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

Posts tagged “macro

Sunrise 159: Ault Park (1-year Anniversary; Sidewalk Chalk Sunrise?)

First Light @ Sunrise 159

This beautiful sidewalk chalk art adorns the walkway in front of Ault Park’s central lawn on this one-year anniversary of Ault Park Sunrise. A spring sunrise tribute to the celestial titans? An innocent piece of work created by a young artist on a lazy Easter Sunday? Perhaps a professional installation done by a world master! Another mystery that will likely never be resolved.

Seriously, though, it’s a pretty neat piece of work. Well done mysterious Cincinnatian artist!

Macro Chalk. Even the moss between the stones got a color bath. With no rain being forecast for this week, perhaps this temporary art piece will last through this weekend.

It’s hard to believe, but Ault Park Sunrise is one year old! This past year has taught me so much in so many areas. I’ve gained a new appreciation of my local community and the larger city as a whole. It’s also been the first year where I have watched the seasons pass with careful diligence and focus, something that can easily slip by as we focus on our day to day lives. I’m only one sunrise away from 160, which would have made for a great coincidental time stamp but that will have to wait until later in the week. I also have a small queue built up of interesting posts, including an essay from a guest writer, some beautiful pictures of the Ault Park’s blooms from a friend (which have now faded into memory), and some historical pictures of a local estate sent to me by a fellow Cincinnatian that sheds some light onto the history of one of the large estates in the area. Also coming up is Sunrise 158, which one may notice is missing from the front page. I’ve been working on it for the last week but unfortunately I haven’t finished it. Rather than continue not doing morning rides while it’s in the hopper (I don’t like posts falling behind lest they never get published), I decided to just put it on the “draft” list and get on with Sunrise 159.

I woke up this morning after a long holiday weekend (following a long work week) with a yearning for a sunrise ride. The ride was brisk and I actually had to turn around after my initial departure to get a sweatshirt. I stopped by UDF for a coffee (freefil Monday) and was on my way. The sky was crisp and clear to the east, but there was a slow moving cloud front moving in from the west. As the sunrise arrival came near, the cloud bank continued to slip further into the  eastern twilight sky, making for an interesting sky dynamic that was changing through the colorful early morning show. The sunrise itself was a nice deep orange with a few pink highlights that briefly dashed across the impending cloud bank.

The most surprising thing to me is just how quickly spring has arrived. It’s been just over two weeks since I visited Ault Park (Alms Park was my most recent visit before we left for Charleston), and yet the overlook is lush with foliage and the trees are well on their way to having a full spring coat of greenery. I’m also pretty excited about the sunrise time that continues to push earlier into the morning. Sunrise 159 clocked in at 7:09am and it will only get earlier as we march into summer.

One of the best parts about exploring a city park after a weekend, and in particular a holiday weekend with great weather, is finding the leftover markers of human activity. Sometimes there is trash, but more often than not there is something else: sidewalk chalk art! This morning I found plenty to entertain along the main walkway that runs along the center lawn in front of the pavilion. I was amused by the video game inspired “MarioKart” starting line. It was even complete with a set of “?” boxes 60 yards up the sidewalk, whose purpose is to give the player that runs over them an item like a green shell, banana peel, or even star power.

Behind the Mariokart tribute there was another piece of artwork that appears to have been left by an artist with a bit more patience and a steady hand. I found myself quite moved by the artwork, especially after I considered that the subject of the work appears to be a sun with its rays bursting out from the center of the tile into a blue sky. The artist (or artists) carefully colored each individual brick in the sidewalk and were even symmetrically mindful. I find it so interesting that this artwork has appeared on the morning of Ault Park Sunrise’s one year anniversary. I’ll just try to not think too hard about it :).

I arrived at the park just as the twilight backdrop was coming into full bloom.

The twilight sky was just beginning to take on an orange gradient as the east-moving overhead cloud bank threatened to block out the sunrise.

Has it just been two weeks since I last saw this Tree of Heaven? She was the subject of many winter photos, and already she has a healthy coat of green growth. Until next winter, old friend.

Just before sunrise there was this vertical column of pink that shot up through the sky. Here you can kind of see it to the middle/left of the picture.

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Sunrise 157: Alms Park (Misty Hills, Tall Oaks, Spring Blooms)

A unique lighting situation @ Sunrise 157

A hard climb to Alms Park but the view makes it worth it!

Are these magnolias? (Nope. Dogwood!) They’re so small and the other magnolias have lost their blooms so I’m not sure…

Rain-battered yellow blooms race to fill up as much forest floor as possible before their taller brethren block out all the light.

I woke up Sunday morning with a penchant for a sunrise. After last week’s surprisingly beautiful spring sunrise (and subsequently & understandingly the most popular post yet so far of the project), I spent the rest of the week working early and ignoring the rainy & stormy mornings. After all, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to push such a beautiful set of pictures further down the front page unnecessarily! :).

This morning’s sunrise was certainly a unique one. I experienced a strong dose of nostalgia because I haven’t visited Alms Park for over three months! The last post featuring Alms Park was Sunrise 127, featuring the *incredibly lucky* cubic frost crystals. It is probably the most viewed picture I’ve taken for this project due to it’s popularity on the social news site reddit.com where it hit front page and was likely viewed by a couple hundred thousand people, if not more. I’m not sure of the numbers because wordpress doesn’t track individual pictures. Here’s the picture from that fateful day when the day break light was perfect and my camera just so happened to focus on the exact right spot:
(Cubic Ice Crystals on Clover; Sunrise 127)

So it came as no surprise that as I snaked my way down through Mt. Lookout and into the thickly forested residential neighborhood between Delta & Linwood Ave, it felt as if I was meeting an old friend. The route to Alms Park from Mt. Lookout is quiet and full of life (both of the human kind and the natural type). The old residential through-ways were originally designed for high volume so they are wide and smooth. When the Grandin Viaduct was torn down sometime in the past half-century, traffic volume dropped off and now the neighborhood roads are serenely peaceful in the morning before sunrise. The area features one of the oldest planned suburban neighborhoods (dating back to the 1920s or so) and the designers were tactfully mindful of the local forest. At times, the ride to the par almost feels as if you’re traveling through a small tucked away neighborhood in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

The route to Alms Park is also one that displays the challenge of Cincinnati’s terrain quite nicely. The entire route is a slow climb up to the the peak of the mountain from the basin of the valley that Mt. Lookout sits in. Just before the entrance to the park, at which point you’ve already climbed to the peak elevation, the road takes a steep dive down through a patch of old forest where the air is always noticeably humid and cold. At the base of this drop is the entrance to Alms Park, where one must climb another 200ft up a steep hill to the overlook.

I always feel an incredible rush of clarity when I finally reach that peak. It’s a route that’s short but also hard to rush. By the time you reach the top you’re surrounded by the ethos of Alms Park: The Forest. I’ve mentioned it in posts past, but Alms Park and Ault Park have such good balance when viewed side by side. Ault Park is organized, designed, open, symmetric, accessible, full of lawn & gardens, and the epitome of a well planned city park. Alms Park is tucked away, organic & asymmetric, cut out of the forest, filled with huge oak & pine trees with only a small garden by the pavilion. Ault Park has a sunrise shelter, Alms Park has a sunset shelter. The forest is around you in Alms Park, unlike Ault Park where the forest is held back to the boundaries of the park so that the beautiful gardens can take center stage. In Alms Park the forest is around you & above you. In short, Alms Park is the yin to Ault Park’s yang.

When I started off for Alms Park, there were clear skies above me. It seemed, however, that change was in the air.
Looking west up Erie Ave, heading to Alms Park in Mt. Lookout

I made a detour in the neighborhood behind Alms Park. One of the “No Outlets” has a nice cliff view of the eastern sky. At this point the sky is still relatively clear but that will soon change as the sunrise heats up the valley. The mist rises up into Alms Park, flooding the hillside with fresh moisture. I’m still convinced that the fog provides a micro climate on this hillside that isn’t well understood. It’s just… so lush.

Looking down Grandin Ave. Half a century ago there was a bridge at the end of this street. It was torn down at some point, turning this wide residential thruway into a quiet neighborhood street. There’s not a lot of historical documentation on the so-called “Grandin Viaduct”.

I always forget about this beautiful oak tree in the front lawn of St. Ursula Villa school. I wish I had spent a bit more time here over the winter, but I’m glad that I got this picture of the tree as it just begins to plup out in its spring coat.
Here’s one from the late autumn when the yard was frozen over and the dew had turned to crystals:
From Sunrise 122 (A great post, check it out)

Another pic from Sunrise 122:
 Frost & Oak

Apparently I’m really drawn to this tree in the fog… here’s another one:
The same oak but from a different angle… from Sunrise 108 (another foggy alms park ride from the autumn)

A twilight gradient behind the century oak.

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Sunrise 153: Ault Park (Humid Spring Morning & First Magnolia Blossoms!)

I showed up *extra* early, taking advantage of the post-Day Light Savings sunrise… only to spend the morning in the dark.

I’m as surprised as you are that I got this good of a shot in the dim morning light.

Good morning! I ventured out for the first post-DST sunrise at 7:50am this morning. I took advantage of the late sunrise by getting up extra early and setting out for the park by 7:10am. I looked up into the sky and saw a thin cloud layer with patches of blue which meant that it was definitely worth a gamble. I’ve been getting a bit bored by the clear morning sunrises and have been hoping for a change up, especially with the upcoming spring weather. There was a chance that this morning’s thin cloud layer could provide an amazing reflective backdrop of pinks and oranges, but alas the clouds ended up being too thick for the sun to penetrate.

I did, however, take full advantage of the amazing weather this morning. A light rain came through the area last night so the pavement was wet and smelled like earthworms and petrichor (a word I learned last year and try to use as often as possible). The air was thick with humidity and as I dove into the park via the steep hill on Observatory Ave, I could feel the temperature suddenly drop. The cool air rolling across the quiet dark street from the budding forest was refreshing and spirit lifting.

This morning was quite dark. I had high hopes for the sunrise, but in the end it was warm, peaceful, and full of bird songs and the promise of spring. I noticed yesterday that the magnolia trees have started to bloom! Can you believe it? Last year the magnolias and cherry blossoms showed up in the second week of april, just after this project got started. Here’s one of my favorites from last year:

And another picture from April 2011 featuring some bradford pears off of Erie Ave.

Back to this morning: a plane takes off against the gray and stormy spring backdrop

The magnolias have started to bloom… the bradford pears are next!

Spring is here! It’s Magnolia Official (kind of like being Facebook Official but with more pollen)…


Sunrise 127: Alms Park (Macro Clover Ice Crystals/Cubes, Breaking Sky Sunrise)

A clover leaf covered in ice crystals in the early sunlight of Sunrise 127. The bald spot is where my large fumbling fingers accidentally knocked two crystals off of the leaf.

A high-resolution picture of Frozen Dew Crystals on the previously shown clover leaf! Note the even spacing of the small crystals. My friend lee suggested that the clover may release a waxy oil which would cause the water to bead up. I’m not exactly sure what is causing it, but it’s a very neat effect. For the rest of the macro crystal shots, be sure to read the full post (they’re at the bottom!).

The first shot featuring a small amount of pink highlighting in the atmospheric cloud layer.

This morning almost didn’t happen. I woke up at 7:00am and attempted to shrug off the biochemical cocktail that almost convinced me that the sky was overcast and it wasn’t worth riding up to the park in 25F (note to biochemical self: it always is!). I poked my head out the front of our apartment building and noticed a patch of blue skies through a tiled cloud layer. Ok! Game on! As it turned out my bet was well placed. For a 72% cloud cover, this morning’s atmosphere was certainly atypical!

This morning’s sunrise was not unlike Sunrise 9, although with a bit less drama. Sunrise 9, back in April, is a classic example of a dynamic sunrise with a low lying cloud bank and an overhead light layer of clouds that can provide lots of interesting color dynamics. Here’s the picture from Sunrise 9 that stands out as one of my favorites of the project and also was printed in the local paper at the start of this project (click for higher resolution):

(As it turns out, 92 people “recommended” that article on Facebook. I had no idea! Thanks whoever you are!)

This morning I headed up to Alms Park in search of a twilight sunrise. Now that I’m more aware of how much fun the twilight period can be of a sunrise, I’ve taken a liking to getting up about a half hour early to catch the show. This is an advantage of the “late” sunrises of the Fall and Winter that I had not considered until now! On mostly clear mornings I can catch the pre-game show which can start as early as an hour before sunrise on a dry clear sky morning. That puts me in the park at 6:45am at the earliest, quite a reasonable time. During the middle of June this would put me in the park at 5:00am!

The atmosphere was interesting for Sunrise 127. There was the remnants of a dark cloudy layer overhead that I was certain would mess up the sunrise. However once I started on my way to the park, it was obvious that the cloud bank was being pushed out of the eastern sky to reveal a dark navy clear atmosphere. There was a low lying bank of haze just above the horizon in the distance that kept the sunlight at bay, preventing penetration into the upper atmosphere. This made for a dynamic purple/orange sky but there were no real traces of the magenta highlights that I was hoping to catch after missing them several sunrises in a row.

There is a final reason that I have found to enjoy these ice cold sunrises. During the day when the temperature rises up to the 40s, 50s, and even the 60s, the air starts to saturate with the water from the Little Miami River and the great Ohio River. At night as the temperature drops into the 20s (welcome to Ohio!) the water is pushed out from the air and is subsequently frozen. The ice crystals from the foggy days are thick because of the high water concentration, but the crystals from this morning were smaller and cubed. In fact with this little point-and-shoot it’s possible to see the geometric nature of the crystals which was surprising to me when I zoomed in on the LCD screen.

I approached Alms Park and arrived roughly 25 minutes before sunrise. Yesterday the sky was much brighter at this time than today due to the upper cloud layer and the low lying haze bank that obscured part of the early light.

The twilight sky above Lunken Airport from Alms Park. There’s a standing pool of water, left over from the recent autumn rain storms.

The south/eastern sky, facing the Ohio River to the right side of the picture.

For the rest of the pictures, if you’re on the front page, click to continue. 18 total including more ice crystal macro shots. (more…)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heekin Overlook, 20 minutes before sunrise

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

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

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

Sunrise 126!

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

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


Sunrise 122: Columbia Tusculum (Exploring in the Urban Fog, Macro Frost Crystals)

Ice Crystals!

My morning coffee spot @ the “auxiliary” area in Alms Park. I didn’t make it all the way up to the top of the hill. It is so quiet here. The perfect spot to study or swing while listening to the planes come in.

Frost crystals on a picnic bench @ Alms Park

A strange break in the clouds and fog made for a surreal sunrise at Lunken Airport

This morning was one of those rare days when both the weather and my mood for exploration aligned perfectly. I was anticipating getting up early today all week after watching the forecast closely to see when the weather was expected to break. We’ve had two solid weeks of rainy overcast mornings with only one exception, which was last friday (after Thanksgiving). I was travling to visit family so I wasn’t able to see it! I was so excited for this morning that I woke up a half hour early and started off on the bike while it was still dark and foggy. I’m hoping tomorrow’s sunrise has some surprises for me because the sunset today was truly fantastic – deep blue and teal with purple clouds and orange highlights. We’ll see! I’m also looking forward to doing “find the Christmas Lights” in the fog, but this morning was too early in the month and only a handful of homes had their lights on at 7:15am.

The weather helped support my naive theory that states “overcast and rain followed by clear sky sunrise = fog in mt. lookout”. This morning was no exception! Although I can say that I was a bit disappointed that there was no clear sunrise, I can’t pass up an opportunity to explore in the fog. This morning’s fog was thick, too, one of the thickest so far. I’m getting spoiled with these foggy days! I only had a couple in the spring, almost none in the summer, and now this is like the fifth or sixth one this fall! (you can usually check out the “fog” tag or “foggy” for more foggy posts).

So far I’ve spent foggy sunrises at Alms Park (one of my favorite posts this fall), Lunken Airfield, and Ault Park. This morning when I set out for my twilight ride, I decided that I wanted to go back to my roots and explore some residential pockets that I haven’t visited for awhile. You see, last autumn before Ault Park Sunrise was even an idea, I started my exploration of my local neighborhoods, hills, and parks on my bike. At the time of course I didn’t know I was actually training for Ault Park Sunrise. My first fog explorations was when the neighborhoods were new and unexplored and so I would creep along the No Outlets and see the beautiful homes and landscapes that Cincinnati’s old residential neighborhoods are known (because the homes and plots of land fit snugly into the hillsides so there are lots of creative designs). This morning I wanted to revisit some of these No Outlets in the fog and see what else I could come up with.

As it turns out, the weather this morning was one-of-a-kind. Normally when the fog comes through, it is in both Mt. Lookout AND down in the river basin. OR it is in the river basin alone and not in Mt. Lookout. This morning, however, there was no fog down in the basin so Mt. Lookout was covered in a low-laying cloud layer. I ended up dropping down into the basin to visit Lunken Airfield after realizing that I could get a much needed workout in. The clouds and fog had just broke and the sun was blazing through across the horizon underneath the cloud banks. It was really pretty and surreal because I could look behind me and see the hillside of Mt. Tusculum rising up from the clear streets of Columbia Tusculum and East End to disappear into the thick fog.

Here we go! Be sure to check out the fog crystal macro shots, they’re my favorite 🙂

My first “No Outlet” of the morning. A bit blurry because of the low light. I love this house and the way the gates open into the cul-de-sac.

On the way to Alms Park, I swing down Kroger Ave to check out Kroger Valley. The white fence and street disappear off into the fog. There is a home at the end of this “No Outlet” as well, but we can hardly see it in the fog.

This magnificent Oak first caught my eye in the last Alms Park fog run. That’s the neat thing about fog, it causes different patterns to emerge and make themselves present if you’re paying attention. This oak sits in the lawn of St. Ursula’s Villa.

A bit closer up. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but there is a light aura in the fog just above the horizon where the sunrise is getting ready to make an appearance. This made a perfect backlight for this oak tree’s silhouette.

Same picture as before, but with focus on the ice crystals. A chilly 22F degrees with 96% humidity!! I’ve found that biking in this weather requires a bit of preparation, but a long sleeve shirt and hoodie with insulated running pants does just fine at keeping me warm. (Plus gloves and hat of course!)

I love the frozen dew.

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Sunrise 97: Ault Park (Misty Mountain, Compass Flowers, Beetles, Oak Stump)

The center of a compass flower.

A new view. We now see up through the park; before this would have been obstructed by the large oak tree.

Bike and Dew.

A busy bumblebee pollinates a compass flower.

Dew and Deep Green Leafs

A yellow beetle surveys the territory from the top of a compass flower.

I’ve skipped the last several wet overcast mornings but today at 7:00am I ventured out into the humid streets to Ault Park. The sunrise this morning was at 7:22am, the latest so far. Looking back, Sunrise 1 was at 7:14am. I’ve broken through the calendar symmetry and am now proceeding into new territory! I never regret going out in a misty morning, especially on such a temperate day as today. The temperature was in the mid sixties, and other than some light fog here and there I didn’t get too wet.

It’s amazing how heavy my legs felt after taking a few days off. The climb up to the park was a good workout, and by the time I got up there I was ready for my coffee and a break. I discovered several new happenings at the Overlook, including a new replacement bench for the one that was destroyed by vandals, and it looks like the park service cut down the dead oak tree.

I came up with a great idea for what to do with the dead oak tree, but unfortunately it looks like my idea came about a week too late. I realized that this dead oak would have been an excellent opportunity to create one of those stump carvings that I’ve seen in the neighborhood. The stump is probably too low now to do anything with. It would have been a beautiful piece of art. Here’s an example that I found on the way home:

A dead stump turned into artwork. If only I had thought of this sooner for the oak tree at Heekin Overlook! 😦

I ended up making up for lost time and took about 40 pictures this morning through the gardens and around the overlook. I’ll just go ahead and put up the front page disclaimer now!

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Sunrise 93: Ault Park & Lunken Airfield (Sunrise Resurrection, B-17 “Aluminum Overcast” Bomber)

Sunrise 93, you pretty thang.

The “Aluminum Overcast” B-17 bomber! For $400, you can take her for a ride. She flew in from Wisconsin to help Lunken Airfield celebrate their Lunken Days.

In the arboretum, someone left a small glass container. I really like this picture.

I’ve never seen a plant that has a fruit hanging out of the flower like this. Weird?

After what has felt like a season of hibernation, even though it’s only been about a week, I was finally *blessed* with both a beautiful sunrise AND a free Sunday morning to enjoy it. The left overs from Hurricane Irene have cleared up and are now history. The forecast originally put clear skies with “fog” for tomorrow morning, but I wanted to test my luck and see if I could catch a break a day early. As it turned out, luck was on my side and the sunrise came through with a deep moisture-induced pink. I ended up taking my time and riding through the East End Loop down to Lunken Airfield and back. This weekend is Lunken Airport’s “Lunken Days” featuring the “Aluminum Overcast” B-17 bomber, one of only 10 in the country that are still flying today. As anyone in the midwest will tell you, we ended up with a beautiful late summer day.

These first two pictures were taken in the neighborhoods of Mt. Lookout on the way to Ault Park. I am trying to convey the degree of incline that these roads have, something that I didn’t notice (very thoroughly) until I started biking them.

We can see the road drop off about 60 yards away. A worthy climb indeed. I always catch this hill at the beginning of the ride so it always seems worse than it really is.

Heading into Ault Park! At this point I wasn’t sure if I was going to get a sunrise at all. I got excited when I saw the colors over the hill, to say the least.

I arrived at the overlook just as the sun was cresting. The humidity and light fog in the air made the scattering light a deep pink color. This is a pretty unique sunrise for the summer season. I haven’t seen many deep pink hazy sunrises since the spring, and this spring was full of them.

Heekin Overlook against the early sunrise.

Steel Frame Sunrise.

I love the color gradient in this picture. Taken from the lower overlook, I think.

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Sunrise 91: Ault Park (Summer Flower Garden, Ailanthus Webworm Moth)

Pretty flowers.

A “cosmo” pointing up toward the sky.

Beautiful macro shot of a red/orange/yellow summer flower.

This morning I felt it was definitely a time to recollect and enjoy a cool morning summer in the park. The last two mornings I skipped the sunrise. I tell myself it was mostly due to overcast conditions but in reality I think there are several different reasons. I almost feel as though these late sunrises, happening at 7:05am, are no longer a “challenge”! The 6:15am sunrises, which came up before rush hour and when the city was still asleep, had more of an air of secrecy to them. I’m either going to have to find a new challenge (like getting to the park by a half hour before sunrise, and then leaving as soon as the sun crests) or search for more motivation. Time will tell! It’s just depressing to me how deep into the morning my routine is taking me if I wish to take my time at the overlook or in the gardens. That’s life, though, I suppose.

The atmosphere this morning was cloudy so I took the time to check out the flower gardens. By this time, late into the summer, the bushes and flowers have grown up healthy and lush. There is an opening that reveals a grassy aisle into the center of the flower garden that is in the center lawn. The last time I really explored this area, the ground was bare and I was left wondering “hmm, what’s going to grow here?”. The black-eyed-susans, cosmos, and other flowers are now towering over my head and full of beetles, bumblebees, spiders, and ladybugs. I was surprised to find how thick the isolation felt once I walked into the flower garden. On several occasions, while I was stooped in observation taking pictures of the flowers, a jogger would glide by only a few feet from me but on the other side of the flower wall. It reminded me of just how private a forest or meadow can become during the late summer months. I need some time to rebalance and sunrise in the garden was a perfect fit :). I got a bit carried away with the pictures, mostly just having fun with the color and finding all the insect life hidden under the pedals.

This is actually a deer in the forest behind our place. I tried feeding her carrots, but she was only interested in green foliage. Next time I’ll bring broccoli.

The sunrise was boring! Off to the garden.

These first few are darker, I was lucky to get any kind of macro focus. A deep orange flower that I think is a “cosmo”

The centerpiece hidden inside the flower garden.

For the rest of the pictures of flowers and insects, click to continue if you’re on the front page: (more…)


Sunrise 85: Ault Park (Acorns & Blue Berries)

So this is weird… due to a strange artifact that has been present on the lens, but only visible when I zoom in, I haven’t touched the zoom for several weeks (maybe even a month or two). I tried it again today and suddenly the artifact is gone. It left as quietly as it arrived. It was definitely internal to the lens, but I had the feeling it was like a moisture bubble or something similar. Hopefully I don’t have many wet mornings in the near future. Maybe I’ll start carrying the camera in a zip-lock bag.

Acorn!

Ault Park has officially celebrated its 100 year birthday! There was a big party in the park last night, true to the “Ault Park style”. “Ault Park Style”, in my experience, includes music, beer, food, and lots of people. It always amazes me to see just how well supported the Ault Park events are by the local community!

Amanda and I have ran the local Reggae Run 5k twice in the past three years, and it has become legendary for the huge after party that takes place in Ault Park. The Reggae Run after-party includes a live band, delicious food, and lots of my favorite two things: beer and people :). The fireworks display for the 4th of July was also jam packed with people.

So it should come at no surprise that last night’s 100 year birthday party was anything less than a big deal! Unfortunately (and awesomely!) for our writer, I had my first co-ed softball game (which was a blast!) last night so I wasn’t able to check out the festivities until later, between two games when I had to run home on an errand, and even then I only had time to drive through the park for a quick visit. I was, however, blown away at how much the party was still hopping at 9:00pm when I drove through! If I were to guess, I’d say the attendance of the night easily surpassed 1,000 people. Easily! It looked like an excellent time and I do regret not being able to check out the “history room” that I saw advertised on the facebook posting. (Also: shameless self-plug for Ault Park Sunrise’s facebook page)

It’s also interesting to me to contrast the social night-owl version of Ault Park: with the loud kids running around, blanket and young couples lying in the grass, sparkler glowing in the night, elderly and college kids with beer in hand, overflowing trash bins, loud music, and full of city life, with the early morning sunrise Ault Park: quiet and peaceful, with park service diligently pruning and nurturing the plants, birds and squirrels loud in the trees, and the rising ambient sound of the city slowly waking up. Considering the fact that I have now spent roughly 80 mornings in Ault Park, and perhaps only 3 evenings during the same period, I’ve come to mentally view the park through my own bias of experience. To me, thoughts of Ault Park conjure up images of gardens, privacy, and nature. Every time I visit Ault Park at night during a social event, I’m reminded of the many hats that a healthy city park wears throughout its life as an extension of the community it lives in. And that’s one of the primary things that makes Ault Park so special to me: in these days of budget cuts and sad economic stories, the park shines as an excellent model for a true “city park” that can only be possible with the help and will of the local community.

That being said, when I rode up to the park this morning I was curious what kind of “leftovers” I’d find from the big bash last night. After the 4th of July party, I found all kinds of trash, spent fireworks, lighters, and other obvious signs that the party ran late and people left, quite hastily, in the dark. I was surprised, however, to find that Ault Park looked… completely normal. Other than some full trash bins, the park looked clean and not hung over. I’m not sure how late the event ran, but whoever was responsible for the cleanup did a great job!

The sunrise came up through a dense hazy layer of moisture. This was one of those sticky damp atmospheres that blocks the majority of the sun’s rays for a few minutes after sunrise, causing the sun to appear a dark blood red. Once the sun peaks out over this dense valley moisture, it can blast through the atmosphere within a matter of minutes.

A dark orange sunrise. At approximately 7:00am, it’s getting too late! 😦

A vertical sunrise shot, for the ladies.

We’re coming into acorn season! I heard these puppies falling all over the vicinity of the overlook. They were dropping at a rate of about one per 3 minutes. There were bits of them shattered all over the concrete. I’ve noticed a lot more squirrels giving me death stars and fake promises of running out in front of my bike lately. They must be ramping up to get ready for the acorn foraging season.

Flesh and Acorn.

Several months ago, I asked a rhetorical ‘what will this white flower turn into?’. Well now I know. These little blue berries are growing on the plant that I previously examined when I found that it was a host to the aphid-herding ants.