After seeing the cloudy front take over the sunset last night, I was worried that the sky this morning would be overcast. When I got out of bed and looked out the window, the was indeed a bit cloudy but it was a light covering with pockets of dark blue sky showing through. The atmosphere was on the “heavy” side of light overcast. I rode up to the park for the 6:34am sunrise but as I made my way up the hill I started to notice that the sky was darker than I would have expected. There were not any signs of orange, indicating that there was a low cloud cover over the horizon. It is worth mentioning that this week I have continued to “default” to using the second gear on my bike to go up the hills. This is something that I was unable to do even two weeks ago – the added difficulty is a welcome addition to my morning rides that are becoming easier by the day as I get into shape. Feeling a bit of pent up energy from the many rain storms, I could tell that if the lighting conditions are right I’d be taking lots of pictures today.
The sky was indeed filled with a low overcast cloud bank. The sun came up over the horizon and shined through the misty layers. Just as I was sitting down to enjoy my coffee, my assumptions about a conservative and boring sunrise started to gather doubt. I noticed that directly above me the sky was starting to break, I could see the clear blue sky pushing away the clouds. The clouds were moving east allowing the clear skies to slip closer and closer to the sun rise. (If you’re on the front page, please click to continue –>) (more…)
My morning routine was the quickest yet. The birds woke me up at exactly the time I should have been in the park. As it turns out, I set my alarm to 6:10pm, not 6:10am; oops! My coffee was already packed in the thermos. I was up at the park within 10 minutes from being in bed – definitely a new record. In fact I had the bike in second gear the entire time – also a first! Fortunately the sky was overcast so I didn’t miss much. It was a nice opportunity to relax and check out the view. I took a few pictures of the sun rise, which ended up showing some color as the sun crept up into the sky, and headed back home for some early morning errands. More pictures, including the arboretum and japanese maple, click continue –> (more…)
I’m beginning to think that I actually like a week of thunder storms. Today’s forecast shows “chance of thunderstorms” in the morning, and “chance of rainstorms” all day. After the storms that whipped through yesterday and last night, the sky was left mostly clear in the upper atmosphere with low lying cloud banks to the east. So far the most unique sun rises have been on these days when a storm is expected to show up but doesn’t end up getting here until late morning or beyond. It makes me wonder if spring isn’t the best season for the sun rise? A summer full of clear warm days won’t make for a dynamic atmosphere. On the other hand, the lighting conditions that come with a clear sun rise provide great opportunities to take pictures of the plants and trees. Click “Continue Reading” to see more pictures if you’re on the front page. (more…)
You can tell today is a Monday. I got all the way up to the park before I realized that I had forgotten the camera. The last time this happened, the sun rise was so spectacular that I had to make do with my camera phone. This time, however, the sky was overcast. This meant that a difference of 10 minutes didn’t really matter as much. I whipped back home, all down hill, and grabbed the camera from the table. The second ride up the hill wasn’t as hard as the first; being warmed up helps substantially when you’re on a bike.
The forecast for this week looks pretty miserable. Thunderstorms are expected for every morning until friday, when they drop their electrical charge and just become “rain storms”. This morning, however, was a great example on how not to get discouraged just because the forecast sucks. The temperature was warm, the air was thick. I actually ended up taking off my sweatshirt when I got to the overlook – it was that hot. The rain held off until just before I walked in my door (for the second time). In general, sunrise quality withstanding, it was a very promising beginning to an otherwise gloomy sunrise week.
As the sun rise came up behind the eastern hills, I started to see a possible opening in the clouds. I hoped that the hole was deep enough for the sun to be able to pop through. For a few seconds it looked possible, but in the end I only got some nice orange highlights.
The fog was thick over the Ohio River and it was starting to creep over across Lunken Airfield. You can see a small commuter about to take off while the gettin’s good. Next to the red lights. At this point it was only a matter of time until the storm arrived to make me eat my words about the morning being pleasant and dry.
The focus of today’s sun rise, and most of the last week, has to be Armleder Park. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the park (and dog park on the western side) are looking pretty water-logged. The water has advanced up to the center park “shelter”, and it even looks like it has crept up a foot or two. The Little Miami river has officially taken over the park. But this brings me back to the fishing theory that I touched on last week. I heard rumors that the park may have schools of giant grass carp swimming around, no doubt taking advantage of the soccer fields and prairie grass. Once the rains stop and the water recedes back into the river, I imagine that many large fish will find themselves hiding out in the “deep” part of the prairie – the small fishing pond near the soccer fields. I imagine this will be one of the best years to go pond fishing at Armleder Park. Who knows what monsters will end up taking residence in the tidal pool pond.
On the way home I stopped to take a picture of a tree that I have noticed in the past week. Now that the cherries and pears have dropped their blooms, the few blooming trees that are still blasting their colorful coats stand out. Most of the purple magnolias have dropped their pedals as well. But this one particular species bloomed two weeks later than the other magnolias. Its leaves are smaller, and the branches expand in a kind of planar pattern, rather than a blooming bush-like pattern. The pink is so vibrant, especially in low light. Does anyone know what these are? I may be completely wrong, perhaps it isn’t even a magnolia.
These purple hanging flowers must have bloomed in the last week. The bush is hanging across the sidewalk along one of the side-routes I take to get home. As I took this picture the rain started to pour down.
While I had the camera out I wanted to capture this wooden mushroom sculpture that always catches my eye. There are a handful of wooden sculptures in the neighborhood that appear to be carved out of the still-in-the-ground stumps of old trees. I’m not sure if this is a single hunk of stump, I got out of there before I got too soaked. Looking back on the picture, however, I think it is. You can see the ring of the original stump at the base of the mushroom.
Stats from this morning (curiously, it looks like Lunken had a power outage, the data is incomplete).
Sunrise: 6:47am EST
Temperature: 60F / 16C, (felt 15 degrees hotter than that with the humidity)
Sky: Overcast with cloudy holes, a western moving front
Sunrise: Muffled but orange. At least we got some color!
Bird Chatter: The cardinals were noticeably loud. There were several around dominating the spectrum, almost forcifully
People: A few runners were out taking advantage of the “dry” morning.
When I first woke up this morning, all I could think of was how sore I was going to be. Last night I participated in my first ever “group ride” with the friendly people over at Element Cycles in Mt. Lookout / Hyde Park. I found out about the event only two hours before it started. Yesterday afternoon I was browsing through the Cincinnati bicycling blogosphere when I came across an announcement by Queen City Cycles (and Urban Cincy) about how May is “Bike Month”. There are going to be all kinds of awesome events, including Bike+Brew, an event that involves a bike pub crawl through the bars in over the rhine, down town, and newport / covington kentucky. It sounds like a blast. Along with the announcement about Bike+Brew there Queen City Cycles had a picture of the official Bike Month t-shirts. I saw that one of the locations to pick up a t-shirt was at Element Cycles, which just so happens to be in my neighborhood. I remembered passing the shop just last Sunday for the first time so I decided to check out their website / facebook page. As it turns out they do Thursday rides @ 6pm. Being familiar with the weather for this week and realizing that yesteday was probably the only beautiful day (and the only clear sunrise!) I sucked it up and decided to check out the event, for better or worse.
I was pretty nervous to say the least. Could I keep up with these “real” cyclists? Would I get left behind, struggling and over run by traffic, somewhere in the eastern hills, 20 miles from my house? I sucked it up and headed over to the bike shop on Observatory to see what it was all about. It ended up being an absolutely fantastic ride. I was probably the only person in the group who didn’t have clip-less pedals, a bike computer, or a sweet-ass aerodynamic bike outfit – but in the end it didn’t matter. We had a group of about 15 people, all of whom are what I would consider to be regular cyclists. A few of the riders were obviously serious about speed, quite intimidating at first, but they ended up breaking off and doing their own route which left us mortals to climb the grueling hills at our own pace. Everyone was friendly and didn’t seem to mind my nervous tick – talking and talking and talking (“Did you know this building was built in the early 1900s for downtown commuters? It doesn’t have a parking lot because there used to be a rail line that went through here. So have you heard of the Cincinnati Subway? hehe) The route ended up being about 21 miles, averaging about 14mph. We went up to Madeira, over through Indian Hill, and back up Wooster to Madisonville. There are some beautiful hidden (and steep) roads out through Indian Hill. Fortunately for my legs (and sanity) we took a break every 5 miles or so to recuperate. It was a great experience overall. After the trip Brett, the owner, hooked me up with a craft beer from Utah, Four+Brewing’s Wyld Organic Pale Ale. I knew right then that I was coming back :). I’ve never had a craft beer from Utah, and even now it appears that it was a rare occasion – I don’t think the brewery even has a web site. I look forward to many more Thursday rides.
This morning started out with so much promise. The color of the twilight sky was the gray that I’ve become so familiar with this week. It was not, however, quite as dark as Monday or Tuesday. There were streaks of a hazy bright gray, almost blue, through the atmosphere, giving me some hope that there may be a sunrise after all. I’ve found that you can tell a lot about the sun rise by how much light is in the atmosphere about a half hour before the sun rise. If the atmosphere is bright you’ll obviously have a great sun rise. And if it is still as dark as you’d expect to be in the middle of the night, you’ve got a completely overcast situation. But there are levels in between. From a 0 (stormy / midnight) to a 10 (clear with no clouds) today was probably a 4. I made my coffee (oops I forgot all about it last night), hopped on the bike, and rode up to the park. I arrived just in time for the official sunrise. The air was surprisingly warm, and while it was a bit wet out, I wouldn’t say that it was unpleasant. The air smelled sweet and there was a surprisingly high volume of bird chatter. It must be mating season for one of the local species because it sounded like a constant overlapping between one specific kind of bird call. I’ve noticed that the cardinals tend not to yell over one another – they take turns and sync up. I’d say that this is a good example of an optimized game theory strategy. This other bird though (I know what it looks like, but not what it is called) isn’t quite so courteous. There was a consistent baseline of song, partially shrill and indistinguishable, in the backdrop of the forest soundscape.
The sun never did come out. Armleder Park is still holding strong down in the valley, having been underwater for over two weeks now. I can’t imagine how many giant carp or catfish are grazing the prairie grass and soccer fields. I just realized that you can fish in the small pond that is located on the eastern side of the park – does that now expand to include the whole park? Hmm. I may have to go get a fishing license after all. I also wonder what effect this will have on the fish population in that small pond. If the prarie is the flat basin of the new “Armleder Lake”, the pond would be the deep trench that the catfish would probably want to hide out in. When the water recedes, I bet we’ll see some giant fish pulled out of that pond.I’d like to imagine a young kid and his dad heading out to Armleder for a quick fishing trip after work. By this point, lets say late August, the 4 foot grass carp hasn’t had a good meal in weeks. He’s desperate for some protein. The kid feels a yank on his line, and the next day his dad can tell his work buddies that his son caught a 100 pound grass carp in a tiny pond next to the soccer fields. Heck yeah!
Lunken Airport is a bit under water, too, but that doesn’t affect business. The run ways are elevated, perhaps because they got sick and tired of getting flooded out over the years. Or maybe they built it that way originally. Who knows.
Normally I would over look these smaller flowers, but now that the cherry blossoms, magnolias, and daffodils have moved on they stand out against the green backdrop. (More after the jump) (more…)
This morning was absolutely beautiful. It was everything I could have hoped for after these last two days of thunder storms, and more :). The atmosphere was crisp and clear, with a hazy cloud formation just above the horizon. The clouds provided a beautiful reflective orange pattern and there was a “slicing” effect caused by one of the lower cloud banks (I need more words for clouds…). I guess you could say today was a “mustache kinda morning” (thanks Mike!). Always remember – shaving your beard in preparation for summer is always an opportunity to wear a mustache (even if only for a single day)! Earlier this week I had a “mustache monday”; fortunately I only ran into a handful of people. Moving on…
This is my theme song for the day. Don’t judge!
The pre-dawn atmosphere was a pinkish color, no doubt influenced by the low cloud cover. When the sun actually came up, you could just barely see it through the clouds. It was so subtle and majestic. More pictures after the jump (more…)
It was difficult getting up this morning. For the past two nights we’ve had some serious thunder storm action. The front that rolled through last night was predicted to be substantial. While it certainly was intense, I feel that at least in our area it wasn’t as strong as the lightning storm that came through tuesday morning. The city of Cincinnati can be a bit trigger happy on the storm siren. Their policy is to blast it under “Thunderstorm Warning”. I’m sure they blast it under a “Tornado Watch” as well, but we haven’t had one yet this spring. As if the thunder storm wouldn’t wake us up, they made sure that we were awake by turning on the storm sirens twice, once around 12:30am and once around 1:00am. That made for a rough wake up.
Last night I tried something different that ended up working out perfectly. My thermos, as you may know, is an excellent insulator. I decided to make my coffee last night and fill up the thermos. This eliminated the largest time sink of my morning (about 8 minutes of the 15 it takes to get ready). It also allowed me to roll up to the park and pour a cup of coffee that was only 20-30 seconds away from being at a drinkable temperature. If I make coffee in the same morning I drink it, I can wait up to 4 minutes before I can touch it. The coffee was delicious, as expected, and I think I’ll be making nightly coffee from now on.
This morning the park was quiet, peaceful, and wet. The storm broke for me just like yesterday morning. There was no rain, but it was dark. The overlook provided a nice view of the storm clouds rolling through. It was a bit tough getting good pictures without them ending up blurry.
Armleder Park is now officially Armleder Lake (with the associated Armleder Dog Park Bay). It looks like the Little Miami and the surrounding fields / praries have become one. Could it get any worse? I’m not sure.
I sat back and enjoyed my 8 hour old delicious coffee. The rain must have just recently subsided because the birds were slowly building up their song. I heard a mourning dove for the first time along with the usuals.
I noticed, along the stone ledge, a large ant that was struggling to get around on the wet surface. Poor guy probably lost all of his colony’s pheromone trails in the rain. He is probably doomed to live out the rest of his days in an eternal wander. But it did get me excited – late spring and summer means more insects! It is kind of strange listening to the forest and not hearing crickets and cicadas.
Ten minutes after “sunrise” I was feeling a bit “antsy” (haha). I rode over to the arboretum and sat down at one of the benches under a magnolia tree. There were several downed branches from the recent storm. The ambient light was starting to creep up to more reasonable levels, and the green foilage was taking on that eerie glow that only comes around during a dark cloudy sky.
I hopped on my bike and headed home after the quick trip to the park. I was home by 7:40am, a half hour before I would have considered getting out of bed two weeks ago. On the way home I came across a cleanup crew taking care of a downed power line. Whenever I see civic services, like road crews repairing pot holes and bridges or firemen removing branches from downed power lines, I can’t help but think about a city as an organic living being. If you were to observe a city from a bird’s (or alien’s) eye view, and speed up the time interval so that a day was, say, a minute, what would you see? I imagine it would look a lot like an ant colony that regulates its defenses, attacks intruders, and cleans up damaged wings. Watch how quickly the city repairs the power line when a tree hits it! Did you see it tear down the bridge and re-route the traffic to the new bypass? Watch how it clears its traffic arteries of all the snow! Sometimes the city can die when the life force (people) move away from it due to ecological pressures outside of its control (job market, natural disasters). Cities that adapt policies to be friendly to certain job markets often are rewarded with a cultural and financial boost. Some cities are sick with financial or political problems that prevent certain sub-systems from functioning (police or waste service strike, budget crises). I could probably go on about this all day, and I apologize if this seems a bit disconnected. This is the first time I’ve put these thoughts down in writing, and they could use a re-working for clarity. Oh well, I’ll save that for another day. Here’s an interesting article I just found by Googling “City as Organism”
Stats from this morning (curiously, it looks like Lunken had a power outage, the data is incomplete).
Sunrise: 6:54am EST
Temperature: 70F / 21C, not much wind at all
Sky: Gray and Dark! Stormy, but I didn’t get rained on.
Bird Chatter: Quiet at first, but they came around.
People: No one except for a few joggers by the time I left.
After all the excitement from Saturday’s sunrise, I took it easy today. The weather this morning made the decision even easier. The morning was dry and overcast. It was calm and gray, and the birds and squirrels made for relaxing entertainment.
Otto Armleder Park (and Dog Park) is still under water. I’ve noticed that I’m starting to get google hits for people trying to find out if Otto Armeder is still underwater, so I’ll try to continue to take a picture every morning so we can watch the water levels.
I was about to head home and make a quick morning of it, when something catches my eye overhead. A red tailed hawk! I’ve never seen a hawk in the park before. I hopped on the bike and rode in the direction that he was flying. The thing about big hawks is that you don’t have a hard time finding them once you know they’re in the area.
This juvenile red tail impressed me with his size. Although that isn’t saying much when I’m used to looking at the robins, blue jays, and cardinals! I’d say the top of his head was a good two feet off the ground, and while it is hard to judge his wingspan, it seemed to be at least a meter in width. His tail was a rich rusty red but unfortunately I couldn’t get a good picture of it.
I found him perched on top of a small tree, looking around. He didn’t care that I was watching him, but he also didn’t stay in one spot long enough for me to get a close picture. I will say, he was intimidating. Those talons don’t mess around.
One of the park crew said they thought he was about a year old or so. We joked that he was a terrible hunter. He made lots of noise and kept fidgeting around in the branches of the trees. He did take a couple of half-hearted swoops at a squirrel.
Stats from this morning:
Sunrise: 6:58am EST
Temperature: 55F / 13C, not much wind at all
Sky: Dry and overcast. I thought the sun would burn through the clouds, but no such luck.
Bird Chatter: Lots of song this morning, and the red tailed hawk made an appearance.
People: One or two runners, and some teenagers walking around through the arboretum, perhaps before school started.