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

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Sunrise 91: Ault Park (Summer Flower Garden, Ailanthus Webworm Moth)

Pretty flowers.

A “cosmo” pointing up toward the sky.

Beautiful macro shot of a red/orange/yellow summer flower.

This morning I felt it was definitely a time to recollect and enjoy a cool morning summer in the park. The last two mornings I skipped the sunrise. I tell myself it was mostly due to overcast conditions but in reality I think there are several different reasons. I almost feel as though these late sunrises, happening at 7:05am, are no longer a “challenge”! The 6:15am sunrises, which came up before rush hour and when the city was still asleep, had more of an air of secrecy to them. I’m either going to have to find a new challenge (like getting to the park by a half hour before sunrise, and then leaving as soon as the sun crests) or search for more motivation. Time will tell! It’s just depressing to me how deep into the morning my routine is taking me if I wish to take my time at the overlook or in the gardens. That’s life, though, I suppose.

The atmosphere this morning was cloudy so I took the time to check out the flower gardens. By this time, late into the summer, the bushes and flowers have grown up healthy and lush. There is an opening that reveals a grassy aisle into the center of the flower garden that is in the center lawn. The last time I really explored this area, the ground was bare and I was left wondering “hmm, what’s going to grow here?”. The black-eyed-susans, cosmos, and other flowers are now towering over my head and full of beetles, bumblebees, spiders, and ladybugs. I was surprised to find how thick the isolation felt once I walked into the flower garden. On several occasions, while I was stooped in observation taking pictures of the flowers, a jogger would glide by only a few feet from me but on the other side of the flower wall. It reminded me of just how private a forest or meadow can become during the late summer months. I need some time to rebalance and sunrise in the garden was a perfect fit :). I got a bit carried away with the pictures, mostly just having fun with the color and finding all the insect life hidden under the pedals.

This is actually a deer in the forest behind our place. I tried feeding her carrots, but she was only interested in green foliage. Next time I’ll bring broccoli.

The sunrise was boring! Off to the garden.

These first few are darker, I was lucky to get any kind of macro focus. A deep orange flower that I think is a “cosmo”

The centerpiece hidden inside the flower garden.

For the rest of the pictures of flowers and insects, click to continue if you’re on the front page: (more…)


Sunrise 85: Ault Park (Acorns & Blue Berries)

So this is weird… due to a strange artifact that has been present on the lens, but only visible when I zoom in, I haven’t touched the zoom for several weeks (maybe even a month or two). I tried it again today and suddenly the artifact is gone. It left as quietly as it arrived. It was definitely internal to the lens, but I had the feeling it was like a moisture bubble or something similar. Hopefully I don’t have many wet mornings in the near future. Maybe I’ll start carrying the camera in a zip-lock bag.

Acorn!

Ault Park has officially celebrated its 100 year birthday! There was a big party in the park last night, true to the “Ault Park style”. “Ault Park Style”, in my experience, includes music, beer, food, and lots of people. It always amazes me to see just how well supported the Ault Park events are by the local community!

Amanda and I have ran the local Reggae Run 5k twice in the past three years, and it has become legendary for the huge after party that takes place in Ault Park. The Reggae Run after-party includes a live band, delicious food, and lots of my favorite two things: beer and people :). The fireworks display for the 4th of July was also jam packed with people.

So it should come at no surprise that last night’s 100 year birthday party was anything less than a big deal! Unfortunately (and awesomely!) for our writer, I had my first co-ed softball game (which was a blast!) last night so I wasn’t able to check out the festivities until later, between two games when I had to run home on an errand, and even then I only had time to drive through the park for a quick visit. I was, however, blown away at how much the party was still hopping at 9:00pm when I drove through! If I were to guess, I’d say the attendance of the night easily surpassed 1,000 people. Easily! It looked like an excellent time and I do regret not being able to check out the “history room” that I saw advertised on the facebook posting. (Also: shameless self-plug for Ault Park Sunrise’s facebook page)

It’s also interesting to me to contrast the social night-owl version of Ault Park: with the loud kids running around, blanket and young couples lying in the grass, sparkler glowing in the night, elderly and college kids with beer in hand, overflowing trash bins, loud music, and full of city life, with the early morning sunrise Ault Park: quiet and peaceful, with park service diligently pruning and nurturing the plants, birds and squirrels loud in the trees, and the rising ambient sound of the city slowly waking up. Considering the fact that I have now spent roughly 80 mornings in Ault Park, and perhaps only 3 evenings during the same period, I’ve come to mentally view the park through my own bias of experience. To me, thoughts of Ault Park conjure up images of gardens, privacy, and nature. Every time I visit Ault Park at night during a social event, I’m reminded of the many hats that a healthy city park wears throughout its life as an extension of the community it lives in. And that’s one of the primary things that makes Ault Park so special to me: in these days of budget cuts and sad economic stories, the park shines as an excellent model for a true “city park” that can only be possible with the help and will of the local community.

That being said, when I rode up to the park this morning I was curious what kind of “leftovers” I’d find from the big bash last night. After the 4th of July party, I found all kinds of trash, spent fireworks, lighters, and other obvious signs that the party ran late and people left, quite hastily, in the dark. I was surprised, however, to find that Ault Park looked… completely normal. Other than some full trash bins, the park looked clean and not hung over. I’m not sure how late the event ran, but whoever was responsible for the cleanup did a great job!

The sunrise came up through a dense hazy layer of moisture. This was one of those sticky damp atmospheres that blocks the majority of the sun’s rays for a few minutes after sunrise, causing the sun to appear a dark blood red. Once the sun peaks out over this dense valley moisture, it can blast through the atmosphere within a matter of minutes.

A dark orange sunrise. At approximately 7:00am, it’s getting too late! 😦

A vertical sunrise shot, for the ladies.

We’re coming into acorn season! I heard these puppies falling all over the vicinity of the overlook. They were dropping at a rate of about one per 3 minutes. There were bits of them shattered all over the concrete. I’ve noticed a lot more squirrels giving me death stars and fake promises of running out in front of my bike lately. They must be ramping up to get ready for the acorn foraging season.

Flesh and Acorn.

Several months ago, I asked a rhetorical ‘what will this white flower turn into?’. Well now I know. These little blue berries are growing on the plant that I previously examined when I found that it was a host to the aphid-herding ants.


Sunrise 73: Ault Park (Housefly Macro, Cement Textures, Meadow Insects)

The sunrise looking out across the small meadow.

Down at the meadow there are these orange/yellow flowers that stand high in the air. They’re buzzing with life and full of Bumblebees. Their colors looked deep orange in the sun light.

Sunrise (with a strange artifact on my camera lens)

This morning’s sunrise was a bit of a quiet one. The sky was hazy as usual and the ambient light through the atmosphere was a bit dull. The sun didn’t start putting off the orange/yellow light until I was on my way to work. Oh, and because this blog acts as a kind of personal journal, it’s worth mentioning that this morning was the first time I commuted to work directly from the park. The temperature was cool enough before 8:00am (about 72F) that it was fairly comfortable. I could really get used to this 🙂

I hung out at the far side of the park for a bit before embarking for work. In April I explored the small prairie that is maintained by the park crew and was excited to see just how tall it the vegetation has grown. The meadow was thick with flowers and healthy plant life. The only unfortunate part about it was the invasive mosquito species was also present in high numbers. Those things are fast and nasty.

Took about 20 pictures today. If you’re on the front page, click to continue. Flowers, Ants, Pollen, Flies, Cement Textured Macro pictures, etc. —-> (more…)


Sunrise 72: Ault Park (Cool Clear Skies, Katydids)

A beautiful sunrise on day 72.

This morning was a beautiful cool summer morning. I think the temperature was around 73 degrees with high humidity. I’m honestly surprised that the sky is still still. Last night some huge cumulus clouds rolled through the area so I expected to have some interesting atmospheric lighting conditions this morning. Not the case! The park was cool and damp and the valley below had wispy patterns of fog.

There were several katydids hanging out on one of the bushes near the overlook. My hands were shaking a bit as my heartrate dropped so I had a hard time getting a decent focus in the low light. There were actually two different kinds – a green one in the middle of six or seven white ones. Not sure if they are different subspecies or if they are different sexes.

Dawn over the ridge. The fog down in the valley is picking up indicating an interesting shift in air pressure. More storms to come in the next week?

Close up of the sunrise over the far eastern ridge over the Little Miami River Valley.

Early morning katydids.

A distant cloud banks its over the horizon. The sun’s orange light starting to give way to a more yellow late morning palette.

Close up of the green guy. It always amazes me how similar to a real leaf his adapted camouflage looks. Reminds me that in nature the same building blocks and emergent generative patterns can be found all over nature.

You can see several white katydids hiding out under the branch.

At the lower overlook facing the sunrise!

The overlook with the misty Armleder Park in the background.


Sunrise 71: The Cincinnati Observatory (Pinhole Solargraph Camera, Clear Blue Skies, Flowers)

I realized that I haven’t had too many “bike shots” recently. This small patio is where I sat and enjoyed the sunrise. I met a jogger who said that I was the only person she’s ever seen enjoying the sunrise here at her favorite spot.

Pinhole Camera! Ironically (or, perhaps not) the pinhole camera technology dates back to the late 1830s. Only a few years later, the 11″ lens now located in the Mitchell Building (the smaller of the two building on the Observatory’s campus) will be constructed.

Final shot of the sunrise against the Mitchell Building.

This morning I got up with plenty of time to spare. The sunrise was around 6:30am and I was at the Mt. Lookout United Dairy Farmers filling up my thermos ($.99 for the entire 26oz! And free on Mondays! UDF rules) by 6:20am. I read the weather forcast last night so I knew that this morning was supposed to be “clear” with only 10-20% cloud cover.

The forecast was right! After the foggy sunrises of the last week the beautiful clear sunrise was a welcome change. To honor this clear morning Tuesday I continued past Ault Park and ventured on over to the historic Cincinnati Observatory on Observatory Ave. I have never actually seen the sunrise at the Observatory because I normally only swing by on on the way back from Ault Park. With the sun moving all over the sky this summer I wasn’t even sure if the view of the sun would be appropriate. As it turns out the sun has moved far enough back to the right that there were no trees blocking Sol as he came up over the ridge line. I was impressed with just how perfect of a sunrise spot the Observatory actually is, but I can’t be too surprised considering that astrological alignment is basically their biggest concern!

The history alone of the Cincinnati Observatory is worth checking out. I have always found it interesting that the original lens in the large building was originally in Mt. Adams but it was moved to this site due to the pollution building up in the city. I never realized that they didn’t actually move the building from Mt. Adams, just the hardware. So while the lens itself dates back to the mid 1800s, this building dates back to the move to Mt. Lookout in 1873. You can find the cornerstone of the original Mt. Adams building to the back right of the new building, dating back to 1843. Now that I think about it, this may be the oldest building stone in Mt. Lookout. I’m sure this isn’t actually true, but as it stands currently it holds the Ault Park Sunrise record. This even pre-dates the 1850s construction of Crusade Castle & Vineyard.
The cornerstone, borrowed from Sunrise 41.

At the Cincinnati Observatory, the sun rose up from the break in the trees.

Not a cloud in the sky. A beautiful summer morning that you’d expect to see just after a storm.

This spot is out in front of the main Observatory Building (built in 1873). There is a circular brick patio with a handful of benches lining the outside it. It has all the great things that you’d expect to see at a true Cincinnati historic site. Murdock Fountains, late 1800s street lamps, Ohio Historical Markers, A memorial sundial, pre-1900s buildings, and a dedication by John Adams on the corner stone.

Looking East from the patio at the second building on the campus. This smaller “Mitchell” building has the original Merz und Mahler 11-inch telescope that dates back to 1843. The “main” building houses the 1904 16″ Alvan Clark & Sons telescope. Thanks wikipedia!

A vertical sunrise showcasing the late morning yellows and the deep blue gradient.

Looking towards the main building across the sundial memorial.

To the west of the main building I saw a funny contraption sitting on the lawn. Upon closer inspection (and with no physical contact whatsoever, of course!) I realized that it is a pinhold solargraph camera.

I imagine the purpose of this camera is to capture the sun’s path for the 31-day period between June 28 and July 28. They’re almost done! I’d like to see the results of this camera and I hope that they publish it. It’d be neat to see the same thing for a month of sunrises, too.

I wonder how they compensate for the possibility of the camera being blown over by the wind?

Outside the Observatory there are two big flower pots.

The red / white combination of flowers made for a great arrangement. Considering how my own flower pot experiment is failing miserably, I took mental notes and physical pictures.

Classy Arrangement. Maybe next time I try this at home I’ll use this as inspiration.


Sunrise 69, 70: Ault Park (Haze on the Ridge, Purple Cincinnati Wildflowers)

Purple Wildflower at the side of the road. They’re exploding in blooms all over the place around here. Not sure what they are but I like them. They’re thriving on the shoulders of country roads and city roads alike.

The late sunrise this morning over the haze.

This morning’s post has twice the sunrise packed into a single entry! On Friday I forgot to grab the USB cable that connects the camera to my laptop when I hopped in the car so I wasn’t able to make the Sunrise 69 post in a timely manner. Therefor today’s post has both this morning’s sunrise and Friday’s sunrise. I kind of like having both of them together because it keeps the volume of daily posts to a lower level. I don’t always like the fact that the front page is completely turned over very 10 days and often wonder if maybe my posting frequency is too high. The reason I wonder is that I’ll have a 35 picture historical exploration that gets bumped off with daily 3-picture sunrise posts. Oh well, that’s what the terribly outdated best-of section is for I suppose.

If you’re on the front page, please click to continue (13 pictures in all, mostly of the foggy ridge lines and late hazy sunrises) –> (more…)


Sunrise 65: Ault & Armleder Park (Little Miami River, Cirrocumulus Sunrise, Snake Tracks)

The Sunrise @ Armleder Park

Blue Gradient over East Hyde Park


Looking away from the sunrise at the Little Miami River.

Oh man. The past few days have seen a slight increase in cloud cover as the week has rolled by. First the storms went through. Then the skies were clear. Then there was a bit of light whipsy cloud action. Finally, this morning hit critical cloud cover and the skies were ablaze with all kinds of cloud formations. It was seriously breathtaking!

I held good on the promise I made myself yesterday (more like challenge) to see today’s sunrise in Armleder Park. This week was unique in that I hit all of the major spots: Alms Park (twice), Ault Park, Lunken Airfield, and finally Armleder Park. I haven’t been back to Armleder Park since just after the major floods receded. Has it really been 36 sunrises ago? How the time flies. Summer has settled in comfortably since my last visit to the park. I ended up checking out the Little Miami River as well. Lots of animal tracks, including a giant snake track, coyotes, raccoons, and deer. This is a bigger set, around 30 pictures in all.

The sunrise was a unique one for sure.

A close-up over the valley

Lots of different patterns going on in the sky.

If you’d like to see the rest of the post, including giant snake paths and coyote tracks (25 more coming right up) and you’re on the front page, click to continue –> (more…)


Sunrise 60: Ault Park (Dying Oak, Annual Cicada Macro, Dense Summer Fog)

After about an hour beyond sunrise, the fog has receded but is still visible a few hundred yards away.
Final shot of the cicada from the side. I tried to capture the dark rich green color of the body.

Green -> brown -> black. Another beautiful organic gradient in the wing pattern.
Foggy Sunrise

This morning made me have the realization that I need to start thinking of Cincinnati as a city with lots of fog. We are well into the summer month now and the morning sunrise fog shows no intentions of going away. Cincinnati does, after all, sit between the seven “hills” if you want to call them that. The fog this morning started off light but actually got more dense as the sun heated up the valley air. There were sheets of the fog blowing into the park from the Little Miami River Valley. For more pictures of the cicada, check out the bottom of this post. The lighting was perfect.

The dawn sky. Light pink with a bit of haze.

Looking out from Heekin Overlook. Nothing down there but fog. It’s about to get thicker.

As I’m sitting in the overlook I notice the black spots on the nearby oak tree. I noticed them for the first time on Tuesday and hoped it wasn’t the result of fireworks damage. Today was the first time I looked up and realized that the old Oak was dying. The spots are where the bark has peeled away and revealed the black wood underneath. The squirrels were clamoring around and couldn’t help knocking off huge pieces of bark from the top of the tree. Makes me sad to see such a great tree die. I wonder how long until they chop it up?

If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. More oak pictures, sunrise shots, and cicada macros coming up —> (more…)


Sunrise 59: Ault Park (Muggy Orange Sunrise, Baby Mushrooms)

Sometimes you’ve just gotta change your perspective up a bit.

Baby Mushroom, probably came up last night.

This morning’s sunrise was a long slow clear skied one that finished off with beautiful orange accents. The humidity was high today and the valley was full of fog that didn’t show any signs of letting up. This haze caused the atmosphere to stay keep a pink/orange color for most of the early morning. The first ten minutes of sunrise, however, were beautiful. The sun has crept a bit more to the right of the tree line, back towards the center of the valley, which means I get a good view of it earlier than I did even two weeks ago. With the haze hiding the features of the ridge and valley below and also serving a second purpose of keeping the sun’s brightness in check, the sun seemed to just hang in the sky slightly below my eye level.

I think today might be a hot one. If not hot, at least wet and muggy!

Dawn. Super Foggy. Didn’t realize you could see the sun peaking through the trees until I reviewed the picture on my computer!

Overlook. Check out all that fog!

I just love this light pink to blue gradient.

The sun! This picture doesn’t do it justice – the color was a deep saturated magenta red that was easy to look at for the first few minutes of the sunrise.

The sky is starting to take on a bit of orange. I tried not to overdo it with the pictures this morning and enjoy my coffee.

An attempt to capture the gradient of the sidewalk. Pseudo Successful. See the small ants running around? They were on parade this morning down by the lower overlook. I couldn’t get a picture of them because of the low light – they showed up as blurs!

Macro Sidewalk. Jury is still out on how I feel about these. They’re meant to be a kind of textured picture that I can use as a wallpaper but didn’t turn out quite as crisp as I’d like.

This little baby mushroom no doubt pushed up over night. There were three of them coming up through the wet grass. The head is about the size of a dime.

Mushrooms are so neat. They’re almost too perfect in their smooth form and delicate pattern. You’ve gotta catch them within a day of their sprouting and before they’re damaged by rain if you want to get a clean picture.

Final picture of the morning. The ridge in the distance is well hidden indeed! I swear the more I come to Ault Park for sunrise, the more I realize how neat of a vantage point Heekin Overlook is. Where else in Cincinnati can you look “down” into the sunrise across a valley that changes its appearance by the day? As much as I despise prohibition to the core, I am thankful that Ault Park (and the surrounding hills) were never developed further after the fall of the vineyards.


Sunrise 54: Ault Park (One-of-a-Kind Sunrise, Blooming Yuccas)

Beautiful Sunrise

Bloomin’ Yucca

In preparation for our trip, I had an early morning appointment yesterday that didn’t allow me to see the sunrise. We’re heading out tomorrow to San Fransisco and Sacremento, California, where I’m attending (and doing a brief talk) a medical device commercialization conference for work. I was hoping to put together the “best-of” for sunrises 11-20 but ran out of time! I’m thinking that our trip will be a good time to knock a couple of the best-of posts that I’ve been meaning to generate. I’m also hoping that while we’re out there, I will get the opportunity to do a couple “San Fransisco Sunrise” and “Sacramento Sunrise”.

Approaching the Park

Armleder Parkin the morning sun

Classic Overlook

This morning was meant to be a brief sunrise due to the fact that I still have to finish getting ready for the trip! I was about ten minutes late to the sunrise but when I arrived it was evident that the morning display was going to be one of a kind. The air was warm and a bit damp, but there was only a light mist down on the valley that provided great lighting dynamics without casting Armleder Park in a thick fog.

The bench and the bike

The sun had a respectable clearing just above the horizon that allowed the sunlight to bathe the valley in a deep orange color. There was a thin but highly textured cloud layer above the horizon that seemed to be changing by the minute as the sunlight crept over and through the many openings that revealed the blue atmosphere. I couldn’t stop taking pictures!

A bit of a lighter shot

If you’re on the front page, click to continue! About 20 pictures in all today. (more…)