Sunrise 148: Ault Park & Cincinnati Observatory (Soft & Humid Winter Twilight)
The sun rose up, quietly, in a soft orange eastern sky.
Here’s a nice quick post for today. The sky cleared up nicely last night and I quickly realized that this morning’s sunrise would be against an open atmosphere. The sunrise was quite humid, keeping up with the recent trend of wet spring-like weather. The sun rose up as a dark purple globe against the ridge line. Once again, as most humid sunrises tend to do, it caught me off guard as I was considering where I should take up my position for the impending First Light.
I swung by the Cincinnati Observatory on the way out of the park. I realized that if I want to start investigation into Ault Park’s alignment with the sunrise, I should consider asking the astronomy guys who hang out at the Observatory. I imagine that the Observatory is aligned to some significant astronomic event, like winter solstice for example. The eastern facing wall appears to be almost perpendicular to the Eastern sky and I’d like to think there is a purposeful design in how the building is aligned. I’m still waiting to see on which day the sun rises up behind the Ault Park Pavilion in perfect alignment. I’m placing my bets on spring equinox (March 20 this year).
The best part about an early Sunday morning is the quiet calm that exists in the city streets. Here we are looking east down Eerie Ave towards the sunrise.
I arrive at the park a bit late and the soft twilight sky has started to fade from purple to orange. The humid atmosphere kept the colors packed closely to the horizon.
This old oak tree is still slowly returning to the forest.
Looking out from Heekin Overlook
Looking South/West across Lunken Airfield. There grass down in the valley is laced with frost but the air is quickly warming.
As I head over to the Cincinnati Observatory, the skies are turning into that rich shade of deep blue. The Observatory’s campus is one of my favorite quiet and open lawns around. There are several century old trees up on the top of this bald hill. It’s amazing to me that at one time this Observatory was moved from Mt. Adams to Mt. Lookout to get away from the city lights. Now-a-days development is all around as this building is no longer “in the country-side”.
Some ice crystals on a young plant shortly after sunrise. This plant is growing on a slab of asphalt in an otherwise over grown grass lot down in the valley.
Sunrise 86: East Cincinnati Loop (Foggy & Clear Summer Sunrise)
Looking North/East up the Little Miami River Valley. This used to be the pre-glacial Ohio River Valley, several hundreds of thousands of years ago. Up on top of that ridge, if you have good eyes, you’ll see Heekin Overlook.
After checking out the Cincinnati Observatory, we stopped by Heekin Overlook at Ault Park. The view into the valley was stunning.
Sunrise 86 was one of the more beautiful summer sunrises of the year. If the ideal sunrise of the spring is a partially cloudy and humid morning full of late-sunrise oranges, the ideal summer sunrise is one of a clear atmosphere with dense fog in the low-lying valley and a bit of a cold bite to the air. This morning’s surnise was exactly that. I had a friend with me this morning, who stayed over to redeem a long-standing offer to join me on a morning sunrise ride. We did a nice loop through the eastern hills. After taking advantage of “free coffee refill Mondays” at the Mt. Lookout UDF, one of my favorite things to do, we cranked it up the hill at about 6:30am, 20 minutes before the sunrise at 6:50am. We started off with the dawn opening and sunrise at the Cincinnati Observatory, then off to Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook for the remainder of the early light. Heekin Overlook had a breath-taking view down into the foggy valley over Armelder Park. We dropped down into Linwood to Armleder Park, checked out the foggy meadow, and then hightailed it over to Lunken Airfield before climbing Mt. Tusculum up past Alms Park.
The dawn sky, about 10 minutes before sunrise
The sun is starting to creep further to the right along the horizon as summer continues on into fall.
Just before sunrise! The sky turned a deep teal color, a shade that doesn’t stick around too long.
Sunrise @ The Cincinnati Observatory
It was a perfect mixture of fog in the low elevations, with a clear blue sky above.
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Sunrise 80 (!!!!): The Cincinnati Observatory & Ault Park (Eastern Tour, Stunning Cincinnati Summer Dawn)
This is the sky 20 minutes before sunrise. Deep orange fading into a gradient blue, a color palette that I expect to see 20 minutes AFTER sunrise on a hot humid day.
The Cincinnati Observatory. For months I’ve tried to take a picture of the observatory against the sunrise but I could never get a decent frame. This morning I decided to try it from the back of the building, and I wasn’t disappointed. By far my favorite picture of the day.
This morning was another beautiful clear summer sky. It also marks my 80th sunrise – exactly twice the original goal of 40 sunrises. I originally had planned doing a full tour through the East Side, starting a half hour before sunrise, and featuring all the major stops along the way. This 11-mile (closer to 18 if both lunken loop and armleder loop are considered) route would have featured:
- Mt. Lookout Square and a coffee stop @ UDF (or Lookout Joe’s if they’re open!)
- The Cincinnati Observatory
- Ault Park & Heekin Overlook
- Down the hill to historic Linwood, past Crusade Castle.
- Past the St. Stephen Italianate church on the corner and the mysterious “Smoke Sonada Cigars” mosaic
- Linwood Public School (abandoned elementary school)
- Over the cement stairs, across the rail road, and over to Armleder Park
- Around Armleder Park’s loop and a view of the Little Miami River
- Back to Eastern Ave past LeBlonde’s old factory, towards Lunken Airfield
- Lunken Terminal and the Bike path, along with the Pioneer Cemetery
- The Wilmer/Carrel bike path and the Revolutionary War Cemetery
- Beyond the school-on-stilts to the Ohio River Launch Club marina and Ohio River
- Back through Columbia Tusculum’s historic district and East End’s 1860s farm-style buildings
- Up the hill past the painted homes to Alms Park
- Around Alms, with the view of Lunken Airfield and an eastern view down the river. Maybe check out the old 1869 wine cellar.
- Past St. Ursula Villa (LeBlond’s old home) back to Mt. Lookout Square.
And probably much more. Man, the act of going through and finding those pictures for the links really made me appreciate just how much “footage” I have of this area! I promise to re-visit the “best-of” section (top right of this website). I’ve kind of let it go on purpose because I can really appreciate the seasonal change when I pick out the best pictures two months later.
As it turns out, I started off the route correctly (at UDF and the Cincinnati Observatory) but I ended up being so social at Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook that I didn’t make it down into the valley! That’s OK though because I met a nice gentlemen named Bill and we talked for about 40 minutes about Cincinnati history and various little pieces of trivia. I learned a lot and he even filled in some long standing mysteries I had about the cement stairs down on Columbia Parkway. I also spoke with Aaron, a guy who works with the park service, for a bit about what it’s like being a horticulturist and working for the park all day. Looks like I’ll have to post-pone this route until next week!
I left my place at around 6:10am to give myself lots of “headroom” for taking pictures of the dawn sky before the sun came up. I’ve realized that these clear summer atmosphere’s provide an absolutely excellent pre-sunrise display. In the spring, when there are more clouds and more humidity, the post-sunrise light is the best. But on these clear mornings with low humidity, the sky starts to light up at least 40 minutes before sunrise. It’s outstanding!
After looking back on these pictures, I realize that I took a lot of vertical sky shots.
Arriving at the Observatory with at least 20 minutes to spare before sunrise. Already the sky is getting lit up.
I wanted to get another picture of the cornerstone. This is the original cornerstone from the Mt. Adams building, before the lens was moved to Mt. Lookout in 1873. John Quincy Adams laid it down.
The sky opposite of the sunrise (western sky) was a light pink and blue. I couldn’t quite capture the purple tones, but you get the idea.
If you’re on the front page, be sure to keep reading. About 17 pictures total, and today’s foggy sunrise was excellent! (more…)
Sunrise 71: The Cincinnati Observatory (Pinhole Solargraph Camera, Clear Blue Skies, Flowers)
I realized that I haven’t had too many “bike shots” recently. This small patio is where I sat and enjoyed the sunrise. I met a jogger who said that I was the only person she’s ever seen enjoying the sunrise here at her favorite spot.
Pinhole Camera! Ironically (or, perhaps not) the pinhole camera technology dates back to the late 1830s. Only a few years later, the 11″ lens now located in the Mitchell Building (the smaller of the two building on the Observatory’s campus) will be constructed.
Final shot of the sunrise against the Mitchell Building.
This morning I got up with plenty of time to spare. The sunrise was around 6:30am and I was at the Mt. Lookout United Dairy Farmers filling up my thermos ($.99 for the entire 26oz! And free on Mondays! UDF rules) by 6:20am. I read the weather forcast last night so I knew that this morning was supposed to be “clear” with only 10-20% cloud cover.
The forecast was right! After the foggy sunrises of the last week the beautiful clear sunrise was a welcome change. To honor this clear morning Tuesday I continued past Ault Park and ventured on over to the historic Cincinnati Observatory on Observatory Ave. I have never actually seen the sunrise at the Observatory because I normally only swing by on on the way back from Ault Park. With the sun moving all over the sky this summer I wasn’t even sure if the view of the sun would be appropriate. As it turns out the sun has moved far enough back to the right that there were no trees blocking Sol as he came up over the ridge line. I was impressed with just how perfect of a sunrise spot the Observatory actually is, but I can’t be too surprised considering that astrological alignment is basically their biggest concern!
The history alone of the Cincinnati Observatory is worth checking out. I have always found it interesting that the original lens in the large building was originally in Mt. Adams but it was moved to this site due to the pollution building up in the city. I never realized that they didn’t actually move the building from Mt. Adams, just the hardware. So while the lens itself dates back to the mid 1800s, this building dates back to the move to Mt. Lookout in 1873. You can find the cornerstone of the original Mt. Adams building to the back right of the new building, dating back to 1843. Now that I think about it, this may be the oldest building stone in Mt. Lookout. I’m sure this isn’t actually true, but as it stands currently it holds the Ault Park Sunrise record. This even pre-dates the 1850s construction of Crusade Castle & Vineyard.
The cornerstone, borrowed from Sunrise 41.
At the Cincinnati Observatory, the sun rose up from the break in the trees.
Not a cloud in the sky. A beautiful summer morning that you’d expect to see just after a storm.
This spot is out in front of the main Observatory Building (built in 1873). There is a circular brick patio with a handful of benches lining the outside it. It has all the great things that you’d expect to see at a true Cincinnati historic site. Murdock Fountains, late 1800s street lamps, Ohio Historical Markers, A memorial sundial, pre-1900s buildings, and a dedication by John Adams on the corner stone.
Looking East from the patio at the second building on the campus. This smaller “Mitchell” building has the original Merz und Mahler 11-inch telescope that dates back to 1843. The “main” building houses the 1904 16″ Alvan Clark & Sons telescope. Thanks wikipedia!
A vertical sunrise showcasing the late morning yellows and the deep blue gradient.
Looking towards the main building across the sundial memorial.
To the west of the main building I saw a funny contraption sitting on the lawn. Upon closer inspection (and with no physical contact whatsoever, of course!) I realized that it is a pinhold solargraph camera.
I imagine the purpose of this camera is to capture the sun’s path for the 31-day period between June 28 and July 28. They’re almost done! I’d like to see the results of this camera and I hope that they publish it. It’d be neat to see the same thing for a month of sunrises, too.
I wonder how they compensate for the possibility of the camera being blown over by the wind?
Outside the Observatory there are two big flower pots.
The red / white combination of flowers made for a great arrangement. Considering how my own flower pot experiment is failing miserably, I took mental notes and physical pictures.
Classy Arrangement. Maybe next time I try this at home I’ll use this as inspiration.
Sunrise 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
Timelapse Photo. If you’re on the front page, click to continue –> (more…)
Sunrise 26: Ault Park (Clear, Orange, and Misty)
This morning was a beautiful clear sunrise unlike any that I’ve seen for the past three weeks. Before the last batch of storms I remember seeing several of the bright orange displays but it has been a rare morning that has a cloud cover < 15%. At 6:10 am, a full 20 minutes before sunrise, the sky was so bright it felt like the sun was already coming up.
I’d like to add a quick note before I continue. This morning was sunrise 26, but I actually did have a sunrise 25 on saturday morning. I took so many pictures and did some extended research into a few things that I discovered. The post isn’t quite done (I fell asleep last night before finishing it) but I’ll have it up later this morning. For this reason I decided to make this morning’s sunrise a quick trip. I’ve been taking a lot of pictures lately so it was nice to focus more on the view and less on the camera. If you get a chance, be sure to check out sunrise 25; I’ll link it here (and it’ll be on the frontpage) when I publish it.
For the sunrise this morning, the atmosphere was clear and the air was warm. The valley down below had thick pockets of fog and for a few minutes I had to talk myself out of riding down to the bottom of the hill and taking the morning pictures through the fog. One of these days I’ll get down into the fog! I’m waiting on that seasonal fog that comes around a few times a year. We’re coming due in the next few weeks and I can’t wait. There is nothing quite like exploring the forest and neighborhood in a fog that provides only 10-15ft visibility. The fog stays around he overlooks (especially Alms Park) well past four hours after sunrise.
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Best-Of: Sunrises 1-10
One of the side effects of making daily posts is that it is easy for some of the “best” pictures to get pushed off the front page. For that reason, I’m doing something a bit different. I’m going to highlight some of my favorite pictures from the first 10 days. As I sit here listening to the storm outside, knowing I won’t have a clear sunrise for at least 5 days, it is nice going back and looking at some of the beautiful mornings I’ve been lucky enough to experience. I’m also highlighting some of my favorite macro (closeup) pictures and seasonal changes that have taken place in Ault Park in the past three weeks. There may even be a couple of pictures that didn’t make the daily cut. So far I’ve uploaded over 227 pictures to this project in 14 posts. There are at least three times that many pictures that I have packed away.
Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!
Sunrise / Weather
Macro / Closeup
Arboretum and Misc.
Sunrise 7: Ault Park (Japanese Maples and the Cincinnati Observatory)
(Sometimes you just get lucky. A small commuter jet coming into Lunken AND a set of Canadian geese flying north for the summer).
This morning was another beautiful day in Cincinnati. The sunrise was similar to yesterday’s: clear, vibrant, and warm. I arrived at the overlook with 5 minutes to spare, taking time to get set up for the show. Lunken airport was fairly busy this morning, and I actually “accidentally” caught a couple of sunrise pictures with airplanes coming in on approach.
There were these thick pockets of fog scattered through the valley. This is the first time I’ve seen these since I started this project. Typically the fog manifests itself as a smooth mist evenly distributed through the air. Lunken had several pockets hanging out on the runway, interestingly enough.
(More pictures after the jump) (more…)