Sunrise 164: Ault Park (Soft Orange Spring Twilight)
This morning’s sunrise was a prolonged session of pink and orange. The temperature was a cool 60F and the distant hills were laced with light mist. I was hoping for a bright pink sunrise like the kind we saw last week. While the colors this morning were certainly bright, the palette had more orange than pink. The park was quiet this morning, too, which is surprising considering how active the birds have been over the last few days. I did see a single jogger in the park who stopped by to check out the sunrise, but other than that it was a solitary morning in the park.
If you’re connected to Ault Park Sunrise’s facebook page, you are now aware that my camera recently broke and I’m in the market for a new one. I’m putting together postcards featuring various photos from the last year of the project. They’ll be available for purchase and the proceeds will be put towards some new hardware. The silver lining to my camera’s untimely death is that I now have a true motivation to organize and collect the photos from the last year. I’m hoping to have at least 5 different postcard designs, some featuring individual pictures and others featuring themed “montages”. I’ll have more information up soon, but if you’re interested be sure to keep your eye out!
The other reason I mention the camera difficulty is because I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to be able to continue with the project until I get the new camera! My wife suggested that in the meantime I could use her phone to take pictures (mine is quite out of date and doesn’t take very good pictures). So this morning that’s what I did. The pictures didn’t turn out too bad at all, although I don’t have much control over color settings. The zoom and macro don’t work too well but hey, it’s better than nothing!
Heekin Overlook against a soft purple twilight sky
Day break across the Little Miami River Valley
Sunrise 164 was colorful and bright. The humidity created a prolonged twilight that was filled with oranges and soft pinks. Interestingly, the pinks were subtle this time around, as opposed to the bright magenta that I would have expected. I believe the humidity has something to do with it.
Here we see the young Tree of Heaven that is coming into full bloom! The flowers are white and the entire bouquet is rather large.
Sunrise 162: Ault Park (Warm Front Twilight)
Boy, it sure felt good to get back on the bike this morning. I’ve been so busy at work over the past two weeks that I haven’t been able to muster up the energy (or time) for some early morning sunrise rides. It’s an interesting thing because I recognize it as entirely my fault, but sometimes once you get into a habit it’s hard to break.
After a late night yesterday and a surprise calm in the series of thunderstorms that came through the region, I decided that I just had to get out this morning. After painstakingly crawling out of bed (OK it wasn’t that bad!) and seeing lightly scattered clouds in the early twilight sky, I set off towards the park through the misty streets.
The air was warm and wet this morning. We had a chilly streak late last week with temperatures dropping down into the 40s again. Last night we saw a monster of a thunder storm and I’m going to take a wild guess and say it was a warm front. The clouds were puffy and humid at twilight and there was mist hanging around by the edges of the forest. A low lying cloud bank over the horizon blocked most of the pink twilight colors but made for a powerful moment when the sun peaked over the cloud bank about 5 minutes beyond day break.
It’s always so surprising to me when I notice just how lush the forests around here are in the spring. On mornings like today, with the moisture on the pavement and the mist seeping out of the forest, the plants’ foliage seem like they are swollen with water. I almost feel claustrophobic at the overlook when I compare the view to the naked silhouettes of the winter sunrises. I’m sure our warm winter only helped to add a multiplier to the strength of the local foliage. I suspect we’ll have an intense kudzu season on our hands by the middle of summer.
Here we see the young Tree of Heaven down by the overlook. At twilight the sky was opening up with light but the lower atmosphere was still rather dark due to the cloud bank that was blocking the early rays of twilight.
In the far corner of the sky I could begin to make out the orange highlights that signified that the sun was beginning to rise behind the cloud bank far, far away.
Rays of light started to burst from behind the clouds across the misty valley. Here we can catch a glimpse of them.
A close up of the rays of light, jutting out from just beyond the lower cloud bank. This view usually only lasts for a minute or so and is a sure sign that the sun is just around the corner.
A vertical shot, showcasing the upper atmospheric shadows and open blue skies. What a beautiful morning it is, indeed.
The lower overlook certainly provides the best viewpoint as we move into the May sunrise season.
A final shot from Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook. We can see the lush leaves silhouetted against the humid Little Miami River Valley. A typical spring day in Cincinnati at a warm and wet 55F 🙂
Sunrise 161: Ault Park (Spring Twilight Colors, Tree of Heaven’s Springtime Coat)
Sunrise 161, featuring the Tree of Heaven
Daybreak came late this morning.
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.
Arriving at the park, the crescent moon hangs low in the sky and the colors are just getting started.
Heekin Overlook is dark and chilly and we can see a light fog sitting down in the valley behind.
I was worried at first that the cloud bank may block all of the best colors, but that worry soon faded.
Heading down to the lower overlook to get a better vantage point, I see that there is more light over to the left. Has the sun really moved *that* far already?
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.
Pictures from this past winter of this young Tree of Heaven (See Sunrise 135 through Sunrise 150), included for good measure:
(Wow! I forgot I had taken that many… I’m sure I’ve missed some, too.)
For the rest of the pictures, 14 total this morning, please click to continue if you’re on the front page.
Sunrise 159: Ault Park (1-year Anniversary; Sidewalk Chalk Sunrise?)
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.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. You don’t want to miss the sidewalk chalk! 🙂 (more…)
Sunrise 156: Ault Park (The Pavilion’s Alignment With the First Day of Spring…)
The weeping cherry grove at sunrise in Ault Park
The late sunrise colors turned into a slurry of pinks and purples, kind of like an Easter palette.
An aligned sunrise behind Ault Park Pavilion
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.
The early twilight sky. Dark, calm, and quiet… well quiet if you don’t count the ridiculously loud orchestra of bird activity.
About ten minutes before sunrise I took off from the overlook to the main feature of this morning’s sunrise… the Ault Park Pavilion
From the pavilion the lawn had lit up nicely. We can see the park crew out and about on this fine first day of spring.
“Where’s the sun? Could it be to the right of center? I sure hope not…”
“Wait a second… something funny’s going on around here”
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Sunrise 155: Ault Park (Stormy Twilight; Weeping Cherry Groves)
Believe it or not, this is a GREEN magnolia blossom. I’ve never heard of such a thing! I may be mistaken, however, because I can’t find many references to a “green” magnolia on the internet. I’ll check back in at a later date to confirm.
In the weeping cherry grove off of Observatory Rd, a curious young female doe ponders my neon green t-shirt.
(Check out the sister post that hit the news stands about half an hour ago: Sunrise 154)
I’ll admit, I was pretty darned excited about the sunrise this morning. The atmosphere had a rich mix of cloud species with an open atmosphere behind it. It had all the pieces needed for a truly unique and majestic sunrise. In the end, it was a pretty neat sunrise but none of the early magentas, pinks, and purples made a very strong appearance. There was a thick low lying cloud bank that blocked most of the early rays of light before they could penetrate into the upper atmosphere above Ault Park.
Now that I know the secret behind Twilight Sunrises, however, I’m really looking forward to this spring. I mean just look at all these clouds!
As I arrived in the park, about a half hour before sunrise, the lower horizon was showing a deep red color. I was hoping it would fade into the upper atmosphere, but alas it remained confined to the lower horizon.
It did make for an interesting show, however. The sky stayed mostly the same for about half an hour until the backdrop suddenly lit up in a teal blue color as the sun rose behind the clouds.
The upper atmosphere made for a nice bright backdrop to the lower layers of clouds.
In the distance, we see a forest island in the midst of a river-of-fog.
Lots of cloud action in the sky this morning… such a perfect opportunity for a breathtaking sunrise. The stars did not align but it makes that rare magenta sunrise that much more beautiful. Still… I can’t really complain. This morning’s sunrise was beautiful in its own right.
A plane takes off against the dramatic sunrise sky.
After the sunrise, I swung by the pavilion to check on the sun’s location relative to the alignment of the building. I was afraid that maybe I’d missed the “perfectly aligned sunrise” sometime this weekend. I was relieved to find that the sunrise isn’t *quite* aligned, yet. It still has one or maybe two days to go… which means that my theory may prove to be true after all! I’ve been following the path of the sunrise relative to the pavilion for several weeks now. You see, the entire park is symmetrical with the garden layouts and walkways. The entire symmetrical axis aligns itself relative to this pavilion… so it goes to show that if the pavilion itself is aligned to some celestial event, that makes the entire park aligned as well!
So it goes to follow that at some point in the next two days the sun will rise up squarely in the middle of the Ault Park Pavilion’s columns. What event is occuring in the next two days that would warrant such a dramatic design decision, you may ask? Well that answer appears to be the first day of spring!
It makes perfect sense… I mean just looking around the park this morning it was obvious that the gardens and the park itself is absolutely exploding in the trappings of spring. I would like to think that it is no mistake that over half of the trees in the gardens appear to be healthy mix of the blooming variety. Pears, cherries, magnolias, and I’m sure many others.
Could it be, then, that Ault Park is actually a living tribute to the miracle of spring? Suddenly the evidence is all around me. The pavilion alignment with its symmetrical park design, the several groves of weeping cherry trees along Observatory park, the myriad of blooming trees scattered throughout the garden and the handful of magnolia trees… not to mention the brand new cherry grove that was planted to mark the 100 year anniversary of the park.
It makes me happy to the core to find out that it is very likely that the pavilion, and hence the entire park, is aligned with the sunrise of the first day of spring. I believe that the ancient woodland (& others) mound building cultures (Hopewell, Ft. Ancient & Woodland) that lived in this valley for hundreds, if not thousands, of years would find comfort in knowing that we haven’t completely lost our bearings relative to our relationship with the celestial wonders.
I’ll be sure to make it of the utmost priority to get to the park for the next few sunrises to verify that my theory is correct. Stay tuned!
Just two weeks ago these cherry trees were barren. It’s amazing how quickly they bloom. Here’s a shot of the left cherry tree from a mere three weeks ago, when the chill of winter was present and snow had recently fallen:
For the rest of the pictures, including some of the weeping cherry grove, please click to continue if you’re on the front page! (more…)
Sunrise 154: Clifton, Mt. Adams & Newport KY (Downtown/OTR Fog Bank, St. Patrick’s Day Bagpipes)
Over-The-Rhine & Downtown Cincinnati against a massive fog bank over the Ohio River. As seen on the morning of St. Patty’s day from Bellevue Hill Park in Clifton.
We stopped by Mt. Adams for a beer & a Rugby game (oh, and another free breakfast!) at Tap & Go. Here we look out over the Ohio River from Mt. Adams.
A view from Newport, KY as a barge rolls along up the Ohio River. (The white balance may have gotten away from me on this one; original photo is down below)
(Don’t forget to check out the sister post that will show up in a few minutes from this morning. Sunrise 155)
This year the wife and I decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s day by getting up super early and heading to Clifton for a free hot breakfast @ Murphy’s Pub. I realized right away that this would put me within walking distance of Bellevue Hill Park, one of my favorites in the city for its historic location, so I made sure to grab my camera and bring it along with me for the ride. We ended up spending the early morning in Clifton, the mid morning in Mt. Adams, and the late morning in Newport, Kentucky. As we traveled around the rim of the valley (and finally down by the river), I kept track of the thick fog that sat along the Ohio River. By the end of the morning the sky had cleared up and I found myself gazing at the Cincinnati Skyline under a summer-esque blue sky with rolling clouds.
We started off our morning at Murphy’s Pub in Clifton. Murphy’s Pub is a Clifton classic and they sure know how to host a party. Their breakfast (and green eggs) were superb and the crowd was a nice mix of students and locals. This bagpiper scared the pants off of us as he started his morning serenade at 6:30am.
When I first arrived in Clifton I made the immediate realization that I was only two blocks from Bellevue Hill Park, my favorite park in the Clifton area due to it’s history and breathtaking view of Downtown Cincinnati across Over-The-Rhine. I jokingly offered the other members of our party a chance to join me in a jog to the park, but none of them cared to take me up. I ran into a friend from school, Duffee (who is actually my “little brother” from our days in the fraternity), who is always up for an adventure. He joined me as we high tailed it up to the park at day break.
We arrived in the park to a handsome view of a tall & fluffy pile of fog hanging over the Ohio River. At first I was disappointed that we weren’t going to get a colorful sunrise sky, but that disappointment was replaced with joy when we saw the wall of fog that provided a beautiful backdrop to the Cincinnati Skyline.
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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 151: Ault Park (Signs of Spring; Overcast Twilight)
It may look barren, but this garden is packed full of flowering cosmos and other prairie flowers. The center stone pot will be all but covered by July.
I woke up this morning and peered out the window to see a dark gray/blue overcast sky. The warm weather had me excited so I decided to take my chances and see if there was going to be a sunrise this morning after all. I was hoping that maybe the light cloud layer that rolled in late last night was still around, but as it turned out the sky was filled with thick gray rain-filled clouds.
I left for the park with a light drizzle lapping the pavement around me. This morning the weather was so warm that I actually wore shorts and a sweatshirt – no hat, gloves, long pants, double socks, or facemask! In fact I’d say that this morning’s sunrise ride was one of the most pleasant trips up to the park if for no other reason than I was able to truly appreciate the ambient sounds with more novelty since I was not wearing my winter facemask.
The wet atmosphere held a steady 52F as I worked my way up to the overlook in Ault Park. The air was sweet and smelled like spring. With no sunrise in sight, I casually strolled through the gardens and took some pictures of the desolate ground that has already started to show signs of life. There are several pieces of the gardens that look barren right now, but in just two short months they will be exploding with garden life as the plants take advantage of the warm humid sub-tropic microclimate of Eastern Cincinnati.
The birds were loud and flirty this morning in the warm air. No doubt they too detect the first comings of spring. I found buds in the trees, especially the magnolias. Their buds are already the size of my thumb and will be bursting open in white and purple blooms in just 6 short weeks. Mentally I’m still prepared for winter, but in the back of my mind I know that spring is almost here. With spring comes green life, organic growth, colorful blossoms, and so many insects to find. I’m looking forward to Armleder Parks prairie and the 10′ high stalks of meadow grass & compass flowers.
Rolling into the park I find the central yard quiet and calm under a blue layer of twilight clouds.
Just think about how lush this walkway will be in just 8 weeks. The daffodils have broken ground and are already starting to bloom.
Here’s another shot of a spot where I know the plant life grows thick. In the heat of the summer this garden explodes with several generations of daffodils & flowering bushes.
A calm and blue/gray Heekin Overlook as the storm front rolls in from the west.
Looking South/West across Lunken Airfield.
Sunrise 54: Ault Park (One-of-a-Kind Sunrise, Blooming Yuccas)
In preparation for our trip, I had an early morning appointment yesterday that didn’t allow me to see the sunrise. We’re heading out tomorrow to San Fransisco and Sacremento, California, where I’m attending (and doing a brief talk) a medical device commercialization conference for work. I was hoping to put together the “best-of” for sunrises 11-20 but ran out of time! I’m thinking that our trip will be a good time to knock a couple of the best-of posts that I’ve been meaning to generate. I’m also hoping that while we’re out there, I will get the opportunity to do a couple “San Fransisco Sunrise” and “Sacramento Sunrise”.
Armleder Parkin the morning sun
This morning was meant to be a brief sunrise due to the fact that I still have to finish getting ready for the trip! I was about ten minutes late to the sunrise but when I arrived it was evident that the morning display was going to be one of a kind. The air was warm and a bit damp, but there was only a light mist down on the valley that provided great lighting dynamics without casting Armleder Park in a thick fog.
The sun had a respectable clearing just above the horizon that allowed the sunlight to bathe the valley in a deep orange color. There was a thin but highly textured cloud layer above the horizon that seemed to be changing by the minute as the sunlight crept over and through the many openings that revealed the blue atmosphere. I couldn’t stop taking pictures!
If you’re on the front page, click to continue! About 20 pictures in all today. (more…)
Sunrise 48: Ault Park (Looking Like Summer, Concours d’Elegance)
I decided on my way to the park this morning that I was going to have a “light” day on the pictures. I felt like re-connecting to the first posts of the project, over 40 sunrises ago. And this is exactly what I did! The sunrise was peaceful, serene, and warm. The birds were chirping loudly and the squirrels were flitterpating. I saw several pairs of squirrels running around through the streets and loudly clamoring up and down the trees.
30 minutes post-sunrise, orange skies and misty mountains
It makes for an entertaining show – watching as the squirrels play a game of tag back and forth through the trees, no doubt a side effect of the female testing potential mates for traits that would help her young survive. I’ve noticed that Ducks seem to be the masters of this. There aren’t any Ault Park Ducks but I’ve watched several ducks down by the Ohio River and at lake behind our friends’ home. The females can take off in a tear, weaving and dodging between trees, swimming quickly around the boats and obstacles, and take off again. The female can be followed by anywhere from a single male up to a group of four or five. Every maneuver she makes sheds one from the pack, until at the end of the obstacle course a lucky male is left with the female’s attention all to himself. Their babies will, of course, have this predisposition for an intricate mating ritual, perpetuating the genes responsible for the behavior. Mr. Peacock would have something to say about picky females.
From Ault Park’s Lower Overlook
After about twenty minutes at the sunrise, I was joined by a gentleman who wanted to check out the sunrise. We ended up talking for about half an hour; a welcome break from my morning solitude of the past couple of weeks. Biking around checking out the neighborhoods is a great activity, but it is nice to switch it up a bit every once in awhile.
The gentleman, Bill, was a chauffeur for a driving company. He told me about all the big time executives that he interacts with on a daily basis, learning about their lives and their stories, before they disappear back out into the world forever. He said that being a driver is, in a way, kind of like being a barber or a bartender. In the solitude and privacy of a car, people relax and open up. Bill’s well-honed skills of listening to a stranger found a good match with my talkative nature, I only hope I didn’t hog the conversation too much.
Bill was probably the first person who I’ve had a detailed discussion about the sunrise project and morning rituals in general, outside of a person who discovered Ault Park Sunrise on their own or someone who I told directly. We even talked about an idea that he had about taking a picture of all the random places he travels to in a given week to pick up people. I imagine he has enough interesting stories to fill up several books!
One thing Bill told me about that I am going to try my best to check out is the upcoming car event at Ault Park. This Sunday there is a car show, one that sounds classy and features the traveling high-end rare classics. The event is the Concours d’Elegance and occurs every year in Ault Park. This year is their 34th year in Cincinnati. There are only a handful of locations in the United States that the Concours d’Elegance rotates through. Tickets look to be $20 pre-sale and you can buy them online up until Saturday night at 10:00pm (the event is Sunday). There looks to be something called the “Countryside Tour” which you can do for $35 per car (that sounds like a good deal if you’re allowed multiple people per car!) The ticket allows you to ride in one of these classic cars through the countryside of Ohio and Kentucky. Here’s the gallery page from the 2010 tour. Not sure yet if I’ll be in attendance but it sounds like a fun time!
It is really starting to feel like summer. The trees are thick with leaves and the air was humid and warm.
Sunrise 45: Ault Park (Adopt-a-Garden Blooms, Young Roses, and Harvestmen)
I was as surprised as you, faithful reader, that I was able to get a picture of the valley and the sky without one of them being out of contrast.
A beautiful lily in the adopt-a-garden
What a beautiful rose! The lighting turned out perfectly on this sucker.
Waking up this morning was difficult. My body felt beat up even with 7.5 full hours of sleep. Last night I went on the group ride with Element Cycles. The route we chose was a new one, going down into Kentucky and over to Devou Park through downtown. It was absolutely beautiful, and really hilly. The climb up to Devou Park is no joke – about 2 miles at a 3.5% grade. Even with the uphill climbs (both at Devou Park and back up through Mt. Lookout) we did the 26 miles in 2 hours – averaging 13mph and peaking at probably 30mph on the downhills. It was an excellent workout and I probably only had about 5% left in the tank when we got back. Needless to say, it was a bit hard getting out of bed this morning.
Orange sun punching through the opening above the horizon
As I left our apartment I looked up into the sky and saw mostly overcast clouds. But there were spots light where the layer was thin, exposing the dark blue morning atmosphere. I took my time getting to the park, figuring that the sun would be non-existent this morning, but was pleasantly surprised to see that just above the horizon there was a familiar break in the clouds. The sun shone through the open sky for a few minutes after sunrise, casting a moving shadow across the cloud ceiling. The sun was a bright orange but the light was quickly absorbed by the patchy sky.
The clouds were looking well textured as the sun slipped behind the bank
I took the opportunity to simply sit and enjoy my coffee. I wasn’t in the most chipper of moods. Getting up early with fatigued muscles isn’t the most fun thing to do, but I was thankful that I wasn’t actually sore. I have the last 44 morning rides to thank for that 🙂
A view of the adopt-a-plot garden, very similar in shape to the garden of old roses
I love these flowers! Not sure of the species. They’re just finishing up their spring bloom.
Too bad I couldn’t get a clear shot! Before they bloom they look like little packs of chicklet gum.
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Sunrise 44: Alms Park (Deer Friend, Clear Orange Skies)
Sunrise from Alms Park Overlook
A zoomed shot of the sunrise. It is amazing the difference in size when there is no humidity to absorb the light. The tiny CCD on my camera has a hard time figuring out what to do in the center of the light orb.
This morning was another beautiful spring morning. The air was noticeably cooler and more clear. The humidity seemed to be pretty low which meant that today’s sunrise had a different palette to it. Without the haze in the atmosphere, the sky was brighter and the sun was more powerful. The morning dawn sky had scattered clouds and upper atmospheric haze that provided a different view. I decided to head up to Alms Park again, just like yesterday, to get a direct view of the sun. Currently Alms Park provides the best view of the sun, at least until we’re on the other side of summer solstice (three weeks away). I like the challenge of trying to get up to the top of Alms Park as quickly as possible, even though it typically leaves me gasping and with shaky legs.
Late Dawn Sky above St. Ursula Villa on the way to Alms Park. The stratus clouds provided an excellent highlight to the atmosphere. I believe there was a healthy mixture of cirrus and altocumulus clouds. Although I am really just guessing.
My young deer friend hanging out in Alms Park. As I approached the park she seemed interested in my flashing bike light. I got within 20 feet of her, moving cautiously, but she eventually decided to run off into the forest.
I got to the top of the overlook within a couple minutes of sunrise. Indeed, I had arrived just in time!
Notice how much more yellow the sun is compared to yesterday. This is probably due to the humidity being lower today than yesterday. The more rays of light that are blocked before reaching our eyes, the less intense the color of the sun is. Less intense apparently means close to purple.
Lunken Airfield with the sunrise sky above it. With the sun being so bright it was worth taking the time trying to take a picture that did not include the sun directly.
(If you’re on the front page, click to continue –>) (more…)
Sunrise 43: Alms & Anderson Park (Marina & Ohio River, Baby Snapping Turtle (aww!), Downtown Skyline, and the Meridian)
Official sunrise of Sunrise 43 @ Alms Park
Looking up the river from the Ohio River Launch Club
Of course I have to get some pictures of the bike! Wide screen version
Today was one of those days where the combination of a beautiful sunrise, temperate spring air, and being well rested results in a longer morning ride than usual. All in all I didn’t take that much longer than a typical morning ride, but I covered more grounds and explored Anderson Park – a location that is making its debut in the project today. If you’re on the front page you might as well skip to the bottom and click “more” to see the entire post because there are some great pictures in this set that won’t all make the cut to be displayed on homepage.
I left my apartment this morning with the feeling of wanderlust. With the scorching heat of the past few days, it was downright refreshing to be out in the cool morning air. During the past few sunrises I noticed that the sun was creeping far to the left of the overlook and the first rays of light after the sun crests over the horizon are obscured by trees. I believe this won’t get any better until the second week of June (holy crap thats coming up) when the sunrise time bottoms out at 6:11am for several days. I imagine that the sun will maintain its position until the sunrise time starts to advance further in the morning. Until that time, however, I have to wait a bit to get a good “head-on” picture of the sun in the morning sky. Knowing this, I made a quick decision to ditch the left hand turn that would take me to Ault Park and instead took the right hand turn to Alms Park. I found out a few days ago that Alms Park has a more unobstructed view of these left sunrises. The idea of going to Alms Park – while more difficult both because it is a longer distance and has several steep climbs – seemed to resonate with me now that the officially 40 days of Ault Park have been accomplished. These “post-40” days are about exploring the future direction of the sunrise project. So off to Alms Park I go!
Sunrise through the giant oaks, my favorite trees in the park.
The ride to Alms Park is, like Ault Park, almost entirely uphill. But where the climb to Ault Park is mostly at a slight incline with a bit of a steeper section at the park entrance, the journey to Alms Park is more dynamic. It consists of several respectable climbs that flatten out for a bit. By the time you reach the base of the hill that St. Ursula’s Villa sits atop, you’re actually almost at the elevation that Alms Park sits at. It is at this point that the road takes a steep dive down through the forested residential hill for several hundred yards. The entrance to Alms Park sits at the base of this dive at which point you have to climb up the steepest part of the trip – an excruciating but worthy workout. Alms Park really makes you work for it.
The sun cresting over the eastern valley
A close-up over Reeve’s Golf Course
The trees down below are a part of the golf course which butts up against the airport.
The overlook. You can see this bench from the Lunken Trail. If you’re on the front page, click “More” to continue! –> (more…)
Sunrise 42: Ault Park (Spring Haze, Ants & Pillbugs)
An old prop plane with its wing tips folded up takes off from Lunken Airfield into the sunrise
This morning was a great start to the short holiday week. When I crawled out of bed, a bit stiff from a holiday weekend and slightly out of routine, I could hear the birds chattering about the hot day ahead. Today should be another scorcher with a high in the mid 90s. This morning, however, the day was still young and the temperature was a comfortable 65F. The atmosphere had a thick accent of haze, indicative of the high humidity we’ve had recently. I’m not surprised to see thunderstorms in the forecast for the week.
The fog was thick down in the little miami river valley. You could see the tops of telephone poles just barely popping above the surface.
The sun has drifted so far to the left that I no longer have an unobstructed shot. You can see it in the above picture just behind the tree, a dark reddish purple sphere.
I had to patiently wait for the sun to get this high above the tree. The camera doesn’t quite do it justice – the richness of the sun was a saturated magenta.
The hazy sky meant that the sun was visible but not blinding. A great morning to look directly into the sun without consequence… for the first five minutes at least.
The upper atmosphere didn’t have the deep blue that I’ve seen on the days with less humidity. It was more of a muted navy blue.
If you’re on the front page, click to continue. Ants & Pillbugs macro-style –> (more…)
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 37: Ault Park (Post-Storm Sunrise, Grassy Meadow & Young Berries)
I woke up this morning at 5:55am and hit the snooze button. I should have taken notice when my alarm first went off and I couldn’t hear it; perhaps snoozing wasn’t the best idea. We had a floor fan turned on that was generating lots of white noise, perfect for sleeping but not perfect for hearing a phone alarm on the lowest volume setting. I woke up in a fury at 6:21am, 3 minutes past sunrise. Was I too late?
Last night we had a behemoth of storms come through at around 8:00pm. Tornadoes were spotted in the sky up north and roofs were blown off of restaurants. I was actually out biking last night, likely feeling the itch after staying inside during the electrical armageddon of yesterday morning, and got up in the storm. Nothing gets the old legs pumping faster up the hills than running from a mega-storm. I was actually down by Lunken Airport last night when I noticed the dark thunder head rolling in from the west. My sister-in-law took a great picture of the storm moving about 50 miles up north in Dayton, OH:
I actually almost got blown off the bike a few times as I was cranking up the 250ft accent from the river basin to Mt. Lookout.
Back to the morning wakeup. I leaped out of bed and threw on my clothes. I looked outside – a light gray sky indicating a possible overcast scenario. Good! I thought. At least I won’t miss anything! I was out the door by 6:24am.
As I pushed up to the park, I noticed how sweet the air smelled. It wasn’t raining by now, and in fact the atmosphere and ambient lighting was getting brighter by the minute. The air had that after-rain smell to it, (I recently learned this is called petrichor) and the trees were still dripping. As I climbed the hill, I noticed that the sky had started to burst open in a light orange color. I pedaled as quickly as I could, mentally kicking myself for not being more prepared for a perfect “after-storm” sunrise. I’ve been noticing a lot of incoming google hits for phrases relating to “the sky after a storm” and “kinds of clouds after a storm” so I realized that this could be a great sunrise that I didn’t want to miss.
The bright orange sunrise. Little did I know that it wouldn’t last long. If you’re on the front page, click to continue –> (more…)
Sunrise 34: Ault Park (World War I Memorial, Lightning-Struck Tree, Unknown Conifer)
These overcast days have really begun to push my creativity. On a beautiful sunrise morning (hopefully like tomorrow’s if the forecast is correct!) it isn’t hard to get a couple of interesting unique pictures and call it a day. But on these mornings where the sky is dark and gray and everything looks the same as it has for the past five days, I find myself exploring areas of the park that I often overlook out of habitualness. Yesterday, for example, I found out that there were redwood trees in the park. Not the pacific northwest redwoods, but another kind of redwood that grows 100ft high none the less and is critically endangered.
This morning I also experienced another “first”. I met a nice woman who identified me as “the sunrise guy” – this is now the fourth of such encounters* – and she said that I was an inspiration to her new routine of getting up at sunrise and walking her golden retriever through the park. It was an exciting encounter and she even made the claim that this “sunrise movement” is going to catch on! Thanks Polly 🙂
* I probably forgot to mention it – but last Saturday at the Bike+Brew (specifically at the Lackman Bar in Over-The-Rhine) I actually met a guy who found out about Ault Park Sunrise from a post I submitted to reddit. I mentioned that I love the history of Cincinnati and asked him if he knew about Ault Park. He replied “hey that used to be a vineyard!”. I said “haha yeah! I just found that out myself because I’m doing this sunrise project…” and he replied “Oh! haha! I saw your website on reddit’s cincinnati section and thats how I knew it was a vineyard!”. I’m still recovering from that piece of mind explosion.
Young cones on the conifer trees.
The large conifer with a picnic bench underneath it.
As I entered the park this morning I stopped early and checked out the two large conifers that rise high above the playground on the west part of the park. I wondered if they, too, were redwood conifers. I don’t believe they are after inspecting the leaves. Also they are bearing small pine cones, something that I didn’t notice on the redwood. These pine cones are actually one of my absolute favorite “fruits” of the park, if you will. I collected several of them last year because they look so beautiful when they are just starting to grow. I didn’t even know what they were when I found them on the ground last spring, and the mystery wasn’t solved until almost a year later when I realized that the small fractal ball I held was actually a pine cone that had another couple of months of growth before it became mature. I actually have, sitting on my dresser at home, two sets of pine cones that I collected last year. One set is from these two conifers in Ault Park. They are large, green, and healthy with symmetrical features and fully developed leaves. The other two are from a park down in Hyde Park, where the trees are smaller and probably younger. The pine cones are small, a bit mishapen, and not as fully developed. Assuming that the trees are the same species and the cones were about the same age, to me it says that the Ault Park elevation, clean valley air, and low pollution provide the perfect environment for these large conifers. Perhaps they are Cedars??
In a couple weeks they will be marble sized, perfect for collecting 🙂 (If you’re on the front page, click to continue – including the WWI memorial) (more…)
Sunrise 33: Ault Park (Another Rainy Day; Dawn Redwood Tree)
I have a morning appointment today so the trip up to the park was quick and pleasant. The air was again very wet and the sky was overcast. But it felt like this morning was a bit warmer than yesterday. It may be that I’m used to the cold already, or it may have been the humidity – but either way the morning was rather pleasant. The morning air was thick with humidity. It was the kind of humidity that is thick and sticky, where the acoustic sounds of the environment seem muffled and it feels more private as you move about through the park. It was almost foggy, but not quite. Armleder Park was mostly visible, giving me the impression that the haze was more evenly distributed rather than patches of thick fog.
I hung out at the overlook for a few minutes but once again got the itch to ride around through the park. The sky was pretty dark again and the trees were still dripping with rain or dew. I rode around to the back of the lawn where I checked out some of the tree displays and informational plaques. There is a specific species of conifer that has always drawn my attention but I haven’t taken the time to look at closely. I wondered if it is the same species of conifer that towers over the playground area and drops small little pine cones, but I can’t tell simply by the shape of this particular (smaller) tree. If you’re on the front page, click to continue –> (more…)
Sunrise 32: Ault Park (Garden of Old Roses)
(Not sure what flower this is, but I really like it).
This morning was similar to yesterday morning in that the temperature is in the lower 40s (about 6-8 Celsius), except that today I was ready for it. Perhaps it was this preparedness that made the morning chill seem not too bad. Whatever the reason, I was determined to not let the thick overcast sky and the sharp bite of the wind put down my explorative mood. Today I set off on my friend Geoff’s Trek 4000 again, with its knobby tires and low gearing. I realized, after talking with Geoff last night, that in fact I had ridden the bike incorrectly yesterday morning. I commented on “how low the center of gravity was” on the bike, but what I really was talking about was how low to the ground I felt. As it turned out I rode the bike with the seat all the way down at the post – a position Geoff had set the seat to for storage purposes. After raising the seat about 8″, and suddenly feeling stretched out and more mobile, I set off towards the park at a much more comfortable pace. Eventually I’ll check out the “Garden of Old Roses” – one of the three lawns in the center of Ault Park, below the pavilion. The new growth in the garden is a bit young, having only been blooming for a week or two by now. I imagine in another month it will be exploding in color.
The overcast cloud bank was thick. It was also relatively low to the ground. I lost most of the planes taking off from Lunken Airfield quickly as they rose up into the atmosphere. I decided that instead of sitting at the overlook, a location that has become familiar and comfortable, staring at the featureless gray sky, I would set out to the arboretum and have my morning coffee at one of the benches hidden back under the small trees. I set off for the pavilion to look for a photo subject or theme for the morning. Now that I have a new image processing script that takes the tediousness out of adding pictures to this post, I was prepared to be generous in the usage of my small camera. (Before my update to my script earlier this week, each picture would take, let’s say, 1 minute to add to a post individually. Now I can add all of them at once so it costs no time extra to take a few additional pictures).
The kickstand-less Trek 4000. It is nice not having to worry about the gravel trails in the lawn, but the top speed is about half of my Fuji-S10s for the same effort up the hills.
The sky was a dark gray; I had a surprisingly hard time figuring out the best lighting configuration with the camera. If you’re on the front page, please continue to see the roses and more. (more…)
Sunrise 30: Ault Park (Low Lying Cumulus, More Murdock Fountains)
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.
The “overlook timelapse” shot. Much more clear than yesterday!
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.
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.
About ten minutes after sunrise, the sky started to lighten up and the upper atmospheric clouds began to illuminate
The “Delayed Sunrise”, about 25 minutes after true sunrise. If you’re on the front page, click to continue -> (more…)
Sunrise 27: Ault Park (A Warm Spring Morning)
This morning was pleasant and warm. There was a slight breeze coming in off the valley but it didn’t have a bite to it. I made this morning’s trip to the park a quick one – I’m still a bit drained after yesterday’s mega post :). The ride up to the park was quiet and peaceful and the air smelled slightly like rain, but mostly like blooming flowers. There are many larger species of flowers that are now starting to bloom. I’ve also noticed that the maples that were in bloom just three weeks ago are now dropping their helicopter seeds across the ground. So that makes sense – the apples bloom so that they can start off their fruit bearing process, while the maples bloom early so that they get their seeds out as early in spring as possible so that the young offspring have all year to get settled in before the winter takes over.
Can you believe I still don’t have any coffee!? I’ll pick some up today finally, but this morning I decided to tough it out and not fill up. I almost fell asleep up at the overlook! Although going a few days without caffeine is always a good thing, I don’t like getting to the point where I feel that I’ll get a headache if I don’t have a cup of coffee. I often feel like if I just make a big thermos of coffee, but make it not that strong, the action of drinking the coffee in and of itself can wake me up almost as much as the caffeine 🙂
The sun came up over the horizon and broke through the clouds that had small holes in them.
There was a break just above the horizon cloud bank that allowed the sun to become fully visible, casting a red/orange glow down into the lower haze. It was a pretty sunrise that didn’t stay around too long, but it put on a nice show. If the weather holds today should be a beautiful day.
This green bush is down by the overlook. I took a few pictures of it earlier last week when the buds were still small and green. It has started blooming its small white flowers.
Lunken and Armleder are looking good. Armleder still has some puddles but it looks like they are getting dried out. The grass is all gone, not sure if they pulled it up or if it died after drying out (because it was green a few days ago) but once the grass gets hold and comes back in a few weeks, it should be looking good again. I hope it doesn’t set back the growth of the prairie too much. I love going down there in late spring and listening to the birds and bugs.
Sunrise 24: Ault Park (Bursting Cumulus, Green Leaves, Caterpillars)
After seeing the cloudy front take over the sunset last night, I was worried that the sky this morning would be overcast. When I got out of bed and looked out the window, the was indeed a bit cloudy but it was a light covering with pockets of dark blue sky showing through. The atmosphere was on the “heavy” side of light overcast. I rode up to the park for the 6:34am sunrise but as I made my way up the hill I started to notice that the sky was darker than I would have expected. There were not any signs of orange, indicating that there was a low cloud cover over the horizon. It is worth mentioning that this week I have continued to “default” to using the second gear on my bike to go up the hills. This is something that I was unable to do even two weeks ago – the added difficulty is a welcome addition to my morning rides that are becoming easier by the day as I get into shape. Feeling a bit of pent up energy from the many rain storms, I could tell that if the lighting conditions are right I’d be taking lots of pictures today.
The sky was indeed filled with a low overcast cloud bank. The sun came up over the horizon and shined through the misty layers. Just as I was sitting down to enjoy my coffee, my assumptions about a conservative and boring sunrise started to gather doubt. I noticed that directly above me the sky was starting to break, I could see the clear blue sky pushing away the clouds. The clouds were moving east allowing the clear skies to slip closer and closer to the sun rise. (If you’re on the front page, please click to continue –>) (more…)