The members of the band “Let It Happen“, whom I ran into at Ault Park this morning while they were filming for a music video @ Heekin Overlook.
This morning was another “surprise” sunrise and I’m very glad that I made it happen! I didn’t set my alarm this morning but my body woke up at 7:15am when nature called me from my slumber. I was already awake and I saw mostly clear skies out the window, so I had no excuse to miss the sunrise at 7:40am! This is the second day in a row that I made it up to the sunrise without setting an alarm because yesterday my pal “Hudson the Dog” had my back and woke me up just in time. It was really warm out there, too. Surprisingly warm. It’s 52F at the time of this writing. Was it just a couple days ago that I bundled up for a 20F sunrise? Weather in the midwest can keep you on your toes 🙂
This morning was quite the experience. Aside from the normal moody sunrise that was of a “species” not seen for months, I also met the members of the band Let It Happen. That’s another first! I’ve found that while it is relatively rare to find other sunrise cowboys and cowgirls during the week, Saturday and Sunday mornings make for great opportunities to have a social sunrise. The guys were filming for their new music video. I met them and told them about Ault Park Sunrise (I’m trying to be better at self-promotion, hah). Let It Happen is currently on tour and you can check out their website, myspace, twitter, and facebook page. Whew, all social bases covered. Thanks again for humoring me, gentlemen, and good luck on your tour and all your other endeavors! Check out their EP which available on iTunes for $5. You can listen to it for free on their website as well.
It would have been interesting if stars had aligned just a bit differently because I came up with an idea a few weeks ago that I would have loved to have tried out this morning. The sunrise was certainly a great display, but after all of the clear sky sunrises that we’ve been having this fall it would have been neat to be able to get a silhouette type picture against the sunrise gradient sky. I think that’s something that I’d like to start doing more of – silhouettes of people against a clear sky similar to my favorite picture of the project that I took two weeks ago at Eden Park:
More on this “silhouette series” later!
The sunrise this morning was moody and constantly changing, a sign of new weather to come. This fall so far I have experienced a distinct pattern: overcast, clear skies, overcast, clear skies, fog fog, clear skies. Basically the sunrises have been mostly “all or nothing” without the changing dynamically shaded cumulus clouds that were present so much in the spring.. It makes sense to expect that in the winter on the symmetrical opposite end of the seasonal change from spring that we’d find more “dynamic” skies. The truly unfortunate part about the sunrise, however, was that I think I missed the best part! The videographer of the band confirmed my suspision. When I was climbing to the park I could see through the trees that there was a hell of a show going on in the eastern skies. From what I could tell, there was almost no light being cast into the upper atmosphere, but the lower horizon was bursting with bright pink, deep purple, and all kinds of hazy reds. The mid atmospheric clouds had those hot magenta highlights that fade to deep purple, all while the backdrop to this display was fading to a light blue from a deep twilight navy. I did not stop to take a picture because I had hoped that I’d arrive to the overlook in time, but alas, I missed the show. It’s amazing how that works with these sunrises – the pre-dawn display comes and goes so quickly and depending on the cloud formations, it can be a narrow windows of 30 seconds or a wider window of 5-7 minutes. It just depends on the weather!
The clouds were moving quickly through the sky and the sun never did punch through the low lying cloud bank. As I previously mentioned, I think the best part of the show was about 15 minutes before sunrise.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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…
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.
An attempt to channel Sunrise 09’s iconic sunrise picture. Just isn’t the same with such a low-light sunrise!
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.
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.
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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.
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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!
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!
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 :).
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.