MMy phone rang at 5:30am, sharp. My brother and I had made plans to check out the sunrise this morning and I had already slept through my 4:45am alarm. Once I realized that I didn’t oversleep by too much, I set off towards Clifton to pick him up and set up shop at Eden Park. We were forecast this morning to have 7% cloud cover with 90% humidity so I knew that if we were lucky, we wouldn’t miss much as long as we could get to the park just before sunrise. With such a high humidity, the odds of seeing a twilight color show were slim to none.
I was hoping to take some sunrise silhouette pictures and asked my brother if he’d mind being the subject. He is well known for his large poof of hair and it also happens that he is cutting it all off in June. I knew that if I was going to make some silhouettes using him as the subject, we might as well do it before he gets his iconic afro trimmed back. I’m impressed – he even woke up a half hour early to pick it out!
We ended up making our way to Eden Park for several reasons. First, it is close to Clifton (where my brother lives). Second, I am long overdue for a visit to Eden Park, considering that my last (and only) sunrise at Eden Park was back in the autumn for Sunrise 115. Third, the overlook at Eden Park by the Twin Lakes is one of the absolute perfect locations for clear open sky views of the eastern sky. In my mind I was imagining colorful gradient atmospheres in the backdrop, but once again I found myself being caught up in a mindset that is months out of date! For the crisp, cool and dry sunrises of autumn, when the sky starts to light up an hour before sunrise, there are many shades of pinks, purples, yellows, oranges, and blues that fade to and from across the atmosphere in preparation for First Light. That’s what I was expecting, but of course today we ended up at the park during one of the most humid sunrises of the spring so far.
To give you an idea of what I mean, check out this comparison photo I whipped together. This is a photo of the same tree in Eden Park, taken during two sunrises 6 months apart. The only difference is the season in which they’re taken. The autumn photo was taken almost a full hour before sunrise when the sky is starting to light up in the clear atmosphere.
In the end, it still made for some great silhouette pictures, although they are of a different variety from what I expected. The lighting didn’t become appropriate until about 20 minutes after sunrise, a phenomenon that is only possible with a humid atmosphere. We had some fun with borrowed camera and checked out the reservoir ruins down in the lower section of Eden Park under Mirror Lake. Interestingly enough, I came home with a bottle of Maker’s Mark whiskey… funny story.
When we arrived in the park at 5:45am, there was only two other people in the park. The young couple were enjoying a nightcap and the view after what I can only imagine was a fun and exhausting Saturday night on the town Cincinnati. While my brother and I were starting our day with the sunrise, these two friendly people were ending theirs with the same ritual. The gentleman, who was quite friendly, asked if we wanted to help him out with his excessive amount of drinks that he was carting around after the night of partying. He apparently didn’t drink liqueur, and yet he found himself with a trunk full of top shelf whiskey, vodka, and mixers. Curiosity got the best of us (and besides, with my much taller younger brother with me, my cautious “it’s a trap!” senses didn’t trip). As it turned out he wasn’t joking, and he offered us a bottle of Crown Royal and Maker’s Mark to take home with us. I’m sure his motive wasn’t entirely altruistic as his lady friend was quite smitten at the generosity shown by our spirit handler. Who was I to turn him down? Thanks again Brandon, whoever you are. This next maker’s on the rocks is for you!
Speaking of generosity, I’d like to thank my friend J for letting me borrow his camera for the weekend. My wife is out of town visiting family while I’m stuck home working so I couldn’t use her phone for today’s post. J let me borrow his Canon SLR, and I have to say it’s quite a machine. I have no idea how to use it properly but it was difficult to take a bad picture, that’s for sure. Thanks again J!
My favorite picture of the morning. My brother watches as two ducks come in for landing at Eden Park’s twin lakes behind us. We see the eastern “Bend in the River” in the background, with a sloping Kentucky hill on the right and Ohio’s Mt. Tusculum (I think) to the left.
We arrived in the park with cautious anticipation, given that we were about 45 minutes behind schedule. Fortunately for us, the humid sunrise arrived late. About 5 minutes before sunrise the sky still hadn’t taken on much color.
My brother makes his first appearance, looking out across the Ohio River into the mist. Up until now all of my silhouette pictures have been most successful before sunrise on clear days. We can tell from this picture, however, that there simply isn’t enough light yet to block out the foreground in blackness. Each sunrise presents its own unique challenges. This humid sunrise was no exception and it turned out that the best lighting would come about 20 minutes after sunrise. Look at that hair! Thanks again for being a good sport, broseph.
On these damp, wet, 90%+ humidity mornings the sun just seems to hang in the air. You can stare right at it and it doesn’t hurt. There is no pre-sunrise halo, no opening display. The moisture in the atmosphere blocks all but the more direct of sunlight. I really like this camera’s sensor because on my old canon point-and-shoot I could never get a deep red color on a humid sunrise. It feels much more analogous to a film camera.
Within a few minutes, the sun rose up through the misty layer in the lower atmosphere and basked the park in early morning sunlight. Here we can see the fog bank across the bend in the river beginning to take shape. As the air warmed up, the fog became thicker. I imagine Alms Park would have been a foggy wonderland by this point.
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Now that the sunrise time has crossed below the 7:00am threshold, it is easier for me to make a trip to the park without worrying as much about my morning schedule (I’ve been busy for the last few weeks!). The air was brisk this morning at 44F, a temperature that I only just now realized. I thought it was nippy but without a breeze it felt warmer than it really was! Armed with hot coffee and my bike, I found myself up at the park about a half hour before sunrise.
The colors this morning were beautiful. Mixing them with a dynamic true spring atmosphere (we had big storms yesterday) made for a swirling concoction of twilight cloud cover. There was a low lying cloud bank that blocked the sun for a few moments, but it eventually swept into the distance and allowed the sunlight to come through across the horizon.
Unlike the summer and autumn sunrises, where the sky is crystal clear and the atmosphere lights up an hour before sunrise, these spring sunrises are humid in a sky full of obstacles. This morning’s sunrise didn’t hit peak colors until just 10 minutes before day break, which helps explain why I was so caught off guard by finding out that the summer’s sunrise starts much more early than I was used to.
I visited my old friend, the Tree of Heaven down at the lower overlook. She is full of spring life and, to my surprise, made for another beautiful silhouette against the sunrise that has moved into the left most part of the horizon. I had thought that maybe I wouldn’t be using the young tree as a sunrise subject until next winter (when the sun has moved back across the sky to be directly behind her) but was wrong.
The Tree of Heaven adorning her early spring coat. Can you see the little flower pods on the tops of the stalks? She’s almost ready to bloom! I am wondering if I could harvest some seeds and grow my own little tree of heaven. They’re considered pests in a lot of areas (probably including around here) but she holds a special place in my heart (you’ll see why in a minute)…
This left-most branch of the young Tree of Heaven was mostly ignored by myself during the series of silhouettes (see below). Now, with the sun having moved across the horizon, I find that it is making an excellent silhouette subject of its own.
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Happy first day of Spring! And also, it’s official. Ault Park (through the symmetrical axis about the pavilion) can be considered to be aligned with the first day of spring. More specifically, it is aligned with the location of the sun about 10 minutes after sunrise on the first day of spring, allowing for a beautiful view down the hill and across the lawn.
I was hoping to make this morning a nice quick trip up to the park. The sunrise was calm and quiet in an atmosphere that had a soft mixture of colors. It wasn’t until the actual sunrise, however, that the sky started to light up and the clouds danced in an illuminated atmosphere.
As I mentioned yesterday, I had hoped to make it up to the park this morning to check in on the pavilion’s alignment with the sun. I must say that at first I was quite surprised, and frankly a bit confused. You see, yesterday I believed that the sun had risen to the right of the center of the pavilion. Well, today it rose to the left of the center of the pavilion. At first I thought that maybe I had it all wrong – that the pavilion was not actually aligned to the first day of spring. Well, as it turns out I was thrown off by the fact that the sun does not rise straight up into the sky. The sun actually rose in a diagonal, placing it front and center between the center two pavilion columns by about 10 minutes after sunrise. Once I figured this out I was much more relieved. It took me 156 sunrises to figure out that the sun doesn’t rise straight up – something that makes sense when you think about it but never encroached into my frontal consciousness.
I got lucky with some beautiful shots of the pavilion from across the lawn. With the sun’s intense rays making my camera use a high aperture, the effect is always a pleasant one – silhouettes and dynamic clouds.
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This morning was the first time in ages that I woke on the first alarm buzz. The “earlier” sunrise times have started to catch me off guard – already 7:10am! Where has the time gone? It feels like just last week that I was complaining about almost 8:10am…
I woke up an hour before sunrise and by the time I left for the park the stars were still visible in the dark sky. It was another humid sunrise this morning which kept the colors compact about the horizon and subdued.
This weeping tree was featured recently and I decided to give it another visit. This time I found a better angle with less background trees (and also had to move from lying down in the road to get out of the way of the park crew coming to work!)
I was hoping that this morning’s sunrise would have been similar to last night’s sunset. The sunset was a rich pink with streaks of teal open sky. Sunrise 146, while being pleasant in its own right, rose up in a humid atmosphere clear of clouds. It was another sneaky sunrise, one where I thought I had about 10 minutes left to sip on my coffee when suddenly the tip of Sol appeared on the horizon.
It was a brisk 20F morning and few souls had ventured out into the park. Frost laced the grass around the lawn and the birds were cheerfully calling to one another as if it were a warm spring morning. I could also hear a woodpecker deep in the forest boring into the rotting bark of a dying tree.
There were hardly any pinks or purples this morning in the humid atmosphere. The sunrise was mostly made up of a muted red that faded into a rich orange muddled with gray. I will say I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping for some cloud slurry against a crisp and dry atmosphere, but with spring just around the corner and rain storms forecast for the next few days, the humidity is to be expected.
I’m getting used to the commute up to the park on my new route. It is making me become more mindful of my missing lower gear set. Well, missing isn’t quite the correct word since it implies that something was once here but is now gone. My bike turns 35 years old this year, and somewhere in the past two decades the “granny gears” became mainstream. My first gear is the equivalent of a friend’s gear 7 or 8 on a modern bike. I’ve played around with the idea of re-building the drive chain, after all I love the steel frame and classic look of my Fuji S-10S, but knowing how I operate the bike would be out of commission for a few months while I read online forums and scouted craigslist for parts. So in the meantime I’ll keep leg pressing up the hills and remembering that it is only making me a stronger cyclist 🙂
Prior to heading home, I swung by the pavilion to see how close the sun is getting to the center of the columns as it swings back to the left. Hopefully I can catch it in the middle sometime in the next couple of months. I’m curious as to what day this will occur on and I’m hoping to gain some insight into the park designer’s vision. Is there an intentional alignment with the sunrise? Or is it purely coincidental that the entire park, relative to the symmetry of the pavilion, points directly towards the sunrise? I may be placing my bets on alignment with the first day of spring, but that might be wishful thinking.
After a bout of rainy mornings I made sure to wake up extra early for today’s clear sunrise so that I didn’t have to rush up the hill to the park. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my new route, while being about the same distance to the park, is substantially more challenging. Armed with this knowledge, I rode up to the park with determination and energy. Fortunately I have mostly shaken the side effects of my head cold so I also had an extra bout of morning energy. The climb to the park was not bad at all this morning which goes to show you how much of life is determined by your mental approach and, to be quite honest, the state your body is in.
This morning was forecast to be clear with high humidity. When I strolled out our front door, I found thick patches of mist hanging around the edge of the forests and between houses. The misty backdrop under a clear sky meant that the sunrise colors were subdued and compact, while still allowing for the upper atmosphere to gain a brightness from the approaching twilight. I stopped by UDF for my $1 28oz refill and began my uphill climb (followed by the downhill slalom, followed by uphill climb).
The sunrise this morning was of the subtle, sneaky, but uniquely satisfying type. Not wanting to be rushed by traffic and forces of my own control, I woke up 1 hour before sunrise and tried to get out on the road as soon as possible. This put me in the park about 40 minutes before sunrise, a time that would have provided a brilliant magenta display if the humidity was 9%, not 90%. The crescent moon was on display high in the atmosphere, pointing down towards the horizon at the location that the sun was expected to rise. By the way, if you ever see a crescent moon pointing away from the sunrise (or sunset), you’re either dreaming (grab your totem!) or on some bizarro planet. Or maybe woodstock. It’s a nice indicator for checking reality as we know it.
The high humidity meant that there was a low lying mist bank down in the valley below. This is always a great accent to a sunrise because it lights up the lower part of the view, throwing lowlights and shadows across the otherwise dark valley. I imagine snow would have the same impact, but unfortunately we just haven’t had more than a single day’s worth of the stuff. The air this morning felt much warmer than I expected, likely due to the high humidity. I also had a visitor in the park this morning, a fellow sunrise cowboy who chose to stay in his parked blue mini. I’ve seen in a couple of times over the last several weeks, so I’m thinking that he’s making a routine of it.
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Good morning! I have been on a bit of a hiatus over the last week so it was great to get out on the bike this morning for the chilly but clear Sunrise 144. Over the past two weeks I’ve been a bit under the weather so I took advantage of the extra hour of sleep that comes with skipping the sunrise ride. We also moved into a new apartment (still near Ault Park of course!) so there has been all of the logistics that come along with that. My new location is closer to the other side of Ault Park and it will be interesting to see how this affects the scouting of new sunrise locations. My routine has been a bit messed up lately due to the move, so this morning was a great opportunity to explore my new potential routes to the park.
Over the past week the sunrise time has shed about 15 minutes. This morning First Light was around 7:31am, a time that shocked me last night when I found out! It’s funny how that happens – the daily routine comes and goes, time slips by, and the sunrise keeps on moving along. It’s finally getting into “early” territory which means that the sunrise will no longer feel like sleeping in and will start to require a bit more commitment to getting up extra early, a tenant that resonates with the original purpose of starting this project. Now that I know about the beauty of early twilight on a clear sunrise, I have a feeling that there will be some 5:30am wakeups in my not so distant future.
Unfortunately I missed the most vibrant phase of this morning’s sunrise. By the time I tracked down all my gear, something I have been nervous about doing since the move, and then grabbed some coffee at UDF, I only had about 15 minutes to spare by the time I got to the overlook. The new route is quite a challenge, too, because I’m approaching the park from the opposite direction. From Mt. Lookout Square, the ride is mostly a smooth uphill. From Observatory, however, it is a steep uphill, steep downhill, then steep uphill again. It really gets the blood pumping. It is a nice challenge though as we approach the one year anniversary of the project.
The sunrise this morning was set against a crystal clear atmosphere with a nice set of vapor trails and whispy low horizon cloud action. Last night I could see a whole set of stars up in the sky after sunrise, including a bright appearance of a planet (is it Saturn?). The stars were awfully bright last night, meaning that if the sky held this morning’s sunrise would have started the show up to an hour, or more, before sunrise time. This was indeed the case this morning and while the sky was continually changing from the time I was out of bed at 6:50am until I arrived at the park at 7:20am, most of the pink and magenta colors had mostly dissipated early in the twilight. The late twilight colors were a glowing set of orange with bright yellow streaks reflecting off of the ice crystals embedded in the vapor trails high in the atmosphere. There is still a bit of snow left in the park, although it’s more of a sprinkling rather than a coating.
That’s my one regret from this 10 day hiatus is that I missed our most recent snow storm that came through with a fury after the January warm streak. There’s no worry though, because while it was a pretty snow fall, the warm ground didn’t let more than a half inch accumulate. I’m still waiting for the freak midwest snow storm that we deserve! The weather man is calling for some snow tonight so we’ll see where that ends up. Now that the temperatures are finally cold enough for snow, getting as low as 9F this morning, I think it’s just a matter of time until we get a decent snow fall.
The edge of the hill where the overlook sits still has a good amount of snow. The cool winds coming up from the valley likely provide a little micro climate that protects these snow piles during the warmest part of the day.
The favorite subject of winter sunrise pictures, the adolescent Tree of Heaven. Sadly, the sun is moving briskly across the horizon to the left, and soon our Tree of Heaven will lose the colorful back-drop of the twilight sky
And finally, here’s a blurry picture of Mike the Turtle, our six year old native painted turtle. He’s enjoying his freshly cleaned aquatic home and his 5 new fish companions. I had to make sure to get extra-lively feeder fish this time because their predecessors didn’t make it very long. These new ones have no problem skirting Mike’s lazy attempts to catch them. He usually gets bored after the first day so it looks like they’ll do just fine.
After missing a brilliant magenta show during the early stages of Sunrise 142, I was determined to get up to the overlook with time to spare… just in case. As it turned out, Sunrise 143 was not unlike some of the early April sunrises. It was incredibly humid this morning, with a dense mist that limited visibility. The distant ridge line faded into the gray atmosphere and the thick moisture prevented the sunlight from scattering into the upper atmosphere. During these humid mornings, the sun rises slowly without an introduction. She typically comes up through the gray horizon, glowing a deep majestic purple that one can stare at for a few minutes before the curvature of the earth and the less dense mid-atmospheric air allow more light to get through.
Sunrises such as this are likely the reason why I was so surprised to find that a low-humidity sunrise can begin lighting up the sky up to an hour before scheduled sunrise time. It isn’t all that surprising to see a “Spring Seasonal” sunrise right now, considering that the temperatures of the last few days have risen up into the mid 60s. In fact this morning was so pleasant that I didn’t wear my winter jacket and ended up removing my gloves for most of the sunrise. While I am enjoying this unseasonably warm weather, it makes me wonder what kind of winter surprises Mother Nature has planned for us in early spring. I’m hoping for an April snowstorm, personally 🙂
The lower overlook and the single tree that hangs out over the valley, a favorite hangout spot for the local birds. The birds were quite active this morning, by the way. They’re loving this February spring weather.
High overhead a big airliner ascends into the upper atmosphere. I’m going to take a guess and say that it recently took off from Dayton Airport, given the fact that it was still rather low and it was not heading for Cincinnati Airport from what I could tell.
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After a week of rain and ice, this morning we finally had a beautiful clear sunrise. There was some intense wind activity yesterday afternoon that preceded a breaking of the overcast conditions in the tri-state area. The weather has held and it looks like we’ve got some great weather lined up for the next couple of days. It was a humid sunrise this morning and this was evident in the late-twilight orange/yellow/gray colors of the haze. The early twilight was another splendid magenta-filled canvas that slowly faded into a dull yellow/gray sunrise that was mostly blocked by a far-off cloud bank just above the horizon.
This morning we also have Guest Sunrise #5, with three repeat contributors. Tara shares one of her favorite sunrise pictures that was taken by her father in Exeter, Pennsylvania on November 13 1972. This is a special contribution and I am thankful that Tara chose to share it. The photo comes at us from just under four decades in the past. Thanks Tara!
Two of my old roommates have also shared some of their recent sunrise shots. Both Phil and Trent have been commuting by bike, although it’s a bit easier for Trent out in San Francisco to be consistent than it is for Phil and I here in the midwest winter :). Phil’s sunrise is from sometime last week when the weather was breaking and we had a nice magenta display. I’m going to guess it may have been Sunrise 138. Trent has shared two sunrises, both from different days. Trent recently purchased a commuter bike for his new job out in the beautiful city of San Francisco, California. He has kept me up to date (and envious!) of his new morning commute through the parks and bike trails of one of the most bike commuter friendly cities in the US. He mentions that as he leaves for work it is dark out, and by the time he arrives the sun is up. Recently it has worked out that the sun rises over the bay while he’s zipping through of the local parks. Thanks Phil & Trent for sharing!
PS: I added a new link up there on top titled “Random“. If you click it you’ll be directed to a random sunrise post. Enjoy!
Guest Sunrise #1: Exeter, Pennsylvania 1972
“My Papa took this picture on November 13, 1972 in Exeter, PA. The tree is a
big apple tree in our front yard. I checked with him and he said it was a
sunrise. I know he has more but I happen to have this one because I asked if
I could have it years ago. I also asked his permission to share this photo
with Ault Park Sunrise and of course he said yes.”
Guest Sunrise #2: Columbus, Ohio
Guest Sunrise #3: San Francisco, California
Onward to today’s sunrise over the Little Miami River Valley.
The Tree of Heaven silhouette against the late sunrise. Already the sun is beginning to slip back to the left, making me greatly appreciate that I have been able to get a hand full of pictures of this young tree over the past couple of weeks.
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If you were to look at the forecast right now, or even out the window, you would probably be surprised to find out that the sunrise this morning was another beautiful winter display. As I write this, the sky has filled with clouds and it looks like we’re hunkering down for some snow. But just two hours ago, the skies were clear and misty with humidity, and the sun rose amid a bright twilight display featuring some deep purples and bright oranges. Not bad for “71% cloud cover”, eh? Once again the changing weather has proven impossible to accurately predict.
I woke up a bit early this morning because my wife and I had the intention of trying out, for the first time, a 6am spinning class at the local gym. As 5:45am rolled around, it didn’t sound like the best plan. We continued to sleep, but fortunately I mustered up some mental energy and peered out the window to see if I could see any stars. What did I see through the silhouetted trees? Why, a misty halo surrounding a crescent moon! This was enough to get me up by 6:45am, catch up on some email, and then head down to Mt. Lookout for some coffee.
As it turned out, the atmosphere held off the clouds that vacated the sky last night just before sunset. There was a substantial amount of misty humidity in the air, causing quite a beautiful scatter of the early morning twilight colors. Purple was well represented this morning, probably due to the thicker haze that tends to keep the yellows and oranges subdued until just before sunrise. The fuchsia palette was present throughout the early twilight, but it wasn’t the dominant player. Just before sunrise, the sky exploded, for about 20 seconds, in this brilliant orange glow, similar to the shade I saw during Sunrise 137 that basked the overlook in its rich hue.
I imagine that the ice crystals up in the humid atmosphere have a lot to do with these extended winter twilight displays. I was worried about the winter, but as it turns out I love the winter sunrises just as much as the ones during the rest of the year.
Oh, before we continue, I’d like to share some exciting news. This week, the Eastern Hills Journal is featuring a follow up to the May 2011 article on Ault Park Sunrise. It’s a nice piece and Lisa Wakeland, as always, did a great job. The journal is available at local book stores and other venues around the city. I picked up a copy at Joseph-Beth bookstore in Norwood.
I’m starting to amass a nice, but small, collection of twilight pictures with this tree of heaven as the subject. I was looking for a large tree silhouette, but I’m quite content with this little guy for the time being.
My friend, the adolescent Tree of Heaven. A new project favorite and the subject of an unexpected series.
The early twilight colors of Sunrise 138 over the Little Miami River Valley. The thick haze that hung high over head once again broke just above the horizon, similar to Sunrise 137. This time, however, the haze was thin and the opening much larger. My camera had no problem with the lighting today.