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

Posts tagged “deer

Sunrise 139: Ault Park (Ice Storm, Deer Skull, Frozen Cherries)

An icy, foggy Ault Park lawn

Tree of Heaven silhouette… with ice

Ice branches in the forest

Winter’s Bone

The ’77 Fuji S-10S in an icy, foggy Ault Park

A misty view of Ault Park Pavilion.

Did you know that cherries shrivel up like a rose when they’re engulfed in a globe of ice? Me neither. Or perhaps they were already shriveled before being frozen. Either way, it adds a bit of color to this otherwise grey-scale set.

This post is coming a day late! The weather has been downright crazy in the past few days and so it’s funny to see that by the time this is posted, all the ice is gone and it almost feels like t-shirt weather!

Late Friday night an ice storm rolled into the tri-state. Saturday was marked with careful maneuvering over exposed sidewalks. It rained heavily in the early morning, and then the temperature dropped out and froze everything. The trees glistened all around, covered in a half inch of clear ice. Sometime late Saturday afternoon I realized that I really wanted to get a picture of my “Tree of Heaven” silhouette while it was still covered with ice. I headed up to the park early Sunday morning for “sunrise” and found that the park was an icy wonderland. This is particularly interesting because all the ice was melted away by Sunday afternoon and today’s high was 63F. 63F! In January! We had an ice storm followed by t-shirt weather within 36 hours. Insanity!

I saw this on /r/columbus today and thought it was appropriate. A hat tip to the show Whose Line Is It Anyway?

The park this morning was particularly solemn. On one hand, it was a Sunday. This meant that the commute up to the park was quiet with little car traffic. However, normally a Sunday means that there is more people in the park on their day off. This morning, while there were certainly some dog walkers hanging by the sidewalks, I found no patrons who ventured much beyond the ice-covered streets.

There was a lot of moisture in the air which made a light layer of fog that hung in the backdrop, blocking the view of the valley through the forest. It also had that quality that I love about fog – the muffled air effect. Far off sounds, like an airplane landing at Lunken Airfield, become drowned out as the fidelity is lost. Other sounds in the foreground, such as bird calls and branches straining under the cold, bring themselves more to the front of attention.

I found that the streets were mostly clear of ice, so I had no problem climbing the hill to the park. Upon entering the park, however, I was greeted with a Road Closed sign. Having wiped out several times over the past year on my bike, but curiously enough none in the past 10 months (I am a slow learner, but when I finally learn I’m not quick to forget!), becoming intimate with the asphalt was not something I was hoping to accomplish this morning. Apparently the city trucks do not service the roads through Ault Park (or at least not as a high priority) because beyond the park entrance the road was covered with a thick layer of ice. I had to walk my bike to the overlook, a task which made me appreciate the mobility that a bike offers oneself.

I quickly found that walking through the grass was much more safe than trying to walk over the sidewalk. I did slip a couple of times, and I was being careful! It was quite hazardous, but also quite beautiful. One thing that struck out to me was the distant calling of a murder of crows. It occurred to me that I only notice them in the fog. Or is it that they’re only noisy in the fog? I made up an armchair theory that they use their loud “cawing” to communicate the flock’s location in the low visibility of the forest fog. Last time I saw over 100 crows, so it takes some serious logistics to organize a murder of that size 🙂

There was no sunrise this morning due to the valley fog. My little “Tree of Heaven” silhouette worked out nicely against the gray backdrop.

Please click to continue if you’re on the front page! 40+ icy pictures from this morning’s “sunrise”. (more…)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on this “silhouette series” later!

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

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

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

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

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


Sunrise 96: Alms Park (White-Tail Deer Family, Alms Park Sunset, Chilled Fall Morning)

A nomadic group of white tail females hanging out in my backyard.

I haven’t had a morning like this since April or May! With the wind whipping by my face as I careened down the back side of Mt. Tusculum on the way to Alms Park, my ears started to hurt from the cold. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the temperature had dropped down to the low 40s sometime during the night. This was by far the coldest morning in months!

Between the poor sun display and the knuckle-aching cold air, I only took two pictures this morning. I’m also including in this post a few other pictures from the last few days. There are a couple from two night-ago’s Alms Park Sunset that will provide some nice symmetry with this morning’s Alms Park Sunrise. The other handful are of a local family of white tailed deer that have been hanging out in our back yard over the past two days. I’ve been working from home on my thesis research so I’ve been watching the local deer activity as a welcome break. I find it kind of surreal that there is such a healthy population of quarter-ton mammals that share the neighborhood with us humans. More on that down below 🙂

On my way to Alms Park, I could see the sky behind the wooded neighborhood turning a deep glowing pink. The high humidity in the air coupled with some clouds in the lower atmosphere resulted in a a pre-dawn display that I could just barely make out behind the houses. It did, however, light up the rest of the sky with a subtle purple hue. By the time I got up to the park, however, the pre-dawn purples had been replaced with an orange/yellow. The sun didn’t come up for another 10 minutes, it felt like, but by the time I realized that the sun was actually risen, I could tell it was climbing up behind the low-laying cloud bank. I was a bit disappointed because I had high expectations for this morning’s sunrise. Yesterday morning was rainy and overcast, but the sky cleared up in the afternoon and the result was crisp and sunny weather. Even last night’s sunset was relatively clear, a condition I hoped would stick around until this morning. In the end, however, the clouds took over the sky and there wasn’t much of a sunrise. I will say, however, that the cold bite really woke me up!

Alms Park Sunset. Looking West over the Ohio River at Mt. Adams across the “Bend in the River” (widescreen)

A few moments later, with some of the lighter oranges giving way to a deeper purple.

Two 8-10 point bucks hanging out in the back yard. Can we say “Stag Party”? haha.

I find it fascinating and kind of freaky (if I think too hard about it) that there are several hundred mammals that weight more than I do casually roaming through the local forests and neighborhoods. The local proximity of the old-growth forests in Ault Park and Alms Park definitely provide a kind of “home base” for the animals. These white-tailed deer have become somewhat of a fascination to me over the last year. I’ve always known they were around, but what I find so neat is that when you really look for them, they’re seriously everywhere. If you stay in your apartment all night, and then get in your car and drive to work, and repeat every day without ever going on a walk through the neighborhood at dusk, you probably would never notice them more than a couple times a year when they decide to run out in front of traffic or take a nap in your front yard. However, if you start really looking in yards and at the edge of the forest, you can find them on a nightly basis during the summer and early autumn. You can find them laying down in front yard gardens, running loudly through the obvious “deer trails” through the local patches of forest, and darting out in front of late afternoon traffic. They’ve become kind of sloppy, too, as the docile “humans are ALRIGHT” traits start to become more pronounced, and the “be careful and quiet so that we can live” traits become less important. Sometimes I think a drunken college student has stumbled through the thicket behind our place, when in reality it’s just a young deer with a rack that he doesn’t know how to handle.

I’ve never heard of any “deer attacks” in Mt. Lookout, other than the occasional poor guy who gets hit by a car (that would be a car-on-deer attack!). This makes me believe that the deer are generally flighty, not aggressive, with a touch of docility. The females especially seem to be the most passive. I can typically approach a female, slowly, and get within 8-10 feet of her before she starts giving me strange looks. When she finally does get spooked, she typically only walks a few yards away, huffing obviously in an annoyed kind of tantrum. “Can’t you see I’m grazing here!?”. The bucks (males), on the other hand, are much more strategic in their movements. Upon approach, they will kind of group up and literally “high-tail” it back into the forest (high-tail’n it = run with their tails in the air, exposing the bright white under-side. Obviously a signal to other deer that it’s time to get the heck out). But what’s funny about the bucks is that they will stop about 30 yards away and position their heads to be able to see where I am. When I approached these two bucks pictured above, they ran into the forest and emerged in the middle of the neighbor’s yard about 40 yards away. I didn’t even realize they were carefully watching me until I loudly cracked my way into the edge of the forest (I’m no more quiet than the deer are). It was then that I saw their heads popping up over the hill, waiting to see what my next move would be. I’m glad they’re not equipped with laser guns.

This reminds me of a story. I’ll never forget the time I was walking through the forest in Alms Park, last autumn, minding my own business and looking for the coral patterned hedge apples, when I encountered a massive 14-point buck trucking loudly through the fallen leaves. I heard him coming from about 100 yards away, with obvious disregard to who heard him coming. Being a large animal with no local predators beyond a few scarce coyotes that don’t seem to make it up to the mountain very often, he was carelessly banging his rack around on branches and rooting through the pile of leaves on the ground. I even heard him kick some forgotten glass bottle. Through the naked branches I could see a brown blur and it was covering some serious ground.

I was sitting at the ruins of an old recreational shelter (that may even be a ruin from the old 1800s vineyard, I haven’t confirmed either theory) when I heard the ruckus. He was moving straight towards me from the bottom of a small valley that the stone overlook would have looked out across. I was curious what would happen if we were to meet (at this point I didn’t realize just how huge this thing was) so I kind of crouched down behind the 3-foot stone wall. I also grabbed a harvested softball-sized monkey-brain (hedge apple) that was sitting nearby, either to offer as food or, as last desperation, as a weapon if I needed it. 30 seconds later I poked my head up and saw the massive buck, with at least 14 points on his rack and twice my weight, heading straight for the shelter ruins about 30 yards away. He hadn’t spotted me yet. By this point I had waited way too long to make a move and the realization came over me that startling him would probably be something I should avoid.

He cruised right up to the other side of the old stone wall that I was crouching behind and stopped. I could hear him breathing and I could also tell he was weighting his options. I also realized that I was sitting only 4 feet, to my left, from the walking trail inside this stone wall that formed a perfect little “U” with the closed-end to my right. As I sat there on edge, floating in my pool of adrenaline, I couldn’t help but be simultaneously in awe at how close I was to this magnificent animal. At this point, I wondered what it was that the buck was thinking about. Could he smell me? Was I too loud? Is he just messing with me? In hindsight, the buck was probably thinking to himself “well I’m really trying to make it over to Sandra’s den on the other side of the hill. She always has the best acorns and if I’m lucky she’ll have some more of that delicious fungus from last week. I could make better time if I hopped on the old walking trail and “high-tailed” it, but I might run into some of those large noisy nomadic mammals I keep seeing in the forest. I’m not sure I have the energy for that. Maybe it’s best to stick to the side roads…” In my mind, I sure he’d choose to go left on the path, and soon we’d be face to face and only 4 feet apart, with a stone wall to my left, right, and back. At least he’d be just outside kicking range, I assured myself. Do deer even like hedge apples? In my head I pictured a startled deer rearing back on his hind legs, and me yelling “Surprise! Here’s a Hedge Apple!” while simultaneously throw/handing it to him in a part-diplomatic part-defensive move. I’m not sure that’ll go over well.

It took all the gusto I had to slowly, and quietly, raise my head over the top of the wall. Fortunately he was looking straight ahead and I came up just behind his shoulders to his left side. He was massive and the top of his back came up to about a foot and a half above the three foot all that I was hiding behind. I heard him give a loud huff, and then the leaves started to rustle as he began moving. He chose to continue on the route he was on, crossing straight over the walking path, and continuing into the forest. Within 6 seconds he had disappeared into the brown background, and within 20 seconds I couldn’t hear him any longer. As it turns out, even deer yield to oncoming traffic.

So I guess the point of all of this is that out there, in the forest, every day and all afternoon, there are isolated and independent packs of male and female deer just hanging out, watching us humans go about our busy lives. How do the males go about courting the females? Do they leave chemical markers as a kind of note for other deer that say “hey this lawn is pretty tasty, and the old lady doesn’t care if you get pretty close to the house. No dogs.”? Yeah, you’re right. Probably not.

So the bucks pictured above showed up in the backyard two days ago. Yesterday afternoon, in the same location, these two (and later a third) showed up to graze on the fresh grass and Kudzu. There were two females and a young fawn. These pictures are through the window into our backyard. I’ve noticed a pattern in deer behavior that is probably well known among hunters. The females tend to stick together in a foraging herd, while the males (bucks) tend to stick together in their own nomadic (and probably territorial?) bachelor party. I would like to think it isn’t a coincidence that the bucks showed up one day, then the does showed up the second day. They’re probably on shifts or something.

Aww, what a cutie. Her coat was shiny and smooth and the white spots were bright. You can see her mother blending in with the forest to the right.

The young one was getting a bath.

I finally was able to remove the screen from my window without spooking them too much. Here’s a much more clear shot (along with the first picture at the beginning of this post). The third female came out from behind the building to the right. Didn’t know she was there.

The orange color to the back atmosphere was giving me hope. In the end, the sunrise was just a quiet orange shifting of colors.

The sun coming through the low lying clouds over a hanger on Lunken Airfield’s east side. We also see Reeve’s Golf Course in the far background beyond the runway.


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 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 57: Fripp Island, South Carolina (Purple Puffs of Cumulus, More Island Deer)

Seagrass Sunrise

We have made it back to Cincinnati after our journey from the West Coast to the East Coast and back! I look forward to starting off my sunrise routine tomorrow morning. In the meantime I wanted to share a final sunrise that my family and I got up for on the final day of our trip to Fripp Island. The sky had beautiful patchy cumulus clouds floating above the horizon with a clear upper atmosphere. I waited about 40 minutes and was able to get my favorite kind of lighting – a bright orange/yellow sky with dark purple shadowy cumulus. Quite by accident I took a few pictures low to the ground and captured some neat silhouetted pictures against the tall sea grass.

Amanda and I are actually on our way out the door to see the Ault Park Fireworks at 10:00pm tonight! I have never taken pictures of fireworks before so I’m going to try and see what I can pull off. If any turn out I’ll include them in tomorrow’s post (assuming my jet lag doesn’t get the best of me!).

First, a few more pictures of the island deer featured on the previous post.

They graze on the beach grass and don’t seem to mind human company

This young buck was curious what I was doing so close to him

This is actually from sunset, but I liked it so much that I thought it would be OK to share here. The pelicans are so majestic and come through in packs ever few minutes. Pat (my sister’s boyfriend) is wondering if he’s about to be the victim of an aerial bombardment. They drop bombs the size of golf balls.

The haze causes the sun to come up in a very dark bulb.

The nice thing about the humidity and haze is that you can stare at the sun for several minutes before it gets too bright.

Orange Dawn

Hidden behind some small cumulus clouds

For more of the full sunrise, click to continue. About 17 pictures total. ——> (more…)


Sunrise 56: Fripp Island, South Carolina (East Coast Sunrise and Island Deer)

Looking out over the Atlantic Ocean

As our two week trip is coming to an end, I find myself hanging out with my family in Fripp Island, South Carolina. It seems oddly coincidental to find myself, within one week of being on the West Coast, looking out at the sunrise on the East Coast. The only other time that I’ve seen both coasts within a week was back in 2005 (2006?) when I took a road trip to Seattle and back to help move a friend for a spring co-op. If memory holds, we hit Seattle on the third day, stayed a full day, then headed home. The coming weekend I hopped back in the car with a different group of friends and visited some friends in New York City. An exhausting but memorable trip.

The first few pictures out of today’s post are actually of a sunrise from two days ago. We’ve had some late nights which meant getting up for the sunrise (6:20am here – later than Cincinnati because we’re so far south!) with only 2 or 3 hours of sleep. Needless to say, the sunrise mornings have been in moderation on this leg of the trip.

The pelicans fly over this coast of the island in groups of up to 20. They call it “Pelican Highway”. These birds are huge, they flap together as a group, and drop bombs the size of golf balls.

My brother (and his hair) looking out at the ocean. At this point we don’t really know where the sun is going to come up as this is our first sunrise.

As it turned out, the sun came up over to the left. Lesson learned, although this rocky shore picture turned out quit nice about 50 minutes after the official “sunrise”.

A non-widescreen version of the previous picture.

And a close up. Looking back on this picture two days later, I realize that the silhouetted shelter in the center of this picture is actually an absolutely ideal sunrise location.

There is a small population of deer on the island. This small group has been hanging around the house we’re staying in. They’re people friendly and don’t seem to have an ounce of aggression in their body. They’ll eat an apple out of your hand and then follow you around like lost puppies. At sunrise and sunset the typically can be seen making their rounds through the island.

The deer no doubt have been tamed as the island has become developed over the past 200 years. The history of the deer is probably interesting but a quick google search doesn’t give much information. Going back to the 1840s, I find a historical account of a hunting trip to Fripp Island. Back then the deer were no doubt feral and coveted as challenging game. As this post gets associated with “Fripp Island Deer” I hope that some future internet visitor can shed some light on any additional trivia or genetic anomalies.

I’m reminded of a study that I read several months ago about an island population of deer (I think in Alaska) that exploded in population before crashing entirely. The study was performed over several decades and one year the researches returned to the island to find that the deer had gone extinct. I don’t remember the exact details of the study but I believe there are some theories as to minimum deer size necessary for genetic diversity and what exactly caused the die-off of the deer. I’m guessing it had to do with how fast the local vegetation could re-grow in the cold Alaskan climate.

My favorite picture of the deer. The one in the foreground has interesting eyes and sets it out from the others. The other deer have all black eyes but this young buck has a white ring around the outside of the eye. I believe it would be the equivalent of “eye color” in humans.

Another one of the island deer.

I think he’s trying to play croquette.

Now, on to the sunrise.

This morning’s sunrise was beautiful! We recently had a pretty intense storm (although being so close to the island puts us at the advantage of having the ocean winds push back most of the storm so that it stays inland). Up until a day or two ago, there were winds so severe that you almost couldn’t talk without yelling. We thought this was normal, but as it turns out it was just the pressure system building up until the final thunderstorm that cleared the sky. The side effect of this is that the sun rose in a sky almost completely clear of clouds.

Due to the fact that my previous sunrise attempt was met with the realization that we’re not facing exactly east, I set off down the road to try and figure out if there was a location that I could see the sunrise from, without trekking about 400 yards down the rocky beach. I was successful in finding a little shelter that looks directly towards the sunrise. It certainly felt as if the shelter was built with a purpose, and that purpose is to watch the sunrise 🙂

It actually took a few minutes to find the sun. It came up through the haze oh-so-subtly. This boat was heading out for the morning but they must have forgot the beer because they came back about 40 minutes later. Check out the picture toward the end of this post to see the boat coming back in a complementary sunrise shot.

The deep red orange sun coming up over the Atlantic Ocean.

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Sunrise 44: Alms Park (Deer Friend, Clear Orange Skies)

Sunrise from Alms Park Overlook

A zoomed shot of the sunrise. It is amazing the difference in size when there is no humidity to absorb the light. The tiny CCD on my camera has a hard time figuring out what to do in the center of the light orb.

This morning was another beautiful spring morning. The air was noticeably cooler and more clear. The humidity seemed to be pretty low which meant that today’s sunrise had a different palette to it. Without the haze in the atmosphere, the sky was brighter and the sun was more powerful. The morning dawn sky had scattered clouds and upper atmospheric haze that provided a different view. I decided to head up to Alms Park again, just like yesterday, to get a direct view of the sun.  Currently Alms Park provides the best view of the sun, at least until we’re on the other side of summer solstice (three weeks away). I like the challenge of trying to get up to the top of Alms Park as quickly as possible, even though it typically leaves me gasping and with shaky legs.

Late Dawn Sky above St. Ursula Villa on the way to Alms Park. The stratus clouds provided an excellent highlight to the atmosphere. I believe there was a healthy mixture of cirrus and altocumulus clouds. Although I am really just guessing.

My young deer friend hanging out in Alms Park. As I approached the park she seemed interested in my flashing bike light. I got within 20 feet of her, moving cautiously, but she eventually decided to run off into the forest.

I got to the top of the overlook within a couple minutes of sunrise. Indeed, I had arrived just in time!

Notice how much more yellow the sun is compared to yesterday. This is probably due to the humidity being lower today than yesterday. The more rays of light that are blocked before reaching our eyes, the less intense the color of the sun is. Less intense apparently means close to purple.

Lunken Airfield with the sunrise sky above it. With the sun being so bright it was worth taking the time trying to take a picture that did not include the sun directly.

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Sunrise 41: Ault Park (John Quincy Adams, Clear Warm Skies)

Happy Memorial Day! This morning I took advantage of the holiday and slept in. Some friends of ours came in from out of town and we stayed up a bit late last night. I did, however, get the 41st sunrise in yesterday morning with the help of my friend Mike. Mike brought his bike along with him and we woke up early Sunday morning to catch the sunrise.

After two days of overcast stormy conditions, the sky cleared up nicely for Sunday’s sunrise. There were scattered clouds in the sky but the horizon was clear. The air was pleasant and a bit warm, indicating that the coming day would be a hot one. The high for yesterday and today hit around 92 F, a drastic change from the mid 40s that marked the cooler days last week.

The sunrise was a deep orange in the clear sky before the light was scattered by the clouds

A great sight after several days of overcast mornings

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