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

Posts tagged “biking

Sunrise 53: Ault Park & Lunken #3 (Pink Dawn & Airplanes)

A plane prepares to land at Lunken Airfield down below.

Sunrise over the Airplanes @ Lunken Playfield (Full Circle!)

When I left the apartment this morning to head up to Ault Park I could tell it was going to be a good morning. My legs were feeling strong, the sky was starting to light up with a purple hue, and the air was brisk and comfortable. I actually wore a light sweatshirt this morning to fend off the 55F temperature. After the heat streak of last week (we were up around 95F) this cooler temperature is greatly appreciated.

The sun has just started to crest behind the trees

The Pink Dawn Sky

The dawn sky took on a pinkish hue that peaked just as the sun crested over the horizon. The sunrise was a quick one. It seemed as though the “climax” was just after sunrise, within about 10 minutes. The few minutes leading up to the actual sunrise were marked with bright skies and deep purple atmosphere. On mornings like this you want to get up 20 minutes earlier and catch the sunrise from both ends. I’m not sure how to predict ahead of time what kind of sunrise you’re going to get, but if you want to be sure just show up early 🙂

Armleder Park – Look ma, no fog!

A vertical shot capturing the color of the upper atmosphere

Believe it or not, the sunrise colors had faded by 6:20am to a light mix of yellow, orange, and pink. I was impressed with the dramatic display of colors so soon after sunrise time and decided to try my luck down at Lunken Airfield, doing the same loop (via Eastern Ave) that I mapped out yesterday. We’ll call this “Lunken #3” – a pattern I hope to keep up.

Looking out at Heekin Overlook

At 6:24am, about 12 minutes after sunrise, I took off from the overlook to knock out the third run of the so-called ‘Eastern Lunken Loop’. I didn’t know if I was going to do the entire loop (heading all the way down to the Ohio River Launch Club on the Ohio River) but I was curious how quickly I could get to Lunken from Alms Park without stopping, and how much time it would take to get back to Mt. Lookout Square.

Lunken Sunrise

I arrived at Lunken Airfield at 6:35am. The trip from Heekin Overlook to Lunken Airfield was uninterrupted as I ignored my own advice from yesterday and didn’t stop to take a picture of Linwood Public School.

For the rest of the story, and if you’re on the front page, click here –> (more…)

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Sunrise 52: Ault Park (Lunken Loop #2: Marina, Barges, Airplanes)

A shot through the trees and the billowing smoke.

Perhaps my favorite sunrise picture of the morning. The airplane, having just taken off from Lunken Airfield, heading off into the sunrise.

Up the East/West runway down at Lunken Airfield. Not a single plane took off while I was there.

Looking up river around the bend. There goes the barge.

This morning’s sunrise was a bright one. It was one of the classic spring mornings where the fog is thick across the valley and the sky is mostly clear. I got up a bit late so I arrived at Heekin Overlook just as the sun was coming up. As I’ve mentioned previously I don’t actually have a direct view of the sunrise any more from Ault Park, due to how far to the left the sun has moved as we approach Summer Solstice. After June 21 the sun will revert back along the path to the east, eventually aligning once more with the Ault Park Pavilion. It is possible now that I think about it that the Pavilion might be aligned with the Winter Solstice (December 20-21), as that would be a point when the sun would be much further to the right (looking out at the Little Miami River Valley). I’ll have to make a mental note of that.

I unfortunately won’t be in Cincinnati during the summer solstice. Amanda and I are taking a trip out west through San Fransisco and Sacramento California. I hope to get some sunrise pictures (depending on our schedule and where we’re at) along the way. I *definitely* intend to get a sunrise for Summer Solstice but I’ll have to wait until next week to find a vantage point.

This morning would have been a great time to be at the Overlook 20 minutes before the sunrise. The haze was doing two main things to the sun light. First, it was scattering the rays throughout the sky, causing the twilight atmosphere to light up substantially prior to the sunrise. The second thing was that it was also blocking most of the orange / yellow light, so the early morning sky had a bright pink / purple-ish tint to it.

Ault Park

I spent the first 20 minutes after sunrise in Ault Park. After watching the sun come up, and peering down into the valley at the thick foggy layer, I decided that I wanted to try out, for the second time, the new route that I “created” that takes me from Heekin Overlook to Lunken Airfield to the “Marina” to Alms Park and back to Mt. Lookout. I was feeling up to task of knocking out the 9 mile loop in under an hour. I am considering adding this route to the daily (or psuedo-daily) morning ritual. I think it would be neat to start at Ault Park, do the loop, and take pictures at the same landmarks along the way. It would be an extension to the existing Ault Park Sunrise project. The landmarks along the way would be:

  • Ault Park – Heekin Overlook
  • Linwood Public School – at the base of the hill under Ault Park
  • Lunken Airfield – the bench looking out at the sunrise over the airfield
  • Wilmer / Carrel Trail – the railroad art monument
  • The Ohio River Launch Club – the marina out on the Ohio River
  • Alms Park – Lunken Airfield Overlook

There are many other smaller, or auxiliary, landmarks along the way. Cemeteries, churches, the airport terminal, historic  homes and old industry. In fact it would be neat to make an Android or iPhone App that provided drop-dead simple ways to “check in” and upload a picture at each landmark. A kind of collaborative urban cycling picture project. There is enough diversity along the route, and it is relatively quick with low traffic, that I think a lot of people would enjoy riding it. Here’s a map of the route: Ault Park -> Lunken Airfield -> Ohio River Launch Club -> Alms Park

Speaking of bike routes, yesterday marked a new achievement for me. I biked to the University of Cincinnati’s Campus from Mt. Lookout. Google Maps provided me with a route that skipped most of the major roads and was almost entirely urban residential. It was an awesome, if not exhausting, experience. I’ve mapped the route (one-way) on mapmyrun. Mt. Lookout to the University of Cincinnati via Fairfax/Lincoln Ave. The way to campus took about 35 minutes and was, to my surprise, almost entirely uphill. The ride back, however, was fun and more than made up for any discomfort from the ride in the opposite direction. Almost entirely downhill (slight grade mostly), I was able to get home in about 20 minutes and for the most part maintain a decent speed on par with the light traffic. The traffic was almost non-existant in the morning when I left, and on the way back (around 4:30pm) there was moderate traffic but because 80% of the route is through residential areas, traffic was mostly at a minimum.

On the the sunrise.

Morning “Dawn”

The smoke / fog over on the left was obscuring the sun.


If you’re on the front page, click to continue. Linwood Public + Lunken + Marina —-> (more…)


Sunrise 38: Ault Park & Lunken Airfield (Fog, Cumulus, Columbia-Tusculum, and a Clear Sunrise)

Behind Lunken Airfield after sunrise

This morning was downright beautiful. I woke up to a respectable fog in the area, something that always makes me excited for the morning ride. As I rode up to the park, I noticed that the air got more clear the further I went. This is an interesting trend I’ve picked up on – Mt. Lookout seems to get more fog than the peak of the overlook. Whether this is due to elevation (200ft difference), temperature, or wind I’m not sure.

Approaching the park

As I approached the park, the sky started to turn a familiar shade of orange. The sunset last night was marked with clear skies so I was hopeful that this morning’s sunrise would be the same. I wasn’t disappointed.

Foggy Dawn

Down in the Little Miami River valley the familiar thick fog was present. But there was an interesting difference this morning over the previous mornings. While the Eastern sky (towards the sunrise) was clear, and the fog was present throughout the entire valley, there was actually a thick low-lying cloud bank to the west. This caused a kind of dark floor to the sky over the lunken to the west.

The moon, out again and high in the air.

The pink cumulus over Lunken Airfield

The cloud bank provided this nice contrast against the upper cumulus clouds. They glowed a light pink at the opposite end of the arena from the sunrise. They also quickly disappeared as the moving cloud bank swept underneath them.

If you’re on the front page, click to continue reading! –> (more…)


Sunrise 24: Ault Park (Bursting Cumulus, Green Leaves, Caterpillars)

After seeing the cloudy front take over the sunset last night, I was worried that the sky this morning would be overcast. When I got out of bed and looked out the window, the was indeed a bit cloudy but it was a light covering with pockets of dark blue sky showing through. The atmosphere was on the “heavy” side of light overcast. I rode up to the park for the 6:34am sunrise but as I made my way up the hill I started to notice that the sky was darker than I would have expected. There were not any signs of orange, indicating that there was a low cloud cover over the horizon. It is worth mentioning that this week I have continued to “default” to using the second gear on my bike to go up the hills. This is something that I was unable to do even two weeks ago – the added difficulty is a welcome addition to my morning rides that are becoming easier by the day as I get into shape. Feeling a bit of pent up energy from the many rain storms, I could tell that if the lighting conditions are right I’d be taking lots of pictures today.

The sky was indeed filled with a low overcast cloud bank. The sun came up over the horizon and shined through the misty layers. Just as I was sitting down to enjoy my coffee, my assumptions about a conservative and boring sunrise started to gather doubt. I noticed that directly above me the sky was starting to break, I could see the clear blue sky pushing away the clouds. The clouds were moving east allowing the clear skies to slip closer and closer to the sun rise. (If you’re on the front page, please click to continue –>) (more…)


Sunrise 22: Ault Park (Stormy krs Picture Hunt)

This morning was a repeat of yesterday morning but at about twice the “volume”. Spring showers with no sunrise. The rain storm that came early yesterday morning was young, having been only a few hours behind the thunder front. This morning’s rain storm, however, felt strong and confident. Thick clouds and dark skies with no thunder. The sky was so dark when I woke up that I ended up snoozing for about 15 minutes and left around sunrise time. There just isn’t much hurry to get out there into the dark wet rain. The rain was noticeably colder this morning, compared to yesterday, and the wind was making me wonder just how wet that emergency pair of gloves in my backpack is. While yesterday morning was relatively warm with a light drizzle, this morning was chilly enough to take the euphoric edge off of my morning ride. I decided to take a few pictures of the overlook and head up to the pavilion. In other words, it was a man-made shelter kind of morning.

Armleder Park surprised me. The water appears to have retreated back from the main shelter, revealing most of the prairie and some soccer fields. The rain hasn’t really let up enough to warrant that much of a fall, so I’m wondering if the city engineers have dome something to help drain the field?

The pavilion was pleasantly dry. When you’re not getting rained on, the wind doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem. I stood next to my bike and wondered what I was going to do for the next 15 minutes as I dried out. I remembered that another Cincinnati blogger, krs, had tagged me yesterday in some Ault Park pictures that he took over the last few days. They were interesting pictures because they featured one of my favorite things about the Cincinnati Parks – the heavy duty metal utilities that you find in all parks. A water fountain, a bench, and a lamp post. The pictures are taken in such a way that you can’t exactly tell the context of the surroundings. Challenge Accepted! If you’re on the front page, click to continue –> (more…)


Sunrise 21: Ault Park (Maple Rain Shelter)

A new front rolled through last night. Sometime during the night I remember waking up to the loud crack of thunder. Fortunately by the time 6:15am rolled around, the violent part of the system had moved on and we were left with a quiet peaceful spring shower. The ride up to the park was filled with the surround-sound acoustic profile of water falling from the trees and guzzling storm drains. There was little wind and the rain was light enough to not cause me too much mis-comfort, while being strong enough to ensure I was the only early morning pedestrian.

The visibility from the overlook was only about a mile or so into the valley. The Heekin overlook structure doesn’t actually have a roof, so I decided that if I was going to enjoy a cup of coffee without having rain drops splash it all over my hand, I should seek out some kind of shelter. I decided to search around the arboretum for a natural umbrella – a tree shelter, if you will. I strolled through the arboretum, and found there were a few small trees that could provide some shelter, but most of the trees in the lawn were simply not tall enough or thick enough to provide a decent umbrella. I ventured up to the pavilion side of the lawn. Up against the retaining wall that separates the lower lawn from the upper pavilion lawn there are several older trees. On the west side of the stairs there is a family of 3 trees that provided excellent shelter. If you’re on the front page, please click continue for more 🙂 (more…)


Sunrise 18: Ault Park (Blazing Hills and Fibonacci Spirals)

I’m beginning to think that I actually like a week of thunder storms. Today’s forecast shows “chance of thunderstorms” in the morning, and “chance of rainstorms” all day. After the storms that whipped through yesterday and last night, the sky was left mostly clear in the upper atmosphere with low lying cloud banks to the east. So far the most unique sun rises have been on these days when a storm is expected to show up but doesn’t end up getting here until late morning or beyond. It makes me wonder if spring isn’t the best season for the sun rise? A summer full of clear warm days won’t make for a dynamic atmosphere. On the other hand, the lighting conditions that come with a clear sun rise provide great opportunities to take pictures of the plants and trees. Click “Continue Reading” to see more pictures if you’re on the front page. (more…)


Best-Of: Sunrises 1-10

One of the side effects of making daily posts is that it is easy for some of the “best” pictures to get pushed off the front page. For that reason, I’m doing something a bit different. I’m going to highlight some of my favorite pictures from the first 10 days. As I sit here listening to the storm outside, knowing I won’t have a clear sunrise for at least 5 days, it is nice going back and looking at some of the beautiful mornings I’ve been lucky enough to experience. I’m also highlighting some of my favorite macro (closeup) pictures and seasonal changes that have taken place in Ault Park in the past three weeks. There may even be a couple of pictures that didn’t make the daily cut. So far I’ve uploaded over 227 pictures to this project in 14 posts. There are at least three times that many pictures that I have packed away.

Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!

Sunrise / Weather


Macro / Closeup

Arboretum and Misc.


Sunrise 14: Ault Park (Warm Air, Cold Rain)

When I first woke up this morning, all I could think of was how sore I was going to be. Last night I participated in my first ever “group ride” with the friendly people over at Element Cycles in Mt. Lookout / Hyde Park. I found out about the event only two hours before it started.  Yesterday afternoon I was browsing through the Cincinnati bicycling blogosphere when I came across an announcement by Queen City Cycles (and Urban Cincy) about how May is “Bike Month”. There are going to be all kinds of awesome events, including Bike+Brew, an event that involves a bike pub crawl through the bars in over the rhine, down town, and newport / covington kentucky. It sounds like a blast. Along with the announcement about Bike+Brew there Queen City Cycles had a picture of the official Bike Month t-shirts.  I saw that one of the locations to pick up a t-shirt was at Element Cycles, which just so happens to be in my neighborhood. I remembered passing the shop just last Sunday for the first time so I decided to check out their website / facebook page. As it turns out they do Thursday rides @ 6pm. Being familiar with the weather for this week and realizing that yesteday was probably the only beautiful day (and the only clear sunrise!) I sucked it up and decided to check out the event, for better or worse.
I was pretty nervous to say the least. Could I keep up with these “real” cyclists? Would I get left behind, struggling and over run by traffic, somewhere in the eastern hills, 20 miles from my house? I sucked it up and headed over to the bike shop on Observatory to see what it was all about. It ended up being an absolutely fantastic ride. I was probably the only person in the group who didn’t have clip-less pedals, a bike computer, or a sweet-ass aerodynamic bike outfit – but in the end it didn’t matter. We had a group of about 15 people, all of whom are what I would consider to be regular cyclists. A few of the riders were obviously serious about speed, quite intimidating at first, but they ended up breaking off and doing their own route which left us mortals to climb the grueling hills at our own pace. Everyone was friendly and didn’t seem to mind my nervous tick – talking and talking and talking (“Did you know this building was built in the early 1900s for downtown commuters? It doesn’t have a parking lot because there used to be a rail line that went through here. So have you heard of the Cincinnati Subway? hehe) The route ended up being about 21 miles, averaging about 14mph. We went up to Madeira, over through Indian Hill, and back up Wooster to Madisonville. There are some beautiful hidden (and steep) roads out through Indian Hill. Fortunately for my legs (and sanity) we took a break every 5 miles or so to recuperate. It was a great experience overall. After the trip Brett, the owner, hooked me up with a craft beer from Utah, Four+Brewing’s Wyld Organic Pale Ale. I knew right then that I was coming back :). I’ve never had a craft beer from Utah, and even now it appears that it was a rare occasion – I don’t think the brewery even has a web site. I look forward to many more Thursday rides.


This morning started out with so much promise. The color of the twilight sky was the gray that I’ve become so familiar with this week. It was not, however, quite as dark as Monday or Tuesday. There were streaks of a hazy bright gray, almost blue, through the atmosphere, giving me some hope that there may be a sunrise after all. I’ve found that you can tell a lot about the sun rise by how much light is in the atmosphere about a half hour before the sun rise. If the atmosphere is bright you’ll obviously have a great sun rise. And if it is still as dark as you’d expect to be in the middle of the night, you’ve got a completely overcast situation. But there are levels in between. From a 0 (stormy / midnight) to a 10 (clear with no clouds) today was probably a 4. I made my coffee (oops I forgot all about it last night), hopped on the bike, and rode up to the park. I arrived just in time for the official sunrise. The air was surprisingly warm, and while it was a bit wet out, I wouldn’t say that it was unpleasant. The air smelled sweet and there was a surprisingly high volume of bird chatter.  It must be mating season for one of the local species because it sounded like a constant overlapping between one specific kind of bird call. I’ve noticed that the cardinals tend not to yell over one another – they take turns and sync up. I’d say that this is a good example of an optimized game theory strategy. This other bird though (I know what it looks like, but not what it is called) isn’t quite so courteous. There was a consistent baseline of song, partially shrill and indistinguishable, in the backdrop of the forest soundscape.

The sun never did come out. Armleder Park is still holding strong down in the valley, having been underwater for over two weeks now. I can’t imagine how many giant carp or catfish are grazing the prairie grass and soccer fields. I just realized that you can fish in the small pond that is located on the eastern side of the park – does that now expand to include the whole park? Hmm. I may have to go get a fishing license after all. I also wonder what effect this will have on the fish population in that small pond. If the prarie is the flat basin of the new “Armleder Lake”, the pond would be the deep trench that the catfish would probably want to hide out in. When the water recedes, I bet we’ll see some giant fish pulled out of that pond.I’d like to imagine a young kid and his dad heading out to Armleder for a quick fishing trip after work. By this point, lets say late August, the 4 foot grass carp hasn’t had a good meal in weeks. He’s desperate for some protein. The kid feels a yank on his line, and the next day his dad can tell his work buddies that his son caught a 100 pound grass carp in a tiny pond next to the soccer fields. Heck yeah!

Lunken Airport is a bit under water, too, but that doesn’t affect business. The run ways are elevated, perhaps because they got sick and tired of getting flooded out over the years. Or maybe they built it that way originally. Who knows.

I took the opportunity to try and get some pictures of the small flowers that were popping up in the green low light foliage around the overlook.

Normally I would over look these smaller flowers, but now that the cherry blossoms, magnolias, and daffodils have moved on they stand out against the green backdrop. (More after the jump) (more…)


Sunrise 9: Alms Park (Barge Races, Earth Day, Downtown Cincy)

It’s official, I’m addicted. I had every reason to sleep in this morning. I was up late and didn’t have any morning plans. I didn’t even set an alarm. But when the birds started chirping at 6:18am this morning, I awoke from my slumber. I even tried to go back to sleep but it didn’t work. “Fine”, I thought to myself. Let’s go see if that cold front has broke yet.

I took the opportunity to switch it up a bit. I have been curious about whether Alms Park, which is the Yin to Ault Park’s Yang, is set up appropriately to see the sunrise. There is a western facing overlook that makes for a beautiful sunset, but I haven’t noticed any particularly eastern-facing points.

The central overlook in Alms Park looks right down into Lunken Airport and provides probably the best vantage point to seriously watch the planes land and take off from 250ft above the basin.  I biked around the small loop in the park, and even went down into the off-the-normal-path reserved area where there is a small shelter. More after the jump

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