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

Posts tagged “cincinnati

Sunrise 84: Ault Park & Lunken Airfield (Macro Dew, Cool Summer Morning)

This is becoming my favorite spot to take bike pictures. The raised levee provides a nice open view to the sky.

Dew Sunrise

Today was another beautifully cool summer morning in Cincinnati. The temperature was brisk, lower 60s at the highest. I cruised on into Ault Park just before sunrise to get a shot of the dawn sky, and upon seeing the fog down in the valley, decided to drop down to Lunken Airfield for a nice 10 mile ride. Got some great pictures of the sunrise over the foggy lunken airfield, as well as some macro picture of the morning dew.

Morning Dawn at Ault Park looking over the Little Miami River Valley

Considering the drop down into Armleder Park. Instead I opted to head down to Lunken Airfield.

I made it just in time. The sun had just started coming up over the ridge. There were patches of thick fog but the bike path was mostly clear!

There was a small patch of clouds just above the horizon. Other than that it was another clear summer sky!

If you’re on the front page, click to continue. About 12 or so pictures in total. Including a pleasant picture of St. Stephen’s Italianate bell tower. (more…)


Sunrise 83: Ault Park (Troy, Ohio Historic Teaser, Foggy Summer Sunrise)

Foggy Summer Sunrise

After taking yesterday off (all these Sunday bike trips are wearing me out!), I was up and ready to go for the sunrise this morning. If you notice, today is “Sunrise 83”, and the previous post is “Sunrise 81”. What happened to “Sunrise 82”? I actually did the 82nd sunrise Sunday morning with my friend and my dad up in Troy, OH. I alluded to the possibility of a “Troy Sunrise” on Saturday’s post but I wasn’t sure if all of the pieces would fall into place. We did end up going around my hometown of Troy, Ohio and exploring the old Hobart steel houses and remnants of the old Miami-Erie canal. We ended the trip by heading down the Great Miami Bike Path, which is part of the rails to trails program, where we checked out the ruins of an old lock, built sometime in the early mid 1800s. I haven’t finished the write-up from sunrise 82, so I’ve decided to include three of my favorite pictures from that set. If you want to check out the preview of the steel homes, warehouse ruins, and canal lock ruins, click through to the end of the article 🙂

I can’t believe how late these sunrises are getting. I left the house by 6:35am and still had about 10 minutes of pre-sunrise dawn by the time I got up to the overlook. The sky was crystal clear with some whispy clouds above the horizon and thick patches of fog down in the valley. I even saw three people at the overlook this morning – a woman and her cute little puppy, an ault park morning “regular” – Don, a meditating cyclist – and one of the park service guys. I’m honestly surprised it’s taken me this long to meet someone like Don at these sunrises. Don says that he used to do Thai-Chi sunrise meditations with a group of friends. We also talked about cycling and watching the sunrise is one of the best ways to start the day. Don also shared his satisfaction with watching the sunrise from Lunken Airfield. It seems I’ve met another sunrise cowboy 😉 Maybe I’ll see you around, Don!

The valley down below had a substantial amount of fog. I wanted to drop down and bike through the wet clouds of moisture, but with these late sunrise times I realized that I probably didn’t have enough time. More reason to get up at 6am instead of 6:30am!

The sun , creepin’ up over that horizon.

Sunrise 83

A vertical shot for the ladies

If you’re on the front page, click to continue. About 28 pictures total, including the last 3 pictures that serve as a teaser for “Sunrise 82”: 1920s Hobart Brothers Steel House, Mid 1800s canal warehouse, and ruins of a Miami-Erie Canal Lock. (more…)


Sunrise 81: Ault Park & Lunken Airfield (Attempted Perseid Meteors, Cloudy Sunrise)

The trusty old 1977 Fuji S-10S, featuring the souvenir “Carew Tower” water bottle 🙂 And yes, I need to replace my handlebar wrap.

The sky is starting to brighten up, preparing for the sunrise

This morning I attempted to get up early to see the perseid meteor shower. Amanda and I actually meant to check it out late last night but we fell asleep early! I pulled myself out of bed at 4:50am and rode to Ault Park where I hoped the top of the pavilion would provide a clear view of the northeast sky. A clear view indeed it provided, but unfortunately I only had about a 10 minute window after arriving before the clouds rolled in. In the end I did see a single meteor streak, enough to make it worth it! Next year I’ll try to be better 🙂

I experimented a bit with long exposure times. There was a full moon, mostly hidden by the clouds, but it provided enough light to play around with.

I was surprised at how early the first walkers showed up. There were several cars that rode through the park at around 5:30-6:00am. There was an elderly couple that started walking laps around the pavilion at around 5:45am, a full hour before the sun came up.

Mt. Lookout and the full moon at 4:55am. Close by there may or may not be some late-night party animals walking back home.

Playing with long exposure from atop the pavilion

These pair of street lights have a blue tint to them

Looking out at the lawn. Interestingly, I notice that miles away I can see the hills of western Cincinnati.

The only picture I saved that shows what the night sky looks like about 50 minutes before sunrise.

Look at the street lamp! That’s a blur-of-a-walking-elderly-couple

The sky looks like it is going to cloud up for the sunrise, so I decide that if I’m not going to get a pretty sunrise I might as well get a Saturday morning workout in. I head down to Lunken Airfield to see what’s going on. The bench on the bike path levee has become one of my favorite sunrise locations.

Not too much going on in the sky, but we can see that an opening in the clouds may provide a nice quick display.

Up above there were some interesting cloud formations. Through the hole in the clouds I saw a ripple effect high up in the atmosphere.

The sun punches through that opening in the clouds for a brief 4 minute display.

I ended up meeting a couple fellow cyclists and talking about bike hardware. I found out, again, that there are some damn sexy steel frames that you can get brand new. They have a very similar look to my Fuji’s steel frame. I learned that a steel frame, while heavier, flexes more than an aluminum frame which is why some riders prefer them if carbon isn’t available (or you just don’t want carbon). Apparently a steel frame isn’t quite as jolting when you hit bumps in the road. Interesting!

If I can pull the strings correctly, I may have a treat for sunrise 82. I’m heading back to my hometown of Troy, Ohio and hopefully (weather permitting) I can do a nice little sunrise exploration of the historical landmarks that I grew up around but never fully sought out. There are old canal pieces,  welded steel homes, and much more. Hopefully I don’t end up eating my own words!


Sunrise 80 (!!!!): The Cincinnati Observatory & Ault Park (Eastern Tour, Stunning Cincinnati Summer Dawn)

This is the sky 20 minutes before sunrise. Deep orange fading into a gradient blue, a color palette that I expect to see 20 minutes AFTER sunrise on a hot humid day.

The Cincinnati Observatory. For months I’ve tried to take a picture of the observatory against the sunrise but I could never get a decent frame. This morning I decided to try it from the back of the building, and I wasn’t disappointed. By far my favorite picture of the day.

This morning was another beautiful clear summer sky. It also marks my 80th sunrise – exactly twice the original goal of 40 sunrises. I originally had planned doing a full tour through the East Side, starting a half hour before sunrise, and featuring all the major stops along the way. This 11-mile (closer to 18 if both lunken loop and armleder loop are considered) route would have featured:

  1. Mt. Lookout Square and a coffee stop @ UDF (or Lookout Joe’s if they’re open!)
  2. The Cincinnati Observatory
  3. Ault Park & Heekin Overlook
  4. Down the hill to historic Linwood, past Crusade Castle.
  5. Past the St. Stephen Italianate church on the corner and the mysterious “Smoke Sonada Cigars” mosaic
  6. Linwood Public School (abandoned elementary school)
  7. Over the cement stairs, across the rail road, and over to Armleder Park
  8. Around Armleder Park’s loop and a view of the Little Miami River
  9. Back to Eastern Ave past LeBlonde’s old factory, towards Lunken Airfield
  10. Lunken Terminal and the Bike path, along with the Pioneer Cemetery
  11. The Wilmer/Carrel bike path and the Revolutionary War Cemetery
  12. Beyond the school-on-stilts to the Ohio River Launch Club marina and Ohio River
  13. Back through Columbia Tusculum’s historic district and East End’s 1860s farm-style buildings
  14. Up the hill past the painted homes to Alms Park
  15. Around Alms, with the view of Lunken Airfield and an eastern view down the river. Maybe check out the old 1869 wine cellar.
  16. Past St. Ursula Villa (LeBlond’s old home) back to Mt. Lookout Square.

And probably much more. Man, the act of going through and finding those pictures for the links really made me appreciate just how much “footage” I have of this area! I promise to re-visit the “best-of” section (top right of this website). I’ve kind of let it go on purpose because I can really appreciate the seasonal change when I pick out the best pictures two months later.


As it turns out, I started off the route correctly (at UDF and the Cincinnati Observatory) but I ended up being so social at Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook that I didn’t make it down into the valley! That’s OK though because I met a nice gentlemen named Bill and we talked for about 40 minutes about Cincinnati history and various little pieces of trivia. I learned a lot and he even filled in some long standing mysteries I had about the cement stairs down on Columbia Parkway. I also spoke with Aaron, a guy who works with the park service, for a bit about what it’s like being a horticulturist and working for the park all day. Looks like I’ll have to post-pone this route until next week!

I left my place at around 6:10am to give myself lots of “headroom” for taking pictures of the dawn sky before the sun came up. I’ve realized that these clear summer atmosphere’s provide an absolutely excellent pre-sunrise display. In the spring, when there are more clouds and more humidity, the post-sunrise light is the best. But on these clear mornings with low humidity, the sky starts to light up at least 40 minutes before sunrise. It’s outstanding!

After looking back on these pictures, I realize that I took a lot of vertical sky shots.

Arriving at the Observatory with at least 20 minutes to spare before sunrise. Already the sky is getting lit up.

I wanted to get another picture of the cornerstone. This is the original cornerstone from the Mt. Adams building, before the lens was moved to Mt. Lookout in 1873. John Quincy Adams laid it down.

The sky opposite of the sunrise (western sky) was a light pink and blue. I couldn’t quite capture the purple tones, but you get the idea.

If you’re on the front page, be sure to keep reading. About 17 pictures total, and today’s foggy sunrise was excellent! (more…)


Sunrise 79: Lunken Airfield (Helicopters & Cold Crisp Clear Blue Skies)

The trusty old steed on the Lunken Loop.

I really like this picture because the sun is just barely creeping over the ridge and hasn’t drowned out the CCD sensor on the camera, yet.

(Self Plug: “like” Ault Park Sunrise on facebook!)

This morning was an experiment in the appreciation of dawn. I’ve been showing up to the sunrise a few minutes late over the past couple of weeks and I wanted to take the time to take in some of the subtle colors of the atmosphere before the sun comes up. I picked an excellent day to do this because the sky was cloud free and crisp, allowing the pre-sunrise light to accent the clear atmosphere quite well.

15 minutes before sunrise, the sky was already becoming nicely illuminated.

At 6:15am I pulled myself out of bed with the intention of catching the sunrise and opening act down at Lunken Airfield. I’ve been a bit lazy lately, allowing myself to snooze from 6:00am when my alarm goes off until 6:35am. With the sunrise being even later, around 6:42am, I have started getting comfortable with sleeping in a bit. Well, not today!

A plane taking off with a swarm of birds getting ready for the day.

I rode down Mt. Tusculum into East End and arrived at Lunken Airfield at about 6:35am. The sun has crept further to the right along the horizon. Interestingly enough, this means that at Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook, the sun is coming into view without being obstructed by the ridge to the left. At Lunken Airfield the sun has moved from the clear opening on the horizon to behind the ridge to the right. Although, to be fair, there is no bad location down at Lunken Airfield! Due to the sun coming up behind the ridge, “true sunrise” was delayed by about 18 minutes. This gave me a full 20 minutes to enjoy the subtle lighting of the beautiful clear blue sky over Lunken Airfield. I haven’t been this early to a sunrise for a long time, I’m embarrassed to say, so it was a great change up in the routine.

Look at those skies! No clouds.

This morning was chilly! Holy crap. I think it was seriously like 55F down in the basin. I could have worn a sweatshirt and been just fine. My ears hurt when I got back home from the cold! The cold air, however, made for a beautiful bright clear sky sunrise. The sunrise was a brilliant bright blue color and the skies were crystal clear, likely a side effect of this cold front. The pinks were almost non-existent, as I’ve come to expect in a sky with no clouds, and the sun came up over the ridge blasting a powerful yellow light.

The oranges fade away quickly as the atmosphere takes on a full blown yellow sun light color.

One of the neat things about this morning’s sunrise was the bird activity. As soon as it became obvious that the sun was going to be coming up in about 5 minutes, the field seemed to explode in airborne activity. At first I could see swarms of bats flying about, likely grabbing a final snack before retiring for the day. There were also swarms of sparrows, swallows, and robins. Oh, and also airplanes. The airport was busy this morning.

A helicopter lands just before I head back to Mt. Lookout

The helicopter lands at Lunken Airport


Sunrise 78: Ault Park (Gray Stormy Sky)

Here comes another short sunrise post. I had an appointment early this morning so I’m writing this in the late afternoon! This morning was much cooler than I would have expected. The park was quiet and wet and dark, and it made for a peaceful sunrise even though the sun stayed hidden behind the clouds. There were several storms that came through over the weekend and it seems like the clouds are still hanging around.

I was pleasantly surprised with the temperature. It looks like we’ve got some mid 70s / low 80s ahead of us. I couldn’t ask for more perfect weather!

Looking back up the walkway from Heekin Overlook. The ambient light was dark with a gray sky.

Just as I was about to leave, the wind picked up and blew an opening into the sky above me. The blue sky shined through the clouds and gave me some hope that the day wouldn’t be all gloomy and gray. As I write this (Tuesday afternoon) the skies are bright blue with small patches of puffy cumulus clouds. I have great expectations for tomorrow’s sunrise.


Sunrise 77: Alms Park (Wet and Foggy Valley Sunrise over Lunken Airfield)

The fog over Lunken Airfield; a view from Alms Park.

A quick little post for today. This morning’s sunrise was a beautiful misty summer start to the day. I climbed to Alms Park to watch the sunrise over Lunken Airfield. There was a substantial storm that came through last night so I was surprised to wake up to a clear sky. There was a familiar summer fog down in the valley below but it wasn’t thick enough to block out the sunrise. The grass was wet with the water from last night’s storm and the air had a bit of haze to it.

Looking directly into the sunrise. I’m coming to love the effect that the sunset filter (and F8 aperature) creates when directly exposed to the sun. In the foreground you can see the white cement bench.

The oranges were prevalent in the early sunrise. Looking down into Lunken Airfield’s east side.

Playing with the white balance, I was able to get a bright blue sky in this picture.

This is the bench that looks over Lunken Airfield. I don’t know how old it is, but I imagine it is at least half a century in age. Probably older, after all the park will be 100 years old in a few years. The grassy lawn is lush and green.

This sidewalk always intrigues me. It seems to indicate that there was, at one time, something down in the lower part of the lawn. You can kind of see pieces of an old cement foundation. Part of the old vineyard? A piece of an abandoned structure relating to the early years of the park? My bet is on the latter – probably a stone structure dating back 150 years to the vineyard that used to sit on this hill.

I attempted to get a picture of the sun light coming through the magnificent conifers. The air was misty but it was difficult to get a good picture.

Looking down the entrance to Alms Park. It’s always fun leaving the park on such a steep downhill. I always try to safely enjoy it because at the bottom of the hill I have to take a sharp right and climb right back up to get to Mt. Lookout.


Sunrise 76: Ault Park (Cool Misty Sunrise, Tall Tall Weeds)

Misty valley under an orange sunrise. This was taken during that peak sunrise light time – about 40 minutes after the sun crests over the ridge.

This morning I decided to kick it old school. Go back to the roots, if you will. Recently I’ve been diversifying the sunrise locations quite a bit, and it has been great overall. This morning I biked up to Heekin Overlook at Ault Park and just sat on the bench listening to the birds and collecting my thoughts at the end of this beautiful summer week. The air this morning was almost cool, I’m thinking around 68 degrees. It was pleasant to say the least.

The sound-scape was a bit different this morning compared to the sound-scape that I remember from a typical April. The birds and squirrels were not as loud, for one thing. The nests have been built, mates have been found, and most of the birds and local animals are either caring for their young or preparing for their young’s arrival. There were no loud mating calls as I’ve come to expect over the past few months.

One thing that was different, however, was the presence of several kinds of woodpeckers. They were making the strangest bird calls, and one even startled me with its surprisingly loud burst of song. There was a large wood pecker of some kind (couldn’t tell what her colors were) hanging out on the dead oak tree by the overlook. It is obvious now that the dead oak is providing a great spot to find wood peckers. As the wood starts to rot, the insects will take over the process of breaking the organic matter down into less complex forms so the rest of the ecosystem can reclaim it. In the meantime, the wood peckers are probably here to stay. There was also a small little species of woodpecker that was flittering around the trees, although now that I think about it she may have been on the hunt for cicadas, not bugs. Maybe it wasn’t a woodpecker after all…

The sunrise was a beautiful clear summer sunrise with not much humidity. The warmth of the sunlight was apparent just minutes after dawn. I remember predicting, back in April, that the summer would be full of “boring” clear-skied orange sunrises. This is a true prediction because indeed most of these days that aren’t buffered on either side by a storm system have been clear and orange. And while I’ll say they’re no where near the level of complexity that became the norm during the stormy season in the spring, they’re still a sight to see. An interesting part about this specific kind of sunrise is that the sky can turn into this deep blue slurry of wispy clouds. It seriously looks like some kind of painting. With the deep orange gradient provided by the low sun, the colors of these clear morning sunrises are rich and textured. I’m still (1400 pictures later) experimenting with the exposure settings of the camera to figure out the best way to capture the colors. Sometimes the camera is set too low, leaving out the hills and making the outer edges fade into a deep sea blue. Other times it can be too high, bleaching out the subtle oranges and turning them into a featureless white.

A plane coming into Lunken Airfield at sunrise.

Early dawn at Ault Park, looking over the Little Miami River Valley. We can still see the pinks of the sunrise. In this particular sunrise, where there are few low lying clouds and not much mist, the pinks give away to the oranges quickly. They don’t hang around for long.

Weeds, Plants, and Sunrise.

The weeds have turned into bushes and I find myself wondering if it is “correct” to chop them down or leave them to grow and flower. Do they not have the same rights as any other plant growing in the park? As humans we certainly make decisions as to what plants we want to see in our organized and designed gardens, but around the edge of the park where the forest begins to reclaim our manicured lawns, the first plants to colonize the new land are, of course, weeds. And these weeds are strong, large, and lush from all the rain we had in the spring. They don’t seem to be minding the gaps between the occasional summer storms.

Beautiful orange to blue gradient.

As a completely unrelated side note, I’ve started experimenting with a new time management system called Pomodoro. Maybe I’ll explain it more later in detail, but it is worth mentioning that this specific post was done in exactly one pomodoro (which was my goal). Yesterday’s took two due to all the extra pictures. This is helpful information because while I purposefully didn’t take as many pictures today, I ended up filling the post with more text. And without feeling the rush of “oh crap this post is taking way longer than I expected”, I feel like my writing style was a bit more relaxed and reflective. Very therapeutic, in only 25 minutes.


Sunrise 75: Lunken Airfield (Cincinnati Skyline, Ohio River Marina, East End Abandon)

A plane takes off into the sunrise. Yesterday morning not a single plane took off from Lunken as I was looking down from Alms Park. And there’s that weird artifact again on the top left of the picture. It must be internal to the lens.

A view from Eastern Cincinnati on riverside road

Looking up the river towards Lunken Airfield at the Ohio River Launch Club.

I’ll be honest, I was pretty excited for this morning’s sunrise. After missing the first two mornings this week, and getting a stormy overcast sunrise yesterday, I was ready for a beautiful clear summer sunrise. The forecast last night said no rain with 30% cloud cover. The sky was clear and the clouds didn’t show up until about an hour after sunrise. I made it a point to get up early, explore as much as possible, and build my work commute into the sunrise bike ride to save time.

The sunrise time has crept up to 6:40am, a time that is a full half hour later than the 6:10am sunrise that I came to expect in mid June. My alarm is still set for 6:00am, although recently I’ve been snoozing for about 20 minutes. This morning, however, I decided I was going to make the best of the late sunrise time. I packed up all the things I needed for work (mostly just an extra set of clothes, along with my lunch) and rode out towards Lunken Airfield with the intention of getting down into the basin by sunrise time. By skipping the whole “come home after sunrise” thing, and instead heading straight to work via a bike commute, I had a full two hours to be out before arriving at work by 8:30am. I explored a bit more of the western end of East End, checked out Fuel – the coffee shop on riverside I’ve always been curious about – and managed to slip into traffic just past rush hour to arrive in Silverton, OH with little trouble. It looks like I put in a total of 14 miles today, although it feels more like 6.

I’ve discovered an important thing about cycling. If you keep yourself at about 60% output (rather than 85-95%) you can keep going forever, it feels like, without really getting too winded. I think that is important. There is a movement in cycling culture called “slow riding”, and it usually is alluded to being a kind of European style of cycling. You can see it all over urban landscapes – but is it really new? Either way, it’s new to me. I call it European because the European bike culture in general is much more developed (in more cities, at least) than the average bike culture in the US. Either way, I understand that the average bike that is used for every day commuting in a European city like Amsterdam is often an old heavy comfortable steel bike. Anyway, this whole “slow riding” thing can be experienced by the weekly “Slow Ride Cincinnati” group that meets every Thursday Night at 6:00pm in Hoffner Park. I keep meaning to go but have not made it over there. The whole premise is that the fastest rider should be going as slow as the slowest rider. If someone gets a flat, everyone stops and helps out, etc. The whole philosophy really resonates with me because when I bike, even while commuting, the journey and the terrain, neighborhoods, history, buildings, people, urban design, etc. are all as much apart of the experience as the muscle strengthening workout. In the article I linked previously, the author is surprised to find that he doesn’t lose much time in his commute by traveling slow (usually he meets up with the fast guys at stop lights anyways), but he does arrive at work less sweaty and less tired.

Anyway, on to this morning’s sunrise. I parked it up at my favorite bench located just on top of the bike trail that runs along the levee to the Little Miami River. There were several joggers and bikers out for this sunrise.

I made it to Lunken Airfield just a few minutes after sunrise. The sun was a deep orange color and the sky was clear of clouds except for a few small whisps just above the horizon. There was a distant layer of light fog in the field just before the base of the levee that runs along the Little Miami River.

In this vertical shot you can just barely make out a plane taking off into the sunrise. Actually it was a complete coincidence, I didn’t notice the plane until I was just about to snap the picture.

A close up of the foggy layer with the sun rising over Lunken Airfield.

After a few minutes (and a cup of coffee) I hopped on the bike and headed towards the Ohio River. I wanted to get a picture of the downtown skyline as the sun was coming up over the eastern ridge. There are several vantage points along Riverside Road through East End.

If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. Pictures of East End, the downtown skyline, the Ohio River & Marina, and some deer. (more…)


Sunrise 74: Alms Park (Summer Storm Front, The Glitch Mob)

Looking out over Lunken Airfield at sunrise

A barge floats down the Ohio River in the background, to the south west of Lunken Airfield.

A front moved into the area sometime last night. The sunset was clear and deep pink so I had hoped for a great sunrise this morning. What I ended up getting was a wet and misty morning in Alms Park (history). I didn’t get rained on, but about a half hour after I got home the rain front opened up and dumped down on Cincinnati. I have great expectations for tomorrow’s sunrise! A note for future self: Albert D. Taylor designed the park. I found a book called “The Complete Garden” which I believe is from the early 1900s. I’m guessing the author is the same Albert D. Taylor that designed Alms Park.

This has been a strange week for me. It was the first time I missed two weekday sunrises in a row. It is also the first time I’ve been to a Monday night music show. I got a last minute call from a friend who was coming in from out of town to see a show at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley. The history of that building dates back to 1941. It was also my first time going to a true EDM (Electronic Dance Music) show. We saw The Glitch Mob in the 70 year old venue on Madison Ave. Actually now that I look at the history page, it turns out we saw the show on August 01 2011, 70 years after the grand opening of the theater on August 01 1941. That’s pretty neat.

I hadn’t heard of The Glitch Mob before and so I played catch up with their music. It actually was a perfect example of where the state of the music industry for small groups like The Glitch Mob is. I bought their EP for $2.95, with the option of getting the EP with a vinyl along with it for $15 (which is  an incredibly tempting deal). Not even a CD option on their website! Although you can purchase them at the show. I can also listen to any of their songs in HD on YouTube. It is interesting to look at this in contrast to what was possible even 10 years ago. It was an excellent show and the crowd was great. In the end, however, it was a late night and I didn’t make it up for the Tuesday morning sunrise. I spent all day in the sun on Sunday, so Monday morning was actually spent sleeping through my sunrise alarm. Whoops!

This morning’s sunrise over Lunken Airfield was cool, quiet, and misty. There wasn’t another soul in the park this morning, probably because of the prospect of rain. I didn’t end up getting rained on, but the ground was wet. Every time I go up to Alms Park and sit at the overlook for the sunrise, I can’t help but think about what the hill looked like 100 years ago before the vineyard was shut down. Or what it looked like 100 years before that when the Native Americans in the valley supposedly called it “Bald Hill” and used it as a lookout for watching the settlers move into the valley. The oldest trees in the park and surrounding forest seem to be the oaks that were planted by the Park Service when the park was founded. The surrounding forest seems to have a healthy mix of adult trees but the even density and lack of overwhelmingly large trees gives me the impression that the average age of the old trees in the forest are about the same age. This would of course make sense if we could figure out where the vineyards were actually located. The trees growing on those spots now are likely the same or similar age. In fact, now that I think about it I have come across stone support walls deep in the forest. It makes you wonder what was built as support for the hill by the park service, and what dates back to the mid 1800s vineyard.t


Sunrise 72: Ault Park (Cool Clear Skies, Katydids)

A beautiful sunrise on day 72.

This morning was a beautiful cool summer morning. I think the temperature was around 73 degrees with high humidity. I’m honestly surprised that the sky is still still. Last night some huge cumulus clouds rolled through the area so I expected to have some interesting atmospheric lighting conditions this morning. Not the case! The park was cool and damp and the valley below had wispy patterns of fog.

There were several katydids hanging out on one of the bushes near the overlook. My hands were shaking a bit as my heartrate dropped so I had a hard time getting a decent focus in the low light. There were actually two different kinds – a green one in the middle of six or seven white ones. Not sure if they are different subspecies or if they are different sexes.

Dawn over the ridge. The fog down in the valley is picking up indicating an interesting shift in air pressure. More storms to come in the next week?

Close up of the sunrise over the far eastern ridge over the Little Miami River Valley.

Early morning katydids.

A distant cloud banks its over the horizon. The sun’s orange light starting to give way to a more yellow late morning palette.

Close up of the green guy. It always amazes me how similar to a real leaf his adapted camouflage looks. Reminds me that in nature the same building blocks and emergent generative patterns can be found all over nature.

You can see several white katydids hiding out under the branch.

At the lower overlook facing the sunrise!

The overlook with the misty Armleder Park in the background.


Sunrise 71: The Cincinnati Observatory (Pinhole Solargraph Camera, Clear Blue Skies, Flowers)

I realized that I haven’t had too many “bike shots” recently. This small patio is where I sat and enjoyed the sunrise. I met a jogger who said that I was the only person she’s ever seen enjoying the sunrise here at her favorite spot.

Pinhole Camera! Ironically (or, perhaps not) the pinhole camera technology dates back to the late 1830s. Only a few years later, the 11″ lens now located in the Mitchell Building (the smaller of the two building on the Observatory’s campus) will be constructed.

Final shot of the sunrise against the Mitchell Building.

This morning I got up with plenty of time to spare. The sunrise was around 6:30am and I was at the Mt. Lookout United Dairy Farmers filling up my thermos ($.99 for the entire 26oz! And free on Mondays! UDF rules) by 6:20am. I read the weather forcast last night so I knew that this morning was supposed to be “clear” with only 10-20% cloud cover.

The forecast was right! After the foggy sunrises of the last week the beautiful clear sunrise was a welcome change. To honor this clear morning Tuesday I continued past Ault Park and ventured on over to the historic Cincinnati Observatory on Observatory Ave. I have never actually seen the sunrise at the Observatory because I normally only swing by on on the way back from Ault Park. With the sun moving all over the sky this summer I wasn’t even sure if the view of the sun would be appropriate. As it turns out the sun has moved far enough back to the right that there were no trees blocking Sol as he came up over the ridge line. I was impressed with just how perfect of a sunrise spot the Observatory actually is, but I can’t be too surprised considering that astrological alignment is basically their biggest concern!

The history alone of the Cincinnati Observatory is worth checking out. I have always found it interesting that the original lens in the large building was originally in Mt. Adams but it was moved to this site due to the pollution building up in the city. I never realized that they didn’t actually move the building from Mt. Adams, just the hardware. So while the lens itself dates back to the mid 1800s, this building dates back to the move to Mt. Lookout in 1873. You can find the cornerstone of the original Mt. Adams building to the back right of the new building, dating back to 1843. Now that I think about it, this may be the oldest building stone in Mt. Lookout. I’m sure this isn’t actually true, but as it stands currently it holds the Ault Park Sunrise record. This even pre-dates the 1850s construction of Crusade Castle & Vineyard.
The cornerstone, borrowed from Sunrise 41.

At the Cincinnati Observatory, the sun rose up from the break in the trees.

Not a cloud in the sky. A beautiful summer morning that you’d expect to see just after a storm.

This spot is out in front of the main Observatory Building (built in 1873). There is a circular brick patio with a handful of benches lining the outside it. It has all the great things that you’d expect to see at a true Cincinnati historic site. Murdock Fountains, late 1800s street lamps, Ohio Historical Markers, A memorial sundial, pre-1900s buildings, and a dedication by John Adams on the corner stone.

Looking East from the patio at the second building on the campus. This smaller “Mitchell” building has the original Merz und Mahler 11-inch telescope that dates back to 1843. The “main” building houses the 1904 16″ Alvan Clark & Sons telescope. Thanks wikipedia!

A vertical sunrise showcasing the late morning yellows and the deep blue gradient.

Looking towards the main building across the sundial memorial.

To the west of the main building I saw a funny contraption sitting on the lawn. Upon closer inspection (and with no physical contact whatsoever, of course!) I realized that it is a pinhold solargraph camera.

I imagine the purpose of this camera is to capture the sun’s path for the 31-day period between June 28 and July 28. They’re almost done! I’d like to see the results of this camera and I hope that they publish it. It’d be neat to see the same thing for a month of sunrises, too.

I wonder how they compensate for the possibility of the camera being blown over by the wind?

Outside the Observatory there are two big flower pots.

The red / white combination of flowers made for a great arrangement. Considering how my own flower pot experiment is failing miserably, I took mental notes and physical pictures.

Classy Arrangement. Maybe next time I try this at home I’ll use this as inspiration.


Sunrise 69, 70: Ault Park (Haze on the Ridge, Purple Cincinnati Wildflowers)

Purple Wildflower at the side of the road. They’re exploding in blooms all over the place around here. Not sure what they are but I like them. They’re thriving on the shoulders of country roads and city roads alike.

The late sunrise this morning over the haze.

This morning’s post has twice the sunrise packed into a single entry! On Friday I forgot to grab the USB cable that connects the camera to my laptop when I hopped in the car so I wasn’t able to make the Sunrise 69 post in a timely manner. Therefor today’s post has both this morning’s sunrise and Friday’s sunrise. I kind of like having both of them together because it keeps the volume of daily posts to a lower level. I don’t always like the fact that the front page is completely turned over very 10 days and often wonder if maybe my posting frequency is too high. The reason I wonder is that I’ll have a 35 picture historical exploration that gets bumped off with daily 3-picture sunrise posts. Oh well, that’s what the terribly outdated best-of section is for I suppose.

If you’re on the front page, please click to continue (13 pictures in all, mostly of the foggy ridge lines and late hazy sunrises) –> (more…)


Sunrise 68: Ault Park (Fog, Bellevue Hill Park, and Cincinnati Inclined Rail Stations)

Looking out towards Lunken Airfield to the west. The forest is dark and misty.

Looking at Downtown from Bellevue Hill Park in Clifton

This morning’s update is a bit of a strange one. My week has been in limbo because my car is in the shop getting checked out. The nice side effect of this transportation issue is that I’ve been forced to rely on my bike a lot more than I normally am used to. I’ve commuted to work twice (never done that before) and realized that the 6.5mi commute is seriously not bad. I can do it in 25 minutes which is comparable to the 15 minutes it takes by car. The route is mostly residential and feels safe. I also commuted to the University of Cincinnati campus yesterday, a bit longer of a stretch. The heat was intense (around 90F) and I think my body wanted the extra sleep this morning to make up for the extra physical activity. Long story short, yesterday I wasn’t able to get near my laptop (I keep it at work) so sunrise 68 is coming at you a day late. That’s OK though because I was able to scope out Bellevue Park, one of my favorites in Clifton that I don’t get to visit nearly enough, and realized some historically significant facts about it. Notch one more up for my respect to the Cincinnati Parks program.

If you’re on the front page you might as well click on now, there are some great pictures (and old high-def historical prints compliments of shorpy.com) (more…)


Sunrise 67: Ault Park (Beechmont Dragway?)

This morning’s sunrise was almost identical to yesterday’s sunrise. There was a low atmospheric layer of foggy stratus haze that obscured most of the light. For the few minutes before sunrise you could see these bursting rays of light arcing up through the upper atmosphere, but they disappeared before I could get a decent picture of them. The sky was blue up above me and the moon clearly visible.

This week’s weather is calling for mostly hot and humid days with scattered thunder storms. I’ve been really interested lately in watching how the morning sunrise weather changes with the air pressure. Early last week the mornings were gray with fog sitting down in the lower valley basin. As the thunder storms built up in the tri-state, and finally broke with intense action, the fog disappeared (or, probably more accurately, moved higher into the atmosphere). As a side effect, the day following the major storms was perfectly clear with no clouds in the sky. The next day had slight whisps of clouds, and the following day had a beautifully mixed set of 40% cloud cover with all kinds of formations. It was on that day that I got some of the best sunrise pictures of the month.

The point of all of this is the following. Yesterday and today were gray and boring. But today it looks like we’re in line for some heavy thunderstorms that may stick around for a few days. I can’t wait for the first sunrise after the heavy summer storms. The post-storm sunrises never disappoint and are always unique and colorful. You can’t have the best ones without first having a streak of boring ones 🙂

Down below to the left we see Armleder Park (For some great pictures of the park, check out last Friday’s post). To the right we see Lunken Airfield (pictures from last week). See that patch of forest in the middle? That’s where the 4-lane Beechmont Avenue runs out to Mt. Washington and Anderson. The gate that I highlighted yesterday, located on the back side of Lunken Airport’s 5-mile bike trail, will open up to a connector trail that will go under Beechmont Avenue and over to Armleder Park. This will give cyclists, runners, roller bladers, and dog walkers access Armleder Park from Lunken Airfield.

This is a picture of the gate that I took yesterday. You can see on the left side, beyond the gate, there are markers that show that the construction crew is working diligently on the path. Due to all the flooding that occurred during the spring, I’m wondering if they’ll have a hard time meeting their Fall 2011 deadline.

So the interesting thing about this new trail is that they are building it on top of an existing lane. There used to be a small gravel access road that ran along the levee. I always wondered what the heck that road used to be. It was, at one time, important enough to be paved and have a gate protecting access to it. The gate is old and almost overrun with vegetation now. I had a few theories:

  1. An ancient bike path that simply ran out of funding.
  2. Satelite images show that it connects, somehow, to Beechmont Ave. Perhaps an old Lunken Airfield trail?
  3. An access road for something off in the woods?
  4. Part of the old Little Miami River gate system? There are strange wooden and metal structures hidden in the woods off of the levee that look like they were once used for loading ship or something. Jury is still out on what they actually are, but I’ve been told they had to do with the old lock system that controlled the river before they re-routed it out of Lunken Airfield’s Campus.

Well, that’s about it as far as my ill-informed theories go. Check out the Google Map and see for yourself. The “new trail” is the blue line and you can see how it continues over into the forest on the other side of Beechmont Ave.

Yesterday I was poking around the Cincinnati subreddit and got into a discussion about this Armleder / Lunken Connector. I asked if anyone knew what used to be back along this trail. I honestly didn’t expect to find anything out, but the user jOhn33y informed me that there used to be an old drag strip back in the forest that operated from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s before being shut down due to noise ordinance violations. Interestingly enough, one YouTube commenter says that as a boy he remembers asking his mom why they shut down the race track, and she replied “the rich people on the hill didn’t like the noise so they shut it down”. Also reminds me of the stories I hear about the old Grandin Ave Viaduct over Delta Ave, but that’s a story for another day.

Map Image and Beechmont Dragway Logo are from Queen City Motorsports Historical Page

Now that I look at the satellite map, it makes perfect sense. The actual drag strip was on the other side of Beechmont Ave so I can’t say for sure whether this trail was simply alternate access to the strip, part of the racing strip in general, or something else entirely. Either way this opens up a new piece of Eastern Cincinnati history that I was completely unaware of. Once these storms die down I plan on exploring the old Drag Strip to see what still remains. There is some footage on YouTube of someone else’s exploration, as well as an old silent film (with audio commentary removed due to copyright violations… grrr). Here’s some awesome old footage of the 1960s drag strip:

Sometime after these thunder storms die down I’ll go exploring back there to see what still remains of the old drag strip. There’s some footage on YouTube but there looks to be much more to the site than just the small area where the video is taken. The original source for all of this information is from this Queen City Motorsports page.

The overlook @ Ault Park.


Sunrise 66: Alms Park & Lunken Trail (Foggy Trail, Armleder’s New Bike Trail Connector)

This morning’s sunrise was non-existent. The sky was blue to the west but a thick layer of fog sat a couple thousand feet above the earth to the east. The ambient light was dark and gloomy, which was peculiar because you could see the moon high above, sitting in the open dark blue sky.

Looking down at Lunken Airfield.

I stopped briefly at Alms Park to check out the situation down in the valley. There was a running group that had just finished up jogging around the Alms Park Loop. The dark foggy mornings up in Alms Park, combined with the high ceiling that the majestic Oak Trees provide, creates a kind of eerie atmosphere. I was hoping that I could use the delayed sunrise to give me enough time to get down to the Lunken Loop before the orange colors came out.

I hopped down Tusculum and rode through East End over to Lunken Airfield. The sky was no different, still gray and dark. I took the chance to ride around the 5 mile loop that surrounds the airfield. This picture taken from my favorite bench, enjoying my second cup of coffee for the day.

The trail was dark and misty. It is made up mostly of long stretches of trail that seemed to disappear into the fog. It was back on this trail, about 5 weeks ago, that I saw two young coyotes jogging in the late afternoon sun. Once they saw me they slipped down under the fence and strolled out onto the airfield. They didn’t seem aggressive in the least, but then again I’m not a young sheep.

An attempt to capture this beautiful young wild flower (Queen Anne’s Lace?). The lighting was dark and I couldn’t hold still long enough so this picture will have to do. (It isn’t particularly bad, but it isn’t as crisp as I’d like it to be)

At the back of the trail there is a small fork in the road. This gate prohibits access to what will soon become the connector that will allow runners and cyclists to access Armleder Park directly from the Lunken Loop! They’re making great progress and I hope they are able to wrap it up by the end of fall. You can tell that this was once something else – maybe an old bike trail from decades ago? Or maybe an access road? If you look at a satellite map you can tell that *something* used to run along this levee, under where Beechmont Avenue is now, and over to the Little Miami River access point in Armleder Park. I dont’ think there were any canal systems on this levee, but there are strange old “gates” that jut out to the right of where I’m standing in the picture. Old wooden and metal structures that you can see in the early spring and late fall when the leaves are gone from the trees. I was told that they, at one time, helped keep the river under control back before they routed the Little Miami River to its current location. I think it used to flow onto Lunken Airfield. A mystery I’m saving for another day.

Coming down off of the levee and into the prairie, I can see directly into Lunken Airfield’s Landing Strip. Off in the distance we can see some airport landing structure coming up through the fog.

Off in the distance (looking east now, towards sunrise), we see a small orange highlight. The sun is there, behind all that fog. I’m actually looking out at Reeve’s Golf Course, although you can’t see it behind the patch of prairie bushes in the foreground.


Sunrise 65: Ault & Armleder Park (Little Miami River, Cirrocumulus Sunrise, Snake Tracks)

The Sunrise @ Armleder Park

Blue Gradient over East Hyde Park


Looking away from the sunrise at the Little Miami River.

Oh man. The past few days have seen a slight increase in cloud cover as the week has rolled by. First the storms went through. Then the skies were clear. Then there was a bit of light whipsy cloud action. Finally, this morning hit critical cloud cover and the skies were ablaze with all kinds of cloud formations. It was seriously breathtaking!

I held good on the promise I made myself yesterday (more like challenge) to see today’s sunrise in Armleder Park. This week was unique in that I hit all of the major spots: Alms Park (twice), Ault Park, Lunken Airfield, and finally Armleder Park. I haven’t been back to Armleder Park since just after the major floods receded. Has it really been 36 sunrises ago? How the time flies. Summer has settled in comfortably since my last visit to the park. I ended up checking out the Little Miami River as well. Lots of animal tracks, including a giant snake track, coyotes, raccoons, and deer. This is a bigger set, around 30 pictures in all.

The sunrise was a unique one for sure.

A close-up over the valley

Lots of different patterns going on in the sky.

If you’d like to see the rest of the post, including giant snake paths and coyote tracks (25 more coming right up) and you’re on the front page, click to continue –> (more…)


Sunrise 64: Ault Park (Deep Blue and a Spring Chill)

Deep Rich Blue and Orange Sunrise over the Little Miami River Valley from Ault Park

The most notable thing about this morning wasn’t the clear blue sky or the rich orange sunrise. It was, in fact, the temperature. After the blazing hot start to this week with temperatures reaching up to 100 degrees with thick humidity, this morning was was almost chilly. There was very little cloud cover this morning even though the humidity was apparently around 70%. The temperature was about 65 degrees and for a few minutes I wondered if I really should have grabbed a long sleeve t-shirt or if I was just being a baby. It felt like a sunrise from late April! Today’s high is only around 83 which means tonight’s group ride with Element Cycles (first time in several weeks!) should be awesome.

I switched it back up and spent my first morning this week in Ault Park. Monday and Tuesday were in Alms Park with some brief stints through East End and yesterday was entirely Lunken Airfield. With the fog being pushed out of the valley, it was nice to get a sunrise through the clear air at the basin of the valley. Just to keep it diverse, I’ll have to come up with another location for tomorrow’s sunrise. Perhaps the prairie of Armleder Park?

Dawn is coming later each morning. This morning’s sunrise wasn’t until 6:23am! I kind of like the earlier sunrises. These late sunrises are making me feel like summer is already heading out the door!

I am, however, still setting my alarm for 5:50am. It took me a long time to get to this point, I find that I’m enjoying the early wakeups.

Look at those rich colors.

I realized I hadn’t taken a western view of Lunken Airfield for quite some time. There were small patches of fog nestled in the corners but otherwise the valley was clear of haze.

Armleder Park is looking healthy as ever. A plane takes off from Lunken, banking sharply.

Overlook shot with the valley illuminated by the morning sun.

Last shot of the sunrise with a nice little lens flair.


Sunrise 62: Alms Park (To Lunken and Back, Some Thoughts on East End)

Close-up of the morning sunrise over Lunken Airfield from my favorite bench on the 5-mile bike path.

On my approach back up the impossibly steep Stanley Rd, the large cumulus looms in the background. Also gives you an idea of the steepness of Mt. Tusculum, a climb I have to make every time I visit Lunken Airfield!

The trusty steed and the wife’s helmet 🙂

This morning was a scorcher! It was one of the few mornings where I actually felt like I had jumped into a pool by the time I got home from the ride. Part of it certainly had to do with the fact that I had thick basketball shorts on with a cotton t-shirt, but typically it doesn’t feel like walking out into a sauna!

I rode up to Alms Park again, today. I was feeling pretty good and wanted to climb the Alms Hill once more. This morning’s sky was an interesting one because it felt overcast but also had spots of clear skies. I noticed that the sunrise was hidden behind a bank of clouds but at the same time it looked like I had blue skies above me. I also was wondering why there wasn’t any fog around as I would have expected with this morning’s dew point being only 2 degrees away from the ambient temperature. But I think I figured it out!

Looking out at Lunken Airfield. East End is to the right down below the hill.

We’ve had some storm runs through the state, particularly up north. About 80 miles north of us, through Dayton and Columbus Ohio, there were some serious pressure systems that moved through the area. I imagine this changed the pressure of the entire region. With my non-existent weather theory experience, I’d like to think that the pressure prior to the storms was high enough to “press” the fog down into the bottom regions of the valley. Now that the pressure systems have done their thing, the fog is actually a few thousand feet up above Alms Park. And that would make sense, right? If everywhere except for the sky directly above me looked gray and hazy, it would appear that there was indeed fog – it was just way up above me :).

A beautiful white flower fights for room among the native vines. I think the vines are from the old vineyards that have gone feral. They’re not breeding for space not for grapes. By early fall the hillside will be a vine blanket.

With the sunrise being on the weak side, and the sky still dark 10 minutes after sunrise, I decided to hop down to Lunken Airfield via Columbia. As it turns out, the weather changed it up a bit and the sky cleared out. By the time I was at Lunken, about half an hour after sunrise, the sun was able to break through some of the larger cumulus clouds that rose out of the horizon. Nothing too impressive, but any color beats an overcast sky :).

Down at Lunken Airfield the clouds break for a few minutes. Still pretty dark out considering it’s close to 7am.

One thing that I find interesting is how much I am enjoying riding through the old neighborhoods in the river basin (map). Every single time I ride through Columbia/Tusculum, East End, and Linwood I find something new. East End is actually pretty big relative to the small sections that are technically Columbia-Tusculum (and even smaller, Linwood). There are so many old buildings that have been re-purposed or sit empty. It is such a fascinating example of three small towns that at one time had their own economy and dense populations, but have since simply turned into quiet residential areas. Some parts lay in abandonment, others are well kept and lush with gardens. I believe it is of critical importance to think about how the construction of Columbia Parkway, the large 4-lane through-way that runs from Downtown Cincinnati to Mariemont and beyond (through East End, Columbia, and Linwood). Now-a-days most of the traffic through this area are local residents trying to get up to Columbia Parkway. The side effect is that River Road provides an excellent bike route to Downtown Cincinnati.

Most young people (transplants) that I know who live in Mt. Lookout and the area have never been through historic East End. But why should they? There are very few businesses other than the bars and restaurants that sit in the small region at the intersection of Delta and Columbia Parkway. The only reason I have explored East End, Columbia, and Linwood is because it is a great place for a quiet bike ride outside of rush hour.

The thing that this really makes me think about, in general, is just how influential the automobile is in the shaping of urban centers. Here’s the thing. I get the impression that the Columbia area and Linwood at one time, maybe fifty years ago, was a shining example of a healthy urban area. The fact that the old Italianate Cincinnati Public Library is located on Eastern Ave is enough to allude to the local culture that at one time supported a healthy art district. Now-a-days the library sits empty. In fact I only know it used to be a library because of the architecture and by talking to local residents. It is well kept and looks beautiful, but I believe it is mostly used as a venue for weddings. There are several schools in the district, one of which is already sitting empty. These structures all date back to sometime in the early part of the last century.

I am continually interested in thinking about the potential future of the area once the Little Miami Bike Path gets connected through to Downtown. In the future of my fantasy world, East End will go through a revitalization that is only possible through the very reason that the businesses left in the first place. Low volume automobile traffic. If Eastern Cincinnati’s young population (and bike culture) continue to grow as they have been in the past few years, I hope a critical threshold will be reached. If there is any place in Cincinnati to settle a “cycling neighborhood” outside of the urban core in Downtown, I think it would be in East End. There seems to be plenty of space (for now), lots of old business buildings, river view, access to many places by bike (Ault & Alms Park, Lunken Airfield Loop, Armleder Park Loop, Northern Kentucky, and Downtown) and history. Oh, by the way, in this fantasy world I’ll be running Eastern Cincinnati’s first brewery (based heavily on bike and urban culture with access to the bike trail) in one of the turn-of-the-century Italianate commercial buildings. I’m calling it now, Dibs!

It’s like a little forgotten section of Eastern Cincinnati. But then again, so many small villages inside the 275 loop have suffered the same fate. At least so many areas in Columbia, Linwood, and East End seem to have a healthy sense of community. There are many run down buildings but only a handful seem to be outright abandoned. I hope no East End residents take offense at my “outsider looking in” perspective.

Today I found the old “East End Bank Building” sitting next to another building that actually had a name. Something like the “Fredrick” or “Douglas” building. Not sure. No pictures, I’ll save it for a more thorough exploration of the area. Both likely from the turn of the century. I’ve rode past them dozens of times now and never noticed them.

Weather changes quickly around here.

Behind me the sky is blue. Large cumulus clouds rise up on the western horizon.


Sunrise 61: Alms Park (Orange Fog, Lunken Overlook)

Beautiful shot of the early-orange sunrise.

The trusty old steed at the overlook landing.

I overheard the weather guy last night say that this week would be hot, wet, and with lots of thunderstorms. To me this means two things: 1) I might get wet out there in the mornings, and 2) Fog!

This morning was the perfect blend of fog and clear skies, with a touch of purple cumulus that showed up just before I left Alms Park. The ride to Alms Park is more steep than Ault Park so I typically save it for a particularly beautiful day, or as was the case today, when I want to get a challenging workout in. I skipped last Friday because there was a storm in the area. But if I am to be honest with myself – I think I just wimped out! We had a late night (Amanda had a softball game down in East End and the after party ended up coasting through the night) and it was dark and wet.

This morning’s trip up to Alms Park was a pleasant one indeed. The fog was thick down in the valley and especially on the right side, looking out over the overlook, where the Ohio River’s fog patch was creeping over into Lunken Airport. The park itself had a hazy mist about it but fortunately it wasn’t enough to drown out the sunrise.

The long climb up to the top of Alms Park, with a bit of mist in the air.

The valley was thick with fog. We can see where the sun is getting ready to break through on the left side, where the sky is starting to take on a pinkish color.

The greenery was lush. Seriously, the Cincinnati forests are so healthy right now after all of this rain. I keep remembering the span between Sunrise 10 and 30 where it seemed almost every single morning was an overcast storm.

This is the “Lunken Overlook”, although it has no official name. The grass lawn is well kept and allows us to see right down into Lunken Airport. At this point in the morning I was surprised to see several runners out jogging around Alms Park. I think Alms Park might get more morning activity than Ault Park, although it probably also has to do with the fact that there is only one road through Alms so it appears to be more compact when in reality Ault Park simply has more room to roam.


The sun has started to rise. A deep orange color is apparent through the thick haze. I found out that my camera has “fixed aperture” that is dependent on the zoom. So the only way for me to “increase” aperture (f-ratio) is to zoom in. Weird in a way, but it does feel nice now that the aperture selection isn’t “random”. I imagine that this is the reason why I am able to get the lines of cloud through this early morning sun.

If you’re on the front page, click to continue —> About 16 pictures total 🙂 (more…)


Sunrise 60: Ault Park (Dying Oak, Annual Cicada Macro, Dense Summer Fog)

After about an hour beyond sunrise, the fog has receded but is still visible a few hundred yards away.
Final shot of the cicada from the side. I tried to capture the dark rich green color of the body.

Green -> brown -> black. Another beautiful organic gradient in the wing pattern.
Foggy Sunrise

This morning made me have the realization that I need to start thinking of Cincinnati as a city with lots of fog. We are well into the summer month now and the morning sunrise fog shows no intentions of going away. Cincinnati does, after all, sit between the seven “hills” if you want to call them that. The fog this morning started off light but actually got more dense as the sun heated up the valley air. There were sheets of the fog blowing into the park from the Little Miami River Valley. For more pictures of the cicada, check out the bottom of this post. The lighting was perfect.

The dawn sky. Light pink with a bit of haze.

Looking out from Heekin Overlook. Nothing down there but fog. It’s about to get thicker.

As I’m sitting in the overlook I notice the black spots on the nearby oak tree. I noticed them for the first time on Tuesday and hoped it wasn’t the result of fireworks damage. Today was the first time I looked up and realized that the old Oak was dying. The spots are where the bark has peeled away and revealed the black wood underneath. The squirrels were clamoring around and couldn’t help knocking off huge pieces of bark from the top of the tree. Makes me sad to see such a great tree die. I wonder how long until they chop it up?

If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. More oak pictures, sunrise shots, and cicada macros coming up —> (more…)


Sunrise 59: Ault Park (Muggy Orange Sunrise, Baby Mushrooms)

Sometimes you’ve just gotta change your perspective up a bit.

Baby Mushroom, probably came up last night.

This morning’s sunrise was a long slow clear skied one that finished off with beautiful orange accents. The humidity was high today and the valley was full of fog that didn’t show any signs of letting up. This haze caused the atmosphere to stay keep a pink/orange color for most of the early morning. The first ten minutes of sunrise, however, were beautiful. The sun has crept a bit more to the right of the tree line, back towards the center of the valley, which means I get a good view of it earlier than I did even two weeks ago. With the haze hiding the features of the ridge and valley below and also serving a second purpose of keeping the sun’s brightness in check, the sun seemed to just hang in the sky slightly below my eye level.

I think today might be a hot one. If not hot, at least wet and muggy!

Dawn. Super Foggy. Didn’t realize you could see the sun peaking through the trees until I reviewed the picture on my computer!

Overlook. Check out all that fog!

I just love this light pink to blue gradient.

The sun! This picture doesn’t do it justice – the color was a deep saturated magenta red that was easy to look at for the first few minutes of the sunrise.

The sky is starting to take on a bit of orange. I tried not to overdo it with the pictures this morning and enjoy my coffee.

An attempt to capture the gradient of the sidewalk. Pseudo Successful. See the small ants running around? They were on parade this morning down by the lower overlook. I couldn’t get a picture of them because of the low light – they showed up as blurs!

Macro Sidewalk. Jury is still out on how I feel about these. They’re meant to be a kind of textured picture that I can use as a wallpaper but didn’t turn out quite as crisp as I’d like.

This little baby mushroom no doubt pushed up over night. There were three of them coming up through the wet grass. The head is about the size of a dime.

Mushrooms are so neat. They’re almost too perfect in their smooth form and delicate pattern. You’ve gotta catch them within a day of their sprouting and before they’re damaged by rain if you want to get a clean picture.

Final picture of the morning. The ridge in the distance is well hidden indeed! I swear the more I come to Ault Park for sunrise, the more I realize how neat of a vantage point Heekin Overlook is. Where else in Cincinnati can you look “down” into the sunrise across a valley that changes its appearance by the day? As much as I despise prohibition to the core, I am thankful that Ault Park (and the surrounding hills) were never developed further after the fall of the vineyards.


Sunrise 58: Ault Park (Fireworks, Baby Tracks, Sonada Cigars)

My favorite fireworks picture. Turned out nicely.
Gold Fuzzy and Green

Morning Sunrise (widescreen)

This morning’s sunrise was a beautiful hazy one that had a long delay. I believe that I’ve made the mental connection between humidity (manifested as haze) and length of sunrise. The less humidity, the quicker the orange/yellow bright light comes on. On days like today we didn’t get a yellow color until the sun was high into the air, about an hour after sunrise. With the right cloud conditions these late sunrises can make the best picture opportunities! Today was a bit too hazy, the yellow/orange never quite coming into play until the sun was past prime color. I’ve got about 15 or so fireworks pictures at the end of this post. Feel free to skip on through if you want to check them out. About 35 pictures in total today!

The Overlook. A bit of trash that was left over from last night’s festivities. Fast Food containers, old sparklers, wrappers, and even a sealed feminine product. I imagine that was more of a prank than necessity…

A brochure, left behind. There was trash littered all around the trash bins because the raccoons got in and rummaged around. The park crew was busy picking up the debris. I helped out a bit and cleaned up around the overlook.

Plane coming in! The familiar cargo-type plane that I see almost every morning

Sparklers and booty. I scored a new lighter! There was also, interestingly enough, a sunrise metal hunter. He had his scanner out and headphones on, looking for dropped change and who knows what else.

The orange sun starting to come up.

We can see the fog down in the valley. Thick chunky fog.

If you’re on the front page, click to continue. Lots of pictures on fireworks down below. —> (more…)


Sunrise 54: Ault Park (One-of-a-Kind Sunrise, Blooming Yuccas)

Beautiful Sunrise

Bloomin’ Yucca

In preparation for our trip, I had an early morning appointment yesterday that didn’t allow me to see the sunrise. We’re heading out tomorrow to San Fransisco and Sacremento, California, where I’m attending (and doing a brief talk) a medical device commercialization conference for work. I was hoping to put together the “best-of” for sunrises 11-20 but ran out of time! I’m thinking that our trip will be a good time to knock a couple of the best-of posts that I’ve been meaning to generate. I’m also hoping that while we’re out there, I will get the opportunity to do a couple “San Fransisco Sunrise” and “Sacramento Sunrise”.

Approaching the Park

Armleder Parkin the morning sun

Classic Overlook

This morning was meant to be a brief sunrise due to the fact that I still have to finish getting ready for the trip! I was about ten minutes late to the sunrise but when I arrived it was evident that the morning display was going to be one of a kind. The air was warm and a bit damp, but there was only a light mist down on the valley that provided great lighting dynamics without casting Armleder Park in a thick fog.

The bench and the bike

The sun had a respectable clearing just above the horizon that allowed the sunlight to bathe the valley in a deep orange color. There was a thin but highly textured cloud layer above the horizon that seemed to be changing by the minute as the sunlight crept over and through the many openings that revealed the blue atmosphere. I couldn’t stop taking pictures!

A bit of a lighter shot

If you’re on the front page, click to continue! About 20 pictures in all today. (more…)