Sunrise 151: Ault Park (Signs of Spring; Overcast Twilight)
It may look barren, but this garden is packed full of flowering cosmos and other prairie flowers. The center stone pot will be all but covered by July.
I woke up this morning and peered out the window to see a dark gray/blue overcast sky. The warm weather had me excited so I decided to take my chances and see if there was going to be a sunrise this morning after all. I was hoping that maybe the light cloud layer that rolled in late last night was still around, but as it turned out the sky was filled with thick gray rain-filled clouds.
I left for the park with a light drizzle lapping the pavement around me. This morning the weather was so warm that I actually wore shorts and a sweatshirt – no hat, gloves, long pants, double socks, or facemask! In fact I’d say that this morning’s sunrise ride was one of the most pleasant trips up to the park if for no other reason than I was able to truly appreciate the ambient sounds with more novelty since I was not wearing my winter facemask.
The wet atmosphere held a steady 52F as I worked my way up to the overlook in Ault Park. The air was sweet and smelled like spring. With no sunrise in sight, I casually strolled through the gardens and took some pictures of the desolate ground that has already started to show signs of life. There are several pieces of the gardens that look barren right now, but in just two short months they will be exploding with garden life as the plants take advantage of the warm humid sub-tropic microclimate of Eastern Cincinnati.
The birds were loud and flirty this morning in the warm air. No doubt they too detect the first comings of spring. I found buds in the trees, especially the magnolias. Their buds are already the size of my thumb and will be bursting open in white and purple blooms in just 6 short weeks. Mentally I’m still prepared for winter, but in the back of my mind I know that spring is almost here. With spring comes green life, organic growth, colorful blossoms, and so many insects to find. I’m looking forward to Armleder Parks prairie and the 10′ high stalks of meadow grass & compass flowers.
Rolling into the park I find the central yard quiet and calm under a blue layer of twilight clouds.
Just think about how lush this walkway will be in just 8 weeks. The daffodils have broken ground and are already starting to bloom.
Here’s another shot of a spot where I know the plant life grows thick. In the heat of the summer this garden explodes with several generations of daffodils & flowering bushes.
A calm and blue/gray Heekin Overlook as the storm front rolls in from the west.
Looking South/West across Lunken Airfield.
Sunrise 131: Ault Park (Guest Sunrise #4, Gloomy Winter Solstice)
The lawn below the pavilion @ Ault Park
After a solid week of drizzly, wet, gray, and cloudy skies, I finally tried to get back out before the weekend in the hopes that there might be a lucky break in the clouds. Yesterday was Winter Solstice and I had really hoped to get a decent chance at a sunrise, but unfortunately mother weather had different plans. I didn’t end up making it out yesterday, during the true solstice which was gray and wet. This morning, one day later than the true solstice, a friend of mine ended up coming out with me. Griff and his wife were in town for the holidays from Texas and he joined me as we climbed up the hill to Ault Park.
Griff made an interesting observation that a gray overcast sky is quite rare in Houston Texas since the weather is constantly moving clouds through the area. That’s an interesting observation because a bright gray sky really does add a different dimension to the daily routine.
Thanks again for coming out, Griff! And thanks for both days of sunrise pictures, Scott! Interestingly enough, this is the third out of four sunrise entries have all coincidentally fallen on days when I had a guest come with me to Ault Park. (Here’s the final link to the other guest sunrise that didn’t include an in-person guest, unless you count prankster snowmen)
Gray skies & drizzly cold rain @ Ault Park this morning.
Scott actually sent me two sets of sunrise pictures. He tried to get the sunrise yesterday but he had a camera malfunction at the worst possible time. He ended up getting a couple of neat dramatic pictures of the twilight sky. He got much more lucky than we did this morning, however, because he was able to catch the sunrise through a break in the cloud bank. The second set of pictures are from Griff on his cell phone this morning at Ault Park.
Guest Sunrise #1 & #2: Scott from Charleston, South Carolina
First and foremost, the best picture of this entire post was taken this morning for Scott’s second attempt at the sunrise. Scott got lucky with a break in the clouds! A sunrise on the first day after Winter Solstice in Charleston, South Carolina.
Taken yesterday, a pre-sunrise shot of the intercoastal waterways that are a famous marker of South Carolina’s coastline
A beautiful high contrast picture just before the sun peaks over the low lying cloud bank on Winter Solstice in Charleston, SC.
Guest Sunrise #3: Griff in Cincinnati, OH
The Fuji S-10S and Peugeot Mixte P18
Sneak Shot! Griff taking a picture of me taking a picture of the valley.
Sunrise 109: Ault Park (Bizzaro Sunrise)
I was up late last night finishing up the Sunrise 108 post. The forecast had called for gloomy weather, and when I woke up this morning and heard the rain I decided to stay in this morning. Unfortunately, dear reader, I missed the more delicate colors of this unique sunrise. My wife called me at around 8:10am to say that the sunrise was one of the prettiest she’d ever seen! I hopped in the car (a first for this project!) and made it to Heekin Overlook just in time to get the last piece of the show.
As it turns out, the storm cloud that was over top of us was dense and still active, but the clouds just over the horizon had broken and exposed an open patch of sky that allowed the sun light to blast in. The rain made the air misty and humid which would have brought out the deep magentas and purples that my wife saw on her drive to work. By the time I got to the overlook I was presented with the deep oranges and yellows of the late sunrise light, but it was still quite a surreal experience. I had lightning and stormy clouds to my back through the trees, and in front of me the sky was lit up in a bright orange that quickly faded into a deep gray / purple storm cloud. 20 minutes earlier this would have been a sight to see! The rain was falling down in sheets on the horizon and the pools of water down in the valley were lightly reflecting. It was so “fuzzy” that I wouldn’t tell if the sun had already gone up into the clouds or if it was still behind the horizon (wishful thinking at 8:20am, 25 minutes after first light).
I could see the sheets of rain coming down on the horizon
A colorful sunrise gradient into deep purple over Armleder Park
Sunrise 88: Ault Park (Summer Rain)
This morning’s ride up to Ault Park was cool and wet. At first I couldn’t tell if the sky was overcast or just hazy, but once the atmospheric light started to open the sky up, it became apparent that I wasn’t going to see a sunrise. There were small spurts of rain and a quiet wind. There was only a single other patron of the park who chose to venture out into the potential elements this morning.
A misty rainy “sunrise”. Looks like we’re approaching choppy August weather. That’s OK though because I absolutely love summer storms.
Looking west towards Lunken Airport. Check out the contrast between the dark atmosphere and lighter clouds just above the horizon. I’m about to get wet.
Another view of the upper atmosphere clouds moving through the area.
As I finished my cup of coffee, I felt the wind start to pick up and then quickly die off. I looked out toards Lunken and saw a wall of rain moving towards me. I decided that if I was going to make it to work, now would be as good of a time as any to pack it up and go! I ended up getting into work slightly wet but the downpour that was threatened never seemed to kick into full gear. As I write this, the skies are breaking up and I can even see some patches of blue.
Sunrise 39: Lunken Airfield (Magnificent Blue Front, Sunny Alms Park)
After visiting Lunken Airfield yesterday morning, I thought that it would be nice to mix it up and try to catch the sunrise on the bike path that circles the airport. I set my alarm for 5:50am, giving myself about 25 minutes with a snooze to get down to Lunken. The sky had a shine of light orange and a mix of clouds so I wasn’t sure if it would be a worthwhile endeavor or not. There was the chance that there would be thick fog and I wouldn’t even be able to see the sky from down in the river basin at the airport. I decided the risk was worth it and headed down the mountain to the pre-glacial Ohio River valley where Lunken Airport snuggly sits underneath the Alms Park lookout.
On the right of the Lunken Terminal there is a levee that runs south along the western side of the air field. On top of the levee is the first leg of the 5 mile bike trail. There is a thick line of trees on either side of the trail. To the inside of the trail, the airfield side, there are several generous cutouts in the forest that allow you to look head on into the three main runways. There are also several groups of benches, both at the beginning of the trail and at the back corner of the trail, that provide a great resting place to watch planes come in and take off.
As I approached t the airfield I decided to pass the first set of benches that I sat at yesterday morning to continue about a mile down the trail to the benches that sit snugly at the south west corner of the field. The runway that intersects those benches is known as the “jet runway” so I was hoping to see some commuter jets come in or take off over me. I didn’t realize at the time that the sun would no longer be head on.
Approaching final set of benches at the jet runway
The lights that I can see from Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook – up close. Check out the Madeira apartment building in the background. That sucker is far away but you can see it anywhere on the east side if you look for it.
If you’re on the front page, click to continue. Beautiful shots of the blue cumulus skies that showed up a bit later –> (more…)
Sunrise 22: Ault Park (Stormy krs Picture Hunt)
This morning was a repeat of yesterday morning but at about twice the “volume”. Spring showers with no sunrise. The rain storm that came early yesterday morning was young, having been only a few hours behind the thunder front. This morning’s rain storm, however, felt strong and confident. Thick clouds and dark skies with no thunder. The sky was so dark when I woke up that I ended up snoozing for about 15 minutes and left around sunrise time. There just isn’t much hurry to get out there into the dark wet rain. The rain was noticeably colder this morning, compared to yesterday, and the wind was making me wonder just how wet that emergency pair of gloves in my backpack is. While yesterday morning was relatively warm with a light drizzle, this morning was chilly enough to take the euphoric edge off of my morning ride. I decided to take a few pictures of the overlook and head up to the pavilion. In other words, it was a man-made shelter kind of morning.
Armleder Park surprised me. The water appears to have retreated back from the main shelter, revealing most of the prairie and some soccer fields. The rain hasn’t really let up enough to warrant that much of a fall, so I’m wondering if the city engineers have dome something to help drain the field?
The pavilion was pleasantly dry. When you’re not getting rained on, the wind doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem. I stood next to my bike and wondered what I was going to do for the next 15 minutes as I dried out. I remembered that another Cincinnati blogger, krs, had tagged me yesterday in some Ault Park pictures that he took over the last few days. They were interesting pictures because they featured one of my favorite things about the Cincinnati Parks – the heavy duty metal utilities that you find in all parks. A water fountain, a bench, and a lamp post. The pictures are taken in such a way that you can’t exactly tell the context of the surroundings. Challenge Accepted! If you’re on the front page, click to continue –> (more…)
Sunrise 9: Alms Park (Barge Races, Earth Day, Downtown Cincy)
It’s official, I’m addicted. I had every reason to sleep in this morning. I was up late and didn’t have any morning plans. I didn’t even set an alarm. But when the birds started chirping at 6:18am this morning, I awoke from my slumber. I even tried to go back to sleep but it didn’t work. “Fine”, I thought to myself. Let’s go see if that cold front has broke yet.
I took the opportunity to switch it up a bit. I have been curious about whether Alms Park, which is the Yin to Ault Park’s Yang, is set up appropriately to see the sunrise. There is a western facing overlook that makes for a beautiful sunset, but I haven’t noticed any particularly eastern-facing points.
The central overlook in Alms Park looks right down into Lunken Airport and provides probably the best vantage point to seriously watch the planes land and take off from 250ft above the basin. I biked around the small loop in the park, and even went down into the off-the-normal-path reserved area where there is a small shelter. More after the jump