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

cincinnati

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gradient atmospheres in the backdrop, but once again I found myself being caught up in a mindset that is months out of date!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
Homepage: http://www.jimacoyne.com
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…

Heekin Overlook #3.

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. aultparksunrise@gmail.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)

Sunrise 115 @ Eden Park

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.

If you’re on the front page, you may as well click to continue. About 50 pictures total. (more…)


Sunrise 114: Alms Park (Colorful Autumn Skies, 7 “Valleys” of Cincinnati)

Sunrise 114 @ Alms Park

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 ParkEden Park, Devou ParkBellevue 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.