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

Posts tagged “ault park

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.

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Sunrise 134: Ault Park Pavilion (Clear Skies & a Silverton Commute)

Sunrise 134 atop the pavilion at Ault Park

After missing yesterday morning’s beautiful and rare atmospheric sunrise (complete with a light layering of cirrus clouds [That’s a link to “cirrus sunrise” image search] that no doubt would have cast pink highlights throughout the twilight sky), I felt it was necessary to make sure that this morning’s sunrise was not missed. This week has been a bit hectic, so my schedule did not align perfectly with the 8:05am sunrise. The wife caught a bout of acute bronchitis. It really is nothing serious, it’s just one of those things that doesn’t bother you until a half hour after you lay down to sleep, that’s when the coughing starts and the restlessness begins. As it goes the last week was spent with unwholesome sleep, making sleeping in until 8:00am or beyond during overcast mornings more frequent. Her car also is in the shop for a hopefully minor repair so she’s using mine for her commute. I’m lucky enough to live less than 4 miles from my work place so I decided to suck it up and commute to work this morning on my bike. Why not catch the sunrise on the way?

My commute to work really is one of the best I could ask for, as far as diversity goes. It certainly is not boring. I am able to wind through some of the old urban roads of Cincinnati, most of which are low traffic by design. The only thing about it is that if I were to give it a descriptor, it would be “classic Cincinnati topography”. From Ault Park to Silverton, Ohio where I work, the 3.8 mile bike ride is anything but easy. It’s fun, fast, slow, and testing. The first half of the commute is mostly downhill because I’m actually traveling from the top of one Cincinnati hill where Ault Park is located, down into the valley that runs through the Red Bank / Norwood area, and back up through a cut in the two hills where Drake Park sits on one side, and Madeira on the other. The last half (in both directions!) is up hill and painful, so I really try to enjoy the first half. This creates an interesting affect because I always start out the commute thinking about how wonderful biking is, and end the commute wishing I was in better shape! This winter I haven’t been going on as many longer treks so this morning’s ride was pretty rough. I made it, though, and by the time I made it to work it was almost 50F – way warmer than I had expected. A perfect day for biking around town.

Approaching Ault Park about 15 minutes before sunrise, the fuchsia display has subsided and given way to the late twilight oranges.

The sky is clear with vapor trails from the upper atmospheric air travelers. The forecast of course put the cloud cover at roughly 50%, reinforcing the idea that it must be pretty difficult to accurately predict the weather even 6 hours in advance during the season change.

I rode away from the overlook and swung by the pavilion. I realized that the sun is still on the right side of the horizon, and should be moving back towards the left any day now. I’m going to keep my eye on the columns of the pavilion and try to nail down a sunrise where the sun rises up directly in the middle of the columns. Hopefully the trees are still bare and it’ll make for a nice picture.

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!


Sunrise 131: Ault Park (Guest Sunrise #4, Gloomy Winter Solstice)

The lawn below the pavilion @ Ault Park

After a solid week of drizzly, wet, gray, and cloudy skies, I finally tried to get back out before the weekend in the hopes that there might be a lucky break in the clouds. Yesterday was Winter Solstice and I had really hoped to get a decent chance at a sunrise, but unfortunately mother weather had different plans. I didn’t end up making it out yesterday, during the true solstice which was gray and wet. This morning, one day later than the true solstice, a friend of mine ended up coming out with me. Griff and his wife were in town for the holidays from Texas and he joined me as we climbed up the hill to Ault Park.

Griff made an interesting observation that a gray overcast sky is quite rare in Houston Texas since the weather is constantly moving clouds through the area. That’s an interesting observation because a bright gray sky really does add a different dimension to the daily routine.

Thanks again for coming out, Griff! And thanks for both days of sunrise pictures, Scott! Interestingly enough, this is the third out of four sunrise entries have all coincidentally fallen on days when I had a guest come with me to Ault Park. (Here’s the final link to the other guest sunrise that didn’t include an in-person guest, unless you count prankster snowmen)

Gray skies & drizzly cold rain @ Ault Park this morning.

Griff & Heekin Overlook!

Scott actually sent me two sets of sunrise pictures. He tried to get the sunrise yesterday but he had a camera malfunction at the worst possible time. He ended up getting a couple of neat dramatic pictures of the twilight sky. He got much more lucky than we did this morning, however, because he was able to catch the sunrise through a break in the cloud bank. The second set of pictures are from Griff on his cell phone this morning at Ault Park.

Guest Sunrise #1 & #2: Scott from Charleston, South Carolina

First and foremost, the best picture of this entire post was taken this morning for Scott’s second attempt at the sunrise. Scott got lucky with a break in the clouds! A sunrise on the first day after Winter Solstice in Charleston, South Carolina.

Taken yesterday, a pre-sunrise shot of the intercoastal waterways that are a famous marker of South Carolina’s coastline

A beautiful high contrast picture just before the sun peaks over the low lying cloud bank on Winter Solstice in Charleston, SC.

Guest Sunrise #3: Griff in Cincinnati, OH

Coffee and Rain

The Fuji S-10S and Peugeot Mixte P18

Sneak Shot! Griff taking a picture of me taking a picture of the valley.


Sunrise 130: Ault Park (Blast of Fuchsia Sunrise, Eden Park Hot Air Balluminaria)

Coming up on Ault Park, a fuchsia sunrise is under way.

Balluminaria 2011 @ Eden Park in Cincinnati

I checked the forecast last night and was surprised to see that the entire week is expected to be overcast and gloomy. It appears our streak of beautiful clear autumn skies is officially over as we break into the winter season. With last week being mostly filled with cloudy and wet mornings, it appears that this week will be no exception. This isn’t to say that there may not be a surprise or two hidden in the weather pattern, however. The forecast has been particularly shaky over the course of this season transition so I wouldn’t be surprised to find that there may be some gems hidden in the upcoming week. Even a slight break in a cloudy pattern can make for a spectacular sunrise because of the unpredictable dynamics that a cloudy sky provides.

This morning, however, was the only day for the entire week that there was an expectation of relatively clear skies. The forecast said 19% cloud cover which is a great bet considering that I can get lucky with up to 60% cloud cover. I went to bed looking up at a clear sky and woke up to a dark gray atmosphere of the kind you’d expect to be brooding a winter storm. I was a bit disappointed, but seeing as how today is Free Coffee Refill Day @ UDF (every Monday!) I decided to check it out anyway in the hopes that something may change. Interestingly enough, Mt. Lookout Square is kind of in a valley so it can be hard to judge what the distant horizon is up to without actually getting up to Ault or Alms Park.

By the time I was leaving Mt. Lookout Square, the sky had shown no signs of light and the sunrise time was just around the corner. I took the “long way” to Ault Park, up through some extra neighborhood hills just to keep my cardiovascular system in check as we head into winter hibernation. Once I passed the Cincinnati Observatory, however, I could see that the eastern sky was up to something. The bare trees provided a view that suggested that it was time to high tail it up to the overlook. I dropped the trusty old Fuji into high gear (OK second gear, who am I kidding with these hills) and pressed onward to the overlook hoping that I wouldn’t miss the show.

As it turned out, the eastern horizon was beginning to light up in a magnificent shade of fuchsia unlike one that I’ve seen so far in this project. A rare sight, indeed. The pictures unfortunately do not do it justice because it was as if the entire lower atmosphere was ablaze with a hot pink fire. The color did not spread into the upper atmosphere and was contained by the breaking cloud front that only temporarily was giving up control of the eastern sky. There was a faint mist across the Valley that served to accentuate the bright light. I arrived at the overlook in time, and just as quickly as the fuchsia show arrived, it dwindled into a muted gray/orange sunrise.

As a completely unrelated note, while I was going through the pictures on the camera I realized that I had forgotten to include some documentation from a recent Hot Air Balloon Festival (Balluminaria) at Eden Park. I was hoping to get back up to Eden Park to continue the exploration of the reservoir ruins, but it hasn’t happened yet. Rather than wait for that to happen and include the pictures there, I’m posting the pictures along with Sunrise 130.

The pictures can’t do it justice, the colors were radiant this morning.

Just before “first light” during the fuchsia sunrise.

Heekin Overlook @ Ault Park

As the sun rose up it was blocked by a low lying cloud bank (you can see a sliver of the sun to the left of the picture). As quickly as it came, the fuchsia sunrise was gone.


This was our first time attending the Balluminaria and it was a neat thing to partake in. The balloons lit up as dusk settled in. It was pretty crazy to see the thousands of people descent on Eden Park for the event that took place November 17 2011. I’m not sure if they have two separate fuels, one for hot air and one for light, but there was a distinct difference between the flames that kept the balloons inflated and the flames that lit up the canopy.

Hot air balloon across mirror lake @ Eden Park

When the air horn blasted, the balloons were lit up in bright flashes of orange. There were literally thousands of people present, and hundreds of cameras ready for the show.


Sunrise 129: Ault Park (Dark Gloomy Sky, Ault Park Wine Cellar?)

Songbirds preparing for winter. The amount of bird activity in the park this morning was unusually high. Red headed woodpeckers, cardinals and blue jays, robins and mourning doves, crows, and chick-a-dees to name a few.

The trails are closed for deer hunting… I’m assuming bow only? The six deer I saw this morning didn’t appear to be very concerned.

The forecast must be a bit harder to predict during the seasonal change. This is two mornings in a row now that I would have expected a decent sunrise but instead was met with a dark cloudy sky. The forecast had mentioned a 38% cloud cover which should have given me a beautiful dynamic sunrise sky. Instead I got a dark winter atmosphere that eventually broke a little bit as I was heading home.

In fact, it was so dark this morning that half of my pictures seemed to come out a bit blurry. Oops! Some days are like that though and it really makes me appreciate the brighter days that make the pictures turn out so well! That’s the one thing about this camera, for all it’s great qualities, that could use some improvement. It’s hard to get a decent macro picture in low light, even while resting the camera on the ground. This is a bit of a “light” post because we’re about to head up north for some good old fashioned family Christmas festivities. Thanks for reading!

Be sure to check out about halfway through this post where I cover some light ideas regarding the vineyard history in Cincinnati and a future “Cincinnati Vineyard Sunrise” series.

Mt. Lookout Square, just before sunrise on a gloomy overcast morning.

For the rest of this post, including all 17 pictures and the old stone structures at Ault Park, please click to continue if you’re on the front page! (more…)


Sunrise 128: Ault Park (Guest Sunrise #3, Mt. Lookout Luminaries)

Trent, looking out at Sunrise 128

A final shot of some of the neighborhood Luminaries in Mt. Lookout. Last night these would have been lit up by the candles that sit inside them.

This week started off with a great sunrise. Some friends of ours stopped by last night before heading back home to San Francisco. Trent decided to come along with me this morning on the ride up to the park. It was a cold ride, but there was a decent amount of light cloud action in the lower atmosphere to provide some nice dynamics. We also happened to catch the tail end of the Mt. Lookout Luminary, an annual community event that raises money for the local council. Technically the luminary was last night so the candles were all used up by the time we found them this morning.

I also have the first European guest sunrise from Laura in Estonia. Thanks Laura!

A cell phone shot of Sunrise 128 from Trent.

Laura in Estonia sent in this sunrise picture. Thanks again Laura!


We swung by UDF to grab some coffee and found some of the luminaries on the newly finished marble table in Mt. Lookout Square.

The late twilight sky was crisp and colorful. Interestingly, it looks like Armleder Park has suffered a bout of flooding after the recent rain.

A plane takes off from Lunken Airport over Armleder Park.

A close up of the misty farmlands in the Little Miami River Basin

The sunrise is just around the corner!

A hazy First Light of Sunrise 128

Looking out over the Little Miami River Valley

A cool and crisp Heekin Overlook. Thanks again for coming out Trent!


Sunrise 126: Ault Park (An Early Twilight Clear Sky Sunrise)

Ice wrinkles at Heekin Overlook against the autumn twilight sky. It was a cool 32F with 76% humidity and 8% cloud cover this morning (although I see no clouds, do you?)

Just as I’m packing it up to head home, a puffy robin perches on a branch, giving me a quick moment to snap his picture before he flies off to join his friends.

There is something that I’ve learned about the sunrise through the course of pursuing this project. It stems from the differences that I’ve found in analyzing the various “species” of sunrise. What I have found, specifically, is how different a clear sky sunrise is from a sunrise whose sky is filled with clouds. If it is particularly humid it is even more drastic because humidity tends to draw out the sunrise color evolution so a cloudy humid sunrise has most of its color display after “first light”. The clear sky sunrises, however, have a tendency to get too bright too quickly so most of the subtle color changes occur before “first light”. This is especially true on a non-humid day, where the first blast of sun light can be almost blinding! This morning’s sunrise was one of the “humid clear sky” type, so the color display was present but the sun did not immediately take on a yellow hue and instead stayed a deep shade of red as it rose up over the horizon.

The main difference about these clear sky sunrises, which dominated most of the summer mornings when we weren’t having thunderstorms, and most of the autumn mornings when we weren’t getting invasions of winter rain fronts, is that often times the best colors occur 15, 20, or even 30 minutes before the expected sunrise time. If there is even a hint of cloud activity in the sky, you can see deep purple and magenta highlights across the clouds in the upper atmosphere as early as 40 minutes before sunrise as the curvature of the earth provides a glimpse of the upcoming sunrise. The colors can start off high in the atmosphere and swing down to the horizon quickly, and they can be gone in a matter of minutes as I found out the hard way a few days ago.

So this morning I decided to get up earlier than usual since the forecast had me getting excited over the possibility of clear skies. I arrived at the overlook by 7:20am, a full 28 minutes before sunrise. I was surprised to find that the ambient light was already bright enough where I had no trouble seeing with the naked eye. In fact, I could have arrived 20 minutes earlier and still had plenty of atmospheric color shifting to watch. As I look at the sunrise calendar, I see that “Civil Twilight” started at 7:14am. I am coming to realize that this is probably a good indicator of when one should attempt to “show up” to observe the full evolution of a clear sky sunrise. Today’s sunrise was actually quite humid, evident by the “red globe” effect that the sun appeared with, rather than the “bright blinding yellow light” effect that a dry sunrise with clear skies would produce. I would even venture to say that the Nautical Twilight time of 6:41am would have been an appropriate time to show up this morning. Heck, on a completely dry day where the first light would penetrate deep into the atmosphere, the Astronomical Twilight time of 6:08am would not be a bad idea, although that would take some serious commitment.

7:23am; 25 minutes before sunrise and 10 minutes after the start of “Civil Twilight“. No, that link does not take you to a page about vampires, I promise!

Heekin Overlook, 20 minutes before sunrise

Twilight over the Little Miami River Valley. Check out the standing water down in the fertile corn fields. I’m surprised that there was no fog this morning considering that there has been 3 days of raining followed by a clear morning. But the fog must have been just around the corner given the high humidity in the atmosphere.

Twilight and the Water Tower over standing water in the valley.

First Light: Sunrise 126. These high humid sunrises are kind of funny because it isn’t like the drama-queen low-humidity sunrises that alert you of their impending arrival by presenting their region of the sky with a bright orange and yellow aura 5 or 6 minutes before they actually waltz in the door. Nope, these deep blood red humid sunrises sneak up on you. I’ll look away for a quick minute, or fill up my coffee cup, and I look up and am lightly shocked to see the tip of the sun peeking out from behind the far ridge line, without an entourage or dramatic display of color.

Sunrise 126!

A close-up of the sun rising over the Little Miami River Valley. Note the deeper reds and purples still in the sky just above the horizon, as if the sunlight can’t penetrate very far into the atmosphere. Compare this to a similar picture of a less humid sunrise.

Please stay tuned for tomorrow’s sunrise. It’s currently forecasted at 68% cloud cover, which means I could get lucky and get a dramatic sunrise for the first time in months!


Sunrise 125: Ault Park (Featuring Let It Happen; Deer Friends & Moody Skies)

The members of the band “Let It Happen“, whom I ran into at Ault Park this morning while they were filming for a music video @ Heekin Overlook.

Lots of activity in the sky. I am now remembering that the sunrises in April had a lot of things “to watch” due to the heavy cloud activity, something I haven’t experienced for a couple months.

Deer Stalking, one of my favorite things to do in the quite mornings in Mt. Lookout…

This morning was another “surprise” sunrise and I’m very glad that I made it happen! I didn’t set my alarm this morning but my body woke up at 7:15am when nature called me from my slumber. I was already awake and I saw mostly clear skies out the window, so I had no excuse to miss the sunrise at 7:40am! This is the second day in a row that I made it up to the sunrise without setting an alarm because yesterday my pal “Hudson the Dog” had my back and woke me up just in time. It was really warm out there, too. Surprisingly warm. It’s 52F at the time of this writing. Was it just a couple days ago that I bundled up for a 20F sunrise? Weather in the midwest can keep you on your toes 🙂

This morning was quite the experience. Aside from the normal moody sunrise that was of a “species” not seen for months, I also met the members of the band Let It Happen. That’s another first! I’ve found that while it is relatively rare to find other sunrise cowboys and cowgirls during the week, Saturday and Sunday mornings make for great opportunities to have a social sunrise. The guys were filming for their new music video. I met them and told them about Ault Park Sunrise (I’m trying to be better at self-promotion, hah). Let It Happen is currently on tour and you can check out their website, myspace, twitter, and facebook page. Whew, all social bases covered. Thanks again for humoring me, gentlemen, and good luck on your tour and all your other endeavors! Check out their EP which available on iTunes for $5. You can listen to it for free on their website as well.

It would have been interesting if stars had aligned just a bit differently because I came up with an idea a few weeks ago that I would have loved to have tried out this morning. The sunrise was certainly a great display, but after all of the clear sky sunrises that we’ve been having this fall it would have been neat to be able to get a silhouette type picture against the sunrise gradient sky. I think that’s something that I’d like to start doing more of – silhouettes of people against a clear sky similar to my favorite picture of the project that I took two weeks ago at Eden Park:

More on this “silhouette series” later!

The sunrise this morning was moody and constantly changing, a sign of new weather to come. This fall so far I have experienced a distinct pattern: overcast, clear skies, overcast, clear skies, fog fog, clear skies. Basically the sunrises have been mostly “all or nothing” without the changing dynamically shaded cumulus clouds that were present so much in the spring.. It makes sense to expect that in the winter on the symmetrical opposite end of the seasonal change from spring that we’d find more “dynamic” skies. The truly unfortunate part about the sunrise, however, was that I think I missed the best part! The videographer of the band confirmed my suspision. When I was climbing to the park I could see through the trees that there was a hell of a show going on in the eastern skies. From what I could tell, there was almost no light being cast into the upper atmosphere, but the lower horizon was bursting with bright pink, deep purple, and all kinds of hazy reds. The mid atmospheric clouds had those hot magenta highlights that fade to deep purple, all while the backdrop to this display was fading to a light blue from a deep twilight navy. I did not stop to take a picture because I had hoped that I’d arrive to the overlook in time, but alas, I missed the show. It’s amazing how that works with these sunrises – the pre-dawn display comes and goes so quickly and depending on the cloud formations, it can be a narrow windows of 30 seconds or a wider window of 5-7 minutes. It just depends on the weather!

As I entered the park, the purples had already started to fade. The upper atmosphere was providing a bright backdrop with lots of contrast against the clouds.

Let It Happen looks out over the Little Miami River Valley at twilight.

The clouds were moving quickly through the sky and the sun never did punch through the low lying cloud bank. As I previously mentioned, I think the best part of the show was about 15 minutes before sunrise.

For the rest of the pictures (15 total), please click to continue. That’s only if you’re on the front page… (more…)


Sunrise 124: Ault Park (Waves of Fog Under a Clear Sunrise)

Best seat in the house (Thanks Mac!)

My Carew Tower waterbottle sitting atop a Murdock Fountain (see all of them in the series). Sometimes I get lucky – I love this picture.

The sunrise this morning was beautiful! I was up late and didn’t expect to make it up, but we had some friends stay the night and their dog woke me up just in time for sunrise! It couldn’t have worked out better. I hopped on the bike, headed to UDF for a coffee refill (only $1 for my 26oz thermos, what a great deal), and climbed up the hill to the park. I arrived just after first light but I took a longer route than usual. I really should have taken the shorter route because as I was coming up the hill I could see the sunrise through the forest and the sun had crested over the horizon with a shade of deep rich red. By the time I was able to take a picture at the overlook, it had taken on a more late-morning yellow shade with only a hint of the dark red.

The dark red of first light is interesting because so far most of the clear morning sunrises have been very yellow light meaning that the sky has relatively low humidity. This morning’s red sunrise color is a sign that the air is full of humidity. It was a really beautiful sunrise with the fog down in the valley and the clear skies above. The higher humidity sunrises are also nice because you can stare at the sun for a few minutes as it comes up without it blinding you.

This was the first saturday that I was able to get out on the bike since my adventure to Eden Park. It was a cool 30F in the park this morning but with the sun, clear skies, and lots of people out and about I didn’t even notice the cold. I met some people at the overlook which is always fun even though I tend to ramble on and on about Cincinnati, parks, and everything in between. I met Mac, a young guy who incidentally biked up to Ault Park for the sunrise as well. That was a great surprise! He also made for a great picture against the sunrise, which you can check out below. It was the first time that I’ve met someone else at the overlook for sunrise who also biked there! Hopefully we’ll meet again sometime in the future. Mac coined the term “waves of fog” which was very appropriate to describe the movement of the fog in the valley below, especially with the ways the shadows played through the mist as the sun came up. I also met two lovely ladies who didn’t mind me filling them in on the vineyard history of the park. Thanks for listening ladies 🙂

Sunrise 124 @ Ault Park. A perfect combination of clear skies, humid atmosphere, and fog down below. One of my favorite kinds of sunrises.

The vertical shot!

Heekin Overlook. Note the second bike on the right!

Mac made for a great silhouette picture.


Sunrise 123: Ault Park (A Murder of Crows & Krohn’s Holiday Tree Lighting)

The entrance to the Art Deco Krohn Conservatory at the end of the Holiday Tree Lighting party. Check out the parallel lines, a signature of the style. Also note the humidity dripping from the glass panels.

As I climbed up to the top of the pavilion, I realized that I could see the fog layer out across the western sky. This is a new look for the park – fog and ice!

A renewed scene at the overlook as the sun rose above the densely packed layer of fog @ Sunrise 123

The atmosphere this morning was foggy for the second day in a row. I’m beginning to wonder if we’re close to setting the record if such a thing ever existed. I could see the sunrise’s deep red glow from Mt. Lookout Square, where I stopped by UDF to get a coffee refill, but by the time I climbed up to the park the fog had blown in from from the valley. The fog started to get thick as soon as I entered the park.

The strange thing that really stuck out to me this morning was the bird activity in the park. It was almost as if today was the day that the swarms of birds chose to gather in Ault Park before heading south for the winter. I have no idea of sparrows or crows migrate, but both birds were present in outstanding numbers this morning, filling up the sky and making a whole ruckus of noise! I even have a video of the “Murder of Crows”. There were at least 100 (I took a video) crows high in the trees this morning and their silhouettes were easy to find against the bright white background and naked branches. I’ve seen a handful at a time of these giant birds at the forest’s edge looking out over the valley, but this morning the murder moved together in a loud, squaking, organized group. I could hear them even as they moved deep into the forest even though they were hidden by the fog.

Last night the wife and I visited Krohn Conservatory in Mt. Adam’s Eden Park for their annual tree lighting ceremony. It was a really great time and there was excellent food and drinks. If you’re local to Cincinnati I highly recommend joining the Cincinnati Parks volunteer program because you get to hang out with some neat people and get invited to events like this at the Krohn :). The Krohn has a neat holiday display this year. A group came in and created a miniature train display that highlights several local Cincinnati landmarks as well as a few international ones. The trains glide around the fantasy landscape that is filled with the temporary holiday flowers and plants as well as the permanent citrus trees. The Krohn Conservatory is such a great building and we’re lucky to have it!

I was happy to see the Mt. Adams Incline represented in the train display @ Krohn Conservatory!

The giant pine lit @ Krohn. If you love plants like I do, be sure to pay the Krohn as many visits as you can! Especially at NIGHT during the winter. When you walk into the dark humid tropic room as ice crystals form on the green house panels, you feel like you’ve entered another world.

The entrance to the Art Deco Krohn Conservatory. Check out the parallel lines, a signature of the style.

As I entered the park, it was obvious that the sunrise was going to be a foggy one.

If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. 17 pictures total for this morning, including the video of those crazy crows… (more…)


Sunrise 121: Ault Park & Downtown (Incorrect Forecast, Turkey Trot!)

The runners prepare for the Turkey Trot in Downtown Cincinnati

This post comes a day late as the holiday festivities have had us pretty busy! Thursday morning was, of course, the holiday of Thanksgiving. For the past two years my wife has participated in the Turkey Trot, a 10k through downtown Cincinnati that has been going on for 102 years. It’s quite an event because 15,000 people quickly come together for the race before high tailing off to their family lunches, dinners, and football games. It’s seriously impressive just how many people come out for the Thanksgiving race, the only bigger race I’ve seen in Cincinnati is the famous Flying Pig Marathon.

After a long streak of thunderstorms, the forecast had finally put the weather for Thursday morning at a confident 9% cloud cover in clear skies. There was a bit of a mishap in the forecast and what ended up happening was that Thanksgiving morning was gloomy, misty, and wet. I think what actually happened was that the clear skies warmed up the ground and there was actually just lots of FOG. But the fog lifted up a few hundred yards into the sky and simulated low-lying cloud cover. When I originally left for the sunrise, the sky was a deep dark blood red, signifying that a high humid sunrise was on the schedule for the morning. By the time I got to the park, however, it was apparent that the sky was full of fog. It was a relatively warm, wet, and dark sunrise.

Either way – Happy Thanksgiving! Today, the day after Thanksgiving, the fog has finally lifted and the skies are clear and the weather is great.

Looking out across the dark morning at Lunken Airfield from Ault Park

A dark sunrise over the Little Miami River Valley

There they go! 15,000 runners start off on their 10k

I always love the moments after any race has started, when the streets are clear and I’m free to explore around the area until the leaders of the pack make their way back to the finish line.

More empty streets. It took about 15 minutes for all the runners to funnel out across the starting line, and another 15 minutes before the first runner started to make his way towards the finish line. I’m always surprised by how fast some of these runners are!

The top of the buildings were disappearing into the fog


Sunrise 120(!!): Ault Park (Clear & Frosty Cold Morning)

Sunrise 120! That’s a new milestone – 3x the original goal of 40 sunrises! For a recap, here’s Sunrise 40 and Sunrise 80.

After yesterday’s sunrise fakeout, I was excited to head up to the park this morning for the first clear sunrise of the week. The forecast was pretty much dead on – low 20s (-5C) with clear skies. I climbed up to the park about 20 minutes early and poked around by the edge of the forest to try and find candidates for some silhouette pictures against the dawn sky. I found a couple, including the lone tree by the pavilion. There was actually a couple joggers in the park this morning putting up with the cold. I bundled myself up with the usual gear: thick gloves, hooded sweatshirt, insulated wind breaker pants, and a knitted UC hat. I did, however, have one piece of extra armor (pun unintentional, but it certainly works!) this morning that made a huge difference. I borrowed the wife unit’s winter under armor shirt after her suggestion, and it really did make a huge difference. I was skeptical at first because of how thin it is (and that I can’t wear an undershirt with it!) but it really does a good job at trapping body heat and presumably releasing moisture. I felt cozy at the overlook this morning rather than miserable. I may have to get some winter gear for myself!

Coming into the park, now that the leaves have fallen from the trees, presents a very nice view of the sunrise coming over the valley.

This single tree by the pavilion caught my eye because the backdrop was much different from the first silhouette picture – more blue and white, rather than orange and purple.

The early dawn sky at Heekin Overlook over the Little Miami River Valley. This is the phrase of the sunrise that is difficult to capture accurately because the light oranges wash out to white.

Lots of upper atmospheric plane activity today. When the weather is cloudy you don’t think about how many planes are scooting along up there, but on a clear morning with the dawn light reflecting from the vapor trails it becomes apparent just how busy the sky is. I counted at least 5 in the sky this morning at sunrise, silently gliding across the atmosphere.

I was able to capture the “dawn halo” quite nicely this morning.

Interestingly enough, we can see that the sun has moved to the right of the water tower. I didn’t know if it would make it this far to the right on the horizon but it shows no signs of slowing down. Sometime in the past week the sun would have risen up exactly behind the water tower, too bad the overcast mornings hid it from view!

For the final 6 pictures, if you’re on the front page click to continue! (more…)


Sunrise 119: Ault Park (The Season of Solitude ft. Marc Adamus)

Heekin Overlook @ Ault Park for Sunrise 119

By and large, this morning’s sunrise was quite a disappointment! We’ve had four days of overcast rainy and stormy conditions as the warm autumn weather has been battling for control against the coming winter cold. Last night in the late afternoon, the sky broke and we had a beautiful sunset. I didn’t have my camera on me at the time, but it was full of color and many different cloud formations that reflected the sun light for a full 40 minutes after sunset. There were also several airplane jet trails that actually cast a dark shadow against the purple upper atmospheric clouds. A friend of mine took a picture at The Ohio State University, about 100 miles north/northeast of Cincinnati, and shared it with me. You can see how I may have had high expectations for this morning’s sunrise! Brent has been takings lots of pictures of OSU’s stadium at various times of the day. Check out the gallery and the new twitter feed.

Sunset @ The Ohio State University.

This morning I had hoped that the weather held and we were going to get a sunrise similar to the sunset of last night. I would have been happy with anything! But as the sun set and the atmosphere cooled, another thick bank of clouds rolled in last night. I woke up at 6:30am, a full 50 minutes before the sunrise (I was excited!) and was disappointed when I looked out the window and saw only dark gray skies. Interestingly enough, the western sky did break for about 10 minutes on my ride home and I saw hints of a whispy blue upper atmosphere, but at the time of this writing the sky is back to gray.

The gray of the atmosphere this morning wasn’t all bad, of course. There was no sunrise, but the calm and quiet overcast mornings do have properties of their own. It was cold, being in the lower 30s, but I was dressed appropriately and was armed with my thermos of coffee. The sky was a deep dark gray this morning, a color that I tend to associate with a wet cloud system that has the potential for a downfall or, hopefully, a thick snowfall. The squirrels were highly active this morning and I caught half a dozen of them stretched out on the trunks of the oak trees watching me watch them crack open acorns for an early breakfast. The darkness of the atmosphere meant that Lunken Airfield’s lighting systems stayed lit for longer than usual, and I noticed that with most of the leaves gone from the trees already, there are more opportunities for getting a different view of the valley from atop these hills.

Speaking of winter, I wanted to share an article about the work of a photographer that I recently found from Outdoor Photographer. The article is titled The Season of Solitude and it highlights the landscape photography of Marc Adamus. Now here is a dude who loves sunrises as much as I do. He treks out into the wilderness to get some incredible landscape pictures. The pictures of course are beautiful, but his philosophy on winter is what really drew me to the piece. I did reach out to Marc to see if he ever wanted to collaborate on a sunrise post, but he’s out in the wilderness for a few weeks. Who knows, maybe he’ll get back with me? The article has made me very excited to continue this project into the winter, even if it means more dreary overcast days like today. Being from the midwest, I love snow so much and the idea of exploring the new dynamics that a sunrise-over-snow brings to the table makes me excited. One of the most overlooked properties of winter that I also like is how much is prepares us for true wholesome appreciation of spring. I don’t mean that as a stab towards winter, I mean it in the way that everything needs balance, and the seasons are no exception. Winter is a time for hibernation, preparation, reflection, and harboring a longing for signs of life. I always wait for the first true “warm” day in Cincinnati because the streets fill with people running and walking, being social, and generally full of good spirits and community. How can they achieve such balance out in California with all their “great weather” and “sunny with no chance of rain” skies? 😉 I kid. But in all seriousness, I’m looking forward to the challenges that this winter will bring especially since it’ll be even more tough getting up early in the freezing cold to bike up to the sunrise only to find that the sky may be filled with clouds. Everything needs balance, of course, so these days will only make the clear sunrise mornings that much more beautiful.

Oh! One more thing. Tomorrow morning’s sunrise is forecast to be mostly clear with a touch of clouds. Today’s was forecasted to be “iffy” so it really is not a huge surprise that there were so many clouds in the sky. I’m looking forward to the first clear sunrise in 6 days tomorrow morning, we’ll see how it goes! With high humidity and low cloud cover, this could give an opportunity for FOG and/or a slow-rising deep purple sunrise against a clear open blue sky. Although, to be fair, I’m very new to these super cold temperature sunrises so it could be something altogether different. Who knows?

The Little Miami River Valley is starting to look a bit barren!

Looking west towards Lunken Airfield we see that the lights are still on after “sunrise” under the dark atmosphere

Looking back towards Ault Park. The oaks have completely shed their vegetation and the park is mostly empty aside from a single park crew truck in the Rose Garden.


Sunrise 118 (2/2) Special Edition: Snowman Political Rally

The Snowman’s Political Rally @ Sunrise 118

I, for one, welcome our new snowmen overlords.

As promised yesterday, this is the second part of Sunrise 118’s post.

Yesterday morning, after checking out the sunrise, I ventured into the park to see what was new. As I approached the lawn I noticed something across the way, about 80 yards on the other side of the park. Someone had gathered up a bunch of political signs and planted them together in a group. After all the local TV ads stop and the results are tallied, what ends up happening to all the political signs? Well, some of them ended up in Ault Park!

Upon closer inspection, however, it became apparent that these signs were not randomly placed about the lawn. Rather, they were all neatly organized in parallel rows, facing forward towards the set of benches. On top of one of the benches, low and behold, was a plastic Christmas snowman. As it turned out, I was the first to come across a renegade piece of art placed in the lawn of the park by some artist or group of artists. Here’s the scenario as I saw it:

  • The political signs were all organized in a tight group and each was facing the snowman.
  • Each of the political signs, without exception, were marked with a capital “V” in black shoe polish. Some of the signs were “double long” and were marked with a double V. Upon further inspection, it appears that each of the “V”s are almost identical, implying they are drawn with a stencil. Maybe spray paint, then, not shoe polish. UPDATE it was pointed out by Togie and RossTheColonol that these are not, in fact, the letter V. They’re actually stencils of a SHEEP. The sheep is looking directly at you. It’s kind of hard to tell at first, but it becomes obvious. That makes it even more powerful!
  • The snowman sat atop a bench. Care was taken so that the gravel that filled the snowman did not spill out onto the bench (a political sign kept the gravel from falling out of the bottom). There were no other signs of vandalism or damage. A respectful installation!
  • Across the side of the snowman, in big bold letters, was written “THE MAN”. The phrase was also written along the back of the snowman.
  • The snowman’s face was modified. His eyes were colored white and then small beady pupils were drawn in the center. His mouth had teeth drawn with white-out and cheek-bone lines drawn with marker. There were also wrinkles drawn around his eyes.
  • The snowman had a nice little tie around his neck that I almost didn’t catch at first.
I actually found it to be a very interesting piece. I have no idea who made it, or how much thought was put into it. Given the detail of the snowman, the tight clustering of the political signs, and the writing on each of the signs, someone out there certainly wanted it to be seen. Personally, there are several parts about the piece that I really loved. I may be extracting meaning where the artist didn’t intend there to be meaning, but I’ve always thought that relative purposeful meaning can be derived outside of the intentions of the original artist depending on the context in which a viewer of an art piece experiences the piece. Anyway, here we go. This is what I like about it.
  • I love that each of the political signs come from all areas of the political spectrum. The way they are clustered together into an “audience” to the snowman’s political rally is interesting because even though each sign represents a different “choice”, each sign is equal in the audience to the Snowman.
  • Now that I know that the stencils are “sheep”, not a “V” like an artist signature, the meaning is much more straight forward.
  • I like that the snowman is a fantasy character. It adds a bit of surrealism to the entire operation. It also makes the idea of “The Man”, an otherwise intangible and scary character, into a tangible albeit fictional figure.
  • The details on the snowman really seal the deal. His face looks seedy with a plastic smile (hah!), beady eyes, and the teeth. The tie is also a nice touch. That’s the one detail that makes me think this had some real planning behind it.
  • I like that the political signs are real. They’re taken from the urban landscape and reused to make a statement.
  • The obvious message that I take away from this is that choice is an illusion and the Snowman (“The Man”), lying behind the scenes, is benevolent in his power! 🙂 As Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine said, “There is no other pill to take so swallow the one that makes you ill!”.

A full moon rises over Snowman’s political rally.

The eager audience, each “marked” with a V or double V in black shoe polish stencils of a sheep.

“The Man” himself.

If you’re on the front page: for the rest of the pictures (about 19 total), please click to continue.  (more…)


Sunrise 118 (1/2): Ault Park (Guest Sunrises #2 from Dayton, OH and Australia!)

First Light for Sunrise 118 @ Ault Park in Cincinnati, Ohio

The full moon was out in the western sky! I know the physics make it impossible (or, rather, they show why it is impossible) but it’d be neat to see the full moon rise next to the sun. Until I can see a sunrise in a solar system with two luminous bodies, I’ll have to be content with seeing a full moon opposite the sun in the sky 🙂

(First: Check back later – I’m running out of time for the night – for the second half of this post. UPDATE Here’s the link to the second half. I came across an unexpected, and very interesting, piece of renegade art in the park this morning. Don’t miss it! There is a sneak peak down below somewhere. It deserves a post of its own so that our guest sunrises get their fully deserved attention 🙂 )

This morning I am happy to include the second set of the “guest sunrise” posts, featuring two sunrises from Dayton, OH and a set from a fellow blogger Eremophila in Australia. We’ve gone international! (Also a quick note: all original pictures’ copyright are maintained by their respective owners. The ault park sunrise notice on each picture is just the result of my renaming / resizing script that I run all pictures through prior to uploading them to the web!)

The sunrise this morning was surprisingly warm, and the skies were crystal clear as I’ve come to expect during the Autumn leg of this project. As far as clear sky sunrises go, this one was particularly “normal” with the early dawn light starting at least 20 minutes before sunrise and the “first light” being full of bright yellow light. It seems that the foggy days are gone for now, but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of them.

Guest Sunrise #1: James in Dayton, OH

James sent in a sunrise from his morning commute Thursday. I got it a bit later in the day so it wasn’t included in part I.

Driving North on I-75 in Dayton, Ohio. Thanks James!

Guest Sunrise #2: Eremophila in Mid North and South Eastern Australia

Eremophila was kind enough to send two sets of sunrise pictures from her adventures in Australia. The first picture is from the Mid North of Australia and the second two are from her recent move to Australia’s South East. She comments that the Mid North is quite a bit different from where she now lives in the South East.

Australia Sunrise (Mid North), thanks Eremophila!

South Eastern Australia Sunrise. I love the fog and the blue skies, what a beautiful picture.

South Eastern Australia Sunrise #2. More fog and vegetation!

Guest Sunrise #3: Mike from Enon, Ohio

Mike sent in two pictures of his early morning sunrise across his backyard along the farmlands of Enon, Ohio. Thanks Mike!

The dark early morning sky.

This looks to be just before First Light, capturing the brightest of the dawn light. Thanks again Mike!

There are 17 pictures in this post, so if you’re on the front page be sure to click here to continue!

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Sunrise 117: Ault Park (Featuring “guest” sunrises #1 from Cincinnati & South Carolina)

Sunrise 117 @ Ault Park

This morning I have a special edition post along with the normal Sunrise 117 pictures. Late yesterday afternoon I asked if anyone else wanted to take up the challenge to get a picture of the sunrise in their local region, wherever it may be. I received three sets of pictures from this morning’s sunrise with the promise of a couple more for tomorrow’s sunrise. Two of the sets are from the Cincinnati region and the other set comes all the way from Scott in Isle of Palm, South Carolina! Thanks Tara, Scott, & Amanda for contributing to today’s post 🙂

(update: I forgot to directly mention it but tomorrow morning I’m doing the same thing. If you’ve got the will to do so, take a picture of the sunrise and send it to me! I’ll post it here along with my normal update. aultparksunrise@gmail.com or post it to facebook, include any caption, location, or website you’d like me to include along with your picture/s. As long as I don’t get overwhelmed, which I don’t see happening, consider this a standing offer!)

The wife unit joined me this morning and took a couple pictures on her phone. The atmosphere was one of the clear sky variety, albeit with a bit of a twist. There was a low lying cloud bank that muted the colors slightly but did provide an excellent pre-sunrise show. Unfortunately we missed the pink and orange flares by about 3 minutes (and we were ten minutes early). It was probably the most social sunrise I’ve had so far, with two fellow sunrise observers and my wife along for the ride on her trusty 1983 Peugeot P18 Mixte. We were on a bit of a time schedule but if we would have stayed for another, say, 20 minutes I imagine that the sun would have poked out from behind the low lying cloud bank and lit up the sky in a bright yellow/orange palette.

Roughly 10 minutes before sunrise

Rays of light shine through, muted, behind the cloud bank

These vertical shots are actually getting harder because the sun has moved so far to the right. This time I had to zoom in to not include a branch of the oak trees that stand next to the overlook.

Guest Sunrise 1: Tara @ Voice of America MetroPark in Butler County

Tara sent these pictures in from Voice of America MetroPark, perhaps the highest point in Butler County and 25 miles north of Ault Park.

(This is actually a picture from yesterday! We didn’t get a sunrise in the cloudy overcast skies above Mt. Lookout, but Tara got lucky with a colorful display!)

“I really enjoyed watching the sun rise but peace was my ultimate reward this morning….

… To stop and look at the world and reflect on what’s important.”

Guest Sunrise 2: Scott @ Isle of Palm, South Carolina

Scott sent in some pictures from the clear sky sunrise above the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. Sunrise over there was around 6:44am, a full half hour earlier than us in Ohio!

Scott said this was his “bike” that he took to get to the beach! haha

Dawn on the beach in South Carolina

Looking North along the coast line

What’s a beach without freshly churned-up sea shells?

Just before sunrise @ Isle Of Palm, South Carolina

We can see the orange aura forming; it’ll be any second now.

First Light!

Looks like Scott got a nice low-humidity sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean (high humidity would make the sun purple and dim for the first few minutes of light). Thanks Scott!

Guest Sunrise 3: Amanda @ Ault Park, Cincinnati OH

Amanda joined me this morning on bike as we climbed up to the sunrise @ Heekin Overlook. Thanks!

Looks like I am caught red-handed in the act. Gloves, Hat, Sweatshirt, and Sweat Pants. Sneaky girl!

The sunrise behind the low-lying cloud bank over the Little Miami River Valley.

Amanda’s trusty steed. She is a 1983 Peugeot P18 Mixte. This shade of red was only made for one year. I’m always surprised at how well it shifts. Thanks Amanda!

Stay tune for, hopefully, a new set of sunrise pictures tomorrow morning. Apparently Friday is a good day for people to check out the Sunrise (although it probably has more to do with the fact that some people take Friday off)


Sunrise 116: Ault Park (Warm & Clear Autumn Sunrise)

Sunrise 116 @ Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook

This morning’s sunrise was the first official sunrise post-DST. After the vibrant late sunrise from Saturday, I was excited to get to the park one hour earlier than usual. It was a bit strange, actually, setting my alarm for 6:30am when I’m used to setting it for 7:30am. When day light savings changes, most things in our lives are not affected. We still go to work at the same time, watch our TV shows at the same time, eat dinner at the same time, play softball at the same time, etc. The only thing that changes is how much ambient light in the atmosphere there is while we do our time-based routines. One could even argue that this is one of the central constructs of modern society, right? A routine based on metrics consistent with the controllable constructs of the society (time and time-based events) rather than based on the uncontrollable rise and fall of the sun.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the inconvenience of suddenly setting my alarm an hour earlier when the rest of my life really has not been affected by the hourly gain of Daylight Savings Time. The traffic was more moderate, although it was still very present, when I left for the park at 6:50am. The park itself was very quiet and peaceful, even the park crew were no where to be found this morning. The joggers started trickling in by the time I left the park around 7:30am, no doubt a result of their running schedule being synced to the time-based routine rather than a sun-based routine :). I couldn’t believe how warm it felt this morning! The temperature was, apparently, in the low 40s but it felt much warmer than that. This autumn has been very kind to us here in Cincinnati. We’ve had so many days of clear skies to enjoy the outdoors, with a handful of rainy overcast days thrown in to pump up some fog and remind us not to take these final days for granted before the Midwest Winter comes knocking on the door! My wife mentioned that last year she felt like we didn’t even have a fall because winter seemed to show up so quickly. Certainly not the case this year.

The valley was full of fog when I arrive this morning at Heekin Overlook. The fog, however, settled down in the basin of the valley and made no attempt to invade the hills.

This morning’s atmosphere was a typical autumn clear sky with hints of light cloud activity, likely left over from yesterday’s overcast morning. Could it be a sign of another overcast morning tomorrow? Typically a completely clear sky signals at least a mostly clear sunrise on the following day but a mostly clear sky with light cloud cover is not quite so telling.

Just before sunrise over the Little Miami River Valley

First Light! I’m loving these vertical sunrise shots.

An attempt at an open sky, although it looks like that tree branch in the upper right was feeling a bit more photogenic than usual.

Looking back over the months, I find it interesting to see the seasonal evolution of this tree. I never made a specific point to capture it’s leaf development, but it does make several appearances. Here it is in April with leaves just beginning to bud, and here it is in may full of green foilage.

The last few leaves hang on as Autumn marches on in Ault Park.


Sunrise 113: Ault Park (Misty & Clear Autumn Morning)

The sunlight turned bright quickly. Down in Armleder Park, there were pronounced rays of light piercing the light fog as they came through the trees.

Another beautiful clear autumn sky in Cincinnati on this early November morning. I was held up at home for a few extra minutes so I got to the park just as the sun was coming up over the horizon. I really liked yesterday’s vertical picture with the silhouette of the tree in the top left of the picture. Today’s sunrise was less humid than yesterday’s so the orange gradient fade from the sun into the atmosphere was quicker and with a heavier shade of navy blue. I would have loved to arrive just 10 minutes earlier because these low humidity clear sky sunrises are one of my favorites, but that’s just how it happens sometimes! The fog that made a dramatic appearance yesterday has receded back into the valley and is now more of a mist. Tomorrow’s forecast is calling for clouds and rain, but the early morning looks like it may have about 40% cloud cover. If we get lucky the conditions could be right for a drop-dead beautiful dynamic sunrise. We’ll see what happens!

It was another cold one this morning. My thermometer puts it at around 35F for sunrise. As I mentioned yesterday, with gloves, my hoodie, and insulated pants it isn’t bad at all. The wind is really what I have to worry about and there wasn’t much to speak of today.

Sunrise 113 in a mostly clear, low humidity atmosphere.

Looking East over the Little Miami River Valley across misty farmland.

Heekin Overlook


Sunrise 112: Ault Park (Dilon Ave Candy Party, Clear & Humid Sunrise)

Sunrise 112

This morning’s sunrise was pure autumn beauty! The temperature is holding steady at a cool 32F, 34F after sunrise. The sky was devoid of clouds and the humidity was high. I heard last night on the local weather channel that this morning was going to be “clear and chilly” with humidity of around 77%. After yesterday morning’s dark and gloomy sunrise (which I happily stayed at home in my warm bed for!) this meant that there was a good chance for some morning fog for Sunrise 112. I’m beginning to understand how to predict fog at least to a nominal degree. Clear skies after a gloomy day seem to be a good predictor, but it isn’t certain and there are definitely other factors that can create fog as well.

I threw on my wife’s running gloves (I need to get some for myself!), some long insulated running pants, and my thick University of Cincinnati Homecoming 2005 PDT sweatshirt. It was cold! But to be honest, I learned a valuable lesson. With the gloves protecting my hands from the bare metal on my handlebars (wrapping them this winter will be a fun project… still haven’t decided if I’m going to throw on indexed shifters or not) and my hot fresh brewed coffee, I can handle these low-30s autumn mornings. There should be many low-30s winter days ahead of us and as long as the wind doesn’t rip my face off, I’m hoping that there will also be a good amount of Ault Park Winter Sunrise posts. I’ve also put off making the best-of page up to date, a task that I’ve decided would fit perfectly for those winter mornings where I feel like writing but don’t feel like getting frost bite 🙂

There was lots of bird activity this morning and also lots of people activity. Sunrise was at 8:06pm by my clock and with the clear skies the atmosphere was already lighting up in a bright but muted gray color by 7:20am. The high humidity added an interesting twist this morning. The sunrise was quick like I’ve come to expect with the open atmosphere free of clouds, but with the high humidity and the light mist, the sky did not take on a deep saturated navy blue. The sun started off in a late-phase orange color, having spent the deep purple quickly before even cresting over the horizon. There was a lot of that “muted gray” color in the sky which helped to mix up the color pallet from the orange to deep blue gradient that I would have seen if the humidity were lower.

I, for one, can’t wait for day light savings to kick in later this week. Maybe I should go somewhere to celebrate the occasion. It’s funny how things slowly slip by with the currents of time until they take on a different feeling all together and you have to *remember* what the feeling of that thing was just a few months ago. Looking back at my mid-summer sunrise posts, I find it neat to read about how quiet and calm the sunrise rides were. No cars or traffic, no people, just the birds and squirrels and the sunrise. This morning’s 8:06am sunrise had me fighting rush hour traffic just to get across the street! When DST finally ends and we jump back an hour, hopefully I’ll have a few weeks of calmer sunrise rides. The latest that the sunrise will come up until NEXT autumn is around 7:50am sometime in the middle of the winter, so this week will officially be the latest sunrises of the whole project.

I *have* been saving up a special contact for a few months now that I haven’t actually reached out to query. More on that later. Without further ado, Sunrise 112.

As I climbed up the hill to Ault Park, I passed this left over from last night’s neighborhood trick or treat. I was cracking up to myself at the effort that the house put in to attracting trick or treaters. I don’t blame them, though. Dilon Ave is a cul-de-sac so it’s possible that there would be less volume of kids walking around. It makes sense to advertise!

The wife unit and I sat outside last night with a bucket of candy but we didn’t have as much luck. I kind of wish we had a sign, too! Oh well now we have lots of left over butter fingers.

There was a layer of mist in the air and around the bondaries of the forest, but the park was mostly clear. Upon arriving to Heekin Overlook, I was greeted with a “classic” foggy valley that provided seamless gradient into the atmosphere. The sun was due to show up in about 10 minutes, so I poured myself a coffee and looked out across the foggy valley.

Heekin Overlook @ Ault Park.

Just before the sun came up there was a bright deep orange/purple halo that illuminated the area just above the horizon.

The pictures, of course, don’t do it justice but the 30 seconds before “first light” can be rather intense! 🙂

As I was waiting for First Light, several packs of birds flew out from over head.

“First Light” with some industrial fog rising up to the left…

A vertical picture showcasing the gradient colors into the navy blue

Sunrise 112, featuring a commuter plane that just took off from Lunken

The lawn in Ault Park with a light dusting of psuedo-frozen dew crystals

What is always interesting to me is how the sun doesn’t waste any time pushing the fog into the park once it crests over the horizon.


Sunrise 107: Ault Park (Cold, Wet, Signs of Light)

I took advantage of a break in the rainy weather to head up to the park this morning. Rumor had it that there was a small chance of breaking skies so I figured it was worth the bet. The morning sunrise was quiet and calm, and I actually did get a bit more of a show than I expected considering the recent three days of wet rainy mornings. When I left the apartment to head up to the park, the atmosphere had a dark shade of gray and it looked like there was no hope of seeing a sunrise. When I started climbing the hill, however, I saw some hints of light through the backyards of the local homes. As it turned out, there were several patches clearing up above Lunken Airport, but unfortunately the clear patches were not far enough east to allow the sun to make an appearance. Either way, it was a pleasant, but cold – about 42F, morning and my hot thermos of coffee came in handy!

A morning like this reminds me of the first few sunrises in early April.

I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of “Fall Back”, when day light savings ends. It’ll be nice to get out for another 7:00am sunrise before winter sets in.

Looking out across Lunken Airfield where the sky is showing signs of clearing up. Interestingly enough, the atmosphere did not change at all in the 20 minutes I was at the overlook. There seemed to be no wind at all.

I caught a rather large jet taking off from Lunken as it crossed through the bright patch of sky.

Heekin Overlook @ Ault Park

Kind of a weird picture, but I was trying to capture just how dark and gloomy the left side of the horizon was. The sun is lost somewhere in that gray mess.

Armleder Park. To the right we can see the Mt. Washington water tower, known for its Art Deco style.


Sunrise 106: Ault Park (Colorful Sunrise & Autumn Acorns)

An airplane approaches Lunken Airport at sunrise

I got another lucky break this morning for Sunrise 106. The forecast called for both rain and mostly cloudy conditions for this AM (although the forecast has since changed to accommodate a more sunny outlook for the week). The atmosphere ended up being clear with whisps of a low-lying cloud slurry, one of the best combinations for a pretty sunrise. The clouds help to reflect different colors and phases of the sunrise light as the sun comes up over the horizon.

So far the weather has really been great this Autumn. I’d much rather have a week of overcast and gloomy weather followed by a week full of bright clear skies and dynamic morning sunrises. These sunrises feel a lot like the spring sunrises, except that in the spring there seems to have been more of the puffy cumulus type clouds. The morning temperature started off chilly – around 40F – and it looks like today will be another warm one with the temperature rising into the mid 70s.

Over the weekend my wife and I visited family in Dayton . On the way back we swung through Waynesville, OH to explore some of the antique furniture malls. I found a couple of really neat “Cincinnati Park” themed postcards with postmarks dating back over 100 years. I’ll share them on here sometime this week. One of them features the Elsinore Arch and the other, I think, features the Twin Lakes. I’m going to go find the location that the pictures were taken and see what it looks like today. I’m really excited to own these two postcards because they’re in the same artistic style that I keep running across in my Internet Travels I embark on while doing research for this project. Cincinnati Views has a great archive of many of them, although I still have to search it to see if mine have already been documented. Stay tuned 🙂

Briefly, here’s a gallery I found while searching for postcard pictures. Lots of artistically rendered Cincinnati greeting cards.

Just before sunrise. After stopping at UDF to get my coffee on free-refill-Monday, I made it up to Heekin overlook just in time.

Looking out at the sunrise from the lower overlook.

Sunrise 106, 7:50am EST

A vertical picture showcasing the gradient into the dark blue of the upper atmosphere.

A close up of the sunrise. At this point the sun is being directly obfuscated by the cloud bank.

Acorns are all over the place under the oak trees surrounding Heekin Overlook

(A widescreen version). Browns are the color of choice here.


Sunrise 105: Ault Park (Suprise! Clear Skies)

Sunrise 105: Clear Skies

Honestly, I didn’t expect much out of this morning’s sunrise. It’s been stormy and overcast for the past few days and last night our softball games were cancelled due to rain. When I woke up and saw the familiar warm glow of the twilight sky through the trees in our backyard, I realized that sometime during the early morning the sky cleared up. Even the forecast last night called for rainy and cloudy skies today. Weather is weird like that sometimes.

The morning started out chilly and ended up ice cold! As the sun came up and began to stir up the atmosphere, the wind picked up and shook the trees. It ended up being what I’d consider to be a “classic” autumn morning – chilly, clear skies, and a bit of a breeze.

Continuing in the vein of short updates (late sunrise times push my posts too far into the morning!), Sunrise 105 is another brief and sweet one. In a couple of weeks when day light saving ends and the sunrise comes up before 7:00am again, there will be a bit more time. I’m looking forward to it!

Dawn, entering the park.

There were some light clouds just above the horizon that were changing colors along with the atmosphere.

Heekin Overlook. Lots of leaves on the ground, but the valley forest is still mostly green.

The light was really strange this morning. Either the sky was completely bleached out, or the foreground was completely black.

It’s hard to capture all of the colors that a clear sky has to offer on my little camera. Under the canopy of the shedding oak trees, the view out across the valley is bright and orange.

Half-staffed flag and the moon.

20 minute later, after the wind picked up. The moon moves quickly. About this time I saw two young red tailed hawks floating around through the gardens. The larger one was probably the same one I saw earlier this spring @ Sunrise 10.

Looking down Observatory Ave with the sun coming up behind me. This was about the time it was getting icy cold.

This little “park” is always decorated for the holidays. I’m not sure if it’s maintained by the Cincinnati Parks or if it is a local resident.