Sunrise 165: Eden Park (Humid Blood Red Sunrise & Brother Silhouettes)
First Light! The sun slowly rose up in the distance, a blood red across the eastern ridge line.
The eastern hills are becoming engulfed by the floating fog bank.
MMy phone rang at 5:30am, sharp. My brother and I had made plans to check out the sunrise this morning and I had already slept through my 4:45am alarm. Once I realized that I didn’t oversleep by too much, I set off towards Clifton to pick him up and set up shop at Eden Park. We were forecast this morning to have 7% cloud cover with 90% humidity so I knew that if we were lucky, we wouldn’t miss much as long as we could get to the park just before sunrise. With such a high humidity, the odds of seeing a twilight color show were slim to none.
I was hoping to take some sunrise silhouette pictures and asked my brother if he’d mind being the subject. He is well known for his large poof of hair and it also happens that he is cutting it all off in June. I knew that if I was going to make some silhouettes using him as the subject, we might as well do it before he gets his iconic afro trimmed back. I’m impressed – he even woke up a half hour early to pick it out!
We ended up making our way to Eden Park for several reasons. First, it is close to Clifton (where my brother lives). Second, I am long overdue for a visit to Eden Park, considering that my last (and only) sunrise at Eden Park was back in the autumn for Sunrise 115. Third, the overlook at Eden Park by the Twin Lakes is one of the absolute perfect locations for clear open sky views of the eastern sky. In my mind I was imagining colorful gradient atmospheres in the backdrop, but once again I found myself being caught up in a mindset that is months out of date! For the crisp, cool and dry sunrises of autumn, when the sky starts to light up an hour before sunrise, there are many shades of pinks, purples, yellows, oranges, and blues that fade to and from across the atmosphere in preparation for First Light. That’s what I was expecting, but of course today we ended up at the park during one of the most humid sunrises of the spring so far.
To give you an idea of what I mean, check out this comparison photo I whipped together. This is a photo of the same tree in Eden Park, taken during two sunrises 6 months apart. The only difference is the season in which they’re taken. The autumn photo was taken almost a full hour before sunrise when the sky is starting to light up in the clear atmosphere.
In the end, it still made for some great silhouette pictures, although they are of a different variety from what I expected. The lighting didn’t become appropriate until about 20 minutes after sunrise, a phenomenon that is only possible with a humid atmosphere. We had some fun with borrowed camera and checked out the reservoir ruins down in the lower section of Eden Park under Mirror Lake. Interestingly enough, I came home with a bottle of Maker’s Mark whiskey… funny story.
When we arrived in the park at 5:45am, there was only two other people in the park. The young couple were enjoying a nightcap and the view after what I can only imagine was a fun and exhausting Saturday night on the town Cincinnati. While my brother and I were starting our day with the sunrise, these two friendly people were ending theirs with the same ritual. The gentleman, who was quite friendly, asked if we wanted to help him out with his excessive amount of drinks that he was carting around after the night of partying. He apparently didn’t drink liqueur, and yet he found himself with a trunk full of top shelf whiskey, vodka, and mixers. Curiosity got the best of us (and besides, with my much taller younger brother with me, my cautious “it’s a trap!” senses didn’t trip). As it turned out he wasn’t joking, and he offered us a bottle of Crown Royal and Maker’s Mark to take home with us. I’m sure his motive wasn’t entirely altruistic as his lady friend was quite smitten at the generosity shown by our spirit handler. Who was I to turn him down? Thanks again Brandon, whoever you are. This next maker’s on the rocks is for you!
Speaking of generosity, I’d like to thank my friend J for letting me borrow his camera for the weekend. My wife is out of town visiting family while I’m stuck home working so I couldn’t use her phone for today’s post. J let me borrow his Canon SLR, and I have to say it’s quite a machine. I have no idea how to use it properly but it was difficult to take a bad picture, that’s for sure. Thanks again J!
My favorite picture of the morning. My brother watches as two ducks come in for landing at Eden Park’s twin lakes behind us. We see the eastern “Bend in the River” in the background, with a sloping Kentucky hill on the right and Ohio’s Mt. Tusculum (I think) to the left.
We arrived in the park with cautious anticipation, given that we were about 45 minutes behind schedule. Fortunately for us, the humid sunrise arrived late. About 5 minutes before sunrise the sky still hadn’t taken on much color.
My brother makes his first appearance, looking out across the Ohio River into the mist. Up until now all of my silhouette pictures have been most successful before sunrise on clear days. We can tell from this picture, however, that there simply isn’t enough light yet to block out the foreground in blackness. Each sunrise presents its own unique challenges. This humid sunrise was no exception and it turned out that the best lighting would come about 20 minutes after sunrise. Look at that hair! Thanks again for being a good sport, broseph.
On these damp, wet, 90%+ humidity mornings the sun just seems to hang in the air. You can stare right at it and it doesn’t hurt. There is no pre-sunrise halo, no opening display. The moisture in the atmosphere blocks all but the more direct of sunlight. I really like this camera’s sensor because on my old canon point-and-shoot I could never get a deep red color on a humid sunrise. It feels much more analogous to a film camera.
Within a few minutes, the sun rose up through the misty layer in the lower atmosphere and basked the park in early morning sunlight. Here we can see the fog bank across the bend in the river beginning to take shape. As the air warmed up, the fog became thicker. I imagine Alms Park would have been a foggy wonderland by this point.
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Sunrise 160(!!): Ault Park & East End (Featuring Guest Author Jim Coyne, East End Sunrise Loop)
A somewhat abandoned rail line runs along the Ohio River, connecting ancient industrial sites that are now mostly defunct. More than likely this rail line’s destiny is to end up as a bike trail, connecting parts of Eastern Cincinnati for a new kind of traffic. Ironically, this is the same line that would have ran through R.K. LeBlond’s old East End factory to deliver raw parts for his gun lathe machining.
Boats hangin’ out at the Ohio River Launch Club on the river. In the backdrop we see the hills of Eastern Cincinnati across the “Bend in the River”.
In honor of the 160th sunrise (4x the original project goal!) and our newly arrived spring season, I’m proud to say that we have something special today. This morning’s post features a guest writing from a friend. Jim Coyne is a freelance writer and life enthusiast. Jim has several projects he is involved with, including a book schedule for release in 2012 titled Wild Harmony, “That’s what I Believe” podcast, and a blog where he documents his travels and experiences as he explores our relationship between life, experience, and nature.
I asked Jim a few months back if he’s like to write an article (or do a collaboration) relating to Ault Park Sunrise. I hadn’t heard much about it after we originally talked, but then out of the blue on the first day of Spring I received the following written piece from Jim. If it resonates with you be sure to check out Jim’s homepage & podcast (url below).
Title: “Springful Intentions”
Author: Jim Coyne
Podcast: That’s What I Believe iTunes | Homepage
Spring is now. Ideas will be flowing and with the appropriate people, greater action. I wonder if time flies faster during the darker months of winter. We spend too much time indoors and come up with as many rationalizations as possible to stay away from the chilly day. Like the cave people of old, we forget the progression of the sun and fall into a routine of indiscriminate acts. There is less inspiration to be found and less motivation under a roof.
Ken Kesey spoke of the graduation from the acid tests in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. I am certain most people misunderstood his intent. Far too many get stuck in their ways, forgetting what works and what does not. What Kesey was really getting at was that we needed to move on from the introspection and live life through the greatest imaginations of past experience. Instead of repeating what others have done or going to the same vacation destination, why not turn 180 degrees and move forward?
Some other people may say such an act is moving backwards. Hardly anything comes from listening to what others are saying. They are not at fault. Do not take it personal. Whenever someone sees another heading toward something which appears out of reach to them, they discourage their movement. Even if it is positive criticism or a warning not to make the mistake others have made, they do all they can to dissuade that person from continuing on a new path. All these conflicting voices lead an individual to desperate confusion. That person then stretches out on the couch and curses all that may have caused the status quo. What use is that? Will a great feeling come from being still? Absolument pas! Get up and go outside immediately. There are no more excuses.
Kesey wanted people to move on from the drug fueled lifestyle. Instead of seeking truth in the mental perturbations that come with lysergic acid diethylamide, realize the present moment and the natural beauty of possibilities. Think of how much is out there that will never be discovered by humans. The dark limitless universe through the blue sky of day on Earth. The tiny molecular cracks in the ground which may hold greater artistic value than any museum painting.
Let the sunrises of each morning spark a creative and thoughtful life. Gaze upon the horizon as it grows in bright hues and spectacular revelation. Accept that you will not be able to witness it all at once. Relax and realize how fortunate you are to be standing amongst such a magnificent feat of the natural world. Take another moment and prepare for the day ahead with a firm grip on what you are doing. Who cares what sounds realistic? Whatever wild thought comes to mind, go with it. Even better, share the idea with another person or at least tell them about the sunrise which spurred the line of thinking. Then act.
Thanks for reading!
This morning’s sunrise was, I’ll admit, quite boring. After missing one of the most vibrant twilight displays (I was 10 minutes too late after setting my alarm incorrectly!) that featured pink and orange bands racing through the eastern sky, I had great hopes for a colorful sunrise. The misty and wet atmosphere created this thick haze that for whatever reason lit up the sky in early twilight but snuffed out the colors as sunrise approached. I realized rather quickly that the sunrise was going to be non-existent, so I set off to explore the lower valley and the Linwood / East End area on the way to Lunken Airfield. Inspired by Jim’s writing and the 160th sunrise post, I found it rather fitting that I would find myself exploring some familiar areas along the quiet streets running through Little Miami & Ohio River valleys.
After an impressive twilight display, the only sunrise colors we got were a small pink highlight. You can see it over there on the left.
Considering the route I am about to embark on, I look out across the valley towards Lunken Airfield. In 20 short minutes I will have descended down into the valley and made it to my destination. You can almost see the bench that sits by the Lunken trail through the dark, warm, and misty atmosphere.
The recent rainstorm has battered the small dogwood blooms in the park. I am finding myself drawn to the dogwood trees this spring. They’re colorful and smell great, and I really like how the tree creates these groupings of flat flowering branches. Rather than bunch up in somewhat of a sphere, the flowers align themselves along a plane parallel to the ground. It’s an aesthetically pleasing effect.
After dropping down into old Linwood, a village that has all but disappeared as an independent entity after slowly being absorbed by the the urban residential expansion of Eastern Cincinnati in the past century, I stopped to ponder once again this Sonada Cigar mosaic. I have explored the history of this mosaic in another sunrise post but still have not gotten to the bottom of it. The mosaic is old, that’s for sure, but even three years ago (before this building’s renovation) Google Street View shows that this mosaic was not present. Where it originally came from, and why it’s now here I have no idea. It’s beautiful though!
It also looks like someone is getting the inside ready for business!
Continuing down Eastern Ave, we come across Double Barrel Brewing Co. This is a brand new brewery that hasn’t opened yet. I can’t wait!
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Sunrise 154: Clifton, Mt. Adams & Newport KY (Downtown/OTR Fog Bank, St. Patrick’s Day Bagpipes)
Over-The-Rhine & Downtown Cincinnati against a massive fog bank over the Ohio River. As seen on the morning of St. Patty’s day from Bellevue Hill Park in Clifton.
We stopped by Mt. Adams for a beer & a Rugby game (oh, and another free breakfast!) at Tap & Go. Here we look out over the Ohio River from Mt. Adams.
A view from Newport, KY as a barge rolls along up the Ohio River. (The white balance may have gotten away from me on this one; original photo is down below)
(Don’t forget to check out the sister post that will show up in a few minutes from this morning. Sunrise 155)
This year the wife and I decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s day by getting up super early and heading to Clifton for a free hot breakfast @ Murphy’s Pub. I realized right away that this would put me within walking distance of Bellevue Hill Park, one of my favorites in the city for its historic location, so I made sure to grab my camera and bring it along with me for the ride. We ended up spending the early morning in Clifton, the mid morning in Mt. Adams, and the late morning in Newport, Kentucky. As we traveled around the rim of the valley (and finally down by the river), I kept track of the thick fog that sat along the Ohio River. By the end of the morning the sky had cleared up and I found myself gazing at the Cincinnati Skyline under a summer-esque blue sky with rolling clouds.
We started off our morning at Murphy’s Pub in Clifton. Murphy’s Pub is a Clifton classic and they sure know how to host a party. Their breakfast (and green eggs) were superb and the crowd was a nice mix of students and locals. This bagpiper scared the pants off of us as he started his morning serenade at 6:30am.
When I first arrived in Clifton I made the immediate realization that I was only two blocks from Bellevue Hill Park, my favorite park in the Clifton area due to it’s history and breathtaking view of Downtown Cincinnati across Over-The-Rhine. I jokingly offered the other members of our party a chance to join me in a jog to the park, but none of them cared to take me up. I ran into a friend from school, Duffee (who is actually my “little brother” from our days in the fraternity), who is always up for an adventure. He joined me as we high tailed it up to the park at day break.
We arrived in the park to a handsome view of a tall & fluffy pile of fog hanging over the Ohio River. At first I was disappointed that we weren’t going to get a colorful sunrise sky, but that disappointment was replaced with joy when we saw the wall of fog that provided a beautiful backdrop to the Cincinnati Skyline.
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Sunrise 135: Ault Park (Breathtaking Twilight, Tree Silhouettes, Victorian Gas Lights)
One of my favorite shots of the morning.
Early colors of twilight. I’m really starting to love winter…
Middle twilight color shifting into an orange dominated palette.
This Murdock fountain has become a favorite of mine as the sunrise drifts into this region of the horizon during the winter months.
Weepy Maples under a ripply cloudscape.
A nicely preserved Cincinnati Gas Light. Probably at least 110 years old.
Hello party people! I’m just going to start off and say that this post is a bit of a doozy! Hang in ’til the end, it’ll be worth it. This morning was one of those times when the stars aligned and everything came together in a great way. What’s the saying – luck favors those who are prepared? I was up early, had a fresh charge in the camera, was full of creative and explorative energy, and it just so happened that the sunrise was AMAZING. One of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. That’s saying a lot coming from me! The pictures, as beautiful as they are, do not do the true sight of the atmosphere justice. It was a true winter sunrise that was both illuminated by the clear skies, highlighted with a light cloud slurry, and from what I understand the ice crystals in the atmosphere can lead to all kinds of neat cloud formations that made an ever changing cloudscape.
As I mentioned previously, the wife has a bit of acute bronchitis. She started taking anti-bacterial medication for it and last night was the first time that the coughing had completely subsided. I fell asleep on top of the covers with my clothes on and promptly woke up in the exact same position at 6:15am, the first full night’s sleep without interruption I’ve had in weeks! As a result, when I got up to turn off the lights in our place, I felt fully rested and ready to go. I decided that rather than go back to sleep I’d go ahead and start the day. By 6:45am I was fully suited up and headed out to the park.
It was quite amazing to watch the transformation of the sky from a deep dark black into the colorful display of the twilight atmosphere. In fact, when I left the apartment it was so dark that not only could I see the stars, but I had no way of knowing that on the other side of the hill the twilight show had already started. I was planning on getting set up at the park by 7:00am (65 minutes before sunrise) and having nothing to do for about 45 minutes. I could not have arrived at the park at a better time. At 7:00am the low horizon had already taken on a deep red mohogany that was compact and restricted to the region of the sky just above the ridge line. The clouds were just beginning to take on a dark shadowy navy purple. It was still dark enough that the street lamps cast long shadows across the lawn while the sky began to change in the background. This was by far the earliest sunrise I’ve ever witnessed and really changed my perspective on “how soon” one should expect to show up for a clear sky sunrise if they wish to witness the entire ordeal.
The sunrise palette was the most rich I’ve ever seen, and again this was due to the fact that I happened to show up extra early during a morning where the sunlight just so happened to start penetrating the lower atmosphere during early twilight. The sky started off with deep purples that faded into red. The pinks, magentas, and finally fuchsias started slowly to brighten along the lower atmosphere and then moved upward across the sky as the thin layers of ice crystal clouds provided a canvas backdrop. After the fuchsias subdued, the dark oranges and finally bright yellows scattered throughout the atmosphere until the sun finally made an appearance at 8:05am.
I was as giddy as a school girl, running to and from taking pictures now to sort out at home later. In the process I explored some ideas for a project that I plan on pursuing throughout the winter. Namely, finding tree “candidates” for a Winter Tree Silhouette project. I’ve long been fascinated by the underlying fractal and organic form that the naked tree branches form against the winter sky. There are some beautiful old trees around the local forests, many of then “Century” trees. There are not, however, very many trees that are isolated enough to provide a decent silhouette and also on the top of a hill, positioned in such a way that they can be captured against the open sky. There’s one specific tree (Oak I think) in the yard of St. Ursula Villa that fits this perfectly. There’s also one down by Lunken Airfield although there is a chain linked fence and lamp pole in the view. Today I was able to try and find some new candidates around the Ault Park area as well. Some are good and one may make for a great choice, although none of them are completely isolated. I’m hoping to have some good luck down at Reeve’s golf course by Lunken Airfield where most of the century oaks have been well taken care of and sit by themselves along the fairways of the course.
To top it all off, at the end of my ride I discovered that one of the local roads in the neighborhood that Ault Park sits next to still has some authentic gas lanterns. I was unaware that there were any gas lanterns in this area as the only ones I’ve heard of are the iconic street lamps in old Clifton’s “Gas Light District” off of Ludlow Ave. I found ten of these lanterns along a side street that runs right by the Cincinnati Observatory. The homes that were built in the blocks surrounding the observatory have so many architectural features and it is excellent to see the gas lanterns still alive and kicking. They’re at the end of this post if you are particularly interested in them.
Without further ado, here’s the set from this morning. Some of them are a bit blurry from the low light and for that I apologize. There is one picture in particular that I really loved but for some reason it’s completely out of focus. Low lighting can be a pain!
On the way to the park, this home with its Christmas lights still out caught my eye because of the various accent lighting. Nothing too crazy here but I was hoping the picture turned out better. It’s difficult getting the settings on the camera right while wondering if anyone thinks I’m a weirdo for standing on the sidewalk taking pictures of the neighborhood.
Arriving in the park, I am surprised to find that the sky is not dark at all. Early twilight colors abound. On the left side of the frame we can see the light from a lit street lamp illuminating the lawn.
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Sunrise 134: Ault Park Pavilion (Clear Skies & a Silverton Commute)
Sunrise 134 atop the pavilion at Ault Park
After missing yesterday morning’s beautiful and rare atmospheric sunrise (complete with a light layering of cirrus clouds [That’s a link to “cirrus sunrise” image search] that no doubt would have cast pink highlights throughout the twilight sky), I felt it was necessary to make sure that this morning’s sunrise was not missed. This week has been a bit hectic, so my schedule did not align perfectly with the 8:05am sunrise. The wife caught a bout of acute bronchitis. It really is nothing serious, it’s just one of those things that doesn’t bother you until a half hour after you lay down to sleep, that’s when the coughing starts and the restlessness begins. As it goes the last week was spent with unwholesome sleep, making sleeping in until 8:00am or beyond during overcast mornings more frequent. Her car also is in the shop for a hopefully minor repair so she’s using mine for her commute. I’m lucky enough to live less than 4 miles from my work place so I decided to suck it up and commute to work this morning on my bike. Why not catch the sunrise on the way?
My commute to work really is one of the best I could ask for, as far as diversity goes. It certainly is not boring. I am able to wind through some of the old urban roads of Cincinnati, most of which are low traffic by design. The only thing about it is that if I were to give it a descriptor, it would be “classic Cincinnati topography”. From Ault Park to Silverton, Ohio where I work, the 3.8 mile bike ride is anything but easy. It’s fun, fast, slow, and testing. The first half of the commute is mostly downhill because I’m actually traveling from the top of one Cincinnati hill where Ault Park is located, down into the valley that runs through the Red Bank / Norwood area, and back up through a cut in the two hills where Drake Park sits on one side, and Madeira on the other. The last half (in both directions!) is up hill and painful, so I really try to enjoy the first half. This creates an interesting affect because I always start out the commute thinking about how wonderful biking is, and end the commute wishing I was in better shape! This winter I haven’t been going on as many longer treks so this morning’s ride was pretty rough. I made it, though, and by the time I made it to work it was almost 50F – way warmer than I had expected. A perfect day for biking around town.
Approaching Ault Park about 15 minutes before sunrise, the fuchsia display has subsided and given way to the late twilight oranges.
The sky is clear with vapor trails from the upper atmospheric air travelers. The forecast of course put the cloud cover at roughly 50%, reinforcing the idea that it must be pretty difficult to accurately predict the weather even 6 hours in advance during the season change.
I rode away from the overlook and swung by the pavilion. I realized that the sun is still on the right side of the horizon, and should be moving back towards the left any day now. I’m going to keep my eye on the columns of the pavilion and try to nail down a sunrise where the sun rises up directly in the middle of the columns. Hopefully the trees are still bare and it’ll make for a nice picture.
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Sunrise 123: Ault Park (A Murder of Crows & Krohn’s Holiday Tree Lighting)
The entrance to the Art Deco Krohn Conservatory at the end of the Holiday Tree Lighting party. Check out the parallel lines, a signature of the style. Also note the humidity dripping from the glass panels.
As I climbed up to the top of the pavilion, I realized that I could see the fog layer out across the western sky. This is a new look for the park – fog and ice!
A renewed scene at the overlook as the sun rose above the densely packed layer of fog @ Sunrise 123
The atmosphere this morning was foggy for the second day in a row. I’m beginning to wonder if we’re close to setting the record if such a thing ever existed. I could see the sunrise’s deep red glow from Mt. Lookout Square, where I stopped by UDF to get a coffee refill, but by the time I climbed up to the park the fog had blown in from from the valley. The fog started to get thick as soon as I entered the park.
The strange thing that really stuck out to me this morning was the bird activity in the park. It was almost as if today was the day that the swarms of birds chose to gather in Ault Park before heading south for the winter. I have no idea of sparrows or crows migrate, but both birds were present in outstanding numbers this morning, filling up the sky and making a whole ruckus of noise! I even have a video of the “Murder of Crows”. There were at least 100 (I took a video) crows high in the trees this morning and their silhouettes were easy to find against the bright white background and naked branches. I’ve seen a handful at a time of these giant birds at the forest’s edge looking out over the valley, but this morning the murder moved together in a loud, squaking, organized group. I could hear them even as they moved deep into the forest even though they were hidden by the fog.
Last night the wife and I visited Krohn Conservatory in Mt. Adam’s Eden Park for their annual tree lighting ceremony. It was a really great time and there was excellent food and drinks. If you’re local to Cincinnati I highly recommend joining the Cincinnati Parks volunteer program because you get to hang out with some neat people and get invited to events like this at the Krohn :). The Krohn has a neat holiday display this year. A group came in and created a miniature train display that highlights several local Cincinnati landmarks as well as a few international ones. The trains glide around the fantasy landscape that is filled with the temporary holiday flowers and plants as well as the permanent citrus trees. The Krohn Conservatory is such a great building and we’re lucky to have it!
I was happy to see the Mt. Adams Incline represented in the train display @ Krohn Conservatory!
The giant pine lit @ Krohn. If you love plants like I do, be sure to pay the Krohn as many visits as you can! Especially at NIGHT during the winter. When you walk into the dark humid tropic room as ice crystals form on the green house panels, you feel like you’ve entered another world.
The entrance to the Art Deco Krohn Conservatory. Check out the parallel lines, a signature of the style.
As I entered the park, it was obvious that the sunrise was going to be a foggy one.
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Want a postcard? Send me your address!
Hi! I just got a batch of postcards from the awesome people at vista print. I’d like to send you one! I’m grateful to everyone who has given me feedback and followed along with my sunrise adventures and this is a way for me to say thank you. Everyone loves getting things in the mail, right? Email me your name and address if you’re interested and you’ll receive a hand written post card from yours truly. I’ll send anywhere in the world. Have at it! There’s a limited supply and I can’t guarantee when it’ll show up, but as long as this message is still on the homepage that means there are still postcards available. email@example.com (Please note: this post is “sticky” which means it is always on top of the front page. For the latest sunrise post, scroll down!)
Sunrise 121: Ault Park & Downtown (Incorrect Forecast, Turkey Trot!)
The runners prepare for the Turkey Trot in Downtown Cincinnati
This post comes a day late as the holiday festivities have had us pretty busy! Thursday morning was, of course, the holiday of Thanksgiving. For the past two years my wife has participated in the Turkey Trot, a 10k through downtown Cincinnati that has been going on for 102 years. It’s quite an event because 15,000 people quickly come together for the race before high tailing off to their family lunches, dinners, and football games. It’s seriously impressive just how many people come out for the Thanksgiving race, the only bigger race I’ve seen in Cincinnati is the famous Flying Pig Marathon.
After a long streak of thunderstorms, the forecast had finally put the weather for Thursday morning at a confident 9% cloud cover in clear skies. There was a bit of a mishap in the forecast and what ended up happening was that Thanksgiving morning was gloomy, misty, and wet. I think what actually happened was that the clear skies warmed up the ground and there was actually just lots of FOG. But the fog lifted up a few hundred yards into the sky and simulated low-lying cloud cover. When I originally left for the sunrise, the sky was a deep dark blood red, signifying that a high humid sunrise was on the schedule for the morning. By the time I got to the park, however, it was apparent that the sky was full of fog. It was a relatively warm, wet, and dark sunrise.
Either way – Happy Thanksgiving! Today, the day after Thanksgiving, the fog has finally lifted and the skies are clear and the weather is great.
Looking out across the dark morning at Lunken Airfield from Ault Park
A dark sunrise over the Little Miami River Valley
There they go! 15,000 runners start off on their 10k
I always love the moments after any race has started, when the streets are clear and I’m free to explore around the area until the leaders of the pack make their way back to the finish line.
More empty streets. It took about 15 minutes for all the runners to funnel out across the starting line, and another 15 minutes before the first runner started to make his way towards the finish line. I’m always surprised by how fast some of these runners are!
The top of the buildings were disappearing into the fog
Sunrise 115: Eden Park (Reservoir Ruins, Hotel Alms, Clear Skies)
Twin Lakes. Apparently there used to be a quarry here about 150 years ago.
Looking down from Eden Park’s upper overlook
The ruins of the old water reservoir in Eden Park
I took advantage of the latest sunrise of the entire year, that also happened to be on a beautifully clear morning, and got up extra early on Saturday morning. I left my place at 7:10am and rode, for the first time during this project, to Eden Park in Mt. Adams. Eden Park is known to be one of the most scenic and historic parks in the city. It sits next to the Art Museum, Krohn Conservatory, on top of ruins from the old Cincinnati Water Works Reservoir, and has many memorials and two overlooks. I’ve never visited the park for sunrise and I have to say it was an impressive location. The lower two overlooks (there is a “main” overlook next to the Twin Lakes and a lesser known upper overlook by a turn of the century brick water tower) look directly East over the bend in the Ohio River. The benches on the overlook (and their cherry tree companions) appear to be deliberately aligned with the sunrise. I have wanted to get up to Eden Park for sunrise for the entirety of this project, but I was inspired by the recent 105 year old postcards that I recently found at an Antique Mall featuring Eden Park at the turn of the last century. One of the postcards depicts a peaceful scene at Mirror Lake in 1906, the other depicts the entrance to alms park with the infamous Elsinore Arch (not featured in today’s post) which was constructed as a piece of the Cincinnati water system.
I hopped around through the park and checked out only some of the major attractions. I’d like to spend a few more sunrises at Eden Park to get to know more of the memorials and historic buildings. It’s one of the oldest parks in the city and used to be one of the main vineyards during the mid 1800s that supported the German catholic wine scene. There is enough history surrounding the park to fill several posts so I’m going to keep it mostly brief. Check out this document from Cincinnati Parks that gives some insight into the “Master Plan”.
It’s still dark when I pulled up to Eden Park. This picture looks East and if you follow the river back around to the right, you’ll find the tip of the ridge that Alms Park lives on.
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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 106: Ault Park (Colorful Sunrise & Autumn Acorns)
An airplane approaches Lunken Airport at sunrise
I got another lucky break this morning for Sunrise 106. The forecast called for both rain and mostly cloudy conditions for this AM (although the forecast has since changed to accommodate a more sunny outlook for the week). The atmosphere ended up being clear with whisps of a low-lying cloud slurry, one of the best combinations for a pretty sunrise. The clouds help to reflect different colors and phases of the sunrise light as the sun comes up over the horizon.
So far the weather has really been great this Autumn. I’d much rather have a week of overcast and gloomy weather followed by a week full of bright clear skies and dynamic morning sunrises. These sunrises feel a lot like the spring sunrises, except that in the spring there seems to have been more of the puffy cumulus type clouds. The morning temperature started off chilly – around 40F – and it looks like today will be another warm one with the temperature rising into the mid 70s.
Over the weekend my wife and I visited family in Dayton . On the way back we swung through Waynesville, OH to explore some of the antique furniture malls. I found a couple of really neat “Cincinnati Park” themed postcards with postmarks dating back over 100 years. I’ll share them on here sometime this week. One of them features the Elsinore Arch and the other, I think, features the Twin Lakes. I’m going to go find the location that the pictures were taken and see what it looks like today. I’m really excited to own these two postcards because they’re in the same artistic style that I keep running across in my Internet Travels I embark on while doing research for this project. Cincinnati Views has a great archive of many of them, although I still have to search it to see if mine have already been documented. Stay tuned 🙂
Briefly, here’s a gallery I found while searching for postcard pictures. Lots of artistically rendered Cincinnati greeting cards.
Just before sunrise. After stopping at UDF to get my coffee on free-refill-Monday, I made it up to Heekin overlook just in time.
Looking out at the sunrise from the lower overlook.
A vertical picture showcasing the gradient into the dark blue of the upper atmosphere.
A close up of the sunrise. At this point the sun is being directly obfuscated by the cloud bank.
Acorns are all over the place under the oak trees surrounding Heekin Overlook
(A widescreen version). Browns are the color of choice here.
Sunrise 103: Sawyer Point & Downtown Cincinnati (Sunrise Skyline, Riverboats, Kayaks)
As the atmosphere takes on a distinct shade of yellow, I arrive at the eastern edge of Sawyer Point coming into downtown Cincinnati.
Rowers heading up the Licking River and the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge in the distance
A sailboat and the Reds Stadium. Featuring Carew Tower and the Great American building.
This morning’s update is a doozie! This is actually yesterday’s sunrise but I got carried away on such a pretty day and took way too many pictures. I didn’t have time to finish the processing yesterday, so it’s coming at you a day later. I retraced much of the route I took during Sunrise 9 in April. Has it really been 6 months?
I woke up Sunday morning with only 5 hours of sleep under my belt. We were out late for a friend’s birthday party the night before but I had already made up my mind that I was going to take advantage of this amazing October weather. I originally set my alarm for 6am, which was way too early considering sunrise was 7:41am, and accidentally slept for another hour. It worked out perfectly and I was thankful for the late sunrise time. I was out the door with my bike and coffee by 7:00am, armed with the goal of seeing the sunrise over the Ohio River in Downtown Cincinnati. I ended up being swept up in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer run/walk where over 12,000 people came out in the 15th annual event. The walk provided a rich texture to the acoustic backdrop to my four hour morning exploration of Sawyer Point and Newport, Kentucky because the speaker system could be heard anywhere along the banks of the Ohio River. I ended up hanging out in General James Taylor park in Newport, Kentucky, a park that until now I had no idea existed. With nothing but water and open air between myself and the headquarters of the walk about half a mile away or more, I listened as the walker told their survival stories, did the electric slide, and got themselves pumped up. The timing of my morning ride couldn’t have been more ideal because by the time I got to Sawyer Point, the first of the crowd was already starting to show up. I ended up getting stranded in Kentucky for about an hour as I waded, slowly and patiently, back to Ohio on the Purple People Eater Bridge through the torrent of thousands of pink-clad people. I actually found it kind of hilarious because I never considered how dependent I was on the only pedestrian bridge that links Newport and Sawyer Point!
While hanging out at General James Taylor Park in Newport, Kentucky on the banks of the Ohio River, I was greeted with the breathtaking view of the Cincinnati Skyline at sunrise. And a beautiful sunrise it was. I had known that I wouldn’t have an excellent view of the eastern sky so I had planned to wander around looking for a strategic spot to drink my coffee and enjoy the crisp and clear autumn sunrise. While chillin’ at the park, I saw a team of rowers practicing on the river, observed the local fishermen and watched a barge barrel down the river and do some impressive maneuvers as it banked into the Ohio River. The BB Riverboat also made an appearance and there was even a small sailboat that moved gracefully throughout my panoramic view of the skyline.
I’ve always loved the Cincinnati Skyline but Sunrise 103 really helped to solidify that feeling for me. I’ll go on record as saying that of the cities I’ve visited in my relatively inexperienced travel ventures, Cincinnati’s Downtown Skyline has to be one of the most beautiful skylines in the country, if not the world. Every city’s skyline is unique and beautiful in it’s own right, of course, but I feel like Cincinnati’s has the perfect combination of several properties.
For one, it’s relatively small. You can “see” the entire skyline without having to pan around. I can take it all in with a single view.
Second, What’s a skyline without a proper view? The view from the Kentucky side banks of the Ohio River is seriously amazing. The river and air is open and the banks in Kentucky are not overdeveloped by any stretch, providing easy access for anyone wanting to take it in.
Third, the architecture really tells a story, although I imagine this is common with many cities. You’ve got several remnants from “Old Cincinnati”, the late 1800s boomtown that was rivaling Manhatten with it’s urban density. The PNC building and Carew Tower (which was used as a model for the Empire State Building) rise to the western edge of the skyline. As I gaze at the buildings, I can imagine what a magnificent sight this must have been in the early 1900s. It isn’t too hard to ignore the Great American Insurance building (for now). The ending animation (35seconds forward) of the evolution of the New York Skyline in the movie Gangs of New York really made me aware of how the skyline of a city can tell historic story. I also like that we can see both the Bengal’s and Red’s stadiums as well as the US Bank Arena. There is the new Great American Insurance building, a shining example of modern architecture. A quick side note on the GAI building though. I like to think of the GAI as a young punk business executive. On one hand, it stole the “tallest building” title from Carew Tower, which held it for over 70 years. That’s OK though, progress marches on. It’s a beautiful building! It just makes me a bit nostalgic because I have a special place in my heart for Carew Tower and it’s legacy. They did pay respect, however, in the form of keeping Carew Tower at a higher elevation as to not upset the balance of the skyline. Yesterday morning, however, I realized something else! Something that I probably wouldn’t have thought about except through the contextual lens of this project. The Great American Insurance Building is aligned perfectly in such a way as to entirely block out Carew Tower from getting a view of the sunrise! I watched in a partial trance as the shadow of the GAI’s tiara moved from the top of Carew Tower down to the bottom. I’m being a bit dramatic, of course, but that doesn’t stop me from envisioning a quirky anthromorpized prime time sitcom featuring all of the buildings in Cincinnati’s Skyline living together in a small London flat and the tension between Carew and Great American being thick enough to cut with a knife. Now that I think about it, maybe I spent a bit too much time staring at the skyline… 🙂
As it turns out, the James Taylor park in Newport Kentucky is a memorial to a defensive battery that protected Cincinnati from the “Indian Wars” in the early 1800s, and later provided the final defense against an approaching Confederate Army during the Civil War. Whenever I find out about pieces of trivia such a this, I always think about the classic well-deserved nickname for Cincinnati: “The Gateway to the South”.
Some of these pictures are a bit redundant. The lighting was so accommodating and there was a lot going on. I am just throwing them all up on here, as usual, and letting the reader figure out which pictures they like the most (if any!).
When I left, the sky was dark but showing a hint of light. Looking East down Columbia Parkway in East End.
A blurry view down the Ohio River of the Cincinnati Skyline. I’m always so impressed with how much distance I can cover so easily on my bike.
The unfolding of a sunrise in a clear sunrise takes about 40 minutes. This morning was no different! The 25 minute ride to downtown was far from dull! I felt like I was racing the sun to Sawyer Point.
Another blurry view across the bend in the river.
I always get a full look at this building. Cincinnati Water Works, constructed in 1907. I finally ran into someone whose father works for the city. It turns out that the building is very much used today, but the stone wall that runs around the perimeter was built for “homeland security reasons”. Damn it. It’s so ugly.
Behind me, the atmosphere has started to show some signs of red. Better hurry along now!
St. Rose Church on Eastern Ave. If that clock is right, I’ve got 15 minutes to spare.
If you’re on the front page, click to see the rest of this post. About 73 pictures total! (more…)
Sunrise 43: Alms & Anderson Park (Marina & Ohio River, Baby Snapping Turtle (aww!), Downtown Skyline, and the Meridian)
Official sunrise of Sunrise 43 @ Alms Park
Looking up the river from the Ohio River Launch Club
Of course I have to get some pictures of the bike! Wide screen version
Today was one of those days where the combination of a beautiful sunrise, temperate spring air, and being well rested results in a longer morning ride than usual. All in all I didn’t take that much longer than a typical morning ride, but I covered more grounds and explored Anderson Park – a location that is making its debut in the project today. If you’re on the front page you might as well skip to the bottom and click “more” to see the entire post because there are some great pictures in this set that won’t all make the cut to be displayed on homepage.
I left my apartment this morning with the feeling of wanderlust. With the scorching heat of the past few days, it was downright refreshing to be out in the cool morning air. During the past few sunrises I noticed that the sun was creeping far to the left of the overlook and the first rays of light after the sun crests over the horizon are obscured by trees. I believe this won’t get any better until the second week of June (holy crap thats coming up) when the sunrise time bottoms out at 6:11am for several days. I imagine that the sun will maintain its position until the sunrise time starts to advance further in the morning. Until that time, however, I have to wait a bit to get a good “head-on” picture of the sun in the morning sky. Knowing this, I made a quick decision to ditch the left hand turn that would take me to Ault Park and instead took the right hand turn to Alms Park. I found out a few days ago that Alms Park has a more unobstructed view of these left sunrises. The idea of going to Alms Park – while more difficult both because it is a longer distance and has several steep climbs – seemed to resonate with me now that the officially 40 days of Ault Park have been accomplished. These “post-40” days are about exploring the future direction of the sunrise project. So off to Alms Park I go!
Sunrise through the giant oaks, my favorite trees in the park.
The ride to Alms Park is, like Ault Park, almost entirely uphill. But where the climb to Ault Park is mostly at a slight incline with a bit of a steeper section at the park entrance, the journey to Alms Park is more dynamic. It consists of several respectable climbs that flatten out for a bit. By the time you reach the base of the hill that St. Ursula’s Villa sits atop, you’re actually almost at the elevation that Alms Park sits at. It is at this point that the road takes a steep dive down through the forested residential hill for several hundred yards. The entrance to Alms Park sits at the base of this dive at which point you have to climb up the steepest part of the trip – an excruciating but worthy workout. Alms Park really makes you work for it.
The sun cresting over the eastern valley
A close-up over Reeve’s Golf Course
The trees down below are a part of the golf course which butts up against the airport.
The overlook. You can see this bench from the Lunken Trail. If you’re on the front page, click “More” to continue! –> (more…)
Sunrise 41: Ault Park (John Quincy Adams, Clear Warm Skies)
Happy Memorial Day! This morning I took advantage of the holiday and slept in. Some friends of ours came in from out of town and we stayed up a bit late last night. I did, however, get the 41st sunrise in yesterday morning with the help of my friend Mike. Mike brought his bike along with him and we woke up early Sunday morning to catch the sunrise.
After two days of overcast stormy conditions, the sky cleared up nicely for Sunday’s sunrise. There were scattered clouds in the sky but the horizon was clear. The air was pleasant and a bit warm, indicating that the coming day would be a hot one. The high for yesterday and today hit around 92 F, a drastic change from the mid 40s that marked the cooler days last week.
The sunrise was a deep orange in the clear sky before the light was scattered by the clouds
A great sight after several days of overcast mornings
Timelapse Photo. If you’re on the front page, click to continue –> (more…)
Sunrise 40: Ault Park (Achievement Unlocked! and Alms Park Sunset #3 with Mountainous Cumulus Clouds)
The sunset from last night; a fitting picture for the 40th sunrise write-up considering today’s overcast stormy conditions provided a non-existent morning sun
I made it! This morning was officially the 40th sunrise that I documented in Eastern Cincinnati. I’ve been thinking about this morning for the past few days, wondering what if anything I could do as a special tribute to the milestone. At first I started big. I considered waking up an hour early and driving over to Devou Park in Cincinnati to take a nice “capstone” sunrise picture of the Cincinnati Skyline and sunrise over the Ohio River. But I realized that heading up to Devou Park, while a powerful sentiment indeed, was too far outside the context of normalcy for this project. All 40 sunrises, except for the flying pig marathon day, had two things in common: Eastern Cincinnati and my bike. I decided that the most appropriate sunrise this morning would be one where I went back to the roots of the project and reflected on the past 40 days. The morning ended up being overcast and gray anyway. I grabbed my coffee and a notebook and rode up to the park. Oh yeah, I also made a facebook page. “Like” it if you want to, I’m not exactly sure what to use it for yet.
Oh, one more thing. The last half of this post has pictures from Alms Park sunset last night. The sky was busy all day yesterday (as I learned from the sunrise fronts). Last night was no different, but as the sun set and the air-cooled, the towering cumulus clouds looked like mountains on the distant horizon.
This morning was gray and overcast. A fitting environment for writing and looking back on the last 40 sunrises.
I’ll be down there this weekend for the Memorial Day Race 5K. Amanda designs the shirts 🙂 Put on by the Cincinnati Running Club. Amanda is running, I’m volunteering. We’ve got some friends coming into town who are probably going to run it too!
The sunrise this morning was gray and non-existent. I chose to focus most of my time on writing some of my thoughts that have been bouncing around throughout the extent of this project. I’d like to go back and look at various statistics relating to the project, but for now I don’t have time before heading in to work. Number of pictures, bike shots, words, words / day (I seem to have got more chatty as the project went along), traffic statistics, grouping pictures together by color, looking at the overlook picture time-lapse, etc. The sky stayed the same color, a muted gray, throughout the entire morning. The ambient light drifted about until it was darker when I left the park than when I got there, or so it seemed.
Good old Lunken Airport in the distance, looking south/west
Zoom of Lunken Airfield. See the green break in the forest at the end of the runway, in the middle of the picture? Where the green grass looks like it jumps up into the trees? That’s where I saw the sunrise yesterday morning on the bike trail. I didn’t realize you could see it from here.
The first thing I did was look at some of the original goals of the project to see where they stand now. Looking back on the project it is interesting to see various themes slowly start to gain momentum. At the beginning of the project, I took fewer pictures with fewer words. I focused a lot more on my immediate surroundings in the park. The flowers, mushrooms, views, bike, bench, trees, sky, rain, birds. As the sunrises continued, and I became familiar with the Heekin Overlook, I started to venture out a bit more. I explored the arboretum, the pavilion, the trails, and the blossoming cherry trees. Eventually I broke out of the boundary of the park and started exploring more of the neighborhoods. The first taste of inquiry looks to be the morning I looked at the old Bell Systems building on Delta Venue. That fateful day that I found the Crusade Castle can be viewed as the day when a shift was made into exploring not just “look what is around” but “look what is left over from another era”. This active history theme led to several “Saturday Explorations”, including the trip to Armleder Park through East End, and R.K. LeBlond Estate & Norwood Industry Hunt. I also used this theme to turn historic inquiry back at the familiar things in Ault Park, including the search for Murdock Fountains (ongoing…) and the World War I memorial bench.
So back to some of the original goals of the project. How did I do?
- 40 sunrises in Eastern Cincinnati. Check! This is the most basic and important goal – and it feels absolutely incredible to know that I did it without compromise. I missed only two weekly sunrises – one due to a viewing and one due to an active electrical storm. On both days I was able to still write a post up using other material.
- Explore the parks and the city. Check! This is evident throughout the entire project. Both of these goals are far from complete, but I have made significant progress both in the appreciation of the Queen City’s Emeralds and the city herself.
- Create a new routine, new habits. Check! Looking back, the first half of this project was much harder than the second half even though I put more effort into the second half with all of the research and extra miles put on the bike. I’m also waking up early on my days off – something that I didn’t think was possible until this project started.
- Appreciate more detail in every day. Check! Carpe Diem personified. I hope I’ve started something that will continue throughout the rest of my life.
- Become more comfortable on my bike. Check! By my guess I’ve put close to 200 miles on the bike just accounting for the daily ride, and another 300 miles with the extra exploration. I’ve also gone through a new tire, new crank, and new pedals.
- Kill Over-sleeping. While I am still susceptible to over-sleeping I have a new control system imposed on it that is working as long as I have accountability for the sunrises. This is the entire reason the project website exists. Mostly Check!
It is worth noting that this is the first time in my entire life that I have consistently waken up before 6:30am with only a single exception that I can remember. When I was in seventh grade (fifteen years ago) I would routinely wake up at 5:30am to watch The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest. Strangely, there must have been a kind of personality shift that happened during the summer between seventh and eighth grade because I never did continue this “morning person” routine. For me, it is of great personal accomplishment that I was able to complete these 40 days of morning wake ups. It proves (to me) that I can accomplish something drastic and life changing. Any time I come up against such a challenge in the future, I can think back to project Ault Park Sunrise and remember the feeling of balance and satisfaction that this project has given me.
There are several things that have changed in my daily routine that I can directly attribute to this project.
- Mornings are now much easier than before
- I now go to bed at a reasonable (and consistent) time
- — which enables me to get excellent sleep most of the time
- I’ve started reading before bed more consistently. Although I don’t typically get very far, I fall asleep without issue
- My legs are much stronger. I feel like a mountain climbing machine.
- I have a much higher cardio capacity. I imagine I could run 10 miles with my feet pain being the only constraint.
- I’ve consumed less beer overall, and more craft beer. This is important to me. I rarely have more than two beers at a time during the week, and I enjoy them thoroughly because I’m able to focus on quality over quantity. This reminds me of Ben Franklin’s thirteen virtues that I often find myself thinking about.
- I notice with a much higher sensitivity when my diet gets messed up. Bloating and fatigue from eating fried food or too much food is immediately apparent the next day. I don’t mean to be snobbish, because my diet is far from perfect, but I am happy to know that I am becoming more in tune with my body’s natural cycles and energy.
- I have more energy overall – I am no longer fatigued after a 20 miles bike ride. In fact I have more energy it feels like.
- I’ve played way less PlayStation 3. I attribute this more to good allocation of free time, and less to a dwindling desire for playing video games.
- Purpose-driven creativity. This project has provided an outlet for daily creativity in writing, research, photography, and/or human interactions.
- I’ve met many local neighborhood citizens and learned about several new perspectives on life. I’ve always been comfortable talking to strangers (a natural gift I imagine) and making them feel comfortable – this project has allowed me to improve on this skill
- A higher threshold of overall creativity. This project, from the beginning, has grown into several new directions while still maintaining much of the original framework laid out by the constraints (sunrise, Ault Park, bike, convenient and quick).
- I am more comfortable with my writing and understand a bit more about my strengths and weaknesses.
- I’ve learned a lot about flower and tree identification thanks to the feedback I’ve received on this blog from several friends. Thanks guys 🙂
One thing that stands out to me is just how quickly these 40 mornings have gone by. 40 is a big number. I remember thinking, at the beginning of the project, that perhaps it was too big of a number. Could I even do it? I can’t do 3 sunrise mornings, how can I do 40? By having the days numbered and also having this journal to look back at my daily logs is a new thing for me. I can remember each sunrise going by and recall each individual memory. And yet here we are, 40 days later, on the other side of the project. The sun has shifted far to the left from where it started, it rises 65 minutes earlier, and the trees that started the project naked are now flush with their summer green. The quickness in which the time seemed to have passed during the life of this project has better prepared me to take advantage of as much as I can of the finite days I have left in the future. I’ve always known that there was peace in the mornings but I couldn’t figure out how to make it real. Sure, it is annoying to get up early. I have to go to bed at an “unreasonable” time (although at this point I’m completely exhausted so it is no longer unreasonable). I can’t drink a beer after 10pm. This commitment requires planning and foresight and a real effort to put the pictures online and write up an entry. But in the end, the payoff is several multiples more than any discomfort. Hell, I could do this all day!
A final thing I want to add is that exploring an area on a bike is a modern experience that everyone should at least try once. There is nothing else like it. By exploring in my local vicinity, I am able to piece together local history and cause-and-effect theories that are familiar enough to store in my head easily. In any human inhabitance, there are remnants of days-gone-by. From the buildings to the artifacts, memorials to the water fountains, churches to the headstones. The higher the human density of an area, the deeper the web of interconnectedness. It makes me wonder how fulfilling it would be to do a “sunrise project” in an old, small, midwestern farm town with a deep history but a limited space to explore it. A complete picture (or at least a well-rounded one) of the history of the town may be more attainable because there would be fewer human sub-cultures, systems, booms, and industries.
So what’s next? Hard to say at this point. I’ve had a blast with this project so far so at this point at a minimum I’m going to keep up the morning ritual and write-ups. Perhaps I’ll start to become a bit more socially-oriented and try to recruit more people to meet me up at the park, although that might be a stretch. Now that the 40 sunrises are up, I am also free to explore different sets of constraints. I gave some thought to doing a Lunken Airfield sunrise week after the beautiful atmospheric conditions down on the bike trail, but that might be asking a lot considering how grueling it is getting back up the hill. I’ve also thought about picking different places around the city and traveling there to do the sunrise, as opposed to what I do now – start at Ault Park and then venture out into the city if I have the time.
I’ve also got a host of interesting places to check out on the East Side. I’d be lying if I haven’t kicked around the idea of doing a kind of city bike tour (thanks for the idea, Tara!). To really make it work it would be nice to have a set of wireless radios that clip to your helmet. It’d also be a kid of bring your own bike situation so I’m not sure if there would be any interest in it.
When I get the time I’m also going to post up detailed explanation of my workflow in case anyone else would be interested in doing a project like this on their own. You need nothing other than a camera and a computer. The script that I’ve written to process and name the pictures takes most of the busywork out of the ordeal. I now spend 85% of my time at the computer writing these posts rather than messing with naming, resizing, and re-orienting the pictures. It also puts a copyright notice on each image.
Thank you to everyone who has followed this project, no matter how big or small. This project is largely a personal feat, but I’d be lying to say that it doesn’t help immensely with the motivational drive knowing that there are other people out there that check in every once in awhile to see the pictures and read my crazy rambles.
Here’s to 40 more 🙂
Some pictures from last night’s Alms Park Sunset. I felt it was fitting to have the 40th sunrise post also include beautiful pictures of the setting sun.
Two days ago I mentioned how it would be nice to get the Columbia Tusculum homes in the setting sun light. I find myself in this exact situation just two days later. For the rest of the sunset pictures – and if you’re on the front page – click to continue –> (more…)
Sunrise 25: Ault Park (Foggy Valley, Crusade Castle Vineyard, St. Ursula Villa and R.K. LeBlond, Columbia-Tusculum, and Alms Park Vineyard)
This post is technically
a day late two days late but that’s better than never :). This write up took much longer than I had anticipated, but extra depth was required to get the background information ready. Every time I look for history of buildings in this area, I’m lead to even more websites referencing even more history. It could be a full time job!
Saturday morning I took the chance to do an extended exploration – one of my favorite things to do on a weekend morning with no commitments before 09:00am. I ended up discovering an “ancient” vineyard down below Ault Park that I had no idea existed. The history of the vineyard has led me down a rabbit hole of Cincinnati history. Often times I try not to rely on Google for discovering information about the history of the area I live in, preferring to discover (and sometimes make up my own versions) the history on my own. However if used appropriately the Internet can be a powerful tool in augmenting the exploration of the real world that we live in. More about the vineyard (Crusade Castle), Cincinnati wine, Columbia-Tusculum, St. Ursula Villa and RK LeBlond’s legacy, Alms and Eden Park after the pictures of the sunrise. The ride ended up being about 3 hours from start to finish, and it was one of the most fun rides I’ve been on in a long time.
I started off the morning knowing that I was out of coffee. I left 10 minutes earlier than usual and swung by our local coffee roaster in Mt. Lookout Square, Lookout Joe‘s. I couldn’t believe it – they were closed! OK I can believe it, 6:15am is a bit early to be open on a Saturday Morning. I ended up swinging into the local UDF and was absolutely pleased to learn that they let me fill up my 26oz Nissan thermos for $.99! Thanks UDF! (UPDATE: as of the writing, on Monday, I learned that it is free refill day. $0 is even better than $.99, thanks UDF!) if you’re on the front page, please click continue to read more. I promise you won’t regret it. (more…)
Alms Park Sunset #2 (Mushrooms & BB Riverboats)
As you may or may have not noticed, I wasn’t able to post a sunrise picture this morning. Today we found ourselves out of town for a funeral and viewing of a family member. I imagine it was a great sunrise this morning, but there will be many more to come! Amanda and I were feeling a bit beat after getting home tonight, so we decided to head up to Alms Park to check out the sunset. We learned our lesson last time that you’ve got to arrive 20 minutes *before* sunset time if you want to actually enjoy it :). Alms Park was as quiet and peaceful as ever. The trees and bushes were a lush green and there were only a couple of people walking around enjoying the crisp spring air. Perhaps everyone was out celebrating Cinco de Mayo? 🙂
The eastern view of Alms Park looks down the Ohio River into the bend. Downtown Cincinnati is just behond the bend, and you can actually see the tip top of the Great American building and Carew Tower over the Kentucky Hills on the other side of the river. The overlook certainly reminds me of the Heekin Overlook in Ault Park with the open top and wooden supports. (If you’re on the front page, click “more” to continue with more pictures) (more…)
Sunrise 17: Ault Park (Punching through a hole, Alms Park Sunset)
After the rain we had over the night, I was expecting to wake up to a gloomy wet morning. When I woke up I was happy to discover that there were light clouds in the sky but no rain. The forecast said today would have a “100%” chance of thunder storms. As it turns out they were correct, but the front didn’t move in until about 09:15am.
The dawn light had some definite color to it. (More after the “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
Sunrise 8: Ault Park (Atop the Pavilion)
Amanda and I had to run some errands at 8:00am this morning, so this trip up to the park was nice and quick. 8:00am was no problem – one of the many positive side effects of my involvement with this project. The ride up to the park was beautiful, and I’ve noticed that I’ve started to break into the time period (around 6:45am) where kids are getting ready for school. I passed several high school students waiting on the bus, and said my morning greetings to a handful of parents walking to the local elementary school. By the time I got to the park, I was left with a whole 15 minutes before the sunrise to stake out my spot. I decided to switch it up a bit and see what the view looked like from the top of the pavilion. I’ve noticed that the pavilion sits squarely aligned with the eastern sunrise, something that I will devote an entire post to later on (regarding how the entire park seems to be designed with the sunrise in mind. Think a along the lines of StoneHendge 🙂 ). I parked my bike at the base of the pavilion and climbed up the four or five sets of stairs.
View from atop the pavilion. The dawn morning looked beautiful, lots of pink and orange. There was a slight haze from the clouds that scattered the morning light nicely. (More pictures after the jump)