Sunrise 164: Ault Park (Soft Orange Spring Twilight)
This morning’s sunrise was a prolonged session of pink and orange. The temperature was a cool 60F and the distant hills were laced with light mist. I was hoping for a bright pink sunrise like the kind we saw last week. While the colors this morning were certainly bright, the palette had more orange than pink. The park was quiet this morning, too, which is surprising considering how active the birds have been over the last few days. I did see a single jogger in the park who stopped by to check out the sunrise, but other than that it was a solitary morning in the park.
If you’re connected to Ault Park Sunrise’s facebook page, you are now aware that my camera recently broke and I’m in the market for a new one. I’m putting together postcards featuring various photos from the last year of the project. They’ll be available for purchase and the proceeds will be put towards some new hardware. The silver lining to my camera’s untimely death is that I now have a true motivation to organize and collect the photos from the last year. I’m hoping to have at least 5 different postcard designs, some featuring individual pictures and others featuring themed “montages”. I’ll have more information up soon, but if you’re interested be sure to keep your eye out!
The other reason I mention the camera difficulty is because I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to be able to continue with the project until I get the new camera! My wife suggested that in the meantime I could use her phone to take pictures (mine is quite out of date and doesn’t take very good pictures). So this morning that’s what I did. The pictures didn’t turn out too bad at all, although I don’t have much control over color settings. The zoom and macro don’t work too well but hey, it’s better than nothing!
Heekin Overlook against a soft purple twilight sky
Day break across the Little Miami River Valley
Sunrise 164 was colorful and bright. The humidity created a prolonged twilight that was filled with oranges and soft pinks. Interestingly, the pinks were subtle this time around, as opposed to the bright magenta that I would have expected. I believe the humidity has something to do with it.
Here we see the young Tree of Heaven that is coming into full bloom! The flowers are white and the entire bouquet is rather large.
Sunrise 162: Ault Park (Warm Front Twilight)
Boy, it sure felt good to get back on the bike this morning. I’ve been so busy at work over the past two weeks that I haven’t been able to muster up the energy (or time) for some early morning sunrise rides. It’s an interesting thing because I recognize it as entirely my fault, but sometimes once you get into a habit it’s hard to break.
After a late night yesterday and a surprise calm in the series of thunderstorms that came through the region, I decided that I just had to get out this morning. After painstakingly crawling out of bed (OK it wasn’t that bad!) and seeing lightly scattered clouds in the early twilight sky, I set off towards the park through the misty streets.
The air was warm and wet this morning. We had a chilly streak late last week with temperatures dropping down into the 40s again. Last night we saw a monster of a thunder storm and I’m going to take a wild guess and say it was a warm front. The clouds were puffy and humid at twilight and there was mist hanging around by the edges of the forest. A low lying cloud bank over the horizon blocked most of the pink twilight colors but made for a powerful moment when the sun peaked over the cloud bank about 5 minutes beyond day break.
It’s always so surprising to me when I notice just how lush the forests around here are in the spring. On mornings like today, with the moisture on the pavement and the mist seeping out of the forest, the plants’ foliage seem like they are swollen with water. I almost feel claustrophobic at the overlook when I compare the view to the naked silhouettes of the winter sunrises. I’m sure our warm winter only helped to add a multiplier to the strength of the local foliage. I suspect we’ll have an intense kudzu season on our hands by the middle of summer.
Here we see the young Tree of Heaven down by the overlook. At twilight the sky was opening up with light but the lower atmosphere was still rather dark due to the cloud bank that was blocking the early rays of twilight.
In the far corner of the sky I could begin to make out the orange highlights that signified that the sun was beginning to rise behind the cloud bank far, far away.
Rays of light started to burst from behind the clouds across the misty valley. Here we can catch a glimpse of them.
A close up of the rays of light, jutting out from just beyond the lower cloud bank. This view usually only lasts for a minute or so and is a sure sign that the sun is just around the corner.
A vertical shot, showcasing the upper atmospheric shadows and open blue skies. What a beautiful morning it is, indeed.
The lower overlook certainly provides the best viewpoint as we move into the May sunrise season.
A final shot from Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook. We can see the lush leaves silhouetted against the humid Little Miami River Valley. A typical spring day in Cincinnati at a warm and wet 55F 🙂
Sunrise 159: Ault Park (1-year Anniversary; Sidewalk Chalk Sunrise?)
This beautiful sidewalk chalk art adorns the walkway in front of Ault Park’s central lawn on this one-year anniversary of Ault Park Sunrise. A spring sunrise tribute to the celestial titans? An innocent piece of work created by a young artist on a lazy Easter Sunday? Perhaps a professional installation done by a world master! Another mystery that will likely never be resolved.
Seriously, though, it’s a pretty neat piece of work. Well done mysterious Cincinnatian artist!
Macro Chalk. Even the moss between the stones got a color bath. With no rain being forecast for this week, perhaps this temporary art piece will last through this weekend.
It’s hard to believe, but Ault Park Sunrise is one year old! This past year has taught me so much in so many areas. I’ve gained a new appreciation of my local community and the larger city as a whole. It’s also been the first year where I have watched the seasons pass with careful diligence and focus, something that can easily slip by as we focus on our day to day lives. I’m only one sunrise away from 160, which would have made for a great coincidental time stamp but that will have to wait until later in the week. I also have a small queue built up of interesting posts, including an essay from a guest writer, some beautiful pictures of the Ault Park’s blooms from a friend (which have now faded into memory), and some historical pictures of a local estate sent to me by a fellow Cincinnatian that sheds some light onto the history of one of the large estates in the area. Also coming up is Sunrise 158, which one may notice is missing from the front page. I’ve been working on it for the last week but unfortunately I haven’t finished it. Rather than continue not doing morning rides while it’s in the hopper (I don’t like posts falling behind lest they never get published), I decided to just put it on the “draft” list and get on with Sunrise 159.
I woke up this morning after a long holiday weekend (following a long work week) with a yearning for a sunrise ride. The ride was brisk and I actually had to turn around after my initial departure to get a sweatshirt. I stopped by UDF for a coffee (freefil Monday) and was on my way. The sky was crisp and clear to the east, but there was a slow moving cloud front moving in from the west. As the sunrise arrival came near, the cloud bank continued to slip further into the eastern twilight sky, making for an interesting sky dynamic that was changing through the colorful early morning show. The sunrise itself was a nice deep orange with a few pink highlights that briefly dashed across the impending cloud bank.
The most surprising thing to me is just how quickly spring has arrived. It’s been just over two weeks since I visited Ault Park (Alms Park was my most recent visit before we left for Charleston), and yet the overlook is lush with foliage and the trees are well on their way to having a full spring coat of greenery. I’m also pretty excited about the sunrise time that continues to push earlier into the morning. Sunrise 159 clocked in at 7:09am and it will only get earlier as we march into summer.
One of the best parts about exploring a city park after a weekend, and in particular a holiday weekend with great weather, is finding the leftover markers of human activity. Sometimes there is trash, but more often than not there is something else: sidewalk chalk art! This morning I found plenty to entertain along the main walkway that runs along the center lawn in front of the pavilion. I was amused by the video game inspired “MarioKart” starting line. It was even complete with a set of “?” boxes 60 yards up the sidewalk, whose purpose is to give the player that runs over them an item like a green shell, banana peel, or even star power.
Behind the Mariokart tribute there was another piece of artwork that appears to have been left by an artist with a bit more patience and a steady hand. I found myself quite moved by the artwork, especially after I considered that the subject of the work appears to be a sun with its rays bursting out from the center of the tile into a blue sky. The artist (or artists) carefully colored each individual brick in the sidewalk and were even symmetrically mindful. I find it so interesting that this artwork has appeared on the morning of Ault Park Sunrise’s one year anniversary. I’ll just try to not think too hard about it :).
I arrived at the park just as the twilight backdrop was coming into full bloom.
The twilight sky was just beginning to take on an orange gradient as the east-moving overhead cloud bank threatened to block out the sunrise.
Has it just been two weeks since I last saw this Tree of Heaven? She was the subject of many winter photos, and already she has a healthy coat of green growth. Until next winter, old friend.
Just before sunrise there was this vertical column of pink that shot up through the sky. Here you can kind of see it to the middle/left of the picture.
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Sunrise 157: Alms Park (Misty Hills, Tall Oaks, Spring Blooms)
A unique lighting situation @ Sunrise 157
A hard climb to Alms Park but the view makes it worth it!
Are these magnolias? (Nope. Dogwood!) They’re so small and the other magnolias have lost their blooms so I’m not sure…
Rain-battered yellow blooms race to fill up as much forest floor as possible before their taller brethren block out all the light.
I woke up Sunday morning with a penchant for a sunrise. After last week’s surprisingly beautiful spring sunrise (and subsequently & understandingly the most popular post yet so far of the project), I spent the rest of the week working early and ignoring the rainy & stormy mornings. After all, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to push such a beautiful set of pictures further down the front page unnecessarily! :).
This morning’s sunrise was certainly a unique one. I experienced a strong dose of nostalgia because I haven’t visited Alms Park for over three months! The last post featuring Alms Park was Sunrise 127, featuring the *incredibly lucky* cubic frost crystals. It is probably the most viewed picture I’ve taken for this project due to it’s popularity on the social news site reddit.com where it hit front page and was likely viewed by a couple hundred thousand people, if not more. I’m not sure of the numbers because wordpress doesn’t track individual pictures. Here’s the picture from that fateful day when the day break light was perfect and my camera just so happened to focus on the exact right spot:
(Cubic Ice Crystals on Clover; Sunrise 127)
So it came as no surprise that as I snaked my way down through Mt. Lookout and into the thickly forested residential neighborhood between Delta & Linwood Ave, it felt as if I was meeting an old friend. The route to Alms Park from Mt. Lookout is quiet and full of life (both of the human kind and the natural type). The old residential through-ways were originally designed for high volume so they are wide and smooth. When the Grandin Viaduct was torn down sometime in the past half-century, traffic volume dropped off and now the neighborhood roads are serenely peaceful in the morning before sunrise. The area features one of the oldest planned suburban neighborhoods (dating back to the 1920s or so) and the designers were tactfully mindful of the local forest. At times, the ride to the par almost feels as if you’re traveling through a small tucked away neighborhood in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.
The route to Alms Park is also one that displays the challenge of Cincinnati’s terrain quite nicely. The entire route is a slow climb up to the the peak of the mountain from the basin of the valley that Mt. Lookout sits in. Just before the entrance to the park, at which point you’ve already climbed to the peak elevation, the road takes a steep dive down through a patch of old forest where the air is always noticeably humid and cold. At the base of this drop is the entrance to Alms Park, where one must climb another 200ft up a steep hill to the overlook.
I always feel an incredible rush of clarity when I finally reach that peak. It’s a route that’s short but also hard to rush. By the time you reach the top you’re surrounded by the ethos of Alms Park: The Forest. I’ve mentioned it in posts past, but Alms Park and Ault Park have such good balance when viewed side by side. Ault Park is organized, designed, open, symmetric, accessible, full of lawn & gardens, and the epitome of a well planned city park. Alms Park is tucked away, organic & asymmetric, cut out of the forest, filled with huge oak & pine trees with only a small garden by the pavilion. Ault Park has a sunrise shelter, Alms Park has a sunset shelter. The forest is around you in Alms Park, unlike Ault Park where the forest is held back to the boundaries of the park so that the beautiful gardens can take center stage. In Alms Park the forest is around you & above you. In short, Alms Park is the yin to Ault Park’s yang.
When I started off for Alms Park, there were clear skies above me. It seemed, however, that change was in the air.
Looking west up Erie Ave, heading to Alms Park in Mt. Lookout
I made a detour in the neighborhood behind Alms Park. One of the “No Outlets” has a nice cliff view of the eastern sky. At this point the sky is still relatively clear but that will soon change as the sunrise heats up the valley. The mist rises up into Alms Park, flooding the hillside with fresh moisture. I’m still convinced that the fog provides a micro climate on this hillside that isn’t well understood. It’s just… so lush.
Looking down Grandin Ave. Half a century ago there was a bridge at the end of this street. It was torn down at some point, turning this wide residential thruway into a quiet neighborhood street. There’s not a lot of historical documentation on the so-called “Grandin Viaduct”.
I always forget about this beautiful oak tree in the front lawn of St. Ursula Villa school. I wish I had spent a bit more time here over the winter, but I’m glad that I got this picture of the tree as it just begins to plup out in its spring coat.
Here’s one from the late autumn when the yard was frozen over and the dew had turned to crystals:
From Sunrise 122 (A great post, check it out)
Another pic from Sunrise 122:
Frost & Oak
Apparently I’m really drawn to this tree in the fog… here’s another one:
The same oak but from a different angle… from Sunrise 108 (another foggy alms park ride from the autumn)
A twilight gradient behind the century oak.
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Sunrise 156: Ault Park (The Pavilion’s Alignment With the First Day of Spring…)
The weeping cherry grove at sunrise in Ault Park
The late sunrise colors turned into a slurry of pinks and purples, kind of like an Easter palette.
An aligned sunrise behind Ault Park Pavilion
Happy first day of Spring! And also, it’s official. Ault Park (through the symmetrical axis about the pavilion) can be considered to be aligned with the first day of spring. More specifically, it is aligned with the location of the sun about 10 minutes after sunrise on the first day of spring, allowing for a beautiful view down the hill and across the lawn.
I was hoping to make this morning a nice quick trip up to the park. The sunrise was calm and quiet in an atmosphere that had a soft mixture of colors. It wasn’t until the actual sunrise, however, that the sky started to light up and the clouds danced in an illuminated atmosphere.
As I mentioned yesterday, I had hoped to make it up to the park this morning to check in on the pavilion’s alignment with the sun. I must say that at first I was quite surprised, and frankly a bit confused. You see, yesterday I believed that the sun had risen to the right of the center of the pavilion. Well, today it rose to the left of the center of the pavilion. At first I thought that maybe I had it all wrong – that the pavilion was not actually aligned to the first day of spring. Well, as it turns out I was thrown off by the fact that the sun does not rise straight up into the sky. The sun actually rose in a diagonal, placing it front and center between the center two pavilion columns by about 10 minutes after sunrise. Once I figured this out I was much more relieved. It took me 156 sunrises to figure out that the sun doesn’t rise straight up – something that makes sense when you think about it but never encroached into my frontal consciousness.
I got lucky with some beautiful shots of the pavilion from across the lawn. With the sun’s intense rays making my camera use a high aperture, the effect is always a pleasant one – silhouettes and dynamic clouds.
The early twilight sky. Dark, calm, and quiet… well quiet if you don’t count the ridiculously loud orchestra of bird activity.
About ten minutes before sunrise I took off from the overlook to the main feature of this morning’s sunrise… the Ault Park Pavilion
From the pavilion the lawn had lit up nicely. We can see the park crew out and about on this fine first day of spring.
“Where’s the sun? Could it be to the right of center? I sure hope not…”
“Wait a second… something funny’s going on around here”
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Sunrise 155: Ault Park (Stormy Twilight; Weeping Cherry Groves)
Believe it or not, this is a GREEN magnolia blossom. I’ve never heard of such a thing! I may be mistaken, however, because I can’t find many references to a “green” magnolia on the internet. I’ll check back in at a later date to confirm.
In the weeping cherry grove off of Observatory Rd, a curious young female doe ponders my neon green t-shirt.
(Check out the sister post that hit the news stands about half an hour ago: Sunrise 154)
I’ll admit, I was pretty darned excited about the sunrise this morning. The atmosphere had a rich mix of cloud species with an open atmosphere behind it. It had all the pieces needed for a truly unique and majestic sunrise. In the end, it was a pretty neat sunrise but none of the early magentas, pinks, and purples made a very strong appearance. There was a thick low lying cloud bank that blocked most of the early rays of light before they could penetrate into the upper atmosphere above Ault Park.
Now that I know the secret behind Twilight Sunrises, however, I’m really looking forward to this spring. I mean just look at all these clouds!
As I arrived in the park, about a half hour before sunrise, the lower horizon was showing a deep red color. I was hoping it would fade into the upper atmosphere, but alas it remained confined to the lower horizon.
It did make for an interesting show, however. The sky stayed mostly the same for about half an hour until the backdrop suddenly lit up in a teal blue color as the sun rose behind the clouds.
The upper atmosphere made for a nice bright backdrop to the lower layers of clouds.
In the distance, we see a forest island in the midst of a river-of-fog.
Lots of cloud action in the sky this morning… such a perfect opportunity for a breathtaking sunrise. The stars did not align but it makes that rare magenta sunrise that much more beautiful. Still… I can’t really complain. This morning’s sunrise was beautiful in its own right.
A plane takes off against the dramatic sunrise sky.
After the sunrise, I swung by the pavilion to check on the sun’s location relative to the alignment of the building. I was afraid that maybe I’d missed the “perfectly aligned sunrise” sometime this weekend. I was relieved to find that the sunrise isn’t *quite* aligned, yet. It still has one or maybe two days to go… which means that my theory may prove to be true after all! I’ve been following the path of the sunrise relative to the pavilion for several weeks now. You see, the entire park is symmetrical with the garden layouts and walkways. The entire symmetrical axis aligns itself relative to this pavilion… so it goes to show that if the pavilion itself is aligned to some celestial event, that makes the entire park aligned as well!
So it goes to follow that at some point in the next two days the sun will rise up squarely in the middle of the Ault Park Pavilion’s columns. What event is occuring in the next two days that would warrant such a dramatic design decision, you may ask? Well that answer appears to be the first day of spring!
It makes perfect sense… I mean just looking around the park this morning it was obvious that the gardens and the park itself is absolutely exploding in the trappings of spring. I would like to think that it is no mistake that over half of the trees in the gardens appear to be healthy mix of the blooming variety. Pears, cherries, magnolias, and I’m sure many others.
Could it be, then, that Ault Park is actually a living tribute to the miracle of spring? Suddenly the evidence is all around me. The pavilion alignment with its symmetrical park design, the several groves of weeping cherry trees along Observatory park, the myriad of blooming trees scattered throughout the garden and the handful of magnolia trees… not to mention the brand new cherry grove that was planted to mark the 100 year anniversary of the park.
It makes me happy to the core to find out that it is very likely that the pavilion, and hence the entire park, is aligned with the sunrise of the first day of spring. I believe that the ancient woodland (& others) mound building cultures (Hopewell, Ft. Ancient & Woodland) that lived in this valley for hundreds, if not thousands, of years would find comfort in knowing that we haven’t completely lost our bearings relative to our relationship with the celestial wonders.
I’ll be sure to make it of the utmost priority to get to the park for the next few sunrises to verify that my theory is correct. Stay tuned!
Just two weeks ago these cherry trees were barren. It’s amazing how quickly they bloom. Here’s a shot of the left cherry tree from a mere three weeks ago, when the chill of winter was present and snow had recently fallen:
For the rest of the pictures, including some of the weeping cherry grove, please click to continue if you’re on the front page! (more…)
Sunrise 147: Ault Park (Layered Magenta Cloud Cover)
When I peered out the window at 6:20am, I couldn’t tell what the sky was doing. In my mind, I played with the idea of going back to bed but before committing I checked out the front door. High in the atmosphere there was a thick cloud layer that was making the eastern sky particularly dark, but it broke in the center of the sky to reveal a dark clear sky that was beginning to take on a subtle early twilight teal. I figured that it was worth the game and headed up to the park to see what the pseudo-spring morning had in store.
The temperature this morning was pleasant. Hanging slightly above freezing, it felt like spring with two sweatshirts on and insulated athletic pants. Looking out across the valley, the breaking cloud formation stood proudly in the distant left/north region of the sky. To my direct front, the cloud layer was thick but broke just above the horizon, revealing a deep gray-fading-to-orange sky beyond the far ridge line. At first, I wasn’t sure if any colors would get through the morning clouds. If only a sudden change in the western wind would slide the cloud break back over to the east a few miles…
But then I checked the time and realized it was 7:08am, a full 20 minutes before sunrise. There was still time for something interesting to happen. As it turns out, I only had to wait 5 more minutes…
Needless to say, the gamble paid off.
This is Mike the Turtle. His eyes are striped, matching his skin pattern. He loves romaine lettuce, hates iceburg. Likes chasing fish, does not like stawberries (unlike most other turtles who love them). When he’s basking in the sun he gets lethargic, likely giving into the life-giving warmth that only a cold-blooded animal could appreciate.
Coming into the park, I can see that the northern sky has broken and is reflecting some early twilight colors. But the eastern sky is dark and gloomy.
A plane takes off during mid twilight against a dark, gloomy, but hopeful cloud bank.
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Sunrise 142: Ault Park (Unseasonably Warm Sunrise, Guest Sunrise #6)
A moody sunrise on this warm winter Tuesday
It seems that the topic of the day is the weather. Here in Cincinnati we’re having an unseasonably warm streak. As I write this the temperature is pushing 60F and I’m wearing a polo! It’s really bizarre and it has me wondering what May is going to look like…
I woke up this morning and peered out the window. I saw two things. First, a family of deer were munching away in our lawn. Four young females taking advantage of the warm morning. They were about 7 feet outside our back window and just stared back at us, chewing grass, when we opened the blinds to say hello. Second, I noticed that while the upper atmosphere was clear, there was a huge cloud bank in the lower half of the sky. Normally this means no sunrise for me, so I took my time getting ready before heading up to the park.
You can imagine my surprise when I rounded the corner on Linwood Ave and saw one of the most brilliant displays of pink and magenta just above the horizon. As it turned out, the lower atmosphere had a clear opening under the cloud bank and I was missing the show! I arrived at the overlook just as a family of 4 (humans, this time) were packing up their things. The sky had faded to a dull orange, and I confirmed with them that I was 5 minutes shy of missing a beautiful pink sunrise. Too bad! Whenever I figure out that whole time traveling bit, I’ll be sure to set it to January 31 2012 for a guaranteed unique sunrise.
The sunrise this morning was not unlike the sunrises of April 2011 – dynamic, moody, and full of change. In other words, exactly what you’d expect on a day whose temperature is 40F higher than what you’d expect. Let’s hope that the next sunrise is of similar style so that I get a second chance. Although, to be fair, I haven’t adjusted to the fact that the sunrise is slowly creeping earlier each morning as our countdown to summer continues. I’m still mentally prepared for an 8:00am sunrise, so the 7:44am sunrise of this morning actually did catch me off guard. Now that I know about the majesty of twilight colors, sometimes up to 45 minutes before sunrise, I’m thinking that spring and summer of 2012 may be even more of a challenge than 2011, considering I’ve moved my arrival time from 10 minutes before sunrise to a half hour before sunrise. It is, however, totally worth it.
During the past couple of days I’ve received three sunrise pictures, so I’ve included them here in our sixth Guest Sunrise post. One is from Trent, another shot of the San Francisco sunrise, one is from Leah who is visiting Florida, and the other is from Amanda (the wife unit) who went to work a bit early this morning and caught the sunrise on the way to work. Thanks for submitting everyone!
Guest Sunrise #6: East Coast, West Coast, MidWest
Ft. Lauderdale Sunrise. Thanks for the East Coast sunrise Leah!
San Fransisco Bike Commute Sunrise. Thanks for another sunrise contribution Trent!
Erlanger, KY Sunrise. Thanks for the second viewpoint of this morning’s sunrise, Amanda!
The late twilight sky as I arrived at the overlook in Ault Park. To think that just 10 minutes prior, all of that orange would have been a blazing pink and magenta display.
A plane takes off into an atmosphere that is slowly getting brighter as we approach sunrise. This is an iconic “Spring Sunrise” atmosphere, which is strange since it is January 31.
Heekin Overlook. Armleder is flooded again. It is worth noting that Armleder was flooded last spring, another sign that this is unseasonable weather.
First Light over the Little Miami River
Sunrise 137: Ault Park (Stormy Winter Skies, Ft. Ancient Preview)
The twilight sky before Sunrise 137
First Light @ Ault Park’s lower overlook
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.
Looking South/West towards Lunken Airfield.
Heekin Overlook, 30 minutes before sunrise. Dark with a brightening twilight horizon that was difficult to capture.
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.
Sunrise 137, you were a tricky one.
“First Light”. I could not, for the life of me, get a picture that didn’t include this bleached out white glow. In reality it was a bright and rich orange.
Reminds me of a stormy spring day. This is January, right?
A vertical shot, looking out over the Little Miami River Valley
An attempt to capture that orange glow that was permeating across the overlook.
Sunrise 127: Alms Park (Macro Clover Ice Crystals/Cubes, Breaking Sky Sunrise)
A clover leaf covered in ice crystals in the early sunlight of Sunrise 127. The bald spot is where my large fumbling fingers accidentally knocked two crystals off of the leaf.
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!).
The first shot featuring a small amount of pink highlighting in the atmospheric cloud layer.
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.
The twilight sky above Lunken Airport from Alms Park. There’s a standing pool of water, left over from the recent autumn rain storms.
The south/eastern sky, facing the Ohio River to the right side of the picture.
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…)
Sunrise 125: Ault Park (Featuring Let It Happen; Deer Friends & Moody Skies)
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.
Lots of activity in the sky. I am now remembering that the sunrises in April had a lot of things “to watch” due to the heavy cloud activity, something I haven’t experienced for a couple months.
Deer Stalking, one of my favorite things to do in the quite mornings in Mt. Lookout…
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!
As I entered the park, the purples had already started to fade. The upper atmosphere was providing a bright backdrop with lots of contrast against the clouds.
Let It Happen looks out over the Little Miami River Valley at twilight.
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.
For the rest of the pictures (15 total), please click to continue. That’s only if you’re on the front page… (more…)
Sunrise 114: Alms Park (Colorful Autumn Skies, 7 “Valleys” of Cincinnati)
A bit later in this post I talk about a paper that was sent over the November Cincinnati Parks E-letter that covers the 7 “Valleys” of Cincinnati. For reference, I saved it locally to my server for historic purposes. It’s a quick and interesting read. “The City of 7 Valleys”
After Tuesday’s perfectly clear skies and yesterday’s clear skies with a touch of cloudy, I was curious to see how this morning’s sunrise would come to be. The forecast called for 40% cloud cover which puts us right into the possibility of a very colorful and unique sunrise, depending on if the cloud cover is whispy, thick, patchy, or anything else. As it turned out, the cloud cover was what I would consider to be “whispy”. The sun was partially blocked as it came up, but it did eventually shine through in a bright orange aura. It was a bit of a humid morning, I think, because the colors did not really spread out through the open sky as you would normally expect. Rather, they stayed compact around the sun’s opening location, keeping the sky looking beautiful and full of reds and oranges. If this gradual build up of cloud cover with minimal wind continues, tomorrow should be either breathtakingly dynamic or boring with full cloud cover. No signs of the rain storms that are forecasted for today, but seeing as how it’s rained every Thursday for the last 5 weeks I wouldn’t hold my breathe! Our Thursday night Softball league is more backed up than a vegetarian after their first experience with a 17-meat extra cheese pizza.
On my ride up to the park I was treated with a spectacular deep purple show. It was one of those mornings where I could have arrived a half an hour early and had plenty to watch. As the sun approaches from beyond the horizon, the light in the low-wavelength spectrum shows up first. That would be the deep purples fading in from blue. I’m not sure about the science behind it, but it probably relates to why you can hear bass through a wall but no vocals or high-hats. Low-frequency waves tend to penetrate further. But I digress. The entire low part of the atmosphere, from the east to the west, was lit up with this magenta color that was not noticeable in the mid or upper sky. I was hoping to get to the park in time to get a picture of the colors, but they were gone as quickly as they showed up. That’s the funny thing about sunrises – you really never know what you’re going to get. It all depends on how clear or cloudy the sky is and what the humidity is like.
I arrived at the park about 5 minutes before sunrise. The sky was already ripe with orange colors and the clouds were reflecting brightly.
At this point the purples are all gone and the orange is starting to blaze.
To the right we see the historic deco Mt. Washington Water Tower. Do you know what’s really neat? I read this document from the Cincinnati Parks on how this area used to be as flat as the rest of Ohio. About 40,000 years ago the glaciers melted and the Ohio and Little Miami Rivers were born. The thing that makes Cincinnati’s geography so neat is that all of the peaks of the controversial “Seven Hills” (or as the document put it: the Seven Valleys) are at almost exactly the same elevation. I’ve come to know this personally as I bike around for this project between many local parks. There are several parks that I wasn’t even aware of until now. The parks that all live at the peak elevations of various hills are: Ault Park, Alms Park (forgot about that spectacular picture of thunder heads), Larz Anderson Park, Eden Park, Devou Park, Bellevue Hill Park, Fairview Park, Mt. Echo Park, French Park (no overlook), Drake Park (looks like there are no quality pictures of the view from this park – it’s on the way to my work so I’ll have to stop by some morning for sunrise), and probably a few others. (By the way have you picked up on it, yet? Cincinnati Park Board is amazing).
But the point, dear reader, is that all of these parks are at the top of their respective hills, and most have overlooks that look out over the Ohio & Little Miami River Valley. At one time, about 40,000 years ago, you would have been able to walk directly from any one of these hill-top parks to any other hill-top park without changing elevation. It was flat! That may seem obvious given what we know now about the formation of the glaciers, but I find it uniquely Cincinnati that all of the parks are at about the same elevation but they are located all over the region, scattered between Cincinnati Proper, outside the city limits, and into Kentucky. I also find it hard to believe that I am just now discovering (or, rather, discovering with purpose and detail) how fantastic Mt. Echo Park is. Did you see the pictures of the overlook?! That’s a sunrise location if I’ve ever seen one!
… moving on. Here we are back at Alms Park (but I can’t stop thinking about Mt. Echo Park. Maybe I should take advantage of these late sunrise times and make it out there by 7:45am! Only two days left before DST ends…)
A final shot of Sunrise 114. While the humidity was apparently high, the sun light got bright quickly. I’m not sure what to make of that because normally in a high humidity atmosphere the sun stays muffled and it takes awhile for the light to penetrate the atmosphere.
Sunrise 111: Meadow Lake Wind Farm, Indiana
Sunrise 111 @ Meadow Lake Wind Farm!
My wife and I had a wedding to go to in Chicago, IL. We left early Friday morning from Cincy and finally got home last night. It was a fun and busy weekend and it’s always fun visiting Chicago and checking out the architecture. We left around 5:20am on Friday morning which put us in the middle of Indiana at sunrise. Amanda ended up driving the first leg, leaving me to sleep like a baby for the first couple hours of the trip. She woke me up at sunrise upon my request where we switched off in a rest stop. The sunrise came up over the cornfields of Indiana and it had this bright pink color palette that was really surprising. It was a quick sunrise and my vantage point wasn’t the greatest, but I took the picture and decided that it’d make for a nice and quick Sunrise 111 post.
As I continued driving up I-65 towards Chicago through the patches of fog and mist with the sunrise to my right, we entered the newly constructed Meadow Lake Wind Farm area. I remember driving through this wind farm last year for the first time and it is seriously a sight to see. I think it is actually a combination of several wind farms at this point because there are turbines that stretch out beyond the horizon in all directions. Even Google Maps doesn’t have any of the turbines pictured in their satellite photos because they didn’t go into operation until 2009 and most of Google’s satellite data seems to be from 2007-2008. Here’s an article from Urban Indy where they went exploring around the country roads to get some more information about the wind farm.
I pulled over and parked at one of the only exist along the highway. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and we didn’t even plan it this way! If there is any stretch along the drive to Chicago that I’d want to see the sunrise from, it is definitely this spot in the middle of the wind farm!
The turbines rose up out of the mist into the morning sky and it was an eerie sight because they were not moving. There was no wind to speak of, so the turbines just stood there towering over the flat midwest cornfields. They tend to inspire a feeling of awe as well as make me a bit freaked out. They’re beautiful machines to be sure, but seeing hundreds of them spaced out in all directions definitely makes me think thoughts of mankind being dominated by giant machines :). I realized that I’ve never looked at them the same after this xkcd strip that relates them to the machines from War of the Worlds. Hah.
The pink sunrise from a rest stop near exit 193 on I-65 in Indiana! It made me thankful for the vantage point I have in Ault Park. The glaciers left us some flat fertile farmlands in the midwest, but it can be hard to get a decent view of the countryside! That is, of course, unless you can find a patch of farmland that was cleared at the turn of the century before it was common to save large patches of forest. The wind farm exists in an area like this and it is really incredible how far you can see without any forests or trees obstructing the view.
Picture #1 from the moving car before I found a place to pull over. It’s kind of creepy, no?
Picture #2 from the car with motion blur! 🙂
The mist adds an eerie dimension to the farmland.
There are so many turbines. This is just on this side of the highway, the western side is just as dense!
These are built by GE and rise up 300 feet into the air.
Turbines stretching off into the distance.
The sun has come out from behind the clouds and is now starting to get bright.
A final picture of the nearest turbine. Thanks for reading!
Sunrise 104: Ault Park (Quiet & Calm, Neighborhood Ash Trees)
I was hoping for a bit more color out of the sky this morning, but in the end I got a cool, quiet, and dark sunrise. Last night’s sunset was really pretty with lots of color and a sprinkling of light whispy cloud cover. It looks like our streak of pure clear skies is being challenged by a change in weather. The forecast for today still puts us at mostly clear skies, so I’m curious what the rest of the week will bring.
Even though it was darker than ideal in the park, I took the chance to document the pretty Ash trees that line the road by Heekin Overlook. I waited a few days too long and they’re mostly done shedding their leaves, but I realized that at a minimum I needed to get a picture of them because it is possible that they only have a few years of health left in them. I covered the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle a bit in sunrise 102.
It’s amazing how quickly the autumn colors are marching in. Summer is behind us now. With all the rain we got this year I imagine the forest will be among the most colorful in recent years.
The dark morning @ Heekin Overlook.
Behind me, to the west, there were open skies and shades of light pink and yellow. Out to the east, towards the sunrise, there was a low lying bank of thick cloud that blocked almost all of the morning light. That’s OK though, it was a great morning to watch the squirrels scurry about trying to collect all the falling acorns.
A bit of a dark picture, but these are the Ash trees that line the road. They are among the first trees to completely shed their leaves. I hope this is a species specific trait, but I fear that this is due to their probable Ash Borer Beetle infection. It could also be a side effect of the treatment that the park service has them on to prolong their inevitably doomed life :(. It is my understanding that there is nothing you can do to save these guys. It appears the park service hasn’t given up yet, though, because so far there are no new young trees planted along side these aging ashes.
Heading out of the park, I notice that the western sky has several patterns and colors. I think the rule of thumb is that if you want to see what the sunrise colors were 15 minutes ago, look at the western sky. The opposite is true with the sunset: If you want to see what the sunset will look like in 15 minutes, check the eastern sky.
On the way home I found a young Ash tree that still has its full set of leaves. We can see the color is a burnt red that fades into a light yellow. I can see why the tree is called ‘ash’. As the colors fade into the mostly yellow shade, the leaves begin to droop. They do sort of look like they’re barely hanging on, like whisps of newspaper rising in a heat column above a bonfire.
Sunrise 100: Alms Park (Cold and Colorful Autumn Sunrise)
First Light @ Sunrise 100 over Lunken Airfield. I’ll admit it – I kind of put off sunrise 100 so I could wait for “a good one” 🙂
This morning’s sunrise 100 was, finally, a healthy well-rounded autumn sunrise. It seems like we’ve had about two weeks of overcast and rain. I spent the past three mornings up in Columbus, OH for my good friend’s wedding. Now that things have calmed down a bit, I’m looking forward to grabbing as many Autumn sunrises as I can get my white-knuckled hands on. The forest has already started the process of changing into the warm colors of fall, and the weather has taken a surprising dip into ice-cold temperatures. There is a specific species of maple that blasts out this intense orange/yellow color for a few days every Autumn. With all the rainfall this past year (we’re looking to break the record), I’m expecting a great turnout. So far no signs of them.
By my estimates, this morning’s pre-sunrise temperature was in the mid 30s. It was so cold that I was finding myself happy to have lips because my teeth felt like they were going to freeze off if I smiled too widely at slowly rising light in the upper atmosphere of the clear blue sky. Although that may have had more to do with a certain too-cold drink I had a the wedding celebration than the actual temperature.
This morning’s cold air provided the perfect setup for a calm mental state. When one is out on the bike in the early morning air, climbing up a 300ft ascent to the top of Alms Park, it really does no good at all to harbor second thoughts. You really just have to put it to the back of your mind and be thankful that the nissan thermos is full of 26oz of fresh steaming coffee. Although it does help to think about the possible acquisition of winter biking gear.
The sunrise was one of the best kinds and it felt very much like fall. The upper atmosphere was clear and a deep blue and there was a light slurry of clouds just above the horizon. It was a nice hybrid that had the best attributes of a clear sky (the show starts early with subtle lighting 20 minutes before sunrise, a full color palette) and also a lightly cloudy one (deep purples, shadows, various cloud formations).
The late dawn sky over Lunken Airport at Alms Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Take your seats, ladies in gentlemen. T minus 1 minute until sunrise.
It’s hard to capture all the colors in a single picture. To the east, the sky was cycling through some fusia and light purple before fading into a blue gradient.
Upon further examination, the water tower isn’t as close to the sun as I thought. That would have been a fun picture (a zoomed up sunrise with the sun exactly behind the water tower on the horizon); looks like I missed it by just a few days.
Looking South/West towards the Ohio River
There were several different “species” of cloud formations in the sky this morning.
As the sun came up over the eastern ridge line, I already started to feel warmer.
Once again, looking South/West towards the Ohio River.
Just before heading out I noticed the third plane of the morning beginning to taxi. Lunken Airfield was busy this morning.
After we got home from the weekend of celebration, I took a quick stroll around Mt. Lookout just before sunset. I got my first dose of the icy chill, but at least I knew what to expect for this morning!
Last night at Ault Park, just before sunrise. The lighting is inverse from what I’ve come to expect just after sunrise
A picture of people taking a picture. We can also see the Budweiser truck in the top right, a left-over from the Reggae Run! We missed it, unfortunately, but there’s always next year! After checking the website, it looks like everything went well. Over 4000 runners converged on Ault Park to run down the mountain and back up in easily the steepest 5k I’ve ever ran… although that isn’t saying much considering the bulk of my 5ks were spent up in the western piece of flat Ohio farmland during my cross country days in high school.
There were actually two groups of people getting some professional photos taken at the overlook. So this is the second “picture of people getting their picture taken” picture!
Sunrise 99: Ault Park (Breaking Blue Skies)
After a series of intense storms throughout the region, the sky suddenly cleared up late yesterday afternoon. We were graced with a beautiful crisp and cool night that was marked with light whispy cloud activity through the atmosphere. I was excited to get out on the bike this morning as long as the weather held, which it did! As I write this in the late afternoon, the sky is already dark and gray. It looks like we got a small break in the drab overcast weather and now it’s back to business as usual.
The temperatures are dropping into the high 50s as time marches on and we entere the first official days of autumn. It is seriously hard to believe that summer is officially gone, but I look forward to brewing up some hard cider, enjoying the seasonal winter ales, and spending time with family. Speaking of brewing, I took some time over the last two weeks to figure out my new brew kit that my wife got me for my birthday. It’s been a blast to say the least, and I’m learning quite a bit. It’s a small1-gallon kit (and I got a second 1-gallon fermenter to go with it so I can keep up a rotating schedule) that brews up about 10 beers at a time. It’s great because I’ve developed a nice rotation where I can brew a batch every Sunday (and bottle two weeks later), giving me a monthly output of about 4 gallons. I am fortunate enough to live about 8 minutes from Listermann’s brew shop which gives me the unique opportunity to swing by after work and pick up any amount of grains and malt that I need. So far I’ve got a kind of dark amber ale brewing and I just picked up ingredients for a Bell’s Two Hearted clone. My amber ale only needed a 15 minute steep and 20 minute boil, which means that my entire brewing (without cool-down) was less than an hour. But we’ll see how it turns out…
I started off the morning a bit late. There was a colorful early sunrise atmosphere that was mostly gone by the time I reached the park.
The sun came up through a nice clean sky.
Before the light made it down into the valley, Armleder Park is dark with a beautiful sky above it.
The lower overlook below Heekin Overlook
The sun coming up over Armleder Park
I like the idea of these little vine leafs climbing up the tree without fully taking it over.
After a few minutes, the sun climbs up into the clouds.
I do a quick lap around the park and realize that the sky has lit up into a brilliant morning blue.
Looking out from atop the pavilion
It’s likely I won’t see these colors for several days… more gray for me.
Sunrise 95: Alms Park (Late Summer Humid Sunrise)
No bike silhouette in a low-light sunrise!
Did you know that Cincinnati is actually in the same climate zone as the southern United States? It’s true. It’s also something I didn’t really consider, or think about, until I started this project. We’re in a northern tip of the Sub-Tropical Humid zone, which comes up from the South and just barely pushes north of the Ohio River.
I’ve spend the majority of my life growing up in central western Ohio (light blue in the map), where the summers are dry and hot and the winters are cold and full of snow. Although, being at the northern tip of this climate zone, we do get some serious snowfalls – something that as a Midwesterner I absolutely love. As I explore the parks and forests around the hills of Cincinnati, I find myself fascinated with the deep green and lush foliage. Even the grass in the local neighborhoods stays green and fresh, although I’m sure that is mostly due to the careful consideration of the homeowners. The fog that comes in from the river keeps the hillside forests wet and healthy. We even have an intense local kudzu population. Some friends of ours told me that Kudzu is also known as “The plant that ate the South”.
Why do I bring all of this up? I bring it up because this morning’s sunrise was exactly what I’d expect to see in a humid subtropic climate. It was another dark misty sunrise with a deep purple sun that slowly rose out of the gray cloud layer. It was a cool, dark, quiet morning in the park with the full moon setting high in the western sky.
A light pink sky over Lunken Airfield at Alms Park
The deep pink sun rises up through the thick gray clouds. It always catches me off guard as it fades in from below the horizon.
The harvest moon is high in the western sky!
An attempt to channel Sunrise 09’s iconic sunrise picture. Just isn’t the same with such a low-light sunrise!
I actually took this one while laying on my back after taking a picture of the clouds. Upside Down. Turned out alright, I say.
Sunrise 93: Ault Park & Lunken Airfield (Sunrise Resurrection, B-17 “Aluminum Overcast” Bomber)
The “Aluminum Overcast” B-17 bomber! For $400, you can take her for a ride. She flew in from Wisconsin to help Lunken Airfield celebrate their Lunken Days.
In the arboretum, someone left a small glass container. I really like this picture.
I’ve never seen a plant that has a fruit hanging out of the flower like this. Weird?
After what has felt like a season of hibernation, even though it’s only been about a week, I was finally *blessed* with both a beautiful sunrise AND a free Sunday morning to enjoy it. The left overs from Hurricane Irene have cleared up and are now history. The forecast originally put clear skies with “fog” for tomorrow morning, but I wanted to test my luck and see if I could catch a break a day early. As it turned out, luck was on my side and the sunrise came through with a deep moisture-induced pink. I ended up taking my time and riding through the East End Loop down to Lunken Airfield and back. This weekend is Lunken Airport’s “Lunken Days” featuring the “Aluminum Overcast” B-17 bomber, one of only 10 in the country that are still flying today. As anyone in the midwest will tell you, we ended up with a beautiful late summer day.
These first two pictures were taken in the neighborhoods of Mt. Lookout on the way to Ault Park. I am trying to convey the degree of incline that these roads have, something that I didn’t notice (very thoroughly) until I started biking them.
We can see the road drop off about 60 yards away. A worthy climb indeed. I always catch this hill at the beginning of the ride so it always seems worse than it really is.
Heading into Ault Park! At this point I wasn’t sure if I was going to get a sunrise at all. I got excited when I saw the colors over the hill, to say the least.
I arrived at the overlook just as the sun was cresting. The humidity and light fog in the air made the scattering light a deep pink color. This is a pretty unique sunrise for the summer season. I haven’t seen many deep pink hazy sunrises since the spring, and this spring was full of them.
Heekin Overlook against the early sunrise.
I love the color gradient in this picture. Taken from the lower overlook, I think.
37 pictures total! Click “continue” if you’re on the front page, homie. (more…)
Sunrise 65: Ault & Armleder Park (Little Miami River, Cirrocumulus Sunrise, Snake Tracks)
The Sunrise @ Armleder Park
Blue Gradient over East Hyde Park
Looking away from the sunrise at the Little Miami River.
Oh man. The past few days have seen a slight increase in cloud cover as the week has rolled by. First the storms went through. Then the skies were clear. Then there was a bit of light whipsy cloud action. Finally, this morning hit critical cloud cover and the skies were ablaze with all kinds of cloud formations. It was seriously breathtaking!
I held good on the promise I made myself yesterday (more like challenge) to see today’s sunrise in Armleder Park. This week was unique in that I hit all of the major spots: Alms Park (twice), Ault Park, Lunken Airfield, and finally Armleder Park. I haven’t been back to Armleder Park since just after the major floods receded. Has it really been 36 sunrises ago? How the time flies. Summer has settled in comfortably since my last visit to the park. I ended up checking out the Little Miami River as well. Lots of animal tracks, including a giant snake track, coyotes, raccoons, and deer. This is a bigger set, around 30 pictures in all.
The sunrise was a unique one for sure.
Lots of different patterns going on in the sky.
If you’d like to see the rest of the post, including giant snake paths and coyote tracks (25 more coming right up) and you’re on the front page, click to continue –> (more…)
Sunrise 62: Alms Park (To Lunken and Back, Some Thoughts on East End)
Close-up of the morning sunrise over Lunken Airfield from my favorite bench on the 5-mile bike path.
On my approach back up the impossibly steep Stanley Rd, the large cumulus looms in the background. Also gives you an idea of the steepness of Mt. Tusculum, a climb I have to make every time I visit Lunken Airfield!
The trusty steed and the wife’s helmet 🙂
This morning was a scorcher! It was one of the few mornings where I actually felt like I had jumped into a pool by the time I got home from the ride. Part of it certainly had to do with the fact that I had thick basketball shorts on with a cotton t-shirt, but typically it doesn’t feel like walking out into a sauna!
I rode up to Alms Park again, today. I was feeling pretty good and wanted to climb the Alms Hill once more. This morning’s sky was an interesting one because it felt overcast but also had spots of clear skies. I noticed that the sunrise was hidden behind a bank of clouds but at the same time it looked like I had blue skies above me. I also was wondering why there wasn’t any fog around as I would have expected with this morning’s dew point being only 2 degrees away from the ambient temperature. But I think I figured it out!
Looking out at Lunken Airfield. East End is to the right down below the hill.
We’ve had some storm runs through the state, particularly up north. About 80 miles north of us, through Dayton and Columbus Ohio, there were some serious pressure systems that moved through the area. I imagine this changed the pressure of the entire region. With my non-existent weather theory experience, I’d like to think that the pressure prior to the storms was high enough to “press” the fog down into the bottom regions of the valley. Now that the pressure systems have done their thing, the fog is actually a few thousand feet up above Alms Park. And that would make sense, right? If everywhere except for the sky directly above me looked gray and hazy, it would appear that there was indeed fog – it was just way up above me :).
A beautiful white flower fights for room among the native vines. I think the vines are from the old vineyards that have gone feral. They’re not breeding for space not for grapes. By early fall the hillside will be a vine blanket.
With the sunrise being on the weak side, and the sky still dark 10 minutes after sunrise, I decided to hop down to Lunken Airfield via Columbia. As it turns out, the weather changed it up a bit and the sky cleared out. By the time I was at Lunken, about half an hour after sunrise, the sun was able to break through some of the larger cumulus clouds that rose out of the horizon. Nothing too impressive, but any color beats an overcast sky :).
Down at Lunken Airfield the clouds break for a few minutes. Still pretty dark out considering it’s close to 7am.
One thing that I find interesting is how much I am enjoying riding through the old neighborhoods in the river basin (map). Every single time I ride through Columbia/Tusculum, East End, and Linwood I find something new. East End is actually pretty big relative to the small sections that are technically Columbia-Tusculum (and even smaller, Linwood). There are so many old buildings that have been re-purposed or sit empty. It is such a fascinating example of three small towns that at one time had their own economy and dense populations, but have since simply turned into quiet residential areas. Some parts lay in abandonment, others are well kept and lush with gardens. I believe it is of critical importance to think about how the construction of Columbia Parkway, the large 4-lane through-way that runs from Downtown Cincinnati to Mariemont and beyond (through East End, Columbia, and Linwood). Now-a-days most of the traffic through this area are local residents trying to get up to Columbia Parkway. The side effect is that River Road provides an excellent bike route to Downtown Cincinnati.
Most young people (transplants) that I know who live in Mt. Lookout and the area have never been through historic East End. But why should they? There are very few businesses other than the bars and restaurants that sit in the small region at the intersection of Delta and Columbia Parkway. The only reason I have explored East End, Columbia, and Linwood is because it is a great place for a quiet bike ride outside of rush hour.
The thing that this really makes me think about, in general, is just how influential the automobile is in the shaping of urban centers. Here’s the thing. I get the impression that the Columbia area and Linwood at one time, maybe fifty years ago, was a shining example of a healthy urban area. The fact that the old Italianate Cincinnati Public Library is located on Eastern Ave is enough to allude to the local culture that at one time supported a healthy art district. Now-a-days the library sits empty. In fact I only know it used to be a library because of the architecture and by talking to local residents. It is well kept and looks beautiful, but I believe it is mostly used as a venue for weddings. There are several schools in the district, one of which is already sitting empty. These structures all date back to sometime in the early part of the last century.
I am continually interested in thinking about the potential future of the area once the Little Miami Bike Path gets connected through to Downtown. In the future of my fantasy world, East End will go through a revitalization that is only possible through the very reason that the businesses left in the first place. Low volume automobile traffic. If Eastern Cincinnati’s young population (and bike culture) continue to grow as they have been in the past few years, I hope a critical threshold will be reached. If there is any place in Cincinnati to settle a “cycling neighborhood” outside of the urban core in Downtown, I think it would be in East End. There seems to be plenty of space (for now), lots of old business buildings, river view, access to many places by bike (Ault & Alms Park, Lunken Airfield Loop, Armleder Park Loop, Northern Kentucky, and Downtown) and history. Oh, by the way, in this fantasy world I’ll be running Eastern Cincinnati’s first brewery (based heavily on bike and urban culture with access to the bike trail) in one of the turn-of-the-century Italianate commercial buildings. I’m calling it now, Dibs!
It’s like a little forgotten section of Eastern Cincinnati. But then again, so many small villages inside the 275 loop have suffered the same fate. At least so many areas in Columbia, Linwood, and East End seem to have a healthy sense of community. There are many run down buildings but only a handful seem to be outright abandoned. I hope no East End residents take offense at my “outsider looking in” perspective.
Today I found the old “East End Bank Building” sitting next to another building that actually had a name. Something like the “Fredrick” or “Douglas” building. Not sure. No pictures, I’ll save it for a more thorough exploration of the area. Both likely from the turn of the century. I’ve rode past them dozens of times now and never noticed them.
Weather changes quickly around here.
Behind me the sky is blue. Large cumulus clouds rise up on the western horizon.
Sunrise 57: Fripp Island, South Carolina (Purple Puffs of Cumulus, More Island Deer)
We have made it back to Cincinnati after our journey from the West Coast to the East Coast and back! I look forward to starting off my sunrise routine tomorrow morning. In the meantime I wanted to share a final sunrise that my family and I got up for on the final day of our trip to Fripp Island. The sky had beautiful patchy cumulus clouds floating above the horizon with a clear upper atmosphere. I waited about 40 minutes and was able to get my favorite kind of lighting – a bright orange/yellow sky with dark purple shadowy cumulus. Quite by accident I took a few pictures low to the ground and captured some neat silhouetted pictures against the tall sea grass.
Amanda and I are actually on our way out the door to see the Ault Park Fireworks at 10:00pm tonight! I have never taken pictures of fireworks before so I’m going to try and see what I can pull off. If any turn out I’ll include them in tomorrow’s post (assuming my jet lag doesn’t get the best of me!).
First, a few more pictures of the island deer featured on the previous post.
They graze on the beach grass and don’t seem to mind human company
This young buck was curious what I was doing so close to him
This is actually from sunset, but I liked it so much that I thought it would be OK to share here. The pelicans are so majestic and come through in packs ever few minutes. Pat (my sister’s boyfriend) is wondering if he’s about to be the victim of an aerial bombardment. They drop bombs the size of golf balls.
The haze causes the sun to come up in a very dark bulb.
The nice thing about the humidity and haze is that you can stare at the sun for several minutes before it gets too bright.
Hidden behind some small cumulus clouds
For more of the full sunrise, click to continue. About 17 pictures total. ——> (more…)
Sunrise 54: Ault Park (One-of-a-Kind Sunrise, Blooming Yuccas)
In preparation for our trip, I had an early morning appointment yesterday that didn’t allow me to see the sunrise. We’re heading out tomorrow to San Fransisco and Sacremento, California, where I’m attending (and doing a brief talk) a medical device commercialization conference for work. I was hoping to put together the “best-of” for sunrises 11-20 but ran out of time! I’m thinking that our trip will be a good time to knock a couple of the best-of posts that I’ve been meaning to generate. I’m also hoping that while we’re out there, I will get the opportunity to do a couple “San Fransisco Sunrise” and “Sacramento Sunrise”.
Armleder Parkin the morning sun
This morning was meant to be a brief sunrise due to the fact that I still have to finish getting ready for the trip! I was about ten minutes late to the sunrise but when I arrived it was evident that the morning display was going to be one of a kind. The air was warm and a bit damp, but there was only a light mist down on the valley that provided great lighting dynamics without casting Armleder Park in a thick fog.
The sun had a respectable clearing just above the horizon that allowed the sunlight to bathe the valley in a deep orange color. There was a thin but highly textured cloud layer above the horizon that seemed to be changing by the minute as the sunlight crept over and through the many openings that revealed the blue atmosphere. I couldn’t stop taking pictures!
If you’re on the front page, click to continue! About 20 pictures in all today. (more…)
Sunrise 51: Ault Park (Black Eyed Susan & The Dentist)
My favorite picture of the morning.
This morning was a quick trip up to the park! 6 months ago I made a dentist appointment for June 13 2011. I was feeling a bit masochistic so with a bite of dark humor I scheduled the appointment for as early as possible – 7:00am. “Haha that’ll be a surprise for my future self” I thought as I scheduled the morning visit. Deep down I was doing myself a favor by providing a reason to get up early on that fateful summer day. Fast forward six months and I find myself in the middle of project Ault Park Sunrise. How ironic it is, then, that my morning ritual had to be cut short so that I could make it to the Dentist. I’d like to think that my 6-month-younger self would have been pleased (and quite shocked) at my creative early morning ritual.
The clouds are starting to light up ahead of the sun
I arrived at the park a bit early this morning. The sunrise was scheduled for 6:11am (we’re approaching summer solstice – the earliest sunrise of the year!) and I arrived at around 6:05am. I realized that as the sun has started coming up earlier and earlier in the past few weeks, I haven’t been adjusting my arrival time at the same interval. The dawn sky this morning was a perfect reminder of how part of the excitement of the sunrise comes from watching the light unfold across the clouds. It is hard to tell what kind of a show you’re going to get so you really just have to watch it happen.
There were some great light dynamics going on at the top edge of the cloud bank
Too bad I won’t get to stay until the end.
The sky this morning was clear and blue except for the cloud bank lying over the horizon. I was only able to stay for 20 minutes so I ended up leaving the park before the sun came up over the clouds. It would have been a good delayed sunrise, though, because the clouds were starting to light up nicely and there was some high contrast between the sky and earth. It was one of the mornings where the perfect time to watch the sun come up is about 40 minutes after sunrise. With all the recent storm activity I wasn’t quite sure what the morning sky would be like.
A peaceful shot of Lunken airport. No fog today!
For more pictures (and flowers) click to continue if you’re on the front page –> (more…)
Sunrise 49: Ault Park (Storms to Come?)
An hour later the sunrise arrived
The trip up to the park this morning was pleasant if not a bit dark. There was a cloudy layer across the sky, a new development that must have occurred over night. I sat at the overlook and enjoyed the view out over the misty valley, listening to the birds and squirrels in the trees around me.
Overcast with thin patches exposing the atmosphere
The sunrise was non-existent behind the thick layer of clouds but the sky was actively moving around. After about twenty minutes, I started to notice that the ambient light seemed to be getting darker around me. The overlook seemed to be in shadows while out in the valley it was still a bright gray.
The wind picked up and gradient gray cloud was blown across the valley. It got dark fast, but that didn’t last very long.
I turned around behind me and saw that there were dark clouds coming. The wind picked up, a warm humid breeze, and the birds quickly died down their chatter – no doubt waiting in anticipation to see what the sky was going to do. The wind maintained a steady force for about fifteen minutes, gusting here and there and moving the dark clouds over my head and across the valley.
The high cumulus clouds were dancing in the atmosphere like giant ink blobs
Soon, however, it became apparent that the newly arrived clouds were more of a puffy cumulus type and they quickly pushed out the flat gray layers that were blocking the sun. In the upper atmosphere above me I watched as, ever so slowly, several inky formations started to appear against the light blue sky. This was all happening at a position in the sky much higher than the sun, so there were interesting shadows and illuminations that were caused by the sun’s rays coming in from “below” and behind the clouds.
Behind me, above the park, blue skies.
I realized that there might be a chance for a sunrise after all so I hopped on my bike and headed over to the arboretum. The formations were partially blocked by the trees at the overlook but in the lawn behind the pavilion the sky was open.
Ault Park’s Pavilion. I sat at a bench to see if the sun was going to show up
As the large cumulus clouds shifted about, there was a period of about 2 minutes where the faintest orange highlight slowly grew into a bright blaze as the sun came through an opening above the clouds. At exactly 55 minutes after true sunrise, I finally got a morning show. Sometimes you’ve just gotta wait it out.
The last few days were full of clear skies in the morning. Today was different with a low cloud layer and moving cumulii. (I just made that word up). If I were to guess, I’d say that later today there is a good chance of some more dynamic pressure movement – namely a chance of thunderstorms :). Looking at the weather forecast it appears that I’m late to the party. As I write this the sun is shining through a bright blue/gray sky.