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

sunrise

Sunrise 143: Ault Park (Thick Humid Sunrise, Airplanes & Helicopters)

A Humid Sunrise 143 over the Little Miami River Valley

The Tree of Heaven rising into the sky as our organic spaceship spins towards the solar globe that is giver of all life.

After missing a brilliant magenta show during the early stages of Sunrise 142, I was determined to get up to the overlook with time to spare… just in case. As it turned out, Sunrise 143 was not unlike some of the early April sunrises. It was incredibly humid this morning, with a dense mist that limited visibility. The distant ridge line faded into the gray atmosphere and the thick moisture prevented the sunlight from scattering into the upper atmosphere. During these humid mornings, the sun rises slowly without an introduction. She typically comes up through the gray horizon, glowing a deep majestic purple that one can stare at for a few minutes before the curvature of the earth and the less dense mid-atmospheric air allow more light to get through.

Sunrises such as this are likely the reason why I was so surprised to find that a low-humidity sunrise can begin lighting up the sky up to an hour before scheduled sunrise time. It isn’t all that surprising to see a “Spring Seasonal” sunrise right now, considering that the temperatures of the last few days have risen up into the mid 60s. In fact this morning was so pleasant that I didn’t wear my winter jacket and ended up removing my gloves for most of the sunrise. While I am enjoying this unseasonably warm weather, it makes me wonder what kind of winter surprises Mother Nature has planned for us in early spring. I’m hoping for an April snowstorm, personally ūüôā

The early twilight sky was dark with only a light glimmer of orange developing against the gray. Black and White mode helped bring out some of the contrast in the low light.

The lower overlook and the single tree that hangs out over the valley, a favorite hangout spot for the local birds. The birds were quite active this morning, by the way. They’re loving this February spring weather.

About ten minutes before “First Light”, the sky shows little sign of the impending sunrise.

Heekin Overlook against the misty valley.

High overhead a big airliner ascends into the upper atmosphere. I’m going to take a guess and say that it recently took off from Dayton Airport, given the fact that it was still rather low and it was not heading for Cincinnati Airport ¬†from what I could tell.

If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. 14 pictures total in today’s humid pseudo-spring sunrise post. (more…)


Sunrise 142: Ault Park (Unseasonably Warm Sunrise, Guest Sunrise #6)

A moody sunrise on this warm winter Tuesday

It seems that the topic of the day is the weather. Here in Cincinnati we’re having an unseasonably warm streak. As I write this the temperature is pushing 60F and I’m wearing a polo! It’s really bizarre and it has me wondering what May is going to look like…

I woke up this morning and peered out the window. I saw two things. First, a family of deer were munching away in our lawn. Four young females taking advantage of the warm morning. They were about 7 feet outside our back window and just stared back at us, chewing grass, when we opened the blinds to say hello. Second, I noticed that while the upper atmosphere was clear, there was a huge cloud bank in the lower half of the sky. Normally this means no sunrise for me, so I took my time getting ready before heading up to the park.

You can imagine my surprise when I rounded the corner on Linwood Ave and saw one of the most brilliant displays of pink and magenta just above the horizon. As it turned out, the lower atmosphere had a clear opening under the cloud bank and I was missing the show! I arrived at the overlook just as a family of 4 (humans, this time) were packing up their things. The sky had faded to a dull orange, and I confirmed with them that I was 5 minutes shy of missing a beautiful pink sunrise. Too bad! Whenever I figure out that whole time traveling bit, I’ll be sure to set it to January 31 2012 for a guaranteed unique sunrise.

The sunrise this morning was not unlike the sunrises of April 2011 – dynamic, moody, and full of change. In other words, exactly what you’d expect on a day whose temperature is 40F higher than what you’d expect. Let’s hope that the next sunrise is of similar style so that I get a second chance. Although, to be fair, I haven’t adjusted to the fact that the sunrise is slowly creeping earlier each¬†morning¬†as our countdown to summer continues. I’m still mentally prepared for an 8:00am sunrise, so the 7:44am sunrise of this morning actually did catch me off guard. Now that I know about the¬†majesty¬†of twilight colors, sometimes up to 45 minutes before sunrise, I’m thinking that spring and summer of 2012 may be even more of a challenge than 2011, considering I’ve moved my arrival time from 10 minutes before sunrise to a half hour before sunrise. It is, however, totally worth it.

During the past couple of days I’ve received three sunrise pictures, so I’ve included them here in our sixth Guest Sunrise post. One is from Trent, another shot of the San Francisco sunrise, one is from Leah who is visiting Florida, and the other is from Amanda (the wife unit) who went to work a bit early this morning and caught the sunrise on the way to work. Thanks for submitting everyone!

Guest Sunrise #6: East Coast, West Coast, MidWest

Ft. Lauderdale Sunrise. Thanks for the East Coast sunrise Leah!

San Fransisco Bike Commute Sunrise. Thanks for another sunrise contribution Trent!

Erlanger, KY Sunrise. Thanks for the second viewpoint of this morning’s sunrise, Amanda!


The late twilight sky as I arrived at the overlook in Ault Park. To think that just 10 minutes prior, all of that orange would have been a blazing pink and magenta display.

A plane takes off into an atmosphere that is slowly getting brighter as we approach sunrise. This is an iconic “Spring Sunrise” atmosphere, which is strange since it is January 31.

Heekin Overlook. Armleder is flooded again. It is worth noting that Armleder was flooded last spring, another sign that this is unseasonable weather.

Sunrise 142

First Light over the Little Miami River


Sunrise 141: Ault Park (January Crocus, Guest Sunrise #5)

Twilight Magenta of Sunrise 141

Some crocuses (or tulips?) coming up through the mulch out in front of our place. They’re a bit early (at least a month, maybe two); hopefully they don’t get killed by the next hard freeze!

After a week of rain and ice, this morning we finally had a beautiful clear sunrise. There was some intense wind activity yesterday afternoon that preceded a breaking of the overcast conditions in the tri-state area. The weather has held and it looks like we’ve got some great weather lined up for the next couple of days. It was a humid sunrise this morning and this was evident in the late-twilight orange/yellow/gray colors of the haze. The early twilight was another splendid magenta-filled canvas that slowly faded into a dull yellow/gray sunrise that was mostly blocked by a far-off cloud bank just above the horizon.

This morning we also have Guest Sunrise #5, with three repeat contributors. Tara shares one of her favorite sunrise pictures that was taken by her father in Exeter, Pennsylvania on November 13 1972. This is a special contribution and I am thankful that Tara chose to share it. The photo comes at us from just under four decades in the past. Thanks Tara!

Two of my old roommates have also shared some of their recent sunrise shots. Both Phil and Trent have been commuting by bike, although it’s a bit easier for Trent out in San Francisco to be consistent than it is for Phil and I here in the midwest winter :). Phil’s sunrise is from sometime last week when the weather was breaking and we had a nice magenta display. I’m going to guess it may have been Sunrise 138. Trent has shared two sunrises, both from different days. Trent recently purchased a commuter bike for his new job out in the beautiful city of San Francisco, California. He has kept me up to date (and envious!) of his new morning commute through the parks and bike trails of one of the most bike commuter friendly cities in the US. He mentions that as he leaves for work it is dark out, and by the time he arrives the sun is up. Recently it has worked out that the sun rises over the bay while he’s zipping through of the local parks. Thanks Phil & Trent for sharing!

PS: I added a new link up there on top titled “Random“. If you click it you’ll be directed to a random sunrise post. Enjoy!

Guest Sunrise #1: Exeter, Pennsylvania 1972

Tara says:

“My Papa took this picture on November 13, 1972 in Exeter, PA. The tree is a
big apple tree in our front yard. I checked with him and he said it was a
sunrise. I know he has more but I happen to have this one because I asked if
I could have it years ago. I also asked his permission to share this photo
with Ault Park Sunrise and of course he said yes.”

Thanks Tara!

Guest Sunrise #2: Columbus, Ohio

Phil’s colorful sunrise in Columbus, Ohio

Guest Sunrise #3: San Francisco, California

A sun rises over the bay city

In Trent’s own words “iPhone does not capture the majesty of these sunrises”. Thanks Trent!

Onward to today’s sunrise over the Little Miami River Valley.

The twilight sky was humid with lots of magenta this morning. The whispy nature of the clouds added a smooth texture to the sky.

The Little Miami River reflects some of the morning colors down in the old pre-glacial Ohio River Valley.

The Tree of Heaven silhouette against the late sunrise. Already the sun is beginning to slip back to the left, making me greatly appreciate that I have been able to get a hand full of pictures of this young tree over the past couple of weeks.

If you’re on the front page, please click to continue for the rest of this post. About 15 pictures total from Sunrise 141. (more…)


Sunrise 140: Ault Park (Humid, Clear, & Subtle Winter Sunrise)

Tree of Heaven silhouette, this time with a view of the little miami river in the valley below.

This morning’s sunrise fit my mood quite nicely. After the behemoth of a post that Sunrise 139 was, I was a bit drained this morning as I arrived to the overlook. It was also the first time in awhile I didn’t have any coffee, so I was happy about the subtle and calm yet still eventful sunrise. The temperature was pleasant this morning at a brisk 35F in the park. It appears we have a break today and then it’s back to the rain and freezing ice.

The sunrise this morning was high humidity, which was marked with a nice blue atmosphere that had a touch of gray into late twilight, and a purple sun that slowly rose out of the cloud bank without caring much about announcing its arrival. The birds were active this morning, and with the wet and damp air it felt a bit like spring even though its months away.

There was a friendly young man at the overlook this morning. We didn’t get to talk much, but his name was Derek. He makes an appearance in the final photo.

As I came up the hill to the park, I was happy to see that I hadn’t missed the magenta creep. Here we see the atmosphere about 20 minutes before sunrise over the little miami river valley.

A plane takes off at twilight against a muted blue and pink sunrise

In a heavy humidity atmosphere, the sunrise colors can fade quickly. Lots of vapor trails this morning.

First Light @ Sunrise 140

Heekin Overlook @ Ault Park.


Sunrise 138: Ault Park (Purple and Orange Winter Twilight, a Crescent Moon)

Early twilight before Sunrise 138. Check out the crescent moon in the corner!

Heekin Overlook, looking out over the Little Miami River Valley. How many humans have seen the sunrise from this spot over the past ten millennia???

First Light @ Sunrise 138

If you were to look at the forecast right now, or even out the window, you would probably be surprised to find out that the sunrise this morning was another beautiful winter display. As I write this, the sky has filled with clouds and it looks like we’re hunkering down for some snow. But just two hours ago, the skies were clear and misty with humidity, and the sun rose amid a bright twilight display featuring some deep purples and bright oranges. Not bad for “71% cloud cover”, eh? Once again the changing weather has proven impossible to accurately predict.

I woke up a bit early this morning because my wife and I had the intention of trying out, for the first time, a 6am spinning class at the local gym. As 5:45am rolled around, it didn’t sound like the best plan. We continued to sleep, but fortunately I mustered up some mental energy and peered out the window to see if I could see any stars. What did I see through the silhouetted trees? Why, a misty halo surrounding a crescent moon! This was enough to get me up by 6:45am, catch up on some email, and then head down to Mt. Lookout for some coffee.

As it turned out, the atmosphere held off the clouds that vacated the sky last night just before sunset. There was a substantial amount of misty humidity in the air, causing quite a beautiful scatter of the early morning twilight colors. Purple was well represented this morning, probably due to the thicker haze that tends to keep the yellows and oranges subdued until just before sunrise. The fuchsia palette was present throughout the early twilight, but it wasn’t the dominant player. Just before sunrise, the sky exploded, for about 20 seconds, in this brilliant orange glow, similar to the shade I saw during Sunrise 137 that basked the overlook in its rich hue.

I imagine that the ice crystals up in the humid atmosphere have a lot to do with these extended winter twilight displays. I was worried about the winter, but as it turns out I love the winter sunrises just as much as the ones during the rest of the year.

Oh, before we continue, I’d like to share some exciting news. This week, the Eastern Hills Journal is featuring a follow up to the¬†May 2011 article on Ault Park Sunrise. It’s a nice piece and Lisa Wakeland, as always, did a great job. The journal is available at local book stores and other venues around the city. I picked up a copy at Joseph-Beth bookstore in Norwood.

As I peddled up the hill to the park, the moon hanging over this beautiful silhouetted tree caught my eye. We can see the sky starting to light up at the base of the tree.

I’m starting to amass a nice, but small, collection of twilight pictures with this tree of heaven as the subject. I was looking for a large tree silhouette, but I’m quite content with this little guy for the time being.

My friend, the adolescent Tree of Heaven. A new project favorite and the subject of an unexpected series.

The early twilight colors of Sunrise 138 over the Little Miami River Valley. The thick haze that hung high over head once again broke just above the horizon, similar to Sunrise 137. This time, however, the haze was thin and the opening much larger. My camera had no problem with the lighting today.

A soft textured sky as the colors begin to shift up the energy spectrum from blue/purples to orange/yellows.

If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. There are about 22 pictures total for this morning.¬† (more…)


Sunrise 137: Ault Park (Stormy Winter Skies, Ft. Ancient Preview)

The twilight sky before Sunrise 137

First Light @ Ault Park’s lower overlook

It “warmed” up a bit this morning to just under freezing, a brisk 30F. The sky was clear last night before bed, but by the time sunrise rolled around most of the sky was filled with clouds. The horizon, however, was mostly clear. The forecast for this week puts us with some rain tonight and hopefully some snow later this week. The clouds that started to fill the sky this morning have successfully blocked out the night skies as I write this post late in the day. (I had to make a trip to the dentist this morning which pushed my schedule behind quite a bit!). Actually the dentist visit went great. It was one of those things where modern anesthesia makes getting a cavity filled a mere inconvenience, where as 100 years ago it would have been a memorable event marked with lots of whiskey and excruciating pain.

While I drove out towards the Mt. Carmel office, I found myself winding through the Little Miami River Valley, upon which Ault Park and Alms Park sit. I have recently been in contact with a graduate student who studies the Ft. Ancient culture, specifically the earthworks and burial sites that were at one time located in the Little Miami River Valley. Hopefully we will be working together in the next few months as we piece together old documents that he has uncovered from the late 1800s. These documents were surveys of the valley and identified interesting ruins and burial sites uncovered during the development of the region. Just a few miles over in Mariemont, a large serpent mound was recently uncovered and it may be the world’s largest. Matt tells me that this area would have, at one time, been home to tens of thousands of mounds. How many are left after 200 years of development? It would be most excellent if we are able to locate some of these sites that have not been documented in recent history and help set into motion the necessary actions that would lead to their protection. It is fascinating to me that while I’ve been concerned with the last 150 years of history in this region, there is a much larger and older story that dates back several thousand years. Matt has identified several old buildings and landmarks that may go by different names today (or be gone all together). It is my hope that with the resources I’ve explored in developing this project I can help Matt put some of these historical landmarks into the context of modern day. There are some old estates that are referenced that have probably long since been sold to developers, and also lots of locations that are given relative to old rail lines, tresses, and stations that existed in this area in the 1800s. Stay tuned, it should be a fun project.

On to the sunrise! This morning’s sunrise was a strange one. The thick cloud layer over head broke right above the horizon. This affect is always interesting because it can expose the open atmosphere to allow the sunrise colors to become visible, but at the same time the puffy pseudo-cumulus clouds can be just as interesting to watch due to the nature of the shadow patterns that dance around while the sun is rising and the light is changing. The clouds take on this bright blue/gray color with sharply defined boundaries. It’s very hard to pick up on the camera, but with the human eye it looks interesting. Speaking of the camera, this morning was one of the hardest sunrises to get a decent picture of. The bright twilight sky was restricted to being just above the horizon, while the rest of the sky was dark with clouds. This made my little camera’s sensor very confused as to what its white balance and exposure should be. A more configurable camera would have come in handy. Oh well! I turned down the exposure so that the twilight colors weren’t washed out and away I went.

One last thing about the sunrise this morning. Right when First Light peaked over the ridge line, the park was bathed in this brilliant deep orange glow. I caught it on camera but, as usual, the picture doesn’t do it justice. It was one of those shades of color where my vocabulary simply is at a loss to describe it. A deep red/orange/neon/yellow. Very rich.

Looking South/West towards Lunken Airfield.

Heekin Overlook, 30 minutes before sunrise. Dark with a brightening twilight horizon that was difficult to capture.

This is like -1 exposure, about as dark as I typically am comfortable doing. That’s the only way I could get a picture without the entire horizon looking bleached out white! This is my new favorite sunrise target. It’s a tiny little “Tree of Heaven” that rises up in front of the lower overlook. I used to get a bit annoyed at it when I realized the sun was moving across the horizon and it would be in the way.

So I think this little guy is an adolescent Tree of Heaven. Wikipedia tells me its latin name is¬†Ailanthus Altissima. Want to know something interesting, fair reader? I hope you do, because I’m about to lay it on you. The answer to a mystery I pondered earlier this year, coming together in a full circle of life.¬†Ready for it?

  1. I found a caterpillar back in spring. Species Unknown at the time. (Sunrise 24)
  2. I found this moth back in the summer. I identified it as an Ailanthus Silkworm, and postulated that it may be the adult form of the caterpillar from Sunrise 24 (Sunrise 91)
  3. Now it comes full circle. As it turns out, this Ailanthus Altissima (Tree of Heaven) is a host of the moth. As the tree migrated north (apparently it is considered a pest in some circles), it brought it’s orange and white colored moth friend with it. Cincinnati is in the northern tip of the “Humid Sub-Tropic” climate, so there are a lot of species around here that have crawled up from the wet forests of the southern USA and survive here quite well.

I just scrounged around and found a picture from¬†Sunrise 48¬†that showcases this lovely little tree. Here she is (on the right) with a full coat of summer leaves, back in the middle of a hot and sticky day in Cincinnati. It’s also interesting to look back on this sunrise from the middle of winter. So much humidity. The sun rose that day with a shade of deep, blood red.¬†Note how far to the left the sun is.

Sunrise 137, you were a tricky one.

“First Light”. I could not, for the life of me, get a picture that didn’t include this bleached out white glow. In reality it was a bright and rich orange.

Reminds me of a stormy spring day. This is January, right?

A vertical shot, looking out over the Little Miami River Valley

An attempt to capture that orange glow that was permeating across the overlook.


Sunrise 136: Ault Park (Clear Twilight & Eastern Hills Journal Interview, Pt. 2)

Sunrise 136 @ Ault Park

This morning’s sunrise was a special one. The atmosphere was clear and the twilight provided beautiful colors, once again, so it turned out to be quite the pleasant, if a bit chilly, morning. Lisa Wakeland contacted me yesterday to ask if I’d be interested in doing a follow up for the Ault Park Sunrise article that originally ran last spring in the Eastern Hills Journal. Of course I said “heck yeah!” and so she agreed to met me to talk. She was a good sport and humored my request to meet at sunrise at the park for the interview. I figured it was worth a shot since these are some of the latest sunrises of the entire year! I’m looking forward to seeing what she ends up putting in the article and I’ll be sure to link to it here. Thanks again Lisa!!

I was able to get up to the overlook a bit early again to appreciate the half hour of twilight display before the sun crested over the ridge line. This may be one of the last colorful sunrises for while as it appears we have some winter weather heading our way. Looks like we’re in for some rain and snow during the rest of the week. Boo.

I arrived at the overlook just as the “Magenta Creep” was starting to slide across the sky from the horizon.

There were light pockets of clouds that were slowly moving across the sky, seeming to line nicely with the part of the sky where I was expecting the sun to come up. Twilight colors are a nice set of light pinks and purples.

A plane takes off from Lunken Airfield against the twilight sky.

Naked trees above the Murdock water fountain.

If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. 17 pictures total on this clear and chilly winter morning. (more…)


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.

For all 70+ pictures, please click to continue if you’re on the front page. (more…)


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.

For the rest of this post, about 8 pictures total, please click to continue if you’re on the front page. (more…)


Sunrise 133: Ault Park (Clear and Cold Winter Sunrise)

Sunrise 133: Cold and Clear for 2012

First and foremost: Happy 2012! Another year under the bridge as we move ever onward. 2011 was a great year and I should probably think about doing a “best of 2011” (which would end up being best of Ault Park Sunrise) post. I had planned on updating the “best of” page anyway, so this would be a great time to do it. It’s already a bit late so what’s a few more weeks?

This morning’s sunrise took place in an atmosphere that was, once again, completely unforecastable. This weather has really been strange recently, it reminds me a lot of the unpredictable weather changing that occurs during spring. I checked the weather report last night and it said “93% cloud cover”. As it turned out, the skies were almost crystal clear with a couple of aircraft vapor trails and a light low lying cloud bank. The current outlook for the rest of the week is mostly clear as well, even though it currently reads both “Clear” and “89% Cloud Cover”… I’m not sure what that’s about! One is probably the reality while the other is still based on forecast, perhaps? After what seems like a month of overcast mornings, it was a pleasant surprise to see the clouds gone this morning on this cool record-braking-low-temperature winter morning.

As I write this post, the temperature is hanging out at 19F. I think that breaks the record for the coldest temperature for an Ault Park Sunrise ride. And cold it was. I got some new gear from my parents for Christmas, so this was my first chance to try them out. My new reflective winter riding jacket (with light-up LED strip on the back, hah!) did a great job with my hooded sweatshirt on under it. I tried out a winter face-mask which did the trick nicely. Just as I headed home, however, the heat in my fingers finally gave out and I had a bone-chilling ride down the windy hill into Mt. Lookout. From now on I think I’ll trade my running gloves for the bulky but well insulated wool gloves. Warmth +10, Agility -5.

Yesterday morning through the afternoon we received our first minor snowfall. We received about a half an inch or so of a light dusting and some of it stuck around through this morning. I was hoping for a bit more snow on the ground, but there was enough to create some subtle highlights around the park. I’m still looking forward to my first true fresh snowfall sunrise, something that I expect to see as our humid tropical-climate gives into the cold fronts that creep down from the North. There was no ice on the road today so I didn’t have to worry too much about safety, and overall the sunrise was a welcomed break to the gloomy mornings that we’ve been used to.

The sunrise this morning was a humid one, with lots of deep orange and reds that filled the atmosphere just after first light. I actually arrived a bit early, unintentionally, so I was able to watch the sky slowly evolve from the twilight deep blues into the post-sunrise oranges before heading back to our warm apartment.

Twilight, looking over the Little Miami River Valley. I was a bit early, this is roughly a half hour before sunrise.

Twilight is always a surprise because unless you have a clear view of the horizon, it isn’t obvious that there is so much color in the lower atmosphere.

Heekin Overlook, with bits of snow along the ground.

After roughly 15 minutes, the sky is starting to lighten up. It’s quite humid, however, so there isn’t a bright¬†aura¬†forming above the horizon. Instead, the light is being scattered by the moisture in the atmosphere and spread out throughout the sky.

Apparently I spilled some coffee when I poured my second cup. It froze immediately when it came in contact with the steel foundation that supports the columns!

Due to the high humidity, I was only given about 20 seconds notice as to where the sun would pop up over the horizon. The clouds were starting to move from their deep purple into a highlighted pink shadowy palette. Bright pink/orange highlights started showing up across the low lying cloud bank, and even though you can’t see it from the picture, there was a glowing misty patch just above where the sun would soon show up. You can see it, kind of, in this picture above as the small circular orange spot in the center of the picture.

First Light!

It was at this point I started to realize that the defenses of the gloves I was wearing were starting to give. I wasn’t planning on waiting around to see how bad it could get in under 19F (-7C) weather. Take care!