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!)
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).
This old oak tree is still slowly returning to the forest.
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”.
When I peered out the window at 6:20am, I couldn’t tell what the sky was doing. In my mind, I played with the idea of going back to bed but before committing I checked out the front door. High in the atmosphere there was a thick cloud layer that was making the eastern sky particularly dark, but it broke in the center of the sky to reveal a dark clear sky that was beginning to take on a subtle early twilight teal. I figured that it was worth the game and headed up to the park to see what the pseudo-spring morning had in store.
The temperature this morning was pleasant. Hanging slightly above freezing, it felt like spring with two sweatshirts on and insulated athletic pants. Looking out across the valley, the breaking cloud formation stood proudly in the distant left/north region of the sky. To my direct front, the cloud layer was thick but broke just above the horizon, revealing a deep gray-fading-to-orange sky beyond the far ridge line. At first, I wasn’t sure if any colors would get through the morning clouds. If only a sudden change in the western wind would slide the cloud break back over to the east a few miles…
But then I checked the time and realized it was 7:08am, a full 20 minutes before sunrise. There was still time for something interesting to happen. As it turns out, I only had to wait 5 more minutes…
Needless to say, the gamble paid off.
This is Mike the Turtle. His eyes are striped, matching his skin pattern. He loves romaine lettuce, hates iceburg. Likes chasing fish, does not like stawberries (unlike most other turtles who love them). When he’s basking in the sun he gets lethargic, likely giving into the life-giving warmth that only a cold-blooded animal could appreciate.
For the rest of this post, 12 pictures total, click to continue if you’re on the front page.
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.
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.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. 14 pictures total in today’s humid pseudo-spring sunrise post. (more…)
This morning’s sunrise fit my mood quite nicely. After the behemoth of a post that Sunrise 139 was, I was a bit drained this morning as I arrived to the overlook. It was also the first time in awhile I didn’t have any coffee, so I was happy about the subtle and calm yet still eventful sunrise. The temperature was pleasant this morning at a brisk 35F in the park. It appears we have a break today and then it’s back to the rain and freezing ice.
The sunrise this morning was high humidity, which was marked with a nice blue atmosphere that had a touch of gray into late twilight, and a purple sun that slowly rose out of the cloud bank without caring much about announcing its arrival. The birds were active this morning, and with the wet and damp air it felt a bit like spring even though its months away.
There was a friendly young man at the overlook this morning. We didn’t get to talk much, but his name was Derek. He makes an appearance in the final photo.
It “warmed” up a bit this morning to just under freezing, a brisk 30F. The sky was clear last night before bed, but by the time sunrise rolled around most of the sky was filled with clouds. The horizon, however, was mostly clear. The forecast for this week puts us with some rain tonight and hopefully some snow later this week. The clouds that started to fill the sky this morning have successfully blocked out the night skies as I write this post late in the day. (I had to make a trip to the dentist this morning which pushed my schedule behind quite a bit!). Actually the dentist visit went great. It was one of those things where modern anesthesia makes getting a cavity filled a mere inconvenience, where as 100 years ago it would have been a memorable event marked with lots of whiskey and excruciating pain.
While I drove out towards the Mt. Carmel office, I found myself winding through the Little Miami River Valley, upon which Ault Park and Alms Park sit. I have recently been in contact with a graduate student who studies the Ft. Ancient culture, specifically the earthworks and burial sites that were at one time located in the Little Miami River Valley. Hopefully we will be working together in the next few months as we piece together old documents that he has uncovered from the late 1800s. These documents were surveys of the valley and identified interesting ruins and burial sites uncovered during the development of the region. Just a few miles over in Mariemont, a large serpent mound was recently uncovered and it may be the world’s largest. Matt tells me that this area would have, at one time, been home to tens of thousands of mounds. How many are left after 200 years of development? It would be most excellent if we are able to locate some of these sites that have not been documented in recent history and help set into motion the necessary actions that would lead to their protection. It is fascinating to me that while I’ve been concerned with the last 150 years of history in this region, there is a much larger and older story that dates back several thousand years. Matt has identified several old buildings and landmarks that may go by different names today (or be gone all together). It is my hope that with the resources I’ve explored in developing this project I can help Matt put some of these historical landmarks into the context of modern day. There are some old estates that are referenced that have probably long since been sold to developers, and also lots of locations that are given relative to old rail lines, tresses, and stations that existed in this area in the 1800s. Stay tuned, it should be a fun project.
On to the sunrise! This morning’s sunrise was a strange one. The thick cloud layer over head broke right above the horizon. This affect is always interesting because it can expose the open atmosphere to allow the sunrise colors to become visible, but at the same time the puffy pseudo-cumulus clouds can be just as interesting to watch due to the nature of the shadow patterns that dance around while the sun is rising and the light is changing. The clouds take on this bright blue/gray color with sharply defined boundaries. It’s very hard to pick up on the camera, but with the human eye it looks interesting. Speaking of the camera, this morning was one of the hardest sunrises to get a decent picture of. The bright twilight sky was restricted to being just above the horizon, while the rest of the sky was dark with clouds. This made my little camera’s sensor very confused as to what its white balance and exposure should be. A more configurable camera would have come in handy. Oh well! I turned down the exposure so that the twilight colors weren’t washed out and away I went.
One last thing about the sunrise this morning. Right when First Light peaked over the ridge line, the park was bathed in this brilliant deep orange glow. I caught it on camera but, as usual, the picture doesn’t do it justice. It was one of those shades of color where my vocabulary simply is at a loss to describe it. A deep red/orange/neon/yellow. Very rich.
This is like -1 exposure, about as dark as I typically am comfortable doing. That’s the only way I could get a picture without the entire horizon looking bleached out white! This is my new favorite sunrise target. It’s a tiny little “Tree of Heaven” that rises up in front of the lower overlook. I used to get a bit annoyed at it when I realized the sun was moving across the horizon and it would be in the way.
So I think this little guy is an adolescent Tree of Heaven. Wikipedia tells me its latin name is Ailanthus Altissima. Want to know something interesting, fair reader? I hope you do, because I’m about to lay it on you. The answer to a mystery I pondered earlier this year, coming together in a full circle of life. Ready for it?
- I found a caterpillar back in spring. Species Unknown at the time. (Sunrise 24)
- I found this moth back in the summer. I identified it as an Ailanthus Silkworm, and postulated that it may be the adult form of the caterpillar from Sunrise 24 (Sunrise 91)
- Now it comes full circle. As it turns out, this Ailanthus Altissima (Tree of Heaven) is a host of the moth. As the tree migrated north (apparently it is considered a pest in some circles), it brought it’s orange and white colored moth friend with it. Cincinnati is in the northern tip of the “Humid Sub-Tropic” climate, so there are a lot of species around here that have crawled up from the wet forests of the southern USA and survive here quite well.
I just scrounged around and found a picture from Sunrise 48 that showcases this lovely little tree. Here she is (on the right) with a full coat of summer leaves, back in the middle of a hot and sticky day in Cincinnati. It’s also interesting to look back on this sunrise from the middle of winter. So much humidity. The sun rose that day with a shade of deep, blood red. Note how far to the left the sun is.
This morning’s sunrise was a special one. The atmosphere was clear and the twilight provided beautiful colors, once again, so it turned out to be quite the pleasant, if a bit chilly, morning. Lisa Wakeland contacted me yesterday to ask if I’d be interested in doing a follow up for the Ault Park Sunrise article that originally ran last spring in the Eastern Hills Journal. Of course I said “heck yeah!” and so she agreed to met me to talk. She was a good sport and humored my request to meet at sunrise at the park for the interview. I figured it was worth a shot since these are some of the latest sunrises of the entire year! I’m looking forward to seeing what she ends up putting in the article and I’ll be sure to link to it here. Thanks again Lisa!!
I was able to get up to the overlook a bit early again to appreciate the half hour of twilight display before the sun crested over the ridge line. This may be one of the last colorful sunrises for while as it appears we have some winter weather heading our way. Looks like we’re in for some rain and snow during the rest of the week. Boo.
There were light pockets of clouds that were slowly moving across the sky, seeming to line nicely with the part of the sky where I was expecting the sun to come up. Twilight colors are a nice set of light pinks and purples.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. 17 pictures total on this clear and chilly winter morning. (more…)
Hello party people! I’m just going to start off and say that this post is a bit of a doozy! Hang in ’til the end, it’ll be worth it. This morning was one of those times when the stars aligned and everything came together in a great way. What’s the saying – luck favors those who are prepared? I was up early, had a fresh charge in the camera, was full of creative and explorative energy, and it just so happened that the sunrise was AMAZING. One of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. That’s saying a lot coming from me! The pictures, as beautiful as they are, do not do the true sight of the atmosphere justice. It was a true winter sunrise that was both illuminated by the clear skies, highlighted with a light cloud slurry, and from what I understand the ice crystals in the atmosphere can lead to all kinds of neat cloud formations that made an ever changing cloudscape.
As I mentioned previously, the wife has a bit of acute bronchitis. She started taking anti-bacterial medication for it and last night was the first time that the coughing had completely subsided. I fell asleep on top of the covers with my clothes on and promptly woke up in the exact same position at 6:15am, the first full night’s sleep without interruption I’ve had in weeks! As a result, when I got up to turn off the lights in our place, I felt fully rested and ready to go. I decided that rather than go back to sleep I’d go ahead and start the day. By 6:45am I was fully suited up and headed out to the park.
It was quite amazing to watch the transformation of the sky from a deep dark black into the colorful display of the twilight atmosphere. In fact, when I left the apartment it was so dark that not only could I see the stars, but I had no way of knowing that on the other side of the hill the twilight show had already started. I was planning on getting set up at the park by 7:00am (65 minutes before sunrise) and having nothing to do for about 45 minutes. I could not have arrived at the park at a better time. At 7:00am the low horizon had already taken on a deep red mohogany that was compact and restricted to the region of the sky just above the ridge line. The clouds were just beginning to take on a dark shadowy navy purple. It was still dark enough that the street lamps cast long shadows across the lawn while the sky began to change in the background. This was by far the earliest sunrise I’ve ever witnessed and really changed my perspective on “how soon” one should expect to show up for a clear sky sunrise if they wish to witness the entire ordeal.
The sunrise palette was the most rich I’ve ever seen, and again this was due to the fact that I happened to show up extra early during a morning where the sunlight just so happened to start penetrating the lower atmosphere during early twilight. The sky started off with deep purples that faded into red. The pinks, magentas, and finally fuchsias started slowly to brighten along the lower atmosphere and then moved upward across the sky as the thin layers of ice crystal clouds provided a canvas backdrop. After the fuchsias subdued, the dark oranges and finally bright yellows scattered throughout the atmosphere until the sun finally made an appearance at 8:05am.
I was as giddy as a school girl, running to and from taking pictures now to sort out at home later. In the process I explored some ideas for a project that I plan on pursuing throughout the winter. Namely, finding tree “candidates” for a Winter Tree Silhouette project. I’ve long been fascinated by the underlying fractal and organic form that the naked tree branches form against the winter sky. There are some beautiful old trees around the local forests, many of then “Century” trees. There are not, however, very many trees that are isolated enough to provide a decent silhouette and also on the top of a hill, positioned in such a way that they can be captured against the open sky. There’s one specific tree (Oak I think) in the yard of St. Ursula Villa that fits this perfectly. There’s also one down by Lunken Airfield although there is a chain linked fence and lamp pole in the view. Today I was able to try and find some new candidates around the Ault Park area as well. Some are good and one may make for a great choice, although none of them are completely isolated. I’m hoping to have some good luck down at Reeve’s golf course by Lunken Airfield where most of the century oaks have been well taken care of and sit by themselves along the fairways of the course.
To top it all off, at the end of my ride I discovered that one of the local roads in the neighborhood that Ault Park sits next to still has some authentic gas lanterns. I was unaware that there were any gas lanterns in this area as the only ones I’ve heard of are the iconic street lamps in old Clifton’s “Gas Light District” off of Ludlow Ave. I found ten of these lanterns along a side street that runs right by the Cincinnati Observatory. The homes that were built in the blocks surrounding the observatory have so many architectural features and it is excellent to see the gas lanterns still alive and kicking. They’re at the end of this post if you are particularly interested in them.
Without further ado, here’s the set from this morning. Some of them are a bit blurry from the low light and for that I apologize. There is one picture in particular that I really loved but for some reason it’s completely out of focus. Low lighting can be a pain!
On the way to the park, this home with its Christmas lights still out caught my eye because of the various accent lighting. Nothing too crazy here but I was hoping the picture turned out better. It’s difficult getting the settings on the camera right while wondering if anyone thinks I’m a weirdo for standing on the sidewalk taking pictures of the neighborhood.
Arriving in the park, I am surprised to find that the sky is not dark at all. Early twilight colors abound. On the left side of the frame we can see the light from a lit street lamp illuminating the lawn.