course at least a handful of times because where else are there such magnificent trees that stand by themselves, making the perfect silhouette candidates, than in an old golf course?
The sun is already up but we can’t see it! The highlights of the vapor trails were becoming incredibly bright as the sun popped up over the horizon behind heavily forested the Little Miami River levee.
As I started along the bike trail, I noticed this secret entrance. I imagine the workers of the yard in the background use this to access the trail to get a job in after work. That’s one great thing about winter – the forest reveals many secrets that are hidden during the summer. Soon… very soon I hope to hunt down the ruins of the Mt. Adams Incline (and perhaps the Bellevue Hill Incline as well) that will no doubt be a bit easier to find with the leaves off of the trees.
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After a solid week of drizzly, wet, gray, and cloudy skies, I finally tried to get back out before the weekend in the hopes that there might be a lucky break in the clouds. Yesterday was Winter Solstice and I had really hoped to get a decent chance at a sunrise, but unfortunately mother weather had different plans. I didn’t end up making it out yesterday, during the true solstice which was gray and wet. This morning, one day later than the true solstice, a friend of mine ended up coming out with me. Griff and his wife were in town for the holidays from Texas and he joined me as we climbed up the hill to Ault Park.
Griff made an interesting observation that a gray overcast sky is quite rare in Houston Texas since the weather is constantly moving clouds through the area. That’s an interesting observation because a bright gray sky really does add a different dimension to the daily routine.
Thanks again for coming out, Griff! And thanks for both days of sunrise pictures, Scott! Interestingly enough, this is the third out of four sunrise entries have all coincidentally fallen on days when I had a guest come with me to Ault Park. (Here’s the final link to the other guest sunrise that didn’t include an in-person guest, unless you count prankster snowmen)
Scott actually sent me two sets of sunrise pictures. He tried to get the sunrise yesterday but he had a camera malfunction at the worst possible time. He ended up getting a couple of neat dramatic pictures of the twilight sky. He got much more lucky than we did this morning, however, because he was able to catch the sunrise through a break in the cloud bank. The second set of pictures are from Griff on his cell phone this morning at Ault Park.
Guest Sunrise #1 & #2: Scott from Charleston, South Carolina
First and foremost, the best picture of this entire post was taken this morning for Scott’s second attempt at the sunrise. Scott got lucky with a break in the clouds! A sunrise on the first day after Winter Solstice in Charleston, South Carolina.
Taken yesterday, a pre-sunrise shot of the intercoastal waterways that are a famous marker of South Carolina’s coastline
Guest Sunrise #3: Griff in Cincinnati, OH
I checked the forecast last night and was surprised to see that the entire week is expected to be overcast and gloomy. It appears our streak of beautiful clear autumn skies is officially over as we break into the winter season. With last week being mostly filled with cloudy and wet mornings, it appears that this week will be no exception. This isn’t to say that there may not be a surprise or two hidden in the weather pattern, however. The forecast has been particularly shaky over the course of this season transition so I wouldn’t be surprised to find that there may be some gems hidden in the upcoming week. Even a slight break in a cloudy pattern can make for a spectacular sunrise because of the unpredictable dynamics that a cloudy sky provides.
This morning, however, was the only day for the entire week that there was an expectation of relatively clear skies. The forecast said 19% cloud cover which is a great bet considering that I can get lucky with up to 60% cloud cover. I went to bed looking up at a clear sky and woke up to a dark gray atmosphere of the kind you’d expect to be brooding a winter storm. I was a bit disappointed, but seeing as how today is Free Coffee Refill Day @ UDF (every Monday!) I decided to check it out anyway in the hopes that something may change. Interestingly enough, Mt. Lookout Square is kind of in a valley so it can be hard to judge what the distant horizon is up to without actually getting up to Ault or Alms Park.
By the time I was leaving Mt. Lookout Square, the sky had shown no signs of light and the sunrise time was just around the corner. I took the “long way” to Ault Park, up through some extra neighborhood hills just to keep my cardiovascular system in check as we head into winter hibernation. Once I passed the Cincinnati Observatory, however, I could see that the eastern sky was up to something. The bare trees provided a view that suggested that it was time to high tail it up to the overlook. I dropped the trusty old Fuji into high gear (OK second gear, who am I kidding with these hills) and pressed onward to the overlook hoping that I wouldn’t miss the show.
As it turned out, the eastern horizon was beginning to light up in a magnificent shade of fuchsia unlike one that I’ve seen so far in this project. A rare sight, indeed. The pictures unfortunately do not do it justice because it was as if the entire lower atmosphere was ablaze with a hot pink fire. The color did not spread into the upper atmosphere and was contained by the breaking cloud front that only temporarily was giving up control of the eastern sky. There was a faint mist across the Valley that served to accentuate the bright light. I arrived at the overlook in time, and just as quickly as the fuchsia show arrived, it dwindled into a muted gray/orange sunrise.
As a completely unrelated note, while I was going through the pictures on the camera I realized that I had forgotten to include some documentation from a recent Hot Air Balloon Festival (Balluminaria) at Eden Park. I was hoping to get back up to Eden Park to continue the exploration of the reservoir ruins, but it hasn’t happened yet. Rather than wait for that to happen and include the pictures there, I’m posting the pictures along with Sunrise 130.
This was our first time attending the Balluminaria and it was a neat thing to partake in. The balloons lit up as dusk settled in. It was pretty crazy to see the thousands of people descent on Eden Park for the event that took place November 17 2011. I’m not sure if they have two separate fuels, one for hot air and one for light, but there was a distinct difference between the flames that kept the balloons inflated and the flames that lit up the canopy.
Songbirds preparing for winter. The amount of bird activity in the park this morning was unusually high. Red headed woodpeckers, cardinals and blue jays, robins and mourning doves, crows, and chick-a-dees to name a few.
The forecast must be a bit harder to predict during the seasonal change. This is two mornings in a row now that I would have expected a decent sunrise but instead was met with a dark cloudy sky. The forecast had mentioned a 38% cloud cover which should have given me a beautiful dynamic sunrise sky. Instead I got a dark winter atmosphere that eventually broke a little bit as I was heading home.
In fact, it was so dark this morning that half of my pictures seemed to come out a bit blurry. Oops! Some days are like that though and it really makes me appreciate the brighter days that make the pictures turn out so well! That’s the one thing about this camera, for all it’s great qualities, that could use some improvement. It’s hard to get a decent macro picture in low light, even while resting the camera on the ground. This is a bit of a “light” post because we’re about to head up north for some good old fashioned family Christmas festivities. Thanks for reading!
Be sure to check out about halfway through this post where I cover some light ideas regarding the vineyard history in Cincinnati and a future “Cincinnati Vineyard Sunrise” series.
For the rest of this post, including all 17 pictures and the old stone structures at Ault Park, please click to continue if you’re on the front page! (more…)
This week started off with a great sunrise. Some friends of ours stopped by last night before heading back home to San Francisco. Trent decided to come along with me this morning on the ride up to the park. It was a cold ride, but there was a decent amount of light cloud action in the lower atmosphere to provide some nice dynamics. We also happened to catch the tail end of the Mt. Lookout Luminary, an annual community event that raises money for the local council. Technically the luminary was last night so the candles were all used up by the time we found them this morning.
I also have the first European guest sunrise from Laura in Estonia. Thanks Laura!
A high-resolution picture of Frozen Dew Crystals on the previously shown clover leaf! Note the even spacing of the small crystals. My friend lee suggested that the clover may release a waxy oil which would cause the water to bead up. I’m not exactly sure what is causing it, but it’s a very neat effect. For the rest of the macro crystal shots, be sure to read the full post (they’re at the bottom!).
This morning almost didn’t happen. I woke up at 7:00am and attempted to shrug off the biochemical cocktail that almost convinced me that the sky was overcast and it wasn’t worth riding up to the park in 25F (note to biochemical self: it always is!). I poked my head out the front of our apartment building and noticed a patch of blue skies through a tiled cloud layer. Ok! Game on! As it turned out my bet was well placed. For a 72% cloud cover, this morning’s atmosphere was certainly atypical!
This morning’s sunrise was not unlike Sunrise 9, although with a bit less drama. Sunrise 9, back in April, is a classic example of a dynamic sunrise with a low lying cloud bank and an overhead light layer of clouds that can provide lots of interesting color dynamics. Here’s the picture from Sunrise 9 that stands out as one of my favorites of the project and also was printed in the local paper at the start of this project (click for higher resolution):
(As it turns out, 92 people “recommended” that article on Facebook. I had no idea! Thanks whoever you are!)
This morning I headed up to Alms Park in search of a twilight sunrise. Now that I’m more aware of how much fun the twilight period can be of a sunrise, I’ve taken a liking to getting up about a half hour early to catch the show. This is an advantage of the “late” sunrises of the Fall and Winter that I had not considered until now! On mostly clear mornings I can catch the pre-game show which can start as early as an hour before sunrise on a dry clear sky morning. That puts me in the park at 6:45am at the earliest, quite a reasonable time. During the middle of June this would put me in the park at 5:00am!
The atmosphere was interesting for Sunrise 127. There was the remnants of a dark cloudy layer overhead that I was certain would mess up the sunrise. However once I started on my way to the park, it was obvious that the cloud bank was being pushed out of the eastern sky to reveal a dark navy clear atmosphere. There was a low lying bank of haze just above the horizon in the distance that kept the sunlight at bay, preventing penetration into the upper atmosphere. This made for a dynamic purple/orange sky but there were no real traces of the magenta highlights that I was hoping to catch after missing them several sunrises in a row.
There is a final reason that I have found to enjoy these ice cold sunrises. During the day when the temperature rises up to the 40s, 50s, and even the 60s, the air starts to saturate with the water from the Little Miami River and the great Ohio River. At night as the temperature drops into the 20s (welcome to Ohio!) the water is pushed out from the air and is subsequently frozen. The ice crystals from the foggy days are thick because of the high water concentration, but the crystals from this morning were smaller and cubed. In fact with this little point-and-shoot it’s possible to see the geometric nature of the crystals which was surprising to me when I zoomed in on the LCD screen.
I approached Alms Park and arrived roughly 25 minutes before sunrise. Yesterday the sky was much brighter at this time than today due to the upper cloud layer and the low lying haze bank that obscured part of the early light.
For the rest of the pictures, if you’re on the front page, click to continue. 18 total including more ice crystal macro shots. (more…)
There is something that I’ve learned about the sunrise through the course of pursuing this project. It stems from the differences that I’ve found in analyzing the various “species” of sunrise. What I have found, specifically, is how different a clear sky sunrise is from a sunrise whose sky is filled with clouds. If it is particularly humid it is even more drastic because humidity tends to draw out the sunrise color evolution so a cloudy humid sunrise has most of its color display after “first light”. The clear sky sunrises, however, have a tendency to get too bright too quickly so most of the subtle color changes occur before “first light”. This is especially true on a non-humid day, where the first blast of sun light can be almost blinding! This morning’s sunrise was one of the “humid clear sky” type, so the color display was present but the sun did not immediately take on a yellow hue and instead stayed a deep shade of red as it rose up over the horizon.
The main difference about these clear sky sunrises, which dominated most of the summer mornings when we weren’t having thunderstorms, and most of the autumn mornings when we weren’t getting invasions of winter rain fronts, is that often times the best colors occur 15, 20, or even 30 minutes before the expected sunrise time. If there is even a hint of cloud activity in the sky, you can see deep purple and magenta highlights across the clouds in the upper atmosphere as early as 40 minutes before sunrise as the curvature of the earth provides a glimpse of the upcoming sunrise. The colors can start off high in the atmosphere and swing down to the horizon quickly, and they can be gone in a matter of minutes as I found out the hard way a few days ago.
So this morning I decided to get up earlier than usual since the forecast had me getting excited over the possibility of clear skies. I arrived at the overlook by 7:20am, a full 28 minutes before sunrise. I was surprised to find that the ambient light was already bright enough where I had no trouble seeing with the naked eye. In fact, I could have arrived 20 minutes earlier and still had plenty of atmospheric color shifting to watch. As I look at the sunrise calendar, I see that “Civil Twilight” started at 7:14am. I am coming to realize that this is probably a good indicator of when one should attempt to “show up” to observe the full evolution of a clear sky sunrise. Today’s sunrise was actually quite humid, evident by the “red globe” effect that the sun appeared with, rather than the “bright blinding yellow light” effect that a dry sunrise with clear skies would produce. I would even venture to say that the Nautical Twilight time of 6:41am would have been an appropriate time to show up this morning. Heck, on a completely dry day where the first light would penetrate deep into the atmosphere, the Astronomical Twilight time of 6:08am would not be a bad idea, although that would take some serious commitment.
7:23am; 25 minutes before sunrise and 10 minutes after the start of “Civil Twilight“. No, that link does not take you to a page about vampires, I promise!
Twilight over the Little Miami River Valley. Check out the standing water down in the fertile corn fields. I’m surprised that there was no fog this morning considering that there has been 3 days of raining followed by a clear morning. But the fog must have been just around the corner given the high humidity in the atmosphere.
First Light: Sunrise 126. These high humid sunrises are kind of funny because it isn’t like the drama-queen low-humidity sunrises that alert you of their impending arrival by presenting their region of the sky with a bright orange and yellow aura 5 or 6 minutes before they actually waltz in the door. Nope, these deep blood red humid sunrises sneak up on you. I’ll look away for a quick minute, or fill up my coffee cup, and I look up and am lightly shocked to see the tip of the sun peeking out from behind the far ridge line, without an entourage or dramatic display of color.
A close-up of the sun rising over the Little Miami River Valley. Note the deeper reds and purples still in the sky just above the horizon, as if the sunlight can’t penetrate very far into the atmosphere. Compare this to a similar picture of a less humid sunrise.
Please stay tuned for tomorrow’s sunrise. It’s currently forecasted at 68% cloud cover, which means I could get lucky and get a dramatic sunrise for the first time in months!
The members of the band “Let It Happen“, whom I ran into at Ault Park this morning while they were filming for a music video @ Heekin Overlook.
This morning was another “surprise” sunrise and I’m very glad that I made it happen! I didn’t set my alarm this morning but my body woke up at 7:15am when nature called me from my slumber. I was already awake and I saw mostly clear skies out the window, so I had no excuse to miss the sunrise at 7:40am! This is the second day in a row that I made it up to the sunrise without setting an alarm because yesterday my pal “Hudson the Dog” had my back and woke me up just in time. It was really warm out there, too. Surprisingly warm. It’s 52F at the time of this writing. Was it just a couple days ago that I bundled up for a 20F sunrise? Weather in the midwest can keep you on your toes 🙂
This morning was quite the experience. Aside from the normal moody sunrise that was of a “species” not seen for months, I also met the members of the band Let It Happen. That’s another first! I’ve found that while it is relatively rare to find other sunrise cowboys and cowgirls during the week, Saturday and Sunday mornings make for great opportunities to have a social sunrise. The guys were filming for their new music video. I met them and told them about Ault Park Sunrise (I’m trying to be better at self-promotion, hah). Let It Happen is currently on tour and you can check out their website, myspace, twitter, and facebook page. Whew, all social bases covered. Thanks again for humoring me, gentlemen, and good luck on your tour and all your other endeavors! Check out their EP which available on iTunes for $5. You can listen to it for free on their website as well.
It would have been interesting if stars had aligned just a bit differently because I came up with an idea a few weeks ago that I would have loved to have tried out this morning. The sunrise was certainly a great display, but after all of the clear sky sunrises that we’ve been having this fall it would have been neat to be able to get a silhouette type picture against the sunrise gradient sky. I think that’s something that I’d like to start doing more of – silhouettes of people against a clear sky similar to my favorite picture of the project that I took two weeks ago at Eden Park:
More on this “silhouette series” later!
The sunrise this morning was moody and constantly changing, a sign of new weather to come. This fall so far I have experienced a distinct pattern: overcast, clear skies, overcast, clear skies, fog fog, clear skies. Basically the sunrises have been mostly “all or nothing” without the changing dynamically shaded cumulus clouds that were present so much in the spring.. It makes sense to expect that in the winter on the symmetrical opposite end of the seasonal change from spring that we’d find more “dynamic” skies. The truly unfortunate part about the sunrise, however, was that I think I missed the best part! The videographer of the band confirmed my suspision. When I was climbing to the park I could see through the trees that there was a hell of a show going on in the eastern skies. From what I could tell, there was almost no light being cast into the upper atmosphere, but the lower horizon was bursting with bright pink, deep purple, and all kinds of hazy reds. The mid atmospheric clouds had those hot magenta highlights that fade to deep purple, all while the backdrop to this display was fading to a light blue from a deep twilight navy. I did not stop to take a picture because I had hoped that I’d arrive to the overlook in time, but alas, I missed the show. It’s amazing how that works with these sunrises – the pre-dawn display comes and goes so quickly and depending on the cloud formations, it can be a narrow windows of 30 seconds or a wider window of 5-7 minutes. It just depends on the weather!
The clouds were moving quickly through the sky and the sun never did punch through the low lying cloud bank. As I previously mentioned, I think the best part of the show was about 15 minutes before sunrise.
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The sunrise this morning was beautiful! I was up late and didn’t expect to make it up, but we had some friends stay the night and their dog woke me up just in time for sunrise! It couldn’t have worked out better. I hopped on the bike, headed to UDF for a coffee refill (only $1 for my 26oz thermos, what a great deal), and climbed up the hill to the park. I arrived just after first light but I took a longer route than usual. I really should have taken the shorter route because as I was coming up the hill I could see the sunrise through the forest and the sun had crested over the horizon with a shade of deep rich red. By the time I was able to take a picture at the overlook, it had taken on a more late-morning yellow shade with only a hint of the dark red.
The dark red of first light is interesting because so far most of the clear morning sunrises have been very yellow light meaning that the sky has relatively low humidity. This morning’s red sunrise color is a sign that the air is full of humidity. It was a really beautiful sunrise with the fog down in the valley and the clear skies above. The higher humidity sunrises are also nice because you can stare at the sun for a few minutes as it comes up without it blinding you.
This was the first saturday that I was able to get out on the bike since my adventure to Eden Park. It was a cool 30F in the park this morning but with the sun, clear skies, and lots of people out and about I didn’t even notice the cold. I met some people at the overlook which is always fun even though I tend to ramble on and on about Cincinnati, parks, and everything in between. I met Mac, a young guy who incidentally biked up to Ault Park for the sunrise as well. That was a great surprise! He also made for a great picture against the sunrise, which you can check out below. It was the first time that I’ve met someone else at the overlook for sunrise who also biked there! Hopefully we’ll meet again sometime in the future. Mac coined the term “waves of fog” which was very appropriate to describe the movement of the fog in the valley below, especially with the ways the shadows played through the mist as the sun came up. I also met two lovely ladies who didn’t mind me filling them in on the vineyard history of the park. Thanks for listening ladies 🙂
The entrance to the Art Deco Krohn Conservatory at the end of the Holiday Tree Lighting party. Check out the parallel lines, a signature of the style. Also note the humidity dripping from the glass panels.
The atmosphere this morning was foggy for the second day in a row. I’m beginning to wonder if we’re close to setting the record if such a thing ever existed. I could see the sunrise’s deep red glow from Mt. Lookout Square, where I stopped by UDF to get a coffee refill, but by the time I climbed up to the park the fog had blown in from from the valley. The fog started to get thick as soon as I entered the park.
The strange thing that really stuck out to me this morning was the bird activity in the park. It was almost as if today was the day that the swarms of birds chose to gather in Ault Park before heading south for the winter. I have no idea of sparrows or crows migrate, but both birds were present in outstanding numbers this morning, filling up the sky and making a whole ruckus of noise! I even have a video of the “Murder of Crows”. There were at least 100 (I took a video) crows high in the trees this morning and their silhouettes were easy to find against the bright white background and naked branches. I’ve seen a handful at a time of these giant birds at the forest’s edge looking out over the valley, but this morning the murder moved together in a loud, squaking, organized group. I could hear them even as they moved deep into the forest even though they were hidden by the fog.
Last night the wife and I visited Krohn Conservatory in Mt. Adam’s Eden Park for their annual tree lighting ceremony. It was a really great time and there was excellent food and drinks. If you’re local to Cincinnati I highly recommend joining the Cincinnati Parks volunteer program because you get to hang out with some neat people and get invited to events like this at the Krohn :). The Krohn has a neat holiday display this year. A group came in and created a miniature train display that highlights several local Cincinnati landmarks as well as a few international ones. The trains glide around the fantasy landscape that is filled with the temporary holiday flowers and plants as well as the permanent citrus trees. The Krohn Conservatory is such a great building and we’re lucky to have it!
The giant pine lit @ Krohn. If you love plants like I do, be sure to pay the Krohn as many visits as you can! Especially at NIGHT during the winter. When you walk into the dark humid tropic room as ice crystals form on the green house panels, you feel like you’ve entered another world.
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Hi! I just got a batch of postcards from the awesome people at vista print. I’d like to send you one! I’m grateful to everyone who has given me feedback and followed along with my sunrise adventures and this is a way for me to say thank you. Everyone loves getting things in the mail, right? Email me your name and address if you’re interested and you’ll receive a hand written post card from yours truly. I’ll send anywhere in the world. Have at it! There’s a limited supply and I can’t guarantee when it’ll show up, but as long as this message is still on the homepage that means there are still postcards available. firstname.lastname@example.org (Please note: this post is “sticky” which means it is always on top of the front page. For the latest sunrise post, scroll down!)
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.
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 🙂
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!)
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This post comes a day late as the holiday festivities have had us pretty busy! Thursday morning was, of course, the holiday of Thanksgiving. For the past two years my wife has participated in the Turkey Trot, a 10k through downtown Cincinnati that has been going on for 102 years. It’s quite an event because 15,000 people quickly come together for the race before high tailing off to their family lunches, dinners, and football games. It’s seriously impressive just how many people come out for the Thanksgiving race, the only bigger race I’ve seen in Cincinnati is the famous Flying Pig Marathon.
After a long streak of thunderstorms, the forecast had finally put the weather for Thursday morning at a confident 9% cloud cover in clear skies. There was a bit of a mishap in the forecast and what ended up happening was that Thanksgiving morning was gloomy, misty, and wet. I think what actually happened was that the clear skies warmed up the ground and there was actually just lots of FOG. But the fog lifted up a few hundred yards into the sky and simulated low-lying cloud cover. When I originally left for the sunrise, the sky was a deep dark blood red, signifying that a high humid sunrise was on the schedule for the morning. By the time I got to the park, however, it was apparent that the sky was full of fog. It was a relatively warm, wet, and dark sunrise.
Either way – Happy Thanksgiving! Today, the day after Thanksgiving, the fog has finally lifted and the skies are clear and the weather is great.
More empty streets. It took about 15 minutes for all the runners to funnel out across the starting line, and another 15 minutes before the first runner started to make his way towards the finish line. I’m always surprised by how fast some of these runners are!
After yesterday’s sunrise fakeout, I was excited to head up to the park this morning for the first clear sunrise of the week. The forecast was pretty much dead on – low 20s (-5C) with clear skies. I climbed up to the park about 20 minutes early and poked around by the edge of the forest to try and find candidates for some silhouette pictures against the dawn sky. I found a couple, including the lone tree by the pavilion. There was actually a couple joggers in the park this morning putting up with the cold. I bundled myself up with the usual gear: thick gloves, hooded sweatshirt, insulated wind breaker pants, and a knitted UC hat. I did, however, have one piece of extra armor (pun unintentional, but it certainly works!) this morning that made a huge difference. I borrowed the wife unit’s winter under armor shirt after her suggestion, and it really did make a huge difference. I was skeptical at first because of how thin it is (and that I can’t wear an undershirt with it!) but it really does a good job at trapping body heat and presumably releasing moisture. I felt cozy at the overlook this morning rather than miserable. I may have to get some winter gear for myself!
Lots of upper atmospheric plane activity today. When the weather is cloudy you don’t think about how many planes are scooting along up there, but on a clear morning with the dawn light reflecting from the vapor trails it becomes apparent just how busy the sky is. I counted at least 5 in the sky this morning at sunrise, silently gliding across the atmosphere.
Interestingly enough, we can see that the sun has moved to the right of the water tower. I didn’t know if it would make it this far to the right on the horizon but it shows no signs of slowing down. Sometime in the past week the sun would have risen up exactly behind the water tower, too bad the overcast mornings hid it from view!
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By and large, this morning’s sunrise was quite a disappointment! We’ve had four days of overcast rainy and stormy conditions as the warm autumn weather has been battling for control against the coming winter cold. Last night in the late afternoon, the sky broke and we had a beautiful sunset. I didn’t have my camera on me at the time, but it was full of color and many different cloud formations that reflected the sun light for a full 40 minutes after sunset. There were also several airplane jet trails that actually cast a dark shadow against the purple upper atmospheric clouds. A friend of mine took a picture at The Ohio State University, about 100 miles north/northeast of Cincinnati, and shared it with me. You can see how I may have had high expectations for this morning’s sunrise! Brent has been takings lots of pictures of OSU’s stadium at various times of the day. Check out the gallery and the new twitter feed.
This morning I had hoped that the weather held and we were going to get a sunrise similar to the sunset of last night. I would have been happy with anything! But as the sun set and the atmosphere cooled, another thick bank of clouds rolled in last night. I woke up at 6:30am, a full 50 minutes before the sunrise (I was excited!) and was disappointed when I looked out the window and saw only dark gray skies. Interestingly enough, the western sky did break for about 10 minutes on my ride home and I saw hints of a whispy blue upper atmosphere, but at the time of this writing the sky is back to gray.
The gray of the atmosphere this morning wasn’t all bad, of course. There was no sunrise, but the calm and quiet overcast mornings do have properties of their own. It was cold, being in the lower 30s, but I was dressed appropriately and was armed with my thermos of coffee. The sky was a deep dark gray this morning, a color that I tend to associate with a wet cloud system that has the potential for a downfall or, hopefully, a thick snowfall. The squirrels were highly active this morning and I caught half a dozen of them stretched out on the trunks of the oak trees watching me watch them crack open acorns for an early breakfast. The darkness of the atmosphere meant that Lunken Airfield’s lighting systems stayed lit for longer than usual, and I noticed that with most of the leaves gone from the trees already, there are more opportunities for getting a different view of the valley from atop these hills.
Speaking of winter, I wanted to share an article about the work of a photographer that I recently found from Outdoor Photographer. The article is titled The Season of Solitude and it highlights the landscape photography of Marc Adamus. Now here is a dude who loves sunrises as much as I do. He treks out into the wilderness to get some incredible landscape pictures. The pictures of course are beautiful, but his philosophy on winter is what really drew me to the piece. I did reach out to Marc to see if he ever wanted to collaborate on a sunrise post, but he’s out in the wilderness for a few weeks. Who knows, maybe he’ll get back with me? The article has made me very excited to continue this project into the winter, even if it means more dreary overcast days like today. Being from the midwest, I love snow so much and the idea of exploring the new dynamics that a sunrise-over-snow brings to the table makes me excited. One of the most overlooked properties of winter that I also like is how much is prepares us for true wholesome appreciation of spring. I don’t mean that as a stab towards winter, I mean it in the way that everything needs balance, and the seasons are no exception. Winter is a time for hibernation, preparation, reflection, and harboring a longing for signs of life. I always wait for the first true “warm” day in Cincinnati because the streets fill with people running and walking, being social, and generally full of good spirits and community. How can they achieve such balance out in California with all their “great weather” and “sunny with no chance of rain” skies? 😉 I kid. But in all seriousness, I’m looking forward to the challenges that this winter will bring especially since it’ll be even more tough getting up early in the freezing cold to bike up to the sunrise only to find that the sky may be filled with clouds. Everything needs balance, of course, so these days will only make the clear sunrise mornings that much more beautiful.
Oh! One more thing. Tomorrow morning’s sunrise is forecast to be mostly clear with a touch of clouds. Today’s was forecasted to be “iffy” so it really is not a huge surprise that there were so many clouds in the sky. I’m looking forward to the first clear sunrise in 6 days tomorrow morning, we’ll see how it goes! With high humidity and low cloud cover, this could give an opportunity for FOG and/or a slow-rising deep purple sunrise against a clear open blue sky. Although, to be fair, I’m very new to these super cold temperature sunrises so it could be something altogether different. Who knows?
As promised yesterday, this is the second part of Sunrise 118’s post.
Yesterday morning, after checking out the sunrise, I ventured into the park to see what was new. As I approached the lawn I noticed something across the way, about 80 yards on the other side of the park. Someone had gathered up a bunch of political signs and planted them together in a group. After all the local TV ads stop and the results are tallied, what ends up happening to all the political signs? Well, some of them ended up in Ault Park!
Upon closer inspection, however, it became apparent that these signs were not randomly placed about the lawn. Rather, they were all neatly organized in parallel rows, facing forward towards the set of benches. On top of one of the benches, low and behold, was a plastic Christmas snowman. As it turned out, I was the first to come across a renegade piece of art placed in the lawn of the park by some artist or group of artists. Here’s the scenario as I saw it:
- The political signs were all organized in a tight group and each was facing the snowman.
- Each of the political signs, without exception, were marked with a
capital “V”in black shoe polish. Some of the signs were “double long” and were marked with a double V. Upon further inspection, it appears that each of the “V”s are almost identical, implying they are drawn with a stencil. Maybe spray paint, then, not shoe polish. UPDATE it was pointed out by Togie and RossTheColonol that these are not, in fact, the letter V. They’re actually stencils of a SHEEP. The sheep is looking directly at you. It’s kind of hard to tell at first, but it becomes obvious. That makes it even more powerful!
- The snowman sat atop a bench. Care was taken so that the gravel that filled the snowman did not spill out onto the bench (a political sign kept the gravel from falling out of the bottom). There were no other signs of vandalism or damage. A respectful installation!
- Across the side of the snowman, in big bold letters, was written “THE MAN”. The phrase was also written along the back of the snowman.
- The snowman’s face was modified. His eyes were colored white and then small beady pupils were drawn in the center. His mouth had teeth drawn with white-out and cheek-bone lines drawn with marker. There were also wrinkles drawn around his eyes.
- The snowman had a nice little tie around his neck that I almost didn’t catch at first.
- I love that each of the political signs come from all areas of the political spectrum. The way they are clustered together into an “audience” to the snowman’s political rally is interesting because even though each sign represents a different “choice”, each sign is equal in the audience to the Snowman.
- Now that I know that the stencils are “sheep”, not a “V” like an artist signature, the meaning is much more straight forward.
- I like that the snowman is a fantasy character. It adds a bit of surrealism to the entire operation. It also makes the idea of “The Man”, an otherwise intangible and scary character, into a tangible albeit fictional figure.
- The details on the snowman really seal the deal. His face looks seedy with a plastic smile (hah!), beady eyes, and the teeth. The tie is also a nice touch. That’s the one detail that makes me think this had some real planning behind it.
- I like that the political signs are real. They’re taken from the urban landscape and reused to make a statement.
- The obvious message that I take away from this is that choice is an illusion and the Snowman (“The Man”), lying behind the scenes, is benevolent in his power! 🙂 As Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine said, “There is no other pill to take so swallow the one that makes you ill!”.
If you’re on the front page: for the rest of the pictures (about 19 total), please click to continue. (more…)
The full moon was out in the western sky! I know the physics make it impossible (or, rather, they show why it is impossible) but it’d be neat to see the full moon rise next to the sun. Until I can see a sunrise in a solar system with two luminous bodies, I’ll have to be content with seeing a full moon opposite the sun in the sky 🙂
Check back later – I’m running out of time for the night – for the second half of this post. UPDATE Here’s the link to the second half. I came across an unexpected, and very interesting, piece of renegade art in the park this morning. Don’t miss it! There is a sneak peak down below somewhere. It deserves a post of its own so that our guest sunrises get their fully deserved attention 🙂 )
This morning I am happy to include the second set of the “guest sunrise” posts, featuring two sunrises from Dayton, OH and a set from a fellow blogger Eremophila in Australia. We’ve gone international! (Also a quick note: all original pictures’ copyright are maintained by their respective owners. The ault park sunrise notice on each picture is just the result of my renaming / resizing script that I run all pictures through prior to uploading them to the web!)
The sunrise this morning was surprisingly warm, and the skies were crystal clear as I’ve come to expect during the Autumn leg of this project. As far as clear sky sunrises go, this one was particularly “normal” with the early dawn light starting at least 20 minutes before sunrise and the “first light” being full of bright yellow light. It seems that the foggy days are gone for now, but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of them.
Guest Sunrise #1: James in Dayton, OH
James sent in a sunrise from his morning commute Thursday. I got it a bit later in the day so it wasn’t included in part I.
Guest Sunrise #2: Eremophila in Mid North and South Eastern Australia
Eremophila was kind enough to send two sets of sunrise pictures from her adventures in Australia. The first picture is from the Mid North of Australia and the second two are from her recent move to Australia’s South East. She comments that the Mid North is quite a bit different from where she now lives in the South East.
Guest Sunrise #3: Mike from Enon, Ohio
Mike sent in two pictures of his early morning sunrise across his backyard along the farmlands of Enon, Ohio. Thanks Mike!