This morning’s sunrise was a prolonged session of pink and orange. The temperature was a cool 60F and the distant hills were laced with light mist. I was hoping for a bright pink sunrise like the kind we saw last week. While the colors this morning were certainly bright, the palette had more orange than pink. The park was quiet this morning, too, which is surprising considering how active the birds have been over the last few days. I did see a single jogger in the park who stopped by to check out the sunrise, but other than that it was a solitary morning in the park.
If you’re connected to Ault Park Sunrise’s facebook page, you are now aware that my camera recently broke and I’m in the market for a new one. I’m putting together postcards featuring various photos from the last year of the project. They’ll be available for purchase and the proceeds will be put towards some new hardware. The silver lining to my camera’s untimely death is that I now have a true motivation to organize and collect the photos from the last year. I’m hoping to have at least 5 different postcard designs, some featuring individual pictures and others featuring themed “montages”. I’ll have more information up soon, but if you’re interested be sure to keep your eye out!
The other reason I mention the camera difficulty is because I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to be able to continue with the project until I get the new camera! My wife suggested that in the meantime I could use her phone to take pictures (mine is quite out of date and doesn’t take very good pictures). So this morning that’s what I did. The pictures didn’t turn out too bad at all, although I don’t have much control over color settings. The zoom and macro don’t work too well but hey, it’s better than nothing!
Sunrise 164 was colorful and bright. The humidity created a prolonged twilight that was filled with oranges and soft pinks. Interestingly, the pinks were subtle this time around, as opposed to the bright magenta that I would have expected. I believe the humidity has something to do with it.
Here we see the young Tree of Heaven that is coming into full bloom! The flowers are white and the entire bouquet is rather large.
Boy, it sure felt good to get back on the bike this morning. I’ve been so busy at work over the past two weeks that I haven’t been able to muster up the energy (or time) for some early morning sunrise rides. It’s an interesting thing because I recognize it as entirely my fault, but sometimes once you get into a habit it’s hard to break.
After a late night yesterday and a surprise calm in the series of thunderstorms that came through the region, I decided that I just had to get out this morning. After painstakingly crawling out of bed (OK it wasn’t that bad!) and seeing lightly scattered clouds in the early twilight sky, I set off towards the park through the misty streets.
The air was warm and wet this morning. We had a chilly streak late last week with temperatures dropping down into the 40s again. Last night we saw a monster of a thunder storm and I’m going to take a wild guess and say it was a warm front. The clouds were puffy and humid at twilight and there was mist hanging around by the edges of the forest. A low lying cloud bank over the horizon blocked most of the pink twilight colors but made for a powerful moment when the sun peaked over the cloud bank about 5 minutes beyond day break.
It’s always so surprising to me when I notice just how lush the forests around here are in the spring. On mornings like today, with the moisture on the pavement and the mist seeping out of the forest, the plants’ foliage seem like they are swollen with water. I almost feel claustrophobic at the overlook when I compare the view to the naked silhouettes of the winter sunrises. I’m sure our warm winter only helped to add a multiplier to the strength of the local foliage. I suspect we’ll have an intense kudzu season on our hands by the middle of summer.
Here we see the young Tree of Heaven down by the overlook. At twilight the sky was opening up with light but the lower atmosphere was still rather dark due to the cloud bank that was blocking the early rays of twilight.
Now that the sunrise time has crossed below the 7:00am threshold, it is easier for me to make a trip to the park without worrying as much about my morning schedule (I’ve been busy for the last few weeks!). The air was brisk this morning at 44F, a temperature that I only just now realized. I thought it was nippy but without a breeze it felt warmer than it really was! Armed with hot coffee and my bike, I found myself up at the park about a half hour before sunrise.
The colors this morning were beautiful. Mixing them with a dynamic true spring atmosphere (we had big storms yesterday) made for a swirling concoction of twilight cloud cover. There was a low lying cloud bank that blocked the sun for a few moments, but it eventually swept into the distance and allowed the sunlight to come through across the horizon.
Unlike the summer and autumn sunrises, where the sky is crystal clear and the atmosphere lights up an hour before sunrise, these spring sunrises are humid in a sky full of obstacles. This morning’s sunrise didn’t hit peak colors until just 10 minutes before day break, which helps explain why I was so caught off guard by finding out that the summer’s sunrise starts much more early than I was used to.
I visited my old friend, the Tree of Heaven down at the lower overlook. She is full of spring life and, to my surprise, made for another beautiful silhouette against the sunrise that has moved into the left most part of the horizon. I had thought that maybe I wouldn’t be using the young tree as a sunrise subject until next winter (when the sun has moved back across the sky to be directly behind her) but was wrong.
The Tree of Heaven adorning her early spring coat. Can you see the little flower pods on the tops of the stalks? She’s almost ready to bloom! I am wondering if I could harvest some seeds and grow my own little tree of heaven. They’re considered pests in a lot of areas (probably including around here) but she holds a special place in my heart (you’ll see why in a minute)…
This left-most branch of the young Tree of Heaven was mostly ignored by myself during the series of silhouettes (see below). Now, with the sun having moved across the horizon, I find that it is making an excellent silhouette subject of its own.
For the rest of the pictures, 14 total this morning, please click to continue if you’re on the front page.
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.
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).
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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This beautiful sidewalk chalk art adorns the walkway in front of Ault Park’s central lawn on this one-year anniversary of Ault Park Sunrise. A spring sunrise tribute to the celestial titans? An innocent piece of work created by a young artist on a lazy Easter Sunday? Perhaps a professional installation done by a world master! Another mystery that will likely never be resolved.
Seriously, though, it’s a pretty neat piece of work. Well done mysterious Cincinnatian artist!
It’s hard to believe, but Ault Park Sunrise is one year old! This past year has taught me so much in so many areas. I’ve gained a new appreciation of my local community and the larger city as a whole. It’s also been the first year where I have watched the seasons pass with careful diligence and focus, something that can easily slip by as we focus on our day to day lives. I’m only one sunrise away from 160, which would have made for a great coincidental time stamp but that will have to wait until later in the week. I also have a small queue built up of interesting posts, including an essay from a guest writer, some beautiful pictures of the Ault Park’s blooms from a friend (which have now faded into memory), and some historical pictures of a local estate sent to me by a fellow Cincinnatian that sheds some light onto the history of one of the large estates in the area. Also coming up is Sunrise 158, which one may notice is missing from the front page. I’ve been working on it for the last week but unfortunately I haven’t finished it. Rather than continue not doing morning rides while it’s in the hopper (I don’t like posts falling behind lest they never get published), I decided to just put it on the “draft” list and get on with Sunrise 159.
I woke up this morning after a long holiday weekend (following a long work week) with a yearning for a sunrise ride. The ride was brisk and I actually had to turn around after my initial departure to get a sweatshirt. I stopped by UDF for a coffee (freefil Monday) and was on my way. The sky was crisp and clear to the east, but there was a slow moving cloud front moving in from the west. As the sunrise arrival came near, the cloud bank continued to slip further into the eastern twilight sky, making for an interesting sky dynamic that was changing through the colorful early morning show. The sunrise itself was a nice deep orange with a few pink highlights that briefly dashed across the impending cloud bank.
The most surprising thing to me is just how quickly spring has arrived. It’s been just over two weeks since I visited Ault Park (Alms Park was my most recent visit before we left for Charleston), and yet the overlook is lush with foliage and the trees are well on their way to having a full spring coat of greenery. I’m also pretty excited about the sunrise time that continues to push earlier into the morning. Sunrise 159 clocked in at 7:09am and it will only get earlier as we march into summer.
One of the best parts about exploring a city park after a weekend, and in particular a holiday weekend with great weather, is finding the leftover markers of human activity. Sometimes there is trash, but more often than not there is something else: sidewalk chalk art! This morning I found plenty to entertain along the main walkway that runs along the center lawn in front of the pavilion. I was amused by the video game inspired “MarioKart” starting line. It was even complete with a set of “?” boxes 60 yards up the sidewalk, whose purpose is to give the player that runs over them an item like a green shell, banana peel, or even star power.
Behind the Mariokart tribute there was another piece of artwork that appears to have been left by an artist with a bit more patience and a steady hand. I found myself quite moved by the artwork, especially after I considered that the subject of the work appears to be a sun with its rays bursting out from the center of the tile into a blue sky. The artist (or artists) carefully colored each individual brick in the sidewalk and were even symmetrically mindful. I find it so interesting that this artwork has appeared on the morning of Ault Park Sunrise’s one year anniversary. I’ll just try to not think too hard about it :).
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. You don’t want to miss the sidewalk chalk! 🙂 (more…)
Happy first day of Spring! And also, it’s official. Ault Park (through the symmetrical axis about the pavilion) can be considered to be aligned with the first day of spring. More specifically, it is aligned with the location of the sun about 10 minutes after sunrise on the first day of spring, allowing for a beautiful view down the hill and across the lawn.
I was hoping to make this morning a nice quick trip up to the park. The sunrise was calm and quiet in an atmosphere that had a soft mixture of colors. It wasn’t until the actual sunrise, however, that the sky started to light up and the clouds danced in an illuminated atmosphere.
As I mentioned yesterday, I had hoped to make it up to the park this morning to check in on the pavilion’s alignment with the sun. I must say that at first I was quite surprised, and frankly a bit confused. You see, yesterday I believed that the sun had risen to the right of the center of the pavilion. Well, today it rose to the left of the center of the pavilion. At first I thought that maybe I had it all wrong – that the pavilion was not actually aligned to the first day of spring. Well, as it turns out I was thrown off by the fact that the sun does not rise straight up into the sky. The sun actually rose in a diagonal, placing it front and center between the center two pavilion columns by about 10 minutes after sunrise. Once I figured this out I was much more relieved. It took me 156 sunrises to figure out that the sun doesn’t rise straight up – something that makes sense when you think about it but never encroached into my frontal consciousness.
I got lucky with some beautiful shots of the pavilion from across the lawn. With the sun’s intense rays making my camera use a high aperture, the effect is always a pleasant one – silhouettes and dynamic clouds.
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Believe it or not, this is a GREEN magnolia blossom. I’ve never heard of such a thing! I may be mistaken, however, because I can’t find many references to a “green” magnolia on the internet. I’ll check back in at a later date to confirm.
(Check out the sister post that hit the news stands about half an hour ago: Sunrise 154)
I’ll admit, I was pretty darned excited about the sunrise this morning. The atmosphere had a rich mix of cloud species with an open atmosphere behind it. It had all the pieces needed for a truly unique and majestic sunrise. In the end, it was a pretty neat sunrise but none of the early magentas, pinks, and purples made a very strong appearance. There was a thick low lying cloud bank that blocked most of the early rays of light before they could penetrate into the upper atmosphere above Ault Park.
Now that I know the secret behind Twilight Sunrises, however, I’m really looking forward to this spring. I mean just look at all these clouds!
As I arrived in the park, about a half hour before sunrise, the lower horizon was showing a deep red color. I was hoping it would fade into the upper atmosphere, but alas it remained confined to the lower horizon.
Lots of cloud action in the sky this morning… such a perfect opportunity for a breathtaking sunrise. The stars did not align but it makes that rare magenta sunrise that much more beautiful. Still… I can’t really complain. This morning’s sunrise was beautiful in its own right.
After the sunrise, I swung by the pavilion to check on the sun’s location relative to the alignment of the building. I was afraid that maybe I’d missed the “perfectly aligned sunrise” sometime this weekend. I was relieved to find that the sunrise isn’t *quite* aligned, yet. It still has one or maybe two days to go… which means that my theory may prove to be true after all! I’ve been following the path of the sunrise relative to the pavilion for several weeks now. You see, the entire park is symmetrical with the garden layouts and walkways. The entire symmetrical axis aligns itself relative to this pavilion… so it goes to show that if the pavilion itself is aligned to some celestial event, that makes the entire park aligned as well!
So it goes to follow that at some point in the next two days the sun will rise up squarely in the middle of the Ault Park Pavilion’s columns. What event is occuring in the next two days that would warrant such a dramatic design decision, you may ask? Well that answer appears to be the first day of spring!
It makes perfect sense… I mean just looking around the park this morning it was obvious that the gardens and the park itself is absolutely exploding in the trappings of spring. I would like to think that it is no mistake that over half of the trees in the gardens appear to be healthy mix of the blooming variety. Pears, cherries, magnolias, and I’m sure many others.
Could it be, then, that Ault Park is actually a living tribute to the miracle of spring? Suddenly the evidence is all around me. The pavilion alignment with its symmetrical park design, the several groves of weeping cherry trees along Observatory park, the myriad of blooming trees scattered throughout the garden and the handful of magnolia trees… not to mention the brand new cherry grove that was planted to mark the 100 year anniversary of the park.
It makes me happy to the core to find out that it is very likely that the pavilion, and hence the entire park, is aligned with the sunrise of the first day of spring. I believe that the ancient woodland (& others) mound building cultures (Hopewell, Ft. Ancient & Woodland) that lived in this valley for hundreds, if not thousands, of years would find comfort in knowing that we haven’t completely lost our bearings relative to our relationship with the celestial wonders.
I’ll be sure to make it of the utmost priority to get to the park for the next few sunrises to verify that my theory is correct. Stay tuned!
Just two weeks ago these cherry trees were barren. It’s amazing how quickly they bloom. Here’s a shot of the left cherry tree from a mere three weeks ago, when the chill of winter was present and snow had recently fallen:
For the rest of the pictures, including some of the weeping cherry grove, please click to continue if you’re on the front page! (more…)
Good morning! I ventured out for the first post-DST sunrise at 7:50am this morning. I took advantage of the late sunrise by getting up extra early and setting out for the park by 7:10am. I looked up into the sky and saw a thin cloud layer with patches of blue which meant that it was definitely worth a gamble. I’ve been getting a bit bored by the clear morning sunrises and have been hoping for a change up, especially with the upcoming spring weather. There was a chance that this morning’s thin cloud layer could provide an amazing reflective backdrop of pinks and oranges, but alas the clouds ended up being too thick for the sun to penetrate.
I did, however, take full advantage of the amazing weather this morning. A light rain came through the area last night so the pavement was wet and smelled like earthworms and petrichor (a word I learned last year and try to use as often as possible). The air was thick with humidity and as I dove into the park via the steep hill on Observatory Ave, I could feel the temperature suddenly drop. The cool air rolling across the quiet dark street from the budding forest was refreshing and spirit lifting.
This morning was quite dark. I had high hopes for the sunrise, but in the end it was warm, peaceful, and full of bird songs and the promise of spring. I noticed yesterday that the magnolia trees have started to bloom! Can you believe it? Last year the magnolias and cherry blossoms showed up in the second week of april, just after this project got started. Here’s one of my favorites from last year:
I woke up to another crisp, cold, & clear winter sky for Sunrise 152. I was up a bit late last night and so I chose to perform a recent ritual that I learned about, one that apparently native americans used to practice. Namely, drinking a full pint (or more) of water just before going to bed. That may sound like a recipe for disaster but luckily I don’t have a history of bladder control issues ;). It worked – I was up this morning and out the door by 6:30am.
It was really cold this morning. Normally this would be expected due to the fact that it’s still winter, but our recent warm streak has made me spoiled. I wore an off kilter hybrid of spring and winter gear – running shorts and thick gloves, with no face mask. It wasn’t too bad during the 22F twilight ride, except for the dive down the Observatory Rd hill that felt like dipping my face in an ice bath. The cold certainly woke me up, however… I didn’t grab any coffee and practically sprinted back up that hill.
Unfortunately DST starts tomorrow which means we’re back to 8:00am sunrises. Darn!
This morning’s sunrise had a nice magenta display that I witnessed on the ride up to the park. By the time I arrived the pink had mostly faded, unfortunately, and was replaced with a soft orange palette. Still not much cloud action in the air, a trend I hope to see pick up as we move into the dynamic weather of spring.
Heading through East Hyde Park, the sun is rising almost perfectly aligned with this section of Erie Ave. Curiously enough, this section of the road seems to be parallel to the alignment of the Ault Park Pavilion. This doesn’t bode well for the “purpose” behind Ault Park’s design, suggesting perhaps it’s a simple “Due East” alignment…
As I approached the park I decided to get a picture from the same perspective as a picture I took during the most recent overcast Sunrise 151. Isn’t it interesting how much the picture changes when you add a backlight? The following picture was taken earlier in the morning but under an overcast sky.
The beautiful century tree next to the pavilion. I often wonder if this tree had a symmetrical brother on the left side of the pavilion. Given the symmetry of the park’s design my gut tells me yes. What a sad loss for the park it must have been when this hypothetical tree died.
As first light approached, I noticed the residential towers on the far western ridge line. You can’t quite see it in this picture, but the top row of windows were reflecting the tip of the sun that was just beginning to peak across the horizon.
I woke up this morning and peered out the window to see a dark gray/blue overcast sky. The warm weather had me excited so I decided to take my chances and see if there was going to be a sunrise this morning after all. I was hoping that maybe the light cloud layer that rolled in late last night was still around, but as it turned out the sky was filled with thick gray rain-filled clouds.
I left for the park with a light drizzle lapping the pavement around me. This morning the weather was so warm that I actually wore shorts and a sweatshirt – no hat, gloves, long pants, double socks, or facemask! In fact I’d say that this morning’s sunrise ride was one of the most pleasant trips up to the park if for no other reason than I was able to truly appreciate the ambient sounds with more novelty since I was not wearing my winter facemask.
The wet atmosphere held a steady 52F as I worked my way up to the overlook in Ault Park. The air was sweet and smelled like spring. With no sunrise in sight, I casually strolled through the gardens and took some pictures of the desolate ground that has already started to show signs of life. There are several pieces of the gardens that look barren right now, but in just two short months they will be exploding with garden life as the plants take advantage of the warm humid sub-tropic microclimate of Eastern Cincinnati.
The birds were loud and flirty this morning in the warm air. No doubt they too detect the first comings of spring. I found buds in the trees, especially the magnolias. Their buds are already the size of my thumb and will be bursting open in white and purple blooms in just 6 short weeks. Mentally I’m still prepared for winter, but in the back of my mind I know that spring is almost here. With spring comes green life, organic growth, colorful blossoms, and so many insects to find. I’m looking forward to Armleder Parks prairie and the 10′ high stalks of meadow grass & compass flowers.
So this morning’s post is a bit of a hybrid between the actual Sunrise 150 and a couple of pictures that I took yesterday morning at Ault Park on my way to work. First of all – happy Sunrise 150! While the number is an accomplishment worth celebrating, I’m saving the confetti for the upcoming Sunrise 160 which represents the fourth set of sunrises stretching beyond my original goal of 40. In reality, yesterday *should* have been Sunrise 150.
Alright, alright. So this technically isn’t the first snow of the winter. It might be the second… but it’s the first snow that lasted more than a couple hours and certainly the first snow of substance that I’ve featured with this project… even if I’m a day late!
What a perfect opportunity, I thought to myself, to have the 150th Sunrise line up with one of the only fresh night snowfalls we’ve had this entire winter. But alas, I pulled a rookie mistake and set my alarm clock incorrectly and so I woke up much too late. I swung by the park on my way to work and snapped a couple of snowy park pictures. I just *had* to have at least one picture of Heekin Overlook adorned with a fresh snowfall. I’m still holding out for a winter snowstorm, but we’re quickly running out of days!
I’m rather excited to also announce one quick thing… there are buds on the trees around the overlook! That means that spring is just around the corner. I can’t wait, spring time in Ault Park is such a beautiful thing.
Down below, in the Little Miami River Valley, Armleder Park is flooded once again. It would be nice to get down there for a magenta sunrise if we could just get a little bit more cloud cover in the sky…
Upon leaving the overlook, I ventured over to the pavilion to check out the alignment of the sunrise. As you may know, I’m privy to finding out on which day the sun rises directly aligned with the pavilion. Judging by the location of this morning’s sunrise, we only have a few days (or maybe about a week) left. I’m not sure we’ll make it to the first day of Spring… which brings up the question: Is there another day in early march that has an astronomic event that is worth aligning the Ault Park Pavilion, and hence the entire park (through the symmetry about the pavilion) to?
Here we begin to see some side effects of my camera’s tiny lens. Check the slight warping around the top of the pavilion, even though the bottom cement appears to be perfectly horizontal. I’m a fan of how the pavilion is separating the oranges and yellows from the blues in the sky. Maybe I’ll try to get this shot another time but with a better perspective.
This morning was the first time in ages that I woke on the first alarm buzz. The “earlier” sunrise times have started to catch me off guard – already 7:10am! Where has the time gone? It feels like just last week that I was complaining about almost 8:10am…
I woke up an hour before sunrise and by the time I left for the park the stars were still visible in the dark sky. It was another humid sunrise this morning which kept the colors compact about the horizon and subdued.
This weeping tree was featured recently and I decided to give it another visit. This time I found a better angle with less background trees (and also had to move from lying down in the road to get out of the way of the park crew coming to work!)
Here’s a nice quick post for today. The sky cleared up nicely last night and I quickly realized that this morning’s sunrise would be against an open atmosphere. The sunrise was quite humid, keeping up with the recent trend of wet spring-like weather. The sun rose up as a dark purple globe against the ridge line. Once again, as most humid sunrises tend to do, it caught me off guard as I was considering where I should take up my position for the impending First Light.
I swung by the Cincinnati Observatory on the way out of the park. I realized that if I want to start investigation into Ault Park’s alignment with the sunrise, I should consider asking the astronomy guys who hang out at the Observatory. I imagine that the Observatory is aligned to some significant astronomic event, like winter solstice for example. The eastern facing wall appears to be almost perpendicular to the Eastern sky and I’d like to think there is a purposeful design in how the building is aligned. I’m still waiting to see on which day the sun rises up behind the Ault Park Pavilion in perfect alignment. I’m placing my bets on spring equinox (March 20 this year).
This old oak tree is still slowly returning to the forest.
As I head over to the Cincinnati Observatory, the skies are turning into that rich shade of deep blue. The Observatory’s campus is one of my favorite quiet and open lawns around. There are several century old trees up on the top of this bald hill. It’s amazing to me that at one time this Observatory was moved from Mt. Adams to Mt. Lookout to get away from the city lights. Now-a-days development is all around as this building is no longer “in the country-side”.
When I peered out the window at 6:20am, I couldn’t tell what the sky was doing. In my mind, I played with the idea of going back to bed but before committing I checked out the front door. High in the atmosphere there was a thick cloud layer that was making the eastern sky particularly dark, but it broke in the center of the sky to reveal a dark clear sky that was beginning to take on a subtle early twilight teal. I figured that it was worth the game and headed up to the park to see what the pseudo-spring morning had in store.
The temperature this morning was pleasant. Hanging slightly above freezing, it felt like spring with two sweatshirts on and insulated athletic pants. Looking out across the valley, the breaking cloud formation stood proudly in the distant left/north region of the sky. To my direct front, the cloud layer was thick but broke just above the horizon, revealing a deep gray-fading-to-orange sky beyond the far ridge line. At first, I wasn’t sure if any colors would get through the morning clouds. If only a sudden change in the western wind would slide the cloud break back over to the east a few miles…
But then I checked the time and realized it was 7:08am, a full 20 minutes before sunrise. There was still time for something interesting to happen. As it turns out, I only had to wait 5 more minutes…
Needless to say, the gamble paid off.
This is Mike the Turtle. His eyes are striped, matching his skin pattern. He loves romaine lettuce, hates iceburg. Likes chasing fish, does not like stawberries (unlike most other turtles who love them). When he’s basking in the sun he gets lethargic, likely giving into the life-giving warmth that only a cold-blooded animal could appreciate.
For the rest of this post, 12 pictures total, click to continue if you’re on the front page.
I was hoping that this morning’s sunrise would have been similar to last night’s sunset. The sunset was a rich pink with streaks of teal open sky. Sunrise 146, while being pleasant in its own right, rose up in a humid atmosphere clear of clouds. It was another sneaky sunrise, one where I thought I had about 10 minutes left to sip on my coffee when suddenly the tip of Sol appeared on the horizon.
It was a brisk 20F morning and few souls had ventured out into the park. Frost laced the grass around the lawn and the birds were cheerfully calling to one another as if it were a warm spring morning. I could also hear a woodpecker deep in the forest boring into the rotting bark of a dying tree.
There were hardly any pinks or purples this morning in the humid atmosphere. The sunrise was mostly made up of a muted red that faded into a rich orange muddled with gray. I will say I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping for some cloud slurry against a crisp and dry atmosphere, but with spring just around the corner and rain storms forecast for the next few days, the humidity is to be expected.
I’m getting used to the commute up to the park on my new route. It is making me become more mindful of my missing lower gear set. Well, missing isn’t quite the correct word since it implies that something was once here but is now gone. My bike turns 35 years old this year, and somewhere in the past two decades the “granny gears” became mainstream. My first gear is the equivalent of a friend’s gear 7 or 8 on a modern bike. I’ve played around with the idea of re-building the drive chain, after all I love the steel frame and classic look of my Fuji S-10S, but knowing how I operate the bike would be out of commission for a few months while I read online forums and scouted craigslist for parts. So in the meantime I’ll keep leg pressing up the hills and remembering that it is only making me a stronger cyclist 🙂
Prior to heading home, I swung by the pavilion to see how close the sun is getting to the center of the columns as it swings back to the left. Hopefully I can catch it in the middle sometime in the next couple of months. I’m curious as to what day this will occur on and I’m hoping to gain some insight into the park designer’s vision. Is there an intentional alignment with the sunrise? Or is it purely coincidental that the entire park, relative to the symmetry of the pavilion, points directly towards the sunrise? I may be placing my bets on alignment with the first day of spring, but that might be wishful thinking.
After a bout of rainy mornings I made sure to wake up extra early for today’s clear sunrise so that I didn’t have to rush up the hill to the park. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my new route, while being about the same distance to the park, is substantially more challenging. Armed with this knowledge, I rode up to the park with determination and energy. Fortunately I have mostly shaken the side effects of my head cold so I also had an extra bout of morning energy. The climb to the park was not bad at all this morning which goes to show you how much of life is determined by your mental approach and, to be quite honest, the state your body is in.
This morning was forecast to be clear with high humidity. When I strolled out our front door, I found thick patches of mist hanging around the edge of the forests and between houses. The misty backdrop under a clear sky meant that the sunrise colors were subdued and compact, while still allowing for the upper atmosphere to gain a brightness from the approaching twilight. I stopped by UDF for my $1 28oz refill and began my uphill climb (followed by the downhill slalom, followed by uphill climb).
The sunrise this morning was of the subtle, sneaky, but uniquely satisfying type. Not wanting to be rushed by traffic and forces of my own control, I woke up 1 hour before sunrise and tried to get out on the road as soon as possible. This put me in the park about 40 minutes before sunrise, a time that would have provided a brilliant magenta display if the humidity was 9%, not 90%. The crescent moon was on display high in the atmosphere, pointing down towards the horizon at the location that the sun was expected to rise. By the way, if you ever see a crescent moon pointing away from the sunrise (or sunset), you’re either dreaming (grab your totem!) or on some bizarro planet. Or maybe woodstock. It’s a nice indicator for checking reality as we know it.
The high humidity meant that there was a low lying mist bank down in the valley below. This is always a great accent to a sunrise because it lights up the lower part of the view, throwing lowlights and shadows across the otherwise dark valley. I imagine snow would have the same impact, but unfortunately we just haven’t had more than a single day’s worth of the stuff. The air this morning felt much warmer than I expected, likely due to the high humidity. I also had a visitor in the park this morning, a fellow sunrise cowboy who chose to stay in his parked blue mini. I’ve seen in a couple of times over the last several weeks, so I’m thinking that he’s making a routine of it.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. 18 pictures total in this morning’s humid & cold sunrise post. (more…)
Good morning! I have been on a bit of a hiatus over the last week so it was great to get out on the bike this morning for the chilly but clear Sunrise 144. Over the past two weeks I’ve been a bit under the weather so I took advantage of the extra hour of sleep that comes with skipping the sunrise ride. We also moved into a new apartment (still near Ault Park of course!) so there has been all of the logistics that come along with that. My new location is closer to the other side of Ault Park and it will be interesting to see how this affects the scouting of new sunrise locations. My routine has been a bit messed up lately due to the move, so this morning was a great opportunity to explore my new potential routes to the park.
Over the past week the sunrise time has shed about 15 minutes. This morning First Light was around 7:31am, a time that shocked me last night when I found out! It’s funny how that happens – the daily routine comes and goes, time slips by, and the sunrise keeps on moving along. It’s finally getting into “early” territory which means that the sunrise will no longer feel like sleeping in and will start to require a bit more commitment to getting up extra early, a tenant that resonates with the original purpose of starting this project. Now that I know about the beauty of early twilight on a clear sunrise, I have a feeling that there will be some 5:30am wakeups in my not so distant future.
Unfortunately I missed the most vibrant phase of this morning’s sunrise. By the time I tracked down all my gear, something I have been nervous about doing since the move, and then grabbed some coffee at UDF, I only had about 15 minutes to spare by the time I got to the overlook. The new route is quite a challenge, too, because I’m approaching the park from the opposite direction. From Mt. Lookout Square, the ride is mostly a smooth uphill. From Observatory, however, it is a steep uphill, steep downhill, then steep uphill again. It really gets the blood pumping. It is a nice challenge though as we approach the one year anniversary of the project.
The sunrise this morning was set against a crystal clear atmosphere with a nice set of vapor trails and whispy low horizon cloud action. Last night I could see a whole set of stars up in the sky after sunrise, including a bright appearance of a planet (is it Saturn?). The stars were awfully bright last night, meaning that if the sky held this morning’s sunrise would have started the show up to an hour, or more, before sunrise time. This was indeed the case this morning and while the sky was continually changing from the time I was out of bed at 6:50am until I arrived at the park at 7:20am, most of the pink and magenta colors had mostly dissipated early in the twilight. The late twilight colors were a glowing set of orange with bright yellow streaks reflecting off of the ice crystals embedded in the vapor trails high in the atmosphere. There is still a bit of snow left in the park, although it’s more of a sprinkling rather than a coating.
That’s my one regret from this 10 day hiatus is that I missed our most recent snow storm that came through with a fury after the January warm streak. There’s no worry though, because while it was a pretty snow fall, the warm ground didn’t let more than a half inch accumulate. I’m still waiting for the freak midwest snow storm that we deserve! The weather man is calling for some snow tonight so we’ll see where that ends up. Now that the temperatures are finally cold enough for snow, getting as low as 9F this morning, I think it’s just a matter of time until we get a decent snow fall.
The edge of the hill where the overlook sits still has a good amount of snow. The cool winds coming up from the valley likely provide a little micro climate that protects these snow piles during the warmest part of the day.
The favorite subject of winter sunrise pictures, the adolescent Tree of Heaven. Sadly, the sun is moving briskly across the horizon to the left, and soon our Tree of Heaven will lose the colorful back-drop of the twilight sky
And finally, here’s a blurry picture of Mike the Turtle, our six year old native painted turtle. He’s enjoying his freshly cleaned aquatic home and his 5 new fish companions. I had to make sure to get extra-lively feeder fish this time because their predecessors didn’t make it very long. These new ones have no problem skirting Mike’s lazy attempts to catch them. He usually gets bored after the first day so it looks like they’ll do just fine.
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 🙂
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.
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…)
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
Heekin Overlook. Armleder is flooded again. It is worth noting that Armleder was flooded last spring, another sign that this is unseasonable weather.
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
“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.”
Guest Sunrise #2: Columbus, Ohio
Guest Sunrise #3: San Francisco, California
Onward to today’s sunrise over the Little Miami 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…)
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.
Did you know that cherries shrivel up like a rose when they’re engulfed in a globe of ice? Me neither. Or perhaps they were already shriveled before being frozen. Either way, it adds a bit of color to this otherwise grey-scale set.
This post is coming a day late! The weather has been downright crazy in the past few days and so it’s funny to see that by the time this is posted, all the ice is gone and it almost feels like t-shirt weather!
Late Friday night an ice storm rolled into the tri-state. Saturday was marked with careful maneuvering over exposed sidewalks. It rained heavily in the early morning, and then the temperature dropped out and froze everything. The trees glistened all around, covered in a half inch of clear ice. Sometime late Saturday afternoon I realized that I really wanted to get a picture of my “Tree of Heaven” silhouette while it was still covered with ice. I headed up to the park early Sunday morning for “sunrise” and found that the park was an icy wonderland. This is particularly interesting because all the ice was melted away by Sunday afternoon and today’s high was 63F. 63F! In January! We had an ice storm followed by t-shirt weather within 36 hours. Insanity!
I saw this on /r/columbus today and thought it was appropriate. A hat tip to the show Whose Line Is It Anyway?
The park this morning was particularly solemn. On one hand, it was a Sunday. This meant that the commute up to the park was quiet with little car traffic. However, normally a Sunday means that there is more people in the park on their day off. This morning, while there were certainly some dog walkers hanging by the sidewalks, I found no patrons who ventured much beyond the ice-covered streets.
There was a lot of moisture in the air which made a light layer of fog that hung in the backdrop, blocking the view of the valley through the forest. It also had that quality that I love about fog – the muffled air effect. Far off sounds, like an airplane landing at Lunken Airfield, become drowned out as the fidelity is lost. Other sounds in the foreground, such as bird calls and branches straining under the cold, bring themselves more to the front of attention.
I found that the streets were mostly clear of ice, so I had no problem climbing the hill to the park. Upon entering the park, however, I was greeted with a Road Closed sign. Having wiped out several times over the past year on my bike, but curiously enough none in the past 10 months (I am a slow learner, but when I finally learn I’m not quick to forget!), becoming intimate with the asphalt was not something I was hoping to accomplish this morning. Apparently the city trucks do not service the roads through Ault Park (or at least not as a high priority) because beyond the park entrance the road was covered with a thick layer of ice. I had to walk my bike to the overlook, a task which made me appreciate the mobility that a bike offers oneself.
I quickly found that walking through the grass was much more safe than trying to walk over the sidewalk. I did slip a couple of times, and I was being careful! It was quite hazardous, but also quite beautiful. One thing that struck out to me was the distant calling of a murder of crows. It occurred to me that I only notice them in the fog. Or is it that they’re only noisy in the fog? I made up an armchair theory that they use their loud “cawing” to communicate the flock’s location in the low visibility of the forest fog. Last time I saw over 100 crows, so it takes some serious logistics to organize a murder of that size 🙂
There was no sunrise this morning due to the valley fog. My little “Tree of Heaven” silhouette worked out nicely against the gray backdrop.
Please click to continue if you’re on the front page! 40+ icy pictures from this morning’s “sunrise”. (more…)
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.
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.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. There are about 22 pictures total for this morning. (more…)
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.
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?
- I found a caterpillar back in spring. Species Unknown at the time. (Sunrise 24)
- 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)
- 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.