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

foggy

Sunrise 86: East Cincinnati Loop (Foggy & Clear Summer Sunrise)

Looking North/East up the Little Miami River Valley. This used to be the pre-glacial Ohio River Valley, several hundreds of thousands of years ago. Up on top of that ridge, if you have good eyes, you’ll see Heekin Overlook.

After checking out the Cincinnati Observatory, we stopped by Heekin Overlook at Ault Park. The view into the valley was stunning.

Sunrise 86 was one of the more beautiful summer sunrises of the year. If the ideal sunrise of the spring is a partially cloudy and humid morning full of late-sunrise oranges, the ideal summer sunrise is one of a clear atmosphere with dense fog in the low-lying valley and a bit of a cold bite to the air. This morning’s surnise was exactly that. I had a friend with me this morning, who stayed over to redeem a long-standing offer to join me on a morning sunrise ride. We did a nice loop through the eastern hills. After taking advantage of “free coffee refill Mondays” at the Mt. Lookout UDF, one of my favorite things to do, we cranked it up the hill at about 6:30am, 20 minutes before the sunrise at 6:50am. We started off with the dawn opening and sunrise at the Cincinnati Observatory, then off to Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook for the remainder of the early light. Heekin Overlook had a breath-taking view down into the foggy valley over Armelder Park. We dropped down into Linwood to Armleder Park, checked out the foggy meadow, and then hightailed it over to Lunken Airfield before climbing Mt. Tusculum up past Alms Park.

The dawn sky, about 10 minutes before sunrise

The sun is starting to creep further to the right along the horizon as summer continues on into fall.

Just before sunrise! The sky turned a deep teal color, a shade that doesn’t stick around too long.

Sunrise @ The Cincinnati Observatory

It was a perfect mixture of fog in the low elevations, with a clear blue sky above.

If you’re on the front page, click to continue. About 11 pictures total: (more…)


Sunrise 52: Ault Park (Lunken Loop #2: Marina, Barges, Airplanes)

A shot through the trees and the billowing smoke.

Perhaps my favorite sunrise picture of the morning. The airplane, having just taken off from Lunken Airfield, heading off into the sunrise.

Up the East/West runway down at Lunken Airfield. Not a single plane took off while I was there.

Looking up river around the bend. There goes the barge.

This morning’s sunrise was a bright one. It was one of the classic spring mornings where the fog is thick across the valley and the sky is mostly clear. I got up a bit late so I arrived at Heekin Overlook just as the sun was coming up. As I’ve mentioned previously I don’t actually have a direct view of the sunrise any more from Ault Park, due to how far to the left the sun has moved as we approach Summer Solstice. After June 21 the sun will revert back along the path to the east, eventually aligning once more with the Ault Park Pavilion. It is possible now that I think about it that the Pavilion might be aligned with the Winter Solstice (December 20-21), as that would be a point when the sun would be much further to the right (looking out at the Little Miami River Valley). I’ll have to make a mental note of that.

I unfortunately won’t be in Cincinnati during the summer solstice. Amanda and I are taking a trip out west through San Fransisco and Sacramento California. I hope to get some sunrise pictures (depending on our schedule and where we’re at) along the way. I *definitely* intend to get a sunrise for Summer Solstice but I’ll have to wait until next week to find a vantage point.

This morning would have been a great time to be at the Overlook 20 minutes before the sunrise. The haze was doing two main things to the sun light. First, it was scattering the rays throughout the sky, causing the twilight atmosphere to light up substantially prior to the sunrise. The second thing was that it was also blocking most of the orange / yellow light, so the early morning sky had a bright pink / purple-ish tint to it.

Ault Park

I spent the first 20 minutes after sunrise in Ault Park. After watching the sun come up, and peering down into the valley at the thick foggy layer, I decided that I wanted to try out, for the second time, the new route that I “created” that takes me from Heekin Overlook to Lunken Airfield to the “Marina” to Alms Park and back to Mt. Lookout. I was feeling up to task of knocking out the 9 mile loop in under an hour. I am considering adding this route to the daily (or psuedo-daily) morning ritual. I think it would be neat to start at Ault Park, do the loop, and take pictures at the same landmarks along the way. It would be an extension to the existing Ault Park Sunrise project. The landmarks along the way would be:

  • Ault Park – Heekin Overlook
  • Linwood Public School – at the base of the hill under Ault Park
  • Lunken Airfield – the bench looking out at the sunrise over the airfield
  • Wilmer / Carrel Trail – the railroad art monument
  • The Ohio River Launch Club – the marina out on the Ohio River
  • Alms Park – Lunken Airfield Overlook

There are many other smaller, or auxiliary, landmarks along the way. Cemeteries, churches, the airport terminal, historic  homes and old industry. In fact it would be neat to make an Android or iPhone App that provided drop-dead simple ways to “check in” and upload a picture at each landmark. A kind of collaborative urban cycling picture project. There is enough diversity along the route, and it is relatively quick with low traffic, that I think a lot of people would enjoy riding it. Here’s a map of the route: Ault Park -> Lunken Airfield -> Ohio River Launch Club -> Alms Park

Speaking of bike routes, yesterday marked a new achievement for me. I biked to the University of Cincinnati’s Campus from Mt. Lookout. Google Maps provided me with a route that skipped most of the major roads and was almost entirely urban residential. It was an awesome, if not exhausting, experience. I’ve mapped the route (one-way) on mapmyrun. Mt. Lookout to the University of Cincinnati via Fairfax/Lincoln Ave. The way to campus took about 35 minutes and was, to my surprise, almost entirely uphill. The ride back, however, was fun and more than made up for any discomfort from the ride in the opposite direction. Almost entirely downhill (slight grade mostly), I was able to get home in about 20 minutes and for the most part maintain a decent speed on par with the light traffic. The traffic was almost non-existant in the morning when I left, and on the way back (around 4:30pm) there was moderate traffic but because 80% of the route is through residential areas, traffic was mostly at a minimum.

On the the sunrise.

Morning “Dawn”

The smoke / fog over on the left was obscuring the sun.


If you’re on the front page, click to continue. Linwood Public + Lunken + Marina —-> (more…)


Sunrise 46: Ault Park & East End (LeBlond’s Eastern Ave Factory, Lunken Terminal, Revolutionary War Cemetery)

Sunrise @ Lunken!

Post-Industrial Rail Art

LeBlond’s Eastern Factory’s Rail Yard

I wasn’t able to get out on the bike over the weekend so this morning was a bit stiff. It is always interesting how much I feel the difference in my legs after a couple of days of not riding. There was a patchy haze in the air as I pedaled up to the overlook. The park was hopping this morning with joggers and dog walkers. I must have passed 6 pairs of people by the time I reached Heekin overlook. The temperature was a cool 60F and it felt wonderful. Unfortunately there was a thick fog over the valley that obscured the morning sunrise. Seeing as how I hadn’t any miles on the bike since Friday I decided to try out a new route that is inspired by my recent trips down to Lunken Airfield from Alms Park.

So much fog.

Looking out at Lunken Airfield to the west, where I’m soon to visit.

A bit of orange in the hazy sky.

Best sunrise I could get at the overlook.

Classic Overlook with lots of fog.

A couple weeks ago, when I hopped down to Armleder Park for the foggy sunrise, I discovered that there was easy access to Eastern Avenue down below Ault Park. I believe Eastern Ave from Ault Park to Lunken Airfield is the only road that in the area I haven’t explored by now. I typically make it to Lunken only after passing by Alms Park so I was excited to check it out.

As it turned out, I had a great morning ride. I got some pictures of Lunken Terminal Lobby, found LeBlond’s original factory on Eastern, discovered an old pioneer cemetery (that is different from the other pioneer cemetery in Columbia Tusculum), documented some of the old rail structures that are being preserved as part of the Ohio River trail, and took plenty of foggy pictures. The route I did today for the first time might be my new favorite “easy” ride. It hits on almost every major theme in the area. Here’s a map of the route, that covers:

  • Ault Park and residential neighborhood
  • Down past Crusade Castle to Linwood
  • Past Linwood Public School and all the late-1800s churches
  • LeBlond’s old factory, rail yard, and abandoned industry
  • Lunken Airfield & Columbia’s Pioneer Cemetary. Accessible to the 5-mile bike trail around Lunken
  • Carrel / Wilmer bike path past the Revolutionary War cemetery.
  • Through East End, including the business district and historic houses
  • To the Ohio River Launch Club / river access
  • Up through Columbia Tusculum historic district
  • Alms Park is at the top of the hill, hit it or continue past.
  • Back through the old residential area to Mt. Lookout Square.

Leaving Ault Park.

I headed down the hill past Crusade Castle. I hoped to make it to Lunken Airfield and explore some of the “old” East End / Linwood. The humidity was so thick in parts that I felt like someone was spraying me with a bottle of water. Not bad at all.

If you’re on the front page, click to continue —-> (more…)


Sunrise 36: Ault Park (RK LeBlond Factory, United States Printing Company and Playing Card Company, Murdocks, and much more)

This morning was the first time I have “skipped” a sunrise. By means of coincidental timing and a wife who wishes me to stay intact and electrically solvent, I stayed in bed while the electrical Armageddon took place outside our window at exactly 6:00am. I was considering hopping on my lightly isolated steel lightning rod and riding up to the top of the mountain but I’m grateful that Amanda made the call without me having to :). The timing of the morning storm was impeccable, at 5:30am I had woken up early, noting that the rain that passed through at 3:00am had stopped. But by the time sunrise approached, a new front rolled through the area and brought with it intense electrical behavior, including several thunderous cracks that lit up someone’s tree in the immediate vicinity. I opted instead to finish writing the article from Saturday, Sunrise 36, which involves my most adventurous exploration yet. Knowing that I would still have a post to make for today made it that much easier to not venture out into the chaos.

Fair warning – lots of pictures here, sorry if it slows down your computer!

I got up with the sun on Saturday morning and went exploring around the area, this time deciding to venture north a bit. The only real item on the agenda for the morning was getting up to the Rookwood Pavilion and seeing what I could find out first hand about the remnants of the old R.K. LeBlond factory. I found out about the history behind the factory after exploring the St. Ursula Villa, which was LeBlond’s old estate. I had heard that the old industrial site had sits at what is now the Rookwood Pavilion, a shopping area developed in the mid 1990s. The developers, as it turned out, were respectful enough to keep the old factory and “smoke stack” intact. The factory building itself is now a Don Pablo’s Mexican Grill. I also explored the now-defunct rail line that runs to the south of the pavilion as well as the grassy “urban prairie” to the north of the shopping district that at one time was a small neighborhood that succumbed to the “eminent domain” of over-zealous developers whose plans have themselves succumbed to the recent recessionary period. I continued north up small residential connectors into territory I’ve never explored by car or bike, and stumbled onto the beautifully grandiose “United States Printing Company” and the “United States Playing Card Company”, a building that surprisingly enough was even more impressive.

The Sunrise

After the break in the overcast weather by the great sunrise Friday morning, I was hoping for another colorful morning at the overlook. The morning sunrise was marked with a haze in the atmosphere and a light layer of upper atmosphere clouds. Once again a thick layer of fog had settled down into the valley, causing me to consider altering my proposed “RK LeBlond Exploration” in favor of a southern valley exploration. I have been meaning to take pictures of Lunken Airport and a morning with thick fog and a clear morning sun would provide some fantastic lighting opportunities. In the end I saved this for another day, although I put off making a decision about it for another hour or so – wondering if I could in fact do both.

If you’re on the main page, click to continue. 100+ pictures in total today –> (more…)


Sunrise 35: Ault & Alms Park (Foggy Streets, Clear Skies!, Neenah Foundry and More Murdock Fountains)

When I first woke up this morning, 25 minutes before sunrise because I forgot to brew my coffee last night, I was a bit disappointed. The sky was a dark shade of gray, typically indicating that the sun is blocked by a cloud bank (or even worse, an entire overcast sky). I should have known, however, because the “bird report” was in full swing at 5:45am, loud enough to wake us up! After brewing my coffee I set out on the Trek 4000 for the morning. When I walked out onto the front sidewalk, however, I realized that there was a substantial amount of fog in the air. It is always a surprise to see the fog – the best kind of surprise I might add 🙂 Biking in the fog (especially now that I have my new planet bike led light) is always so much fun, particularly in low-traffic hilly residential areas like on the route to Ault Park! As I would soon find out, this morning ended up being the long awaited, eight-days-in-the-making, soul-refreshing, sunrise morning. I haven’t had a post on here with the sun in it since last week and while I do love exploring random historical artifacts in the area, being able to take pictures of the morning sun is a welcome change from the routine of the past few days 🙂

The patchy foggy climb to the park

As I made my way up to the top of the hill, I started to notice a change in the atmosphere. It seemed that the higher up the hill I got, the more clear the air became. As I came up above the crest, into the entrance to the park, I started to see signs of great things to come. The sky up ahead was turning a light orange color and I could actually see a low lying cloud through the trees.

Foggy Valley; dawn.

Foggy Valley; Armleder Park

The sky is just starting to turn orange. If you’re on the front page, please continue by clicking! –> (more…)


Sunrise 29: Ault & Armleder Park (Fog in the Prairie, Linwood Public School, Our Lady of Loretta, Murdock Fountains)

click for higher quality!This weather is just too beautiful. I keep having these visions of getting up for the sunrise, taking some pictures and getting them online in a half hour, and then starting off work at around 7:30am so that I can be done early and enjoy the evening. But once again, I found myself in a unique spring morning filled with densely packed fog sitting down in the Little Miami river valley.

A note on productivity before I continue. I waited to post this until lunch time because this morning I had a realization that would boost my “wordpress productivity” by 3-fold. I already have a python script I wrote to process the images, resize them, put “(c) ault park sunrise” on the bottom, re-orient if necessary, and ask me what the file should be named. That helps a ton and has been great so far. The main problem with taking too many pictures is that wordpress, as great as it is, is kind of clunky when it comes to adding pictures to a post. You have to do like 4 clicks, each taking a few seconds to load, for every single picture. It can be monotonous and frustrating if I’m running late. In a flash of ingenuity I realized this morning that I can add raw html to the wordpress post (I never really use that feature), so what I did was throw in a simple command at the end of the script that dumps out html that I can copy and paste (since the script already knows the image filenames) directly into the posting to insert all the pictures at once. I wrapped that feature up at lunch time and I’m happy to say it seems to work. I’ll publish it soon if anyone else is interested in using it, it really takes the technical annoyances out of this project so I can focus on other, more important things, like biking, history, and pictures 🙂

click for higher quality!Notice the ridges you can barely see in the background.

click for higher quality!Super Fog

As I left my apartment I noticed that there was a slight haze to the air, a bit more than usual, but nothing close to what I would call fog. As I approached the overlook, however, I realized that the entire river valley was completely submerged in a thick blanket of fog, no doubt caused by the proximity to the swollen little miami river. I imagine that the Ohio River is just as foggy and the view from Alms Park would have been incredible. Seeing as how I didn’t have much to look at up at the overlook, and that even the fog was hard to capture correctly without the picture turning out drab and dreary, I decided that it would be a fun exercise to see if I could “catch the fog”, so to speak, by climbing down the mountain (280ft decent over about .8 miles) and attempting to, for the first time, figure out a way to get to Armleder Park on my bike. As it turns out I got sucked back up into some more history, after the historical vineyard ride from Sunday; a trend likely to continue. If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. If nothing else check out the pictures after the fog broke a bit – towards the bottom. (more…)