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

Posts tagged “murdock fountains

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 135: Ault Park (Breathtaking Twilight, Tree Silhouettes, Victorian Gas Lights)

One of my favorite shots of the morning.

Early colors of twilight. I’m really starting to love winter…

Heekin Overlook #3.

Middle twilight color shifting into an orange dominated palette.

This Murdock fountain has become a favorite of mine as the sunrise drifts into this region of the horizon during the winter months.

Weepy Maples under a ripply cloudscape.

A nicely preserved Cincinnati Gas Light. Probably at least 110 years old.

Hello party people! I’m just going to start off and say that this post is a bit of a doozy! Hang in ’til the end, it’ll be worth it. This morning was one of those times when the stars aligned and everything came together in a great way. What’s the saying – luck favors those who are prepared? I was up early, had a fresh charge in the camera, was full of creative and explorative energy, and it just so happened that the sunrise was AMAZING. One of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. That’s saying a lot coming from me! The pictures, as beautiful as they are, do not do the true sight of the atmosphere justice. It was a true winter sunrise that was both illuminated by the clear skies, highlighted with a light cloud slurry, and from what I understand the ice crystals in the atmosphere can lead to all kinds of neat cloud formations that made an ever changing cloudscape.

As I mentioned previously, the wife has a bit of acute bronchitis. She started taking anti-bacterial medication for it and last night was the first time that the coughing had completely subsided. I fell asleep on top of the covers with my clothes on and promptly woke up in the exact same position at 6:15am, the first full night’s sleep without interruption I’ve had in weeks! As a result, when I got up to turn off the lights in our place, I felt fully rested and ready to go. I decided that rather than go back to sleep I’d go ahead and start the day. By 6:45am I was fully suited up and headed out to the park.

It was quite amazing to watch the transformation of the sky from a deep dark black into the colorful display of the twilight atmosphere. In fact, when I left the apartment it was so dark that not only could I see the stars, but I had no way of knowing that on the other side of the hill the twilight show had already started. I was planning on getting set up at the park by 7:00am (65 minutes before sunrise) and having nothing to do for about 45 minutes. I could not have arrived at the park at a better time. At 7:00am the low horizon had already taken on a deep red mohogany that was compact and restricted to the region of the sky just above the ridge line. The clouds were just beginning to take on a dark shadowy navy purple. It was still dark enough that the street lamps cast long shadows across the lawn while the sky began to change in the background. This was by far the earliest sunrise I’ve ever witnessed and really changed my perspective on “how soon” one should expect to show up for a clear sky sunrise if they wish to witness the entire ordeal.

The sunrise palette was the most rich I’ve ever seen, and again this was due to the fact that I happened to show up extra early during a morning where the sunlight just so happened to start penetrating the lower atmosphere during early twilight. The sky started off with deep purples that faded into red. The pinks, magentas, and finally fuchsias started slowly to brighten along the lower atmosphere and then moved upward across the sky as the thin layers of ice crystal clouds provided a canvas backdrop. After the fuchsias subdued, the dark oranges and finally bright yellows scattered throughout the atmosphere until the sun finally made an appearance at 8:05am.

I was as giddy as a school girl, running to and from taking pictures now to sort out at home later. In the process I explored some ideas for a project that I plan on pursuing throughout the winter. Namely, finding tree “candidates” for a Winter Tree Silhouette project. I’ve long been fascinated by the underlying fractal and organic form that the naked tree branches form against the winter sky. There are some beautiful old trees around the local forests, many of then “Century” trees. There are not, however, very many trees that are isolated enough to provide a decent silhouette and also on the top of a hill, positioned in such a way that they can be captured against the open sky. There’s one specific tree (Oak I think) in the yard of St. Ursula Villa that fits this perfectly. There’s also one down by Lunken Airfield although there is a chain linked fence and lamp pole in the view. Today I was able to try and find some new candidates around the Ault Park area as well. Some are good and one may make for a great choice, although none of them are completely isolated. I’m hoping to have some good luck down at Reeve’s golf course by Lunken Airfield where most of the century oaks have been well taken care of and sit by themselves along the fairways of the course.

To top it all off, at the end of my ride I discovered that one of the local roads in the neighborhood that Ault Park sits next to still has some authentic gas lanterns. I was unaware that there were any gas lanterns in this area as the only ones I’ve heard of are the iconic street lamps in old Clifton’s “Gas Light District” off of Ludlow Ave. I found ten of these lanterns along a side street that runs right by the Cincinnati Observatory. The homes that were built in the blocks surrounding the observatory have so many architectural features and it is excellent to see the gas lanterns still alive and kicking. They’re at the end of this post if you are particularly interested in them.

Without further ado, here’s the set from this morning. Some of them are a bit blurry from the low light and for that I apologize. There is one picture in particular that I really loved but for some reason it’s completely out of focus. Low lighting can be a pain!

On the way to the park, this home with its Christmas lights still out caught my eye because of the various accent lighting. Nothing too crazy here but I was hoping the picture turned out better. It’s difficult getting the settings on the camera right while wondering if anyone thinks I’m a weirdo for standing on the sidewalk taking pictures of the neighborhood.

Arriving in the park, I am surprised to find that the sky is not dark at all. Early twilight colors abound. On the left side of the frame we can see the light from a lit street lamp illuminating the lawn.

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

Best seat in the house (Thanks Mac!)

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

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

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

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

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

The vertical shot!

Heekin Overlook. Note the second bike on the right!

Mac made for a great silhouette picture.


Sunrise 115: Eden Park (Reservoir Ruins, Hotel Alms, Clear Skies)

Sunrise 115 @ Eden Park

Twin Lakes. Apparently there used to be a quarry here about 150 years ago.

Looking down from Eden Park’s upper overlook

The ruins of the old water reservoir in Eden Park

I took advantage of the latest sunrise of the entire year, that also happened to be on a beautifully clear morning, and got up extra early on Saturday morning. I left my place at 7:10am and rode, for the first time during this project, to Eden Park in Mt. Adams. Eden Park is known to be one of the most scenic and historic parks in the city. It sits next to the Art Museum, Krohn Conservatory, on top of ruins from the old Cincinnati Water Works Reservoir, and has many memorials and two overlooks. I’ve never visited the park for sunrise and I have to say it was an impressive location. The lower two overlooks (there is a “main” overlook next to the Twin Lakes and a lesser known upper overlook by a turn of the century brick water tower) look directly East over the bend in the Ohio River. The benches on the overlook (and their cherry tree companions) appear to be deliberately aligned with the sunrise. I have wanted to get up to Eden Park for sunrise for the entirety of this project, but I was inspired by the recent 105 year old postcards that I recently found at an Antique Mall featuring Eden Park at the turn of the last century. One of the postcards depicts a peaceful scene at Mirror Lake in 1906, the other depicts the entrance to alms park with the infamous Elsinore Arch (not featured in today’s post) which was constructed as a piece of the Cincinnati water system.

I hopped around through the park and checked out only some of the major attractions. I’d like to spend a few more sunrises at Eden Park to get to know more of the memorials and historic buildings. It’s one of the oldest parks in the city and used to be one of the main vineyards during the mid 1800s that supported the German catholic wine scene. There is enough history surrounding the park to fill several posts so I’m going to keep it mostly brief. Check out this document from Cincinnati Parks that gives some insight into the “Master Plan”.

It’s still dark when I pulled up to Eden Park. This picture looks East and if you follow the river back around to the right, you’ll find the tip of the ridge that Alms Park lives on.

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Sunrise 36: Ault Park (RK LeBlond Factory, United States Printing Company and Playing Card Company, Murdocks, and much more)

This morning was the first time I have “skipped” a sunrise. By means of coincidental timing and a wife who wishes me to stay intact and electrically solvent, I stayed in bed while the electrical Armageddon took place outside our window at exactly 6:00am. I was considering hopping on my lightly isolated steel lightning rod and riding up to the top of the mountain but I’m grateful that Amanda made the call without me having to :). The timing of the morning storm was impeccable, at 5:30am I had woken up early, noting that the rain that passed through at 3:00am had stopped. But by the time sunrise approached, a new front rolled through the area and brought with it intense electrical behavior, including several thunderous cracks that lit up someone’s tree in the immediate vicinity. I opted instead to finish writing the article from Saturday, Sunrise 36, which involves my most adventurous exploration yet. Knowing that I would still have a post to make for today made it that much easier to not venture out into the chaos.

Fair warning – lots of pictures here, sorry if it slows down your computer!

I got up with the sun on Saturday morning and went exploring around the area, this time deciding to venture north a bit. The only real item on the agenda for the morning was getting up to the Rookwood Pavilion and seeing what I could find out first hand about the remnants of the old R.K. LeBlond factory. I found out about the history behind the factory after exploring the St. Ursula Villa, which was LeBlond’s old estate. I had heard that the old industrial site had sits at what is now the Rookwood Pavilion, a shopping area developed in the mid 1990s. The developers, as it turned out, were respectful enough to keep the old factory and “smoke stack” intact. The factory building itself is now a Don Pablo’s Mexican Grill. I also explored the now-defunct rail line that runs to the south of the pavilion as well as the grassy “urban prairie” to the north of the shopping district that at one time was a small neighborhood that succumbed to the “eminent domain” of over-zealous developers whose plans have themselves succumbed to the recent recessionary period. I continued north up small residential connectors into territory I’ve never explored by car or bike, and stumbled onto the beautifully grandiose “United States Printing Company” and the “United States Playing Card Company”, a building that surprisingly enough was even more impressive.

The Sunrise

After the break in the overcast weather by the great sunrise Friday morning, I was hoping for another colorful morning at the overlook. The morning sunrise was marked with a haze in the atmosphere and a light layer of upper atmosphere clouds. Once again a thick layer of fog had settled down into the valley, causing me to consider altering my proposed “RK LeBlond Exploration” in favor of a southern valley exploration. I have been meaning to take pictures of Lunken Airport and a morning with thick fog and a clear morning sun would provide some fantastic lighting opportunities. In the end I saved this for another day, although I put off making a decision about it for another hour or so – wondering if I could in fact do both.

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Sunrise 35: Ault & Alms Park (Foggy Streets, Clear Skies!, Neenah Foundry and More Murdock Fountains)

When I first woke up this morning, 25 minutes before sunrise because I forgot to brew my coffee last night, I was a bit disappointed. The sky was a dark shade of gray, typically indicating that the sun is blocked by a cloud bank (or even worse, an entire overcast sky). I should have known, however, because the “bird report” was in full swing at 5:45am, loud enough to wake us up! After brewing my coffee I set out on the Trek 4000 for the morning. When I walked out onto the front sidewalk, however, I realized that there was a substantial amount of fog in the air. It is always a surprise to see the fog – the best kind of surprise I might add 🙂 Biking in the fog (especially now that I have my new planet bike led light) is always so much fun, particularly in low-traffic hilly residential areas like on the route to Ault Park! As I would soon find out, this morning ended up being the long awaited, eight-days-in-the-making, soul-refreshing, sunrise morning. I haven’t had a post on here with the sun in it since last week and while I do love exploring random historical artifacts in the area, being able to take pictures of the morning sun is a welcome change from the routine of the past few days 🙂

The patchy foggy climb to the park

As I made my way up to the top of the hill, I started to notice a change in the atmosphere. It seemed that the higher up the hill I got, the more clear the air became. As I came up above the crest, into the entrance to the park, I started to see signs of great things to come. The sky up ahead was turning a light orange color and I could actually see a low lying cloud through the trees.

Foggy Valley; dawn.

Foggy Valley; Armleder Park

The sky is just starting to turn orange. If you’re on the front page, please continue by clicking! –> (more…)


Sunrise 30: Ault Park (Low Lying Cumulus, More Murdock Fountains)

click for higher quality!

This morning made for a nice quick trip up to the park. I was kind of exhausted from my longest ride of the year that I partook in last night. Starting at Element Cycles the weekly group ride did 30 miles, including two “valley hill” climbs (as if once wasn’t enough! 😉 ). We went out through Milford and Indian Hill before looping back around to Hyde Park. I wasn’t nearly as exhausted as the first ride I did a few weeks ago, and I definitely attribute that to this project for helping me get into shape.

The air this morning was dense but not nearly as thick as it was yesterday. There were small patches of fog down in the valley but compared to the cloudy layer I explored yesterday, I would almost call it a clear day! After Saturday, Friday is my favorite day of the week to visit the park in the morning. More people seem to have Friday off work so there is usually more foot traffic – runners, dog walkers, and bikers. I met two different people this morning that recognized me from this week’s article in the Eastern Hills Journal. I was quite surprised actually! It feels good to know that local people that I don’t know are enjoying the project.

click for higher quality!The “overlook timelapse” shot. Much more clear than yesterday!

click for higher quality!The sunrise this morning started off quiet and dark, but with the open atmosphere above the thick low lying fog bank, I knew that patience would pay off this morning.

click for higher quality!Armleder Park, where I explored yesterday morning. You can see that it is clearing up nicely. The shelter sits right in the middle of the park, and the small paved forest bench where I found the coyote tracks is located directly in the center of the picture, you can see where there is a straight path starts at the shelter and goes at about “10:00”, across the paved loop, and into the forest.

click for higher quality!About ten minutes after sunrise, the sky started to lighten up and the upper atmospheric clouds began to illuminate

click for higher quality!The “Delayed Sunrise”, about 25 minutes after true sunrise. If you’re on the front page, click to continue -> (more…)


Sunrise 29: Ault & Armleder Park (Fog in the Prairie, Linwood Public School, Our Lady of Loretta, Murdock Fountains)

click for higher quality!This weather is just too beautiful. I keep having these visions of getting up for the sunrise, taking some pictures and getting them online in a half hour, and then starting off work at around 7:30am so that I can be done early and enjoy the evening. But once again, I found myself in a unique spring morning filled with densely packed fog sitting down in the Little Miami river valley.

A note on productivity before I continue. I waited to post this until lunch time because this morning I had a realization that would boost my “wordpress productivity” by 3-fold. I already have a python script I wrote to process the images, resize them, put “(c) ault park sunrise” on the bottom, re-orient if necessary, and ask me what the file should be named. That helps a ton and has been great so far. The main problem with taking too many pictures is that wordpress, as great as it is, is kind of clunky when it comes to adding pictures to a post. You have to do like 4 clicks, each taking a few seconds to load, for every single picture. It can be monotonous and frustrating if I’m running late. In a flash of ingenuity I realized this morning that I can add raw html to the wordpress post (I never really use that feature), so what I did was throw in a simple command at the end of the script that dumps out html that I can copy and paste (since the script already knows the image filenames) directly into the posting to insert all the pictures at once. I wrapped that feature up at lunch time and I’m happy to say it seems to work. I’ll publish it soon if anyone else is interested in using it, it really takes the technical annoyances out of this project so I can focus on other, more important things, like biking, history, and pictures 🙂

click for higher quality!Notice the ridges you can barely see in the background.

click for higher quality!Super Fog

As I left my apartment I noticed that there was a slight haze to the air, a bit more than usual, but nothing close to what I would call fog. As I approached the overlook, however, I realized that the entire river valley was completely submerged in a thick blanket of fog, no doubt caused by the proximity to the swollen little miami river. I imagine that the Ohio River is just as foggy and the view from Alms Park would have been incredible. Seeing as how I didn’t have much to look at up at the overlook, and that even the fog was hard to capture correctly without the picture turning out drab and dreary, I decided that it would be a fun exercise to see if I could “catch the fog”, so to speak, by climbing down the mountain (280ft decent over about .8 miles) and attempting to, for the first time, figure out a way to get to Armleder Park on my bike. As it turns out I got sucked back up into some more history, after the historical vineyard ride from Sunday; a trend likely to continue. If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. If nothing else check out the pictures after the fog broke a bit – towards the bottom. (more…)