Sunrise 76: Ault Park (Cool Misty Sunrise, Tall Tall Weeds)
Misty valley under an orange sunrise. This was taken during that peak sunrise light time – about 40 minutes after the sun crests over the ridge.
This morning I decided to kick it old school. Go back to the roots, if you will. Recently I’ve been diversifying the sunrise locations quite a bit, and it has been great overall. This morning I biked up to Heekin Overlook at Ault Park and just sat on the bench listening to the birds and collecting my thoughts at the end of this beautiful summer week. The air this morning was almost cool, I’m thinking around 68 degrees. It was pleasant to say the least.
The sound-scape was a bit different this morning compared to the sound-scape that I remember from a typical April. The birds and squirrels were not as loud, for one thing. The nests have been built, mates have been found, and most of the birds and local animals are either caring for their young or preparing for their young’s arrival. There were no loud mating calls as I’ve come to expect over the past few months.
One thing that was different, however, was the presence of several kinds of woodpeckers. They were making the strangest bird calls, and one even startled me with its surprisingly loud burst of song. There was a large wood pecker of some kind (couldn’t tell what her colors were) hanging out on the dead oak tree by the overlook. It is obvious now that the dead oak is providing a great spot to find wood peckers. As the wood starts to rot, the insects will take over the process of breaking the organic matter down into less complex forms so the rest of the ecosystem can reclaim it. In the meantime, the wood peckers are probably here to stay. There was also a small little species of woodpecker that was flittering around the trees, although now that I think about it she may have been on the hunt for cicadas, not bugs. Maybe it wasn’t a woodpecker after all…
The sunrise was a beautiful clear summer sunrise with not much humidity. The warmth of the sunlight was apparent just minutes after dawn. I remember predicting, back in April, that the summer would be full of “boring” clear-skied orange sunrises. This is a true prediction because indeed most of these days that aren’t buffered on either side by a storm system have been clear and orange. And while I’ll say they’re no where near the level of complexity that became the norm during the stormy season in the spring, they’re still a sight to see. An interesting part about this specific kind of sunrise is that the sky can turn into this deep blue slurry of wispy clouds. It seriously looks like some kind of painting. With the deep orange gradient provided by the low sun, the colors of these clear morning sunrises are rich and textured. I’m still (1400 pictures later) experimenting with the exposure settings of the camera to figure out the best way to capture the colors. Sometimes the camera is set too low, leaving out the hills and making the outer edges fade into a deep sea blue. Other times it can be too high, bleaching out the subtle oranges and turning them into a featureless white.
A plane coming into Lunken Airfield at sunrise.
Early dawn at Ault Park, looking over the Little Miami River Valley. We can still see the pinks of the sunrise. In this particular sunrise, where there are few low lying clouds and not much mist, the pinks give away to the oranges quickly. They don’t hang around for long.
The weeds have turned into bushes and I find myself wondering if it is “correct” to chop them down or leave them to grow and flower. Do they not have the same rights as any other plant growing in the park? As humans we certainly make decisions as to what plants we want to see in our organized and designed gardens, but around the edge of the park where the forest begins to reclaim our manicured lawns, the first plants to colonize the new land are, of course, weeds. And these weeds are strong, large, and lush from all the rain we had in the spring. They don’t seem to be minding the gaps between the occasional summer storms.
Beautiful orange to blue gradient.
As a completely unrelated side note, I’ve started experimenting with a new time management system called Pomodoro. Maybe I’ll explain it more later in detail, but it is worth mentioning that this specific post was done in exactly one pomodoro (which was my goal). Yesterday’s took two due to all the extra pictures. This is helpful information because while I purposefully didn’t take as many pictures today, I ended up filling the post with more text. And without feeling the rush of “oh crap this post is taking way longer than I expected”, I feel like my writing style was a bit more relaxed and reflective. Very therapeutic, in only 25 minutes.
Sunrise 71: The Cincinnati Observatory (Pinhole Solargraph Camera, Clear Blue Skies, Flowers)
I realized that I haven’t had too many “bike shots” recently. This small patio is where I sat and enjoyed the sunrise. I met a jogger who said that I was the only person she’s ever seen enjoying the sunrise here at her favorite spot.
Pinhole Camera! Ironically (or, perhaps not) the pinhole camera technology dates back to the late 1830s. Only a few years later, the 11″ lens now located in the Mitchell Building (the smaller of the two building on the Observatory’s campus) will be constructed.
Final shot of the sunrise against the Mitchell Building.
This morning I got up with plenty of time to spare. The sunrise was around 6:30am and I was at the Mt. Lookout United Dairy Farmers filling up my thermos ($.99 for the entire 26oz! And free on Mondays! UDF rules) by 6:20am. I read the weather forcast last night so I knew that this morning was supposed to be “clear” with only 10-20% cloud cover.
The forecast was right! After the foggy sunrises of the last week the beautiful clear sunrise was a welcome change. To honor this clear morning Tuesday I continued past Ault Park and ventured on over to the historic Cincinnati Observatory on Observatory Ave. I have never actually seen the sunrise at the Observatory because I normally only swing by on on the way back from Ault Park. With the sun moving all over the sky this summer I wasn’t even sure if the view of the sun would be appropriate. As it turns out the sun has moved far enough back to the right that there were no trees blocking Sol as he came up over the ridge line. I was impressed with just how perfect of a sunrise spot the Observatory actually is, but I can’t be too surprised considering that astrological alignment is basically their biggest concern!
The history alone of the Cincinnati Observatory is worth checking out. I have always found it interesting that the original lens in the large building was originally in Mt. Adams but it was moved to this site due to the pollution building up in the city. I never realized that they didn’t actually move the building from Mt. Adams, just the hardware. So while the lens itself dates back to the mid 1800s, this building dates back to the move to Mt. Lookout in 1873. You can find the cornerstone of the original Mt. Adams building to the back right of the new building, dating back to 1843. Now that I think about it, this may be the oldest building stone in Mt. Lookout. I’m sure this isn’t actually true, but as it stands currently it holds the Ault Park Sunrise record. This even pre-dates the 1850s construction of Crusade Castle & Vineyard.
The cornerstone, borrowed from Sunrise 41.
At the Cincinnati Observatory, the sun rose up from the break in the trees.
Not a cloud in the sky. A beautiful summer morning that you’d expect to see just after a storm.
This spot is out in front of the main Observatory Building (built in 1873). There is a circular brick patio with a handful of benches lining the outside it. It has all the great things that you’d expect to see at a true Cincinnati historic site. Murdock Fountains, late 1800s street lamps, Ohio Historical Markers, A memorial sundial, pre-1900s buildings, and a dedication by John Adams on the corner stone.
Looking East from the patio at the second building on the campus. This smaller “Mitchell” building has the original Merz und Mahler 11-inch telescope that dates back to 1843. The “main” building houses the 1904 16″ Alvan Clark & Sons telescope. Thanks wikipedia!
A vertical sunrise showcasing the late morning yellows and the deep blue gradient.
Looking towards the main building across the sundial memorial.
To the west of the main building I saw a funny contraption sitting on the lawn. Upon closer inspection (and with no physical contact whatsoever, of course!) I realized that it is a pinhold solargraph camera.
I imagine the purpose of this camera is to capture the sun’s path for the 31-day period between June 28 and July 28. They’re almost done! I’d like to see the results of this camera and I hope that they publish it. It’d be neat to see the same thing for a month of sunrises, too.
I wonder how they compensate for the possibility of the camera being blown over by the wind?
Outside the Observatory there are two big flower pots.
The red / white combination of flowers made for a great arrangement. Considering how my own flower pot experiment is failing miserably, I took mental notes and physical pictures.
Classy Arrangement. Maybe next time I try this at home I’ll use this as inspiration.
Sunrise 69, 70: Ault Park (Haze on the Ridge, Purple Cincinnati Wildflowers)
Purple Wildflower at the side of the road. They’re exploding in blooms all over the place around here. Not sure what they are but I like them. They’re thriving on the shoulders of country roads and city roads alike.
The late sunrise this morning over the haze.
This morning’s post has twice the sunrise packed into a single entry! On Friday I forgot to grab the USB cable that connects the camera to my laptop when I hopped in the car so I wasn’t able to make the Sunrise 69 post in a timely manner. Therefor today’s post has both this morning’s sunrise and Friday’s sunrise. I kind of like having both of them together because it keeps the volume of daily posts to a lower level. I don’t always like the fact that the front page is completely turned over very 10 days and often wonder if maybe my posting frequency is too high. The reason I wonder is that I’ll have a 35 picture historical exploration that gets bumped off with daily 3-picture sunrise posts. Oh well, that’s what the terribly outdated best-of section is for I suppose.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue (13 pictures in all, mostly of the foggy ridge lines and late hazy sunrises) –> (more…)
Sunrise 68: Ault Park (Fog, Bellevue Hill Park, and Cincinnati Inclined Rail Stations)
Looking out towards Lunken Airfield to the west. The forest is dark and misty.
Looking at Downtown from Bellevue Hill Park in Clifton
This morning’s update is a bit of a strange one. My week has been in limbo because my car is in the shop getting checked out. The nice side effect of this transportation issue is that I’ve been forced to rely on my bike a lot more than I normally am used to. I’ve commuted to work twice (never done that before) and realized that the 6.5mi commute is seriously not bad. I can do it in 25 minutes which is comparable to the 15 minutes it takes by car. The route is mostly residential and feels safe. I also commuted to the University of Cincinnati campus yesterday, a bit longer of a stretch. The heat was intense (around 90F) and I think my body wanted the extra sleep this morning to make up for the extra physical activity. Long story short, yesterday I wasn’t able to get near my laptop (I keep it at work) so sunrise 68 is coming at you a day late. That’s OK though because I was able to scope out Bellevue Park, one of my favorites in Clifton that I don’t get to visit nearly enough, and realized some historically significant facts about it. Notch one more up for my respect to the Cincinnati Parks program.
If you’re on the front page you might as well click on now, there are some great pictures (and old high-def historical prints compliments of shorpy.com) (more…)
Sunrise 64: Ault Park (Deep Blue and a Spring Chill)
Deep Rich Blue and Orange Sunrise over the Little Miami River Valley from Ault Park
The most notable thing about this morning wasn’t the clear blue sky or the rich orange sunrise. It was, in fact, the temperature. After the blazing hot start to this week with temperatures reaching up to 100 degrees with thick humidity, this morning was was almost chilly. There was very little cloud cover this morning even though the humidity was apparently around 70%. The temperature was about 65 degrees and for a few minutes I wondered if I really should have grabbed a long sleeve t-shirt or if I was just being a baby. It felt like a sunrise from late April! Today’s high is only around 83 which means tonight’s group ride with Element Cycles (first time in several weeks!) should be awesome.
I switched it back up and spent my first morning this week in Ault Park. Monday and Tuesday were in Alms Park with some brief stints through East End and yesterday was entirely Lunken Airfield. With the fog being pushed out of the valley, it was nice to get a sunrise through the clear air at the basin of the valley. Just to keep it diverse, I’ll have to come up with another location for tomorrow’s sunrise. Perhaps the prairie of Armleder Park?
Dawn is coming later each morning. This morning’s sunrise wasn’t until 6:23am! I kind of like the earlier sunrises. These late sunrises are making me feel like summer is already heading out the door!
I am, however, still setting my alarm for 5:50am. It took me a long time to get to this point, I find that I’m enjoying the early wakeups.
I realized I hadn’t taken a western view of Lunken Airfield for quite some time. There were small patches of fog nestled in the corners but otherwise the valley was clear of haze.
Armleder Park is looking healthy as ever. A plane takes off from Lunken, banking sharply.
Overlook shot with the valley illuminated by the morning sun.
Last shot of the sunrise with a nice little lens flair.
Sunrise 62: Alms Park (To Lunken and Back, Some Thoughts on East End)
Close-up of the morning sunrise over Lunken Airfield from my favorite bench on the 5-mile bike path.
On my approach back up the impossibly steep Stanley Rd, the large cumulus looms in the background. Also gives you an idea of the steepness of Mt. Tusculum, a climb I have to make every time I visit Lunken Airfield!
The trusty steed and the wife’s helmet 🙂
This morning was a scorcher! It was one of the few mornings where I actually felt like I had jumped into a pool by the time I got home from the ride. Part of it certainly had to do with the fact that I had thick basketball shorts on with a cotton t-shirt, but typically it doesn’t feel like walking out into a sauna!
I rode up to Alms Park again, today. I was feeling pretty good and wanted to climb the Alms Hill once more. This morning’s sky was an interesting one because it felt overcast but also had spots of clear skies. I noticed that the sunrise was hidden behind a bank of clouds but at the same time it looked like I had blue skies above me. I also was wondering why there wasn’t any fog around as I would have expected with this morning’s dew point being only 2 degrees away from the ambient temperature. But I think I figured it out!
Looking out at Lunken Airfield. East End is to the right down below the hill.
We’ve had some storm runs through the state, particularly up north. About 80 miles north of us, through Dayton and Columbus Ohio, there were some serious pressure systems that moved through the area. I imagine this changed the pressure of the entire region. With my non-existent weather theory experience, I’d like to think that the pressure prior to the storms was high enough to “press” the fog down into the bottom regions of the valley. Now that the pressure systems have done their thing, the fog is actually a few thousand feet up above Alms Park. And that would make sense, right? If everywhere except for the sky directly above me looked gray and hazy, it would appear that there was indeed fog – it was just way up above me :).
A beautiful white flower fights for room among the native vines. I think the vines are from the old vineyards that have gone feral. They’re not breeding for space not for grapes. By early fall the hillside will be a vine blanket.
With the sunrise being on the weak side, and the sky still dark 10 minutes after sunrise, I decided to hop down to Lunken Airfield via Columbia. As it turns out, the weather changed it up a bit and the sky cleared out. By the time I was at Lunken, about half an hour after sunrise, the sun was able to break through some of the larger cumulus clouds that rose out of the horizon. Nothing too impressive, but any color beats an overcast sky :).
Down at Lunken Airfield the clouds break for a few minutes. Still pretty dark out considering it’s close to 7am.
One thing that I find interesting is how much I am enjoying riding through the old neighborhoods in the river basin (map). Every single time I ride through Columbia/Tusculum, East End, and Linwood I find something new. East End is actually pretty big relative to the small sections that are technically Columbia-Tusculum (and even smaller, Linwood). There are so many old buildings that have been re-purposed or sit empty. It is such a fascinating example of three small towns that at one time had their own economy and dense populations, but have since simply turned into quiet residential areas. Some parts lay in abandonment, others are well kept and lush with gardens. I believe it is of critical importance to think about how the construction of Columbia Parkway, the large 4-lane through-way that runs from Downtown Cincinnati to Mariemont and beyond (through East End, Columbia, and Linwood). Now-a-days most of the traffic through this area are local residents trying to get up to Columbia Parkway. The side effect is that River Road provides an excellent bike route to Downtown Cincinnati.
Most young people (transplants) that I know who live in Mt. Lookout and the area have never been through historic East End. But why should they? There are very few businesses other than the bars and restaurants that sit in the small region at the intersection of Delta and Columbia Parkway. The only reason I have explored East End, Columbia, and Linwood is because it is a great place for a quiet bike ride outside of rush hour.
The thing that this really makes me think about, in general, is just how influential the automobile is in the shaping of urban centers. Here’s the thing. I get the impression that the Columbia area and Linwood at one time, maybe fifty years ago, was a shining example of a healthy urban area. The fact that the old Italianate Cincinnati Public Library is located on Eastern Ave is enough to allude to the local culture that at one time supported a healthy art district. Now-a-days the library sits empty. In fact I only know it used to be a library because of the architecture and by talking to local residents. It is well kept and looks beautiful, but I believe it is mostly used as a venue for weddings. There are several schools in the district, one of which is already sitting empty. These structures all date back to sometime in the early part of the last century.
I am continually interested in thinking about the potential future of the area once the Little Miami Bike Path gets connected through to Downtown. In the future of my fantasy world, East End will go through a revitalization that is only possible through the very reason that the businesses left in the first place. Low volume automobile traffic. If Eastern Cincinnati’s young population (and bike culture) continue to grow as they have been in the past few years, I hope a critical threshold will be reached. If there is any place in Cincinnati to settle a “cycling neighborhood” outside of the urban core in Downtown, I think it would be in East End. There seems to be plenty of space (for now), lots of old business buildings, river view, access to many places by bike (Ault & Alms Park, Lunken Airfield Loop, Armleder Park Loop, Northern Kentucky, and Downtown) and history. Oh, by the way, in this fantasy world I’ll be running Eastern Cincinnati’s first brewery (based heavily on bike and urban culture with access to the bike trail) in one of the turn-of-the-century Italianate commercial buildings. I’m calling it now, Dibs!
It’s like a little forgotten section of Eastern Cincinnati. But then again, so many small villages inside the 275 loop have suffered the same fate. At least so many areas in Columbia, Linwood, and East End seem to have a healthy sense of community. There are many run down buildings but only a handful seem to be outright abandoned. I hope no East End residents take offense at my “outsider looking in” perspective.
Today I found the old “East End Bank Building” sitting next to another building that actually had a name. Something like the “Fredrick” or “Douglas” building. Not sure. No pictures, I’ll save it for a more thorough exploration of the area. Both likely from the turn of the century. I’ve rode past them dozens of times now and never noticed them.
Weather changes quickly around here.
Behind me the sky is blue. Large cumulus clouds rise up on the western horizon.
Sunrise 61: Alms Park (Orange Fog, Lunken Overlook)
Beautiful shot of the early-orange sunrise.
The trusty old steed at the overlook landing.
I overheard the weather guy last night say that this week would be hot, wet, and with lots of thunderstorms. To me this means two things: 1) I might get wet out there in the mornings, and 2) Fog!
This morning was the perfect blend of fog and clear skies, with a touch of purple cumulus that showed up just before I left Alms Park. The ride to Alms Park is more steep than Ault Park so I typically save it for a particularly beautiful day, or as was the case today, when I want to get a challenging workout in. I skipped last Friday because there was a storm in the area. But if I am to be honest with myself – I think I just wimped out! We had a late night (Amanda had a softball game down in East End and the after party ended up coasting through the night) and it was dark and wet.
This morning’s trip up to Alms Park was a pleasant one indeed. The fog was thick down in the valley and especially on the right side, looking out over the overlook, where the Ohio River’s fog patch was creeping over into Lunken Airport. The park itself had a hazy mist about it but fortunately it wasn’t enough to drown out the sunrise.
The long climb up to the top of Alms Park, with a bit of mist in the air.
The valley was thick with fog. We can see where the sun is getting ready to break through on the left side, where the sky is starting to take on a pinkish color.
The greenery was lush. Seriously, the Cincinnati forests are so healthy right now after all of this rain. I keep remembering the span between Sunrise 10 and 30 where it seemed almost every single morning was an overcast storm.
This is the “Lunken Overlook”, although it has no official name. The grass lawn is well kept and allows us to see right down into Lunken Airport. At this point in the morning I was surprised to see several runners out jogging around Alms Park. I think Alms Park might get more morning activity than Ault Park, although it probably also has to do with the fact that there is only one road through Alms so it appears to be more compact when in reality Ault Park simply has more room to roam.
The sun has started to rise. A deep orange color is apparent through the thick haze. I found out that my camera has “fixed aperture” that is dependent on the zoom. So the only way for me to “increase” aperture (f-ratio) is to zoom in. Weird in a way, but it does feel nice now that the aperture selection isn’t “random”. I imagine that this is the reason why I am able to get the lines of cloud through this early morning sun.
If you’re on the front page, click to continue —> About 16 pictures total 🙂 (more…)
Sunrise 59: Ault Park (Muggy Orange Sunrise, Baby Mushrooms)
Sometimes you’ve just gotta change your perspective up a bit.
Baby Mushroom, probably came up last night.
This morning’s sunrise was a long slow clear skied one that finished off with beautiful orange accents. The humidity was high today and the valley was full of fog that didn’t show any signs of letting up. This haze caused the atmosphere to stay keep a pink/orange color for most of the early morning. The first ten minutes of sunrise, however, were beautiful. The sun has crept a bit more to the right of the tree line, back towards the center of the valley, which means I get a good view of it earlier than I did even two weeks ago. With the haze hiding the features of the ridge and valley below and also serving a second purpose of keeping the sun’s brightness in check, the sun seemed to just hang in the sky slightly below my eye level.
I think today might be a hot one. If not hot, at least wet and muggy!
Dawn. Super Foggy. Didn’t realize you could see the sun peaking through the trees until I reviewed the picture on my computer!
Overlook. Check out all that fog!
I just love this light pink to blue gradient.
The sun! This picture doesn’t do it justice – the color was a deep saturated magenta red that was easy to look at for the first few minutes of the sunrise.
The sky is starting to take on a bit of orange. I tried not to overdo it with the pictures this morning and enjoy my coffee.
An attempt to capture the gradient of the sidewalk. Pseudo Successful. See the small ants running around? They were on parade this morning down by the lower overlook. I couldn’t get a picture of them because of the low light – they showed up as blurs!
Macro Sidewalk. Jury is still out on how I feel about these. They’re meant to be a kind of textured picture that I can use as a wallpaper but didn’t turn out quite as crisp as I’d like.
This little baby mushroom no doubt pushed up over night. There were three of them coming up through the wet grass. The head is about the size of a dime.
Mushrooms are so neat. They’re almost too perfect in their smooth form and delicate pattern. You’ve gotta catch them within a day of their sprouting and before they’re damaged by rain if you want to get a clean picture.
Final picture of the morning. The ridge in the distance is well hidden indeed! I swear the more I come to Ault Park for sunrise, the more I realize how neat of a vantage point Heekin Overlook is. Where else in Cincinnati can you look “down” into the sunrise across a valley that changes its appearance by the day? As much as I despise prohibition to the core, I am thankful that Ault Park (and the surrounding hills) were never developed further after the fall of the vineyards.
Sunrise 58: Ault Park (Fireworks, Baby Tracks, Sonada Cigars)
My favorite fireworks picture. Turned out nicely.
Gold Fuzzy and Green
This morning’s sunrise was a beautiful hazy one that had a long delay. I believe that I’ve made the mental connection between humidity (manifested as haze) and length of sunrise. The less humidity, the quicker the orange/yellow bright light comes on. On days like today we didn’t get a yellow color until the sun was high into the air, about an hour after sunrise. With the right cloud conditions these late sunrises can make the best picture opportunities! Today was a bit too hazy, the yellow/orange never quite coming into play until the sun was past prime color. I’ve got about 15 or so fireworks pictures at the end of this post. Feel free to skip on through if you want to check them out. About 35 pictures in total today!
The Overlook. A bit of trash that was left over from last night’s festivities. Fast Food containers, old sparklers, wrappers, and even a sealed feminine product. I imagine that was more of a prank than necessity…
A brochure, left behind. There was trash littered all around the trash bins because the raccoons got in and rummaged around. The park crew was busy picking up the debris. I helped out a bit and cleaned up around the overlook.
Plane coming in! The familiar cargo-type plane that I see almost every morning
Sparklers and booty. I scored a new lighter! There was also, interestingly enough, a sunrise metal hunter. He had his scanner out and headphones on, looking for dropped change and who knows what else.
The orange sun starting to come up.
We can see the fog down in the valley. Thick chunky fog.
If you’re on the front page, click to continue. Lots of pictures on fireworks down below. —> (more…)
Sunrise 57: Fripp Island, South Carolina (Purple Puffs of Cumulus, More Island Deer)
We have made it back to Cincinnati after our journey from the West Coast to the East Coast and back! I look forward to starting off my sunrise routine tomorrow morning. In the meantime I wanted to share a final sunrise that my family and I got up for on the final day of our trip to Fripp Island. The sky had beautiful patchy cumulus clouds floating above the horizon with a clear upper atmosphere. I waited about 40 minutes and was able to get my favorite kind of lighting – a bright orange/yellow sky with dark purple shadowy cumulus. Quite by accident I took a few pictures low to the ground and captured some neat silhouetted pictures against the tall sea grass.
Amanda and I are actually on our way out the door to see the Ault Park Fireworks at 10:00pm tonight! I have never taken pictures of fireworks before so I’m going to try and see what I can pull off. If any turn out I’ll include them in tomorrow’s post (assuming my jet lag doesn’t get the best of me!).
First, a few more pictures of the island deer featured on the previous post.
They graze on the beach grass and don’t seem to mind human company
This young buck was curious what I was doing so close to him
This is actually from sunset, but I liked it so much that I thought it would be OK to share here. The pelicans are so majestic and come through in packs ever few minutes. Pat (my sister’s boyfriend) is wondering if he’s about to be the victim of an aerial bombardment. They drop bombs the size of golf balls.
The haze causes the sun to come up in a very dark bulb.
The nice thing about the humidity and haze is that you can stare at the sun for several minutes before it gets too bright.
Hidden behind some small cumulus clouds
For more of the full sunrise, click to continue. About 17 pictures total. ——> (more…)
Sunrise 56: Fripp Island, South Carolina (East Coast Sunrise and Island Deer)
Looking out over the Atlantic Ocean
As our two week trip is coming to an end, I find myself hanging out with my family in Fripp Island, South Carolina. It seems oddly coincidental to find myself, within one week of being on the West Coast, looking out at the sunrise on the East Coast. The only other time that I’ve seen both coasts within a week was back in 2005 (2006?) when I took a road trip to Seattle and back to help move a friend for a spring co-op. If memory holds, we hit Seattle on the third day, stayed a full day, then headed home. The coming weekend I hopped back in the car with a different group of friends and visited some friends in New York City. An exhausting but memorable trip.
The first few pictures out of today’s post are actually of a sunrise from two days ago. We’ve had some late nights which meant getting up for the sunrise (6:20am here – later than Cincinnati because we’re so far south!) with only 2 or 3 hours of sleep. Needless to say, the sunrise mornings have been in moderation on this leg of the trip.
The pelicans fly over this coast of the island in groups of up to 20. They call it “Pelican Highway”. These birds are huge, they flap together as a group, and drop bombs the size of golf balls.
My brother (and his hair) looking out at the ocean. At this point we don’t really know where the sun is going to come up as this is our first sunrise.
As it turned out, the sun came up over to the left. Lesson learned, although this rocky shore picture turned out quit nice about 50 minutes after the official “sunrise”.
A non-widescreen version of the previous picture.
And a close up. Looking back on this picture two days later, I realize that the silhouetted shelter in the center of this picture is actually an absolutely ideal sunrise location.
There is a small population of deer on the island. This small group has been hanging around the house we’re staying in. They’re people friendly and don’t seem to have an ounce of aggression in their body. They’ll eat an apple out of your hand and then follow you around like lost puppies. At sunrise and sunset the typically can be seen making their rounds through the island.
The deer no doubt have been tamed as the island has become developed over the past 200 years. The history of the deer is probably interesting but a quick google search doesn’t give much information. Going back to the 1840s, I find a historical account of a hunting trip to Fripp Island. Back then the deer were no doubt feral and coveted as challenging game. As this post gets associated with “Fripp Island Deer” I hope that some future internet visitor can shed some light on any additional trivia or genetic anomalies.
I’m reminded of a study that I read several months ago about an island population of deer (I think in Alaska) that exploded in population before crashing entirely. The study was performed over several decades and one year the researches returned to the island to find that the deer had gone extinct. I don’t remember the exact details of the study but I believe there are some theories as to minimum deer size necessary for genetic diversity and what exactly caused the die-off of the deer. I’m guessing it had to do with how fast the local vegetation could re-grow in the cold Alaskan climate.
My favorite picture of the deer. The one in the foreground has interesting eyes and sets it out from the others. The other deer have all black eyes but this young buck has a white ring around the outside of the eye. I believe it would be the equivalent of “eye color” in humans.
Another one of the island deer.
I think he’s trying to play croquette.
Now, on to the sunrise.
This morning’s sunrise was beautiful! We recently had a pretty intense storm (although being so close to the island puts us at the advantage of having the ocean winds push back most of the storm so that it stays inland). Up until a day or two ago, there were winds so severe that you almost couldn’t talk without yelling. We thought this was normal, but as it turns out it was just the pressure system building up until the final thunderstorm that cleared the sky. The side effect of this is that the sun rose in a sky almost completely clear of clouds.
Due to the fact that my previous sunrise attempt was met with the realization that we’re not facing exactly east, I set off down the road to try and figure out if there was a location that I could see the sunrise from, without trekking about 400 yards down the rocky beach. I was successful in finding a little shelter that looks directly towards the sunrise. It certainly felt as if the shelter was built with a purpose, and that purpose is to watch the sunrise 🙂
It actually took a few minutes to find the sun. It came up through the haze oh-so-subtly. This boat was heading out for the morning but they must have forgot the beer because they came back about 40 minutes later. Check out the picture toward the end of this post to see the boat coming back in a complementary sunrise shot.
The deep red orange sun coming up over the Atlantic Ocean.
If you’re on the front page, click to continue to see this morning’s sunrise: —-> (more…)
Sunrise 55: Ferry Terminal, San Francisco, California (Sunrise, Sunset)
The rail lines along the bay.
Inside the Ferry Building, heading out to the water
I’m experiencing a bit of withdraw from not taking pictures of the sunrise for three days! We’re out skipping about the West Coast right now so my internal clock has been trying valiantly to get re-adjusted. I tried to get up early yesterday to catch the West Coast Sunrise but my jet-lag caused me to sleep right through the alarm.
We’re staying in a neighborhood in San Francisco called Nob Hill. This morning my alarm didn’t go off correctly (I think I actually disabled the alarm with my face because I slept with my phone under my pillow) so I woke up right at sunrise (5:45am local time). In San Francisco (and any big dense city), as a local girl told us: “We don’t have yards, we have roofs”. There is roof access on the small 4-story bed and breakfast that we’re staying in so I headed up to the top of the building to see what the sunrise looked like. It was indeed a pretty sunrise, but unfortunately the taller buildings close to the bay eclipsed the direct view of the sun. Not satisfied with a simple silhouette, I decided to venture out in to the city by myself to see what I could find.
I thought about catching a bus to the bay (only a 15 minute walk) because it only costs $2 and comes with a transfer that I could use for the return route. I ended up jogging to the Ferry Building down market street. I am lucky to be staying so close to the eastern shore of the island that provides a great viewpoint of the sun.
The streets were bustling by 6:00am when I arrived at the Ferry Building. The ferries were bringing commuters from the other side of the bay by the boatload. I was pleased to find that I didn’t miss the sunrise. While showing up ten minutes earlier would have been ideal, the haze over the water provided a beautiful orange/blue colored sky.
Oh how I love old rail lines. This one is obviously not in use as it has been cemented in.
The seagulls around here are like domesticated cats. They stare back at you. I do not doubt I could walk up and pet them, but to be honest I’m a bit scared to try. I can walk up and stand next to them and they hardly even pay attention to me.
I walked along the rows of piers and watched the merchants set up shop. The “Embarcadero” strip along the bay is a historic gem of the city. One thing that has impressed me so much about San Francisco (not that I should expect differently from such a healthy city) is that they have really gone out of their way to not only preserve so much historic relics from the past, but also actively use them in daily business. While there are plenty of modern “hybrid” buses in the city, the early 1950s rail cars are heavily used for daily commuters.
Pier 27, a public fishing pier
Looking at Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill from Pier 27
Pier 27 looking out at the Bay
We’re off to go check out the Anchor Steam Brewery. Stay tuned for more sunrises, I hope this isn’t the last 🙂
These hills do wonders for leg muscles.
Here are some pictures from the sunset two nights ago. These are down by Fisherman’s Wharf, close to Chrissy Field looking West across the bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge.
The sun has slipped behind the mountains. You can see the Golden Gate Bridge, just barely, on the left in the distance
The Trolley Turnaround at sunset.
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 53: Ault Park & Lunken #3 (Pink Dawn & Airplanes)
A plane prepares to land at Lunken Airfield down below.
Sunrise over the Airplanes @ Lunken Playfield (Full Circle!)
When I left the apartment this morning to head up to Ault Park I could tell it was going to be a good morning. My legs were feeling strong, the sky was starting to light up with a purple hue, and the air was brisk and comfortable. I actually wore a light sweatshirt this morning to fend off the 55F temperature. After the heat streak of last week (we were up around 95F) this cooler temperature is greatly appreciated.
The sun has just started to crest behind the trees
The dawn sky took on a pinkish hue that peaked just as the sun crested over the horizon. The sunrise was a quick one. It seemed as though the “climax” was just after sunrise, within about 10 minutes. The few minutes leading up to the actual sunrise were marked with bright skies and deep purple atmosphere. On mornings like this you want to get up 20 minutes earlier and catch the sunrise from both ends. I’m not sure how to predict ahead of time what kind of sunrise you’re going to get, but if you want to be sure just show up early 🙂
Armleder Park – Look ma, no fog!
A vertical shot capturing the color of the upper atmosphere
Believe it or not, the sunrise colors had faded by 6:20am to a light mix of yellow, orange, and pink. I was impressed with the dramatic display of colors so soon after sunrise time and decided to try my luck down at Lunken Airfield, doing the same loop (via Eastern Ave) that I mapped out yesterday. We’ll call this “Lunken #3” – a pattern I hope to keep up.
Looking out at Heekin Overlook
At 6:24am, about 12 minutes after sunrise, I took off from the overlook to knock out the third run of the so-called ‘Eastern Lunken Loop’. I didn’t know if I was going to do the entire loop (heading all the way down to the Ohio River Launch Club on the Ohio River) but I was curious how quickly I could get to Lunken from Alms Park without stopping, and how much time it would take to get back to Mt. Lookout Square.
I arrived at Lunken Airfield at 6:35am. The trip from Heekin Overlook to Lunken Airfield was uninterrupted as I ignored my own advice from yesterday and didn’t stop to take a picture of Linwood Public School.
For the rest of the story, and if you’re on the front page, click here –> (more…)
Sunrise 52: Ault Park (Lunken Loop #2: Marina, Barges, Airplanes)
A shot through the trees and the billowing smoke.
Perhaps my favorite sunrise picture of the morning. The airplane, having just taken off from Lunken Airfield, heading off into the sunrise.
Up the East/West runway down at Lunken Airfield. Not a single plane took off while I was there.
Looking up river around the bend. There goes the barge.
This morning’s sunrise was a bright one. It was one of the classic spring mornings where the fog is thick across the valley and the sky is mostly clear. I got up a bit late so I arrived at Heekin Overlook just as the sun was coming up. As I’ve mentioned previously I don’t actually have a direct view of the sunrise any more from Ault Park, due to how far to the left the sun has moved as we approach Summer Solstice. After June 21 the sun will revert back along the path to the east, eventually aligning once more with the Ault Park Pavilion. It is possible now that I think about it that the Pavilion might be aligned with the Winter Solstice (December 20-21), as that would be a point when the sun would be much further to the right (looking out at the Little Miami River Valley). I’ll have to make a mental note of that.
I unfortunately won’t be in Cincinnati during the summer solstice. Amanda and I are taking a trip out west through San Fransisco and Sacramento California. I hope to get some sunrise pictures (depending on our schedule and where we’re at) along the way. I *definitely* intend to get a sunrise for Summer Solstice but I’ll have to wait until next week to find a vantage point.
This morning would have been a great time to be at the Overlook 20 minutes before the sunrise. The haze was doing two main things to the sun light. First, it was scattering the rays throughout the sky, causing the twilight atmosphere to light up substantially prior to the sunrise. The second thing was that it was also blocking most of the orange / yellow light, so the early morning sky had a bright pink / purple-ish tint to it.
I spent the first 20 minutes after sunrise in Ault Park. After watching the sun come up, and peering down into the valley at the thick foggy layer, I decided that I wanted to try out, for the second time, the new route that I “created” that takes me from Heekin Overlook to Lunken Airfield to the “Marina” to Alms Park and back to Mt. Lookout. I was feeling up to task of knocking out the 9 mile loop in under an hour. I am considering adding this route to the daily (or psuedo-daily) morning ritual. I think it would be neat to start at Ault Park, do the loop, and take pictures at the same landmarks along the way. It would be an extension to the existing Ault Park Sunrise project. The landmarks along the way would be:
- Ault Park – Heekin Overlook
- Linwood Public School – at the base of the hill under Ault Park
- Lunken Airfield – the bench looking out at the sunrise over the airfield
- Wilmer / Carrel Trail – the railroad art monument
- The Ohio River Launch Club – the marina out on the Ohio River
- Alms Park – Lunken Airfield Overlook
There are many other smaller, or auxiliary, landmarks along the way. Cemeteries, churches, the airport terminal, historic homes and old industry. In fact it would be neat to make an Android or iPhone App that provided drop-dead simple ways to “check in” and upload a picture at each landmark. A kind of collaborative urban cycling picture project. There is enough diversity along the route, and it is relatively quick with low traffic, that I think a lot of people would enjoy riding it. Here’s a map of the route: Ault Park -> Lunken Airfield -> Ohio River Launch Club -> Alms Park
Speaking of bike routes, yesterday marked a new achievement for me. I biked to the University of Cincinnati’s Campus from Mt. Lookout. Google Maps provided me with a route that skipped most of the major roads and was almost entirely urban residential. It was an awesome, if not exhausting, experience. I’ve mapped the route (one-way) on mapmyrun. Mt. Lookout to the University of Cincinnati via Fairfax/Lincoln Ave. The way to campus took about 35 minutes and was, to my surprise, almost entirely uphill. The ride back, however, was fun and more than made up for any discomfort from the ride in the opposite direction. Almost entirely downhill (slight grade mostly), I was able to get home in about 20 minutes and for the most part maintain a decent speed on par with the light traffic. The traffic was almost non-existant in the morning when I left, and on the way back (around 4:30pm) there was moderate traffic but because 80% of the route is through residential areas, traffic was mostly at a minimum.
On the the sunrise.
The smoke / fog over on the left was obscuring the sun.
If you’re on the front page, click to continue. Linwood Public + Lunken + Marina —-> (more…)
Sunrise 51: Ault Park (Black Eyed Susan & The Dentist)
My favorite picture of the morning.
This morning was a quick trip up to the park! 6 months ago I made a dentist appointment for June 13 2011. I was feeling a bit masochistic so with a bite of dark humor I scheduled the appointment for as early as possible – 7:00am. “Haha that’ll be a surprise for my future self” I thought as I scheduled the morning visit. Deep down I was doing myself a favor by providing a reason to get up early on that fateful summer day. Fast forward six months and I find myself in the middle of project Ault Park Sunrise. How ironic it is, then, that my morning ritual had to be cut short so that I could make it to the Dentist. I’d like to think that my 6-month-younger self would have been pleased (and quite shocked) at my creative early morning ritual.
The clouds are starting to light up ahead of the sun
I arrived at the park a bit early this morning. The sunrise was scheduled for 6:11am (we’re approaching summer solstice – the earliest sunrise of the year!) and I arrived at around 6:05am. I realized that as the sun has started coming up earlier and earlier in the past few weeks, I haven’t been adjusting my arrival time at the same interval. The dawn sky this morning was a perfect reminder of how part of the excitement of the sunrise comes from watching the light unfold across the clouds. It is hard to tell what kind of a show you’re going to get so you really just have to watch it happen.
There were some great light dynamics going on at the top edge of the cloud bank
Too bad I won’t get to stay until the end.
The sky this morning was clear and blue except for the cloud bank lying over the horizon. I was only able to stay for 20 minutes so I ended up leaving the park before the sun came up over the clouds. It would have been a good delayed sunrise, though, because the clouds were starting to light up nicely and there was some high contrast between the sky and earth. It was one of the mornings where the perfect time to watch the sun come up is about 40 minutes after sunrise. With all the recent storm activity I wasn’t quite sure what the morning sky would be like.
A peaceful shot of Lunken airport. No fog today!
For more pictures (and flowers) click to continue if you’re on the front page –> (more…)
Sunrise 50: Ault Park (Hot & Rainy)
This morning was just all around a hard time for me! I forgot to make my coffee last night, so that was the first thing that went wrong. I was up a bit late – which wasn’t that big of a deal – but paired with the group ride in the heat last night (we did a 20 milers out through Indian Hill) I was beat.
Pink Hazy Sunrise at Ault Park
There really wasn’t too much to report about Sunrise 50 which is a bit disappointing I suppose. I fell asleep twice at the overlook (haha). The sky was misty and gray, and there was small spits of rain and distant rumblings of thunder. A young couple sat down at the bench next to me and probably wondered what was up with the cyclist that couldn’t stay awake.
There wasn’t much fog down in the valley, and overall it was warm and wet.
The park crew was busy setting up for the big event this weekend, the Concours d’Elegance Car Show. There were tents all over the park in preparation for the several hundred (thousand?) attendants coming from all over to see the fancy old cars. I probably won’t be making it, personally, but if you’re into classic rare cars definitely check it out. You can get tickets online until 10:00pm Saturday night.
Also check out this new local website, venture pax. I haven’t used it much yet but it looks like a great resource for finding local bike routes, places for hiking, fishing, etc.
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 47: Ault Park (More Spring Blooms & Scented Geranium Garden)
Orange Bloom. Love the center of it.
A harvestman. I love his white and black pattern.
This morning was another beautiful sunrise in the Cincinnati Valley. The sun seemed to come up about 10 minutes late from the scheduled time, something that bothers me when I think too hard about it but I know can’t be possible. In fact I didn’t even see the sun until about 6:25 due to the haze in the sky. By the time it made itself visible it wasn’t even that far above the horizon. Weird…
Looking at Armleder Park through the shallow mist.
Purple Sunrise through the clouds
A deep orange/red sunrise through the haze
I decided to stay in Ault Park this morning and enjoy the clear sunrise. With my recent bouts of wanderlust I haven’t had a great chance to get pictures in that small window that occurs after the sun is above the horizon but before it gets so bright that you can’t stare directly into it.
Lookin’ at the layers of fog across the trees.
There is a small period of time, maybe 3 minutes, where the sky sheds the red/orange hue and takes on a brilliant orange gradient. Soon the sun light becomes strong enough to hurt the eyes and any pictures featuring the sun will be washed out. It is hard to guess when this window will occur, but that’s half the fun. On morning like today when the sky is clear but the humidity is high, the window occurred about 25 minutes after sunrise. On an overcast or foggy day, that window might not be for 45 minutes to an hour after the sunrise. On a low humidity day with no clouds, the window could be as early as 8 minutes after sunrise.
As I was standing at the overlook taking a final picture before the sun became too bright, two things happened in a row that provided perfect picture opportunities. The first thing was that a crew of canadian geese flew right into the sunrise as I happened to have the camera on and ready to go. About 10 seconds behind them came the familiar jet that took off from Lunken also into the sunrise. I’ve seen this jet probably 5 times now, sometimes I refer to it as the jet “with the wing tips folded up or down”. I think it is an old WWII jet but I’m not certain. I wonder where it has traveled to since I saw it last week.
Once the sun light started to become more intense I realized that it was another perfect morning for checking out the spring flowers. This time I ventured down into the arboretum along the tree-lined sidewalk.
If you’re on the front page, click to continue and see more pictures –> (more…)
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.
If you’re on the front page, click to continue! —> (more…)
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.
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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 40: Ault Park (Achievement Unlocked! and Alms Park Sunset #3 with Mountainous Cumulus Clouds)
The sunset from last night; a fitting picture for the 40th sunrise write-up considering today’s overcast stormy conditions provided a non-existent morning sun
I made it! This morning was officially the 40th sunrise that I documented in Eastern Cincinnati. I’ve been thinking about this morning for the past few days, wondering what if anything I could do as a special tribute to the milestone. At first I started big. I considered waking up an hour early and driving over to Devou Park in Cincinnati to take a nice “capstone” sunrise picture of the Cincinnati Skyline and sunrise over the Ohio River. But I realized that heading up to Devou Park, while a powerful sentiment indeed, was too far outside the context of normalcy for this project. All 40 sunrises, except for the flying pig marathon day, had two things in common: Eastern Cincinnati and my bike. I decided that the most appropriate sunrise this morning would be one where I went back to the roots of the project and reflected on the past 40 days. The morning ended up being overcast and gray anyway. I grabbed my coffee and a notebook and rode up to the park. Oh yeah, I also made a facebook page. “Like” it if you want to, I’m not exactly sure what to use it for yet.
Oh, one more thing. The last half of this post has pictures from Alms Park sunset last night. The sky was busy all day yesterday (as I learned from the sunrise fronts). Last night was no different, but as the sun set and the air-cooled, the towering cumulus clouds looked like mountains on the distant horizon.
This morning was gray and overcast. A fitting environment for writing and looking back on the last 40 sunrises.
I’ll be down there this weekend for the Memorial Day Race 5K. Amanda designs the shirts 🙂 Put on by the Cincinnati Running Club. Amanda is running, I’m volunteering. We’ve got some friends coming into town who are probably going to run it too!
The sunrise this morning was gray and non-existent. I chose to focus most of my time on writing some of my thoughts that have been bouncing around throughout the extent of this project. I’d like to go back and look at various statistics relating to the project, but for now I don’t have time before heading in to work. Number of pictures, bike shots, words, words / day (I seem to have got more chatty as the project went along), traffic statistics, grouping pictures together by color, looking at the overlook picture time-lapse, etc. The sky stayed the same color, a muted gray, throughout the entire morning. The ambient light drifted about until it was darker when I left the park than when I got there, or so it seemed.
Good old Lunken Airport in the distance, looking south/west
Zoom of Lunken Airfield. See the green break in the forest at the end of the runway, in the middle of the picture? Where the green grass looks like it jumps up into the trees? That’s where I saw the sunrise yesterday morning on the bike trail. I didn’t realize you could see it from here.
The first thing I did was look at some of the original goals of the project to see where they stand now. Looking back on the project it is interesting to see various themes slowly start to gain momentum. At the beginning of the project, I took fewer pictures with fewer words. I focused a lot more on my immediate surroundings in the park. The flowers, mushrooms, views, bike, bench, trees, sky, rain, birds. As the sunrises continued, and I became familiar with the Heekin Overlook, I started to venture out a bit more. I explored the arboretum, the pavilion, the trails, and the blossoming cherry trees. Eventually I broke out of the boundary of the park and started exploring more of the neighborhoods. The first taste of inquiry looks to be the morning I looked at the old Bell Systems building on Delta Venue. That fateful day that I found the Crusade Castle can be viewed as the day when a shift was made into exploring not just “look what is around” but “look what is left over from another era”. This active history theme led to several “Saturday Explorations”, including the trip to Armleder Park through East End, and R.K. LeBlond Estate & Norwood Industry Hunt. I also used this theme to turn historic inquiry back at the familiar things in Ault Park, including the search for Murdock Fountains (ongoing…) and the World War I memorial bench.
So back to some of the original goals of the project. How did I do?
- 40 sunrises in Eastern Cincinnati. Check! This is the most basic and important goal – and it feels absolutely incredible to know that I did it without compromise. I missed only two weekly sunrises – one due to a viewing and one due to an active electrical storm. On both days I was able to still write a post up using other material.
- Explore the parks and the city. Check! This is evident throughout the entire project. Both of these goals are far from complete, but I have made significant progress both in the appreciation of the Queen City’s Emeralds and the city herself.
- Create a new routine, new habits. Check! Looking back, the first half of this project was much harder than the second half even though I put more effort into the second half with all of the research and extra miles put on the bike. I’m also waking up early on my days off – something that I didn’t think was possible until this project started.
- Appreciate more detail in every day. Check! Carpe Diem personified. I hope I’ve started something that will continue throughout the rest of my life.
- Become more comfortable on my bike. Check! By my guess I’ve put close to 200 miles on the bike just accounting for the daily ride, and another 300 miles with the extra exploration. I’ve also gone through a new tire, new crank, and new pedals.
- Kill Over-sleeping. While I am still susceptible to over-sleeping I have a new control system imposed on it that is working as long as I have accountability for the sunrises. This is the entire reason the project website exists. Mostly Check!
It is worth noting that this is the first time in my entire life that I have consistently waken up before 6:30am with only a single exception that I can remember. When I was in seventh grade (fifteen years ago) I would routinely wake up at 5:30am to watch The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest. Strangely, there must have been a kind of personality shift that happened during the summer between seventh and eighth grade because I never did continue this “morning person” routine. For me, it is of great personal accomplishment that I was able to complete these 40 days of morning wake ups. It proves (to me) that I can accomplish something drastic and life changing. Any time I come up against such a challenge in the future, I can think back to project Ault Park Sunrise and remember the feeling of balance and satisfaction that this project has given me.
There are several things that have changed in my daily routine that I can directly attribute to this project.
- Mornings are now much easier than before
- I now go to bed at a reasonable (and consistent) time
- — which enables me to get excellent sleep most of the time
- I’ve started reading before bed more consistently. Although I don’t typically get very far, I fall asleep without issue
- My legs are much stronger. I feel like a mountain climbing machine.
- I have a much higher cardio capacity. I imagine I could run 10 miles with my feet pain being the only constraint.
- I’ve consumed less beer overall, and more craft beer. This is important to me. I rarely have more than two beers at a time during the week, and I enjoy them thoroughly because I’m able to focus on quality over quantity. This reminds me of Ben Franklin’s thirteen virtues that I often find myself thinking about.
- I notice with a much higher sensitivity when my diet gets messed up. Bloating and fatigue from eating fried food or too much food is immediately apparent the next day. I don’t mean to be snobbish, because my diet is far from perfect, but I am happy to know that I am becoming more in tune with my body’s natural cycles and energy.
- I have more energy overall – I am no longer fatigued after a 20 miles bike ride. In fact I have more energy it feels like.
- I’ve played way less PlayStation 3. I attribute this more to good allocation of free time, and less to a dwindling desire for playing video games.
- Purpose-driven creativity. This project has provided an outlet for daily creativity in writing, research, photography, and/or human interactions.
- I’ve met many local neighborhood citizens and learned about several new perspectives on life. I’ve always been comfortable talking to strangers (a natural gift I imagine) and making them feel comfortable – this project has allowed me to improve on this skill
- A higher threshold of overall creativity. This project, from the beginning, has grown into several new directions while still maintaining much of the original framework laid out by the constraints (sunrise, Ault Park, bike, convenient and quick).
- I am more comfortable with my writing and understand a bit more about my strengths and weaknesses.
- I’ve learned a lot about flower and tree identification thanks to the feedback I’ve received on this blog from several friends. Thanks guys 🙂
One thing that stands out to me is just how quickly these 40 mornings have gone by. 40 is a big number. I remember thinking, at the beginning of the project, that perhaps it was too big of a number. Could I even do it? I can’t do 3 sunrise mornings, how can I do 40? By having the days numbered and also having this journal to look back at my daily logs is a new thing for me. I can remember each sunrise going by and recall each individual memory. And yet here we are, 40 days later, on the other side of the project. The sun has shifted far to the left from where it started, it rises 65 minutes earlier, and the trees that started the project naked are now flush with their summer green. The quickness in which the time seemed to have passed during the life of this project has better prepared me to take advantage of as much as I can of the finite days I have left in the future. I’ve always known that there was peace in the mornings but I couldn’t figure out how to make it real. Sure, it is annoying to get up early. I have to go to bed at an “unreasonable” time (although at this point I’m completely exhausted so it is no longer unreasonable). I can’t drink a beer after 10pm. This commitment requires planning and foresight and a real effort to put the pictures online and write up an entry. But in the end, the payoff is several multiples more than any discomfort. Hell, I could do this all day!
A final thing I want to add is that exploring an area on a bike is a modern experience that everyone should at least try once. There is nothing else like it. By exploring in my local vicinity, I am able to piece together local history and cause-and-effect theories that are familiar enough to store in my head easily. In any human inhabitance, there are remnants of days-gone-by. From the buildings to the artifacts, memorials to the water fountains, churches to the headstones. The higher the human density of an area, the deeper the web of interconnectedness. It makes me wonder how fulfilling it would be to do a “sunrise project” in an old, small, midwestern farm town with a deep history but a limited space to explore it. A complete picture (or at least a well-rounded one) of the history of the town may be more attainable because there would be fewer human sub-cultures, systems, booms, and industries.
So what’s next? Hard to say at this point. I’ve had a blast with this project so far so at this point at a minimum I’m going to keep up the morning ritual and write-ups. Perhaps I’ll start to become a bit more socially-oriented and try to recruit more people to meet me up at the park, although that might be a stretch. Now that the 40 sunrises are up, I am also free to explore different sets of constraints. I gave some thought to doing a Lunken Airfield sunrise week after the beautiful atmospheric conditions down on the bike trail, but that might be asking a lot considering how grueling it is getting back up the hill. I’ve also thought about picking different places around the city and traveling there to do the sunrise, as opposed to what I do now – start at Ault Park and then venture out into the city if I have the time.
I’ve also got a host of interesting places to check out on the East Side. I’d be lying if I haven’t kicked around the idea of doing a kind of city bike tour (thanks for the idea, Tara!). To really make it work it would be nice to have a set of wireless radios that clip to your helmet. It’d also be a kid of bring your own bike situation so I’m not sure if there would be any interest in it.
When I get the time I’m also going to post up detailed explanation of my workflow in case anyone else would be interested in doing a project like this on their own. You need nothing other than a camera and a computer. The script that I’ve written to process and name the pictures takes most of the busywork out of the ordeal. I now spend 85% of my time at the computer writing these posts rather than messing with naming, resizing, and re-orienting the pictures. It also puts a copyright notice on each image.
Thank you to everyone who has followed this project, no matter how big or small. This project is largely a personal feat, but I’d be lying to say that it doesn’t help immensely with the motivational drive knowing that there are other people out there that check in every once in awhile to see the pictures and read my crazy rambles.
Here’s to 40 more 🙂
Some pictures from last night’s Alms Park Sunset. I felt it was fitting to have the 40th sunrise post also include beautiful pictures of the setting sun.
Two days ago I mentioned how it would be nice to get the Columbia Tusculum homes in the setting sun light. I find myself in this exact situation just two days later. For the rest of the sunset pictures – and if you’re on the front page – click to continue –> (more…)