My attempt to document 40 sunrises in Eastern Cincinnati. Spring 2011.

Posts tagged “sunrise

Sunrise 39: Lunken Airfield (Magnificent Blue Front, Sunny Alms Park)

After visiting Lunken Airfield yesterday morning, I thought that it would be nice to mix it up and try to catch the sunrise on the bike path that circles the airport. I set my alarm for 5:50am, giving myself about 25 minutes with a snooze to get down to Lunken. The sky had a shine of light orange and a mix of clouds so I wasn’t sure if it would be a worthwhile endeavor or not. There was the chance that there would be thick fog and I wouldn’t even be able to see the sky from down in the river basin at the airport. I decided the risk was worth it and headed down the mountain to the pre-glacial Ohio River valley where Lunken Airport snuggly sits underneath the Alms Park lookout.

On the right of the Lunken Terminal there is a levee that runs south along the western side of the air field. On top of the levee is the first leg of the 5 mile bike trail. There is a thick line of trees on either side of the trail. To the inside of the trail, the airfield side, there are several generous cutouts in the forest that allow you to look head on into the three main runways. There are also several groups of benches, both at the beginning of the trail and at the back corner of the trail, that provide a great resting place to watch planes come in and take off.

As I approached t the airfield I decided to pass the first set of benches that I sat at yesterday morning to continue about a mile down the trail to the benches that sit snugly at the south west corner of the field. The runway that intersects those benches is known as the “jet runway” so I was hoping to see some commuter jets come in or take off over me. I didn’t realize at the time that the sun would no longer be head on.

Approaching final set of benches at the jet runway

Dark Morning; Runway Lights

The lights that I can see from Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook – up close. Check out the Madeira apartment building in the background. That sucker is far away but you can see it anywhere on the east side if you look for it.

If you’re on the front page, click to continue. Beautiful shots of the blue cumulus skies that showed up a bit later –> (more…)


Sunrise 38: Ault Park & Lunken Airfield (Fog, Cumulus, Columbia-Tusculum, and a Clear Sunrise)

Behind Lunken Airfield after sunrise

This morning was downright beautiful. I woke up to a respectable fog in the area, something that always makes me excited for the morning ride. As I rode up to the park, I noticed that the air got more clear the further I went. This is an interesting trend I’ve picked up on – Mt. Lookout seems to get more fog than the peak of the overlook. Whether this is due to elevation (200ft difference), temperature, or wind I’m not sure.

Approaching the park

As I approached the park, the sky started to turn a familiar shade of orange. The sunset last night was marked with clear skies so I was hopeful that this morning’s sunrise would be the same. I wasn’t disappointed.

Foggy Dawn

Down in the Little Miami River valley the familiar thick fog was present. But there was an interesting difference this morning over the previous mornings. While the Eastern sky (towards the sunrise) was clear, and the fog was present throughout the entire valley, there was actually a thick low-lying cloud bank to the west. This caused a kind of dark floor to the sky over the lunken to the west.

The moon, out again and high in the air.

The pink cumulus over Lunken Airfield

The cloud bank provided this nice contrast against the upper cumulus clouds. They glowed a light pink at the opposite end of the arena from the sunrise. They also quickly disappeared as the moving cloud bank swept underneath them.

If you’re on the front page, click to continue reading! –> (more…)


Sunrise 37: Ault Park (Post-Storm Sunrise, Grassy Meadow & Young Berries)

I woke up this morning at 5:55am and hit the snooze button. I should have taken notice when my alarm first went off and I couldn’t hear it; perhaps snoozing wasn’t the best idea. We had a floor fan turned on that was generating lots of white noise, perfect for sleeping but not perfect for hearing a phone alarm on the lowest volume setting. I woke up in a fury at 6:21am, 3 minutes past sunrise. Was I too late?

Last night we had a behemoth of storms come through at around 8:00pm. Tornadoes were spotted in the sky up north and roofs were blown off of restaurants. I was actually out biking last night, likely feeling the itch after staying inside during the electrical armageddon of yesterday morning, and got up in the storm. Nothing gets the old legs pumping faster up the hills than running from a mega-storm. I was actually down by Lunken Airport last night when I noticed the dark thunder head rolling in from the west. My sister-in-law took a great picture of the storm moving about 50 miles up north in Dayton, OH:

I actually almost got blown off the bike a few times as I was cranking up the 250ft accent from the river basin to Mt. Lookout.

Back to the morning wakeup. I leaped out of bed and threw on my clothes. I looked outside – a light gray sky indicating a possible overcast scenario. Good! I thought. At least I won’t miss anything! I was out the door by 6:24am.

As I pushed up to the park, I noticed how sweet the air smelled. It wasn’t raining by now, and in fact the atmosphere and ambient lighting was getting brighter by the minute. The air had that after-rain smell to it, (I recently learned this is called petrichor) and the trees were still dripping. As I climbed the hill, I noticed that the sky had started to burst open in a light orange color. I pedaled as quickly as I could, mentally kicking myself for not being more prepared for a perfect “after-storm” sunrise. I’ve been noticing a lot of incoming google hits for phrases relating to “the sky after a storm” and “kinds of clouds after a storm” so I realized that this could be a great sunrise that I didn’t want to miss.

The bright orange sunrise. Little did I know that it wouldn’t last long. If you’re on the front page, click to continue –> (more…)


Sunrise 36: Ault Park (RK LeBlond Factory, United States Printing Company and Playing Card Company, Murdocks, and much more)

This morning was the first time I have “skipped” a sunrise. By means of coincidental timing and a wife who wishes me to stay intact and electrically solvent, I stayed in bed while the electrical Armageddon took place outside our window at exactly 6:00am. I was considering hopping on my lightly isolated steel lightning rod and riding up to the top of the mountain but I’m grateful that Amanda made the call without me having to :). The timing of the morning storm was impeccable, at 5:30am I had woken up early, noting that the rain that passed through at 3:00am had stopped. But by the time sunrise approached, a new front rolled through the area and brought with it intense electrical behavior, including several thunderous cracks that lit up someone’s tree in the immediate vicinity. I opted instead to finish writing the article from Saturday, Sunrise 36, which involves my most adventurous exploration yet. Knowing that I would still have a post to make for today made it that much easier to not venture out into the chaos.

Fair warning – lots of pictures here, sorry if it slows down your computer!

I got up with the sun on Saturday morning and went exploring around the area, this time deciding to venture north a bit. The only real item on the agenda for the morning was getting up to the Rookwood Pavilion and seeing what I could find out first hand about the remnants of the old R.K. LeBlond factory. I found out about the history behind the factory after exploring the St. Ursula Villa, which was LeBlond’s old estate. I had heard that the old industrial site had sits at what is now the Rookwood Pavilion, a shopping area developed in the mid 1990s. The developers, as it turned out, were respectful enough to keep the old factory and “smoke stack” intact. The factory building itself is now a Don Pablo’s Mexican Grill. I also explored the now-defunct rail line that runs to the south of the pavilion as well as the grassy “urban prairie” to the north of the shopping district that at one time was a small neighborhood that succumbed to the “eminent domain” of over-zealous developers whose plans have themselves succumbed to the recent recessionary period. I continued north up small residential connectors into territory I’ve never explored by car or bike, and stumbled onto the beautifully grandiose “United States Printing Company” and the “United States Playing Card Company”, a building that surprisingly enough was even more impressive.

The Sunrise

After the break in the overcast weather by the great sunrise Friday morning, I was hoping for another colorful morning at the overlook. The morning sunrise was marked with a haze in the atmosphere and a light layer of upper atmosphere clouds. Once again a thick layer of fog had settled down into the valley, causing me to consider altering my proposed “RK LeBlond Exploration” in favor of a southern valley exploration. I have been meaning to take pictures of Lunken Airport and a morning with thick fog and a clear morning sun would provide some fantastic lighting opportunities. In the end I saved this for another day, although I put off making a decision about it for another hour or so – wondering if I could in fact do both.

If you’re on the main page, click to continue. 100+ pictures in total today –> (more…)


Sunrise 35: Ault & Alms Park (Foggy Streets, Clear Skies!, Neenah Foundry and More Murdock Fountains)

When I first woke up this morning, 25 minutes before sunrise because I forgot to brew my coffee last night, I was a bit disappointed. The sky was a dark shade of gray, typically indicating that the sun is blocked by a cloud bank (or even worse, an entire overcast sky). I should have known, however, because the “bird report” was in full swing at 5:45am, loud enough to wake us up! After brewing my coffee I set out on the Trek 4000 for the morning. When I walked out onto the front sidewalk, however, I realized that there was a substantial amount of fog in the air. It is always a surprise to see the fog – the best kind of surprise I might add 🙂 Biking in the fog (especially now that I have my new planet bike led light) is always so much fun, particularly in low-traffic hilly residential areas like on the route to Ault Park! As I would soon find out, this morning ended up being the long awaited, eight-days-in-the-making, soul-refreshing, sunrise morning. I haven’t had a post on here with the sun in it since last week and while I do love exploring random historical artifacts in the area, being able to take pictures of the morning sun is a welcome change from the routine of the past few days 🙂

The patchy foggy climb to the park

As I made my way up to the top of the hill, I started to notice a change in the atmosphere. It seemed that the higher up the hill I got, the more clear the air became. As I came up above the crest, into the entrance to the park, I started to see signs of great things to come. The sky up ahead was turning a light orange color and I could actually see a low lying cloud through the trees.

Foggy Valley; dawn.

Foggy Valley; Armleder Park

The sky is just starting to turn orange. If you’re on the front page, please continue by clicking! –> (more…)


Sunrise 30: Ault Park (Low Lying Cumulus, More Murdock Fountains)

click for higher quality!

This morning made for a nice quick trip up to the park. I was kind of exhausted from my longest ride of the year that I partook in last night. Starting at Element Cycles the weekly group ride did 30 miles, including two “valley hill” climbs (as if once wasn’t enough! 😉 ). We went out through Milford and Indian Hill before looping back around to Hyde Park. I wasn’t nearly as exhausted as the first ride I did a few weeks ago, and I definitely attribute that to this project for helping me get into shape.

The air this morning was dense but not nearly as thick as it was yesterday. There were small patches of fog down in the valley but compared to the cloudy layer I explored yesterday, I would almost call it a clear day! After Saturday, Friday is my favorite day of the week to visit the park in the morning. More people seem to have Friday off work so there is usually more foot traffic – runners, dog walkers, and bikers. I met two different people this morning that recognized me from this week’s article in the Eastern Hills Journal. I was quite surprised actually! It feels good to know that local people that I don’t know are enjoying the project.

click for higher quality!The “overlook timelapse” shot. Much more clear than yesterday!

click for higher quality!The sunrise this morning started off quiet and dark, but with the open atmosphere above the thick low lying fog bank, I knew that patience would pay off this morning.

click for higher quality!Armleder Park, where I explored yesterday morning. You can see that it is clearing up nicely. The shelter sits right in the middle of the park, and the small paved forest bench where I found the coyote tracks is located directly in the center of the picture, you can see where there is a straight path starts at the shelter and goes at about “10:00”, across the paved loop, and into the forest.

click for higher quality!About ten minutes after sunrise, the sky started to lighten up and the upper atmospheric clouds began to illuminate

click for higher quality!The “Delayed Sunrise”, about 25 minutes after true sunrise. If you’re on the front page, click to continue -> (more…)


Sunrise 29: Ault & Armleder Park (Fog in the Prairie, Linwood Public School, Our Lady of Loretta, Murdock Fountains)

click for higher quality!This weather is just too beautiful. I keep having these visions of getting up for the sunrise, taking some pictures and getting them online in a half hour, and then starting off work at around 7:30am so that I can be done early and enjoy the evening. But once again, I found myself in a unique spring morning filled with densely packed fog sitting down in the Little Miami river valley.

A note on productivity before I continue. I waited to post this until lunch time because this morning I had a realization that would boost my “wordpress productivity” by 3-fold. I already have a python script I wrote to process the images, resize them, put “(c) ault park sunrise” on the bottom, re-orient if necessary, and ask me what the file should be named. That helps a ton and has been great so far. The main problem with taking too many pictures is that wordpress, as great as it is, is kind of clunky when it comes to adding pictures to a post. You have to do like 4 clicks, each taking a few seconds to load, for every single picture. It can be monotonous and frustrating if I’m running late. In a flash of ingenuity I realized this morning that I can add raw html to the wordpress post (I never really use that feature), so what I did was throw in a simple command at the end of the script that dumps out html that I can copy and paste (since the script already knows the image filenames) directly into the posting to insert all the pictures at once. I wrapped that feature up at lunch time and I’m happy to say it seems to work. I’ll publish it soon if anyone else is interested in using it, it really takes the technical annoyances out of this project so I can focus on other, more important things, like biking, history, and pictures 🙂

click for higher quality!Notice the ridges you can barely see in the background.

click for higher quality!Super Fog

As I left my apartment I noticed that there was a slight haze to the air, a bit more than usual, but nothing close to what I would call fog. As I approached the overlook, however, I realized that the entire river valley was completely submerged in a thick blanket of fog, no doubt caused by the proximity to the swollen little miami river. I imagine that the Ohio River is just as foggy and the view from Alms Park would have been incredible. Seeing as how I didn’t have much to look at up at the overlook, and that even the fog was hard to capture correctly without the picture turning out drab and dreary, I decided that it would be a fun exercise to see if I could “catch the fog”, so to speak, by climbing down the mountain (280ft decent over about .8 miles) and attempting to, for the first time, figure out a way to get to Armleder Park on my bike. As it turns out I got sucked back up into some more history, after the historical vineyard ride from Sunday; a trend likely to continue. If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. If nothing else check out the pictures after the fog broke a bit – towards the bottom. (more…)


Sunrise 28: Ault Park (Mushrooms, Aphid Farming Ants, and Lady Bugs)

When I left our apartment this morning, the first thing that hit me was how the “thunderstorm” that was expected last night at 2am never showed up. The air was still thick and wet, something I hoped would go away as the expected front cleaned out the humidity this morning. There was a bit of a haze, but the atmosphere was clear of clouds for the most part giving the air a vibrant feel to it. I wouldn’t call it a fog because you couldn’t see any clouds manifest themselves from the overlook, but the entire valley (and the sun) had a visibility that seemed to stop abruptly about 4 miles away.

The air this morning was warm and sweet, not to mention wet. It reminded me in general of how it feels on a warm sticky summer morning, but it wasn’t quite hot enough to be a nuisance. It was, honestly, just about perfect. My morning routine was finally complete, because I finally was able to make coffee after stopping at Trader Joe’s on the way home from work last night, so I enjoyed my first couple of cups as I waited for the orange accent to become a delayed hazy sunrise.

In the meantime I meandered over to the underside of the overlook and I found some fresh mushrooms that have recently come to life. They had that perfectly soft white foamy appearance to them so of course I had to take a picture to document them. In fact, the mushrooms I took pictures of Sunday night up in Alms Park are already starting to shrivel and age just two days later. If you’re on the front page, please click to continue, there are like 40 pictures in this post! –> (more…)


Sunrise 27: Ault Park (A Warm Spring Morning)

This morning was pleasant and warm. There was a slight breeze coming in off the valley but it didn’t have a bite to it. I made this morning’s trip to the park a quick one – I’m still a bit drained after yesterday’s mega post :). The ride up to the park was quiet and peaceful and the air smelled slightly like rain, but mostly like blooming flowers. There are many larger species of flowers that are now starting to bloom. I’ve also noticed that the maples that were in bloom just three weeks ago are now dropping their helicopter seeds across the ground. So that makes sense – the apples bloom so that they can start off their fruit bearing process, while the maples bloom early so that they get their seeds out as early in spring as possible so that the young offspring have all year to get settled in before the winter takes over.

Can you believe I still don’t have any coffee!? I’ll pick some up today finally, but this morning I decided to tough it out and not fill up. I almost fell asleep up at the overlook! Although going a few days without caffeine is always a good thing, I don’t like getting to the point where I feel that I’ll get a headache if I don’t have a cup of coffee. I often feel like if I just make a big thermos of coffee, but make it not that strong, the action of drinking the coffee in and of itself can wake me up almost as much as the caffeine 🙂

The sun came up over the horizon and broke through the clouds that had small holes in them.

There was a break just above the horizon cloud bank that allowed the sun to become fully visible, casting a red/orange glow down into the lower haze. It was a pretty sunrise that didn’t stay around too long, but it put on a nice show. If the weather holds today should be a beautiful day.

This green bush is down by the overlook. I took a few pictures of it earlier last week when the buds were still small and green. It has started blooming its small white flowers.

Lunken and Armleder are looking good. Armleder still has some puddles but it looks like they are getting dried out. The grass is all gone, not sure if they pulled it up or if it died after drying out (because it was green a few days ago) but once the grass gets hold and comes back in a few weeks, it should be looking good again. I hope it doesn’t set back the growth of the prairie too much. I love going down there in late spring and listening to the birds and bugs.


Sunrise 25: Ault Park (Foggy Valley, Crusade Castle Vineyard, St. Ursula Villa and R.K. LeBlond, Columbia-Tusculum, and Alms Park Vineyard)

This post is technically a day late two days late but that’s better than never :). This write up took much longer than I had anticipated, but extra depth was required to get the background information ready. Every time I look for history of buildings in this area, I’m lead to even more websites referencing even more history. It could be a full time job!

Saturday morning I took the chance to do an extended exploration – one of my favorite things to do on a weekend morning with no commitments before 09:00am. I ended up discovering an “ancient” vineyard down below Ault Park that I had no idea existed. The history of the vineyard has led me down a rabbit hole of Cincinnati history. Often times I try not to rely on Google for discovering information about the history of the area I live in, preferring to discover (and sometimes make up my own versions) the history on my own. However if used appropriately the Internet can be a powerful tool in augmenting the exploration of the real world that we live in. More about the vineyard (Crusade Castle), Cincinnati wine, Columbia-Tusculum, St. Ursula Villa and RK LeBlond’s legacy, Alms and Eden Park after the pictures of the sunrise. The ride ended up being about 3 hours from start to finish, and it was one of the most fun rides I’ve been on in a long time.

The Sunrise

I started off the morning knowing that I was out of coffee. I left 10 minutes earlier than usual and swung by our local coffee roaster in Mt. Lookout Square, Lookout Joe‘s. I couldn’t believe it – they were closed! OK I can believe it, 6:15am is a bit early to be open on a Saturday Morning. I ended up swinging into the local UDF and was absolutely pleased to learn that they let me fill up my 26oz Nissan thermos for $.99! Thanks UDF! (UPDATE: as of the writing, on Monday, I learned that it is free refill day. $0 is even better than $.99, thanks UDF!) if you’re on the front page, please click continue to read more. I promise you won’t regret it. (more…)


Sunrise 26: Ault Park (Clear, Orange, and Misty)

This morning was a beautiful clear sunrise unlike any that I’ve seen for the past three weeks. Before the last batch of storms I remember seeing several of the bright orange displays but it has been a rare morning that has a cloud cover < 15%. At 6:10 am, a full 20 minutes before sunrise, the sky was so bright it felt like the sun was already coming up.

I’d like to add a quick note before I continue. This morning was sunrise 26, but I actually did have a sunrise 25 on saturday morning. I took so many pictures and did some extended research into a few things that I discovered. The post isn’t quite done (I fell asleep last night before finishing it) but I’ll have it up later this morning. For this reason I decided to make this morning’s sunrise a quick trip. I’ve been taking a lot of pictures lately so it was nice to focus more on the view and less on the camera. If you get a chance, be sure to check out sunrise 25; I’ll link it here (and it’ll be on the frontpage) when I publish it.

For the sunrise this morning, the atmosphere was clear and the air was warm. The valley down below had thick pockets of fog and for a few minutes I had to talk myself out of riding down to the bottom of the hill and taking the morning pictures through the fog. One of these days I’ll get down into the fog! I’m waiting on that seasonal fog that comes around a few times a year. We’re coming due in the next few weeks and I can’t wait. There is nothing quite like exploring the forest and neighborhood in a fog that provides only 10-15ft visibility. The fog stays around he overlooks (especially Alms Park) well past four hours after sunrise.

If you’re on the front page, click to continue. –> (more…)


Sunrise 24: Ault Park (Bursting Cumulus, Green Leaves, Caterpillars)

After seeing the cloudy front take over the sunset last night, I was worried that the sky this morning would be overcast. When I got out of bed and looked out the window, the was indeed a bit cloudy but it was a light covering with pockets of dark blue sky showing through. The atmosphere was on the “heavy” side of light overcast. I rode up to the park for the 6:34am sunrise but as I made my way up the hill I started to notice that the sky was darker than I would have expected. There were not any signs of orange, indicating that there was a low cloud cover over the horizon. It is worth mentioning that this week I have continued to “default” to using the second gear on my bike to go up the hills. This is something that I was unable to do even two weeks ago – the added difficulty is a welcome addition to my morning rides that are becoming easier by the day as I get into shape. Feeling a bit of pent up energy from the many rain storms, I could tell that if the lighting conditions are right I’d be taking lots of pictures today.

The sky was indeed filled with a low overcast cloud bank. The sun came up over the horizon and shined through the misty layers. Just as I was sitting down to enjoy my coffee, my assumptions about a conservative and boring sunrise started to gather doubt. I noticed that directly above me the sky was starting to break, I could see the clear blue sky pushing away the clouds. The clouds were moving east allowing the clear skies to slip closer and closer to the sun rise. (If you’re on the front page, please click to continue –>) (more…)


Sunrise 23: Ault Park (The Storms Have Broken! (for now…))

After witnessing a spectacular sunset last night on the way home from work, I had great expectations for this morning. The forecast for this week called for 100% rainstorms all day today. I assumed that this morning would be my fourth morning in a streak of wet sunrises. Not so! The birds started their day off extra early today after having lost so much time to the rain storms of the past few days. When I woke up the sky was taking on that familiar shade of a muted dark blue, indicating that there were no clouds in the sky but there was a good deal of haze. I grabbed my coffee and camera and headed up to the park.

The air was thick and I could tell that dew point was exceptionally close to the ambient temperature. It wasn’t quite fog but you could see blurry halos around all of the street lights. The atmosphere slowly started to light up and I was getting excited for the show as I pedaled up to the overlook. This morning’s atmosphere was of the type that I have come to recognize as the “post spring storm” display. The upper atmosphere was clear with some small cloud streaks, and just above the horizon there sat a huge cloud bank. There have been several other days that looked similar to this. With luck the lower clouds have holes in them that provide a nice red/orange skirt as the sun rises above the cloud layer.

I sat down and took the usual pictures – one of the “dawn” sky, one of the overlook, and one from the overlook out into the valley. Unfortunately as soon as I reviewed the fourth picture of the day, my camera died on me. I must have left it plugged into the computer too long yesterday. The battery indicator on the camera really doesn’t help at all – it is either full 3/3 battery, or almost dying. I tried to coerce the battery into one more picture – rubbing it to make it warm, sticking it in the ground to make it cool, leaving the camera off for minutes at a time – but nothing worked. I ended up taking two more pictures with my phone, the quality of course doesn’t do the sunrise justice. But considering that today was scheduled to be another overcast rainy morning, I am thankful that I got a handful of decent pictures.

A consequence of having the sun come up so high into the sky before you can see it is that the sunrise becomes more of a yellow rather than an orange that you’d expect as the sun is close to the horizon. This morning’s sunrise had some unique things to it, including the familiar orange “skirt” that is caused when the sun rises through the sky and its rays shine down through the lower clouds onto the earth. There also was a oh-so-subtle hole in the cloud bank that provided a nice preview of sol before it popped above the cloud bank 10 minutes later. By the time the sunrise was “over” it was probably 30 minutes after the sunrise time of 6:36am.

As a related side note, I want to share an article about the project that was just posted on a local cincinnati.com blog “Eye on the East Side”. It should run in the next couple of weeks in the Cincinnati Enquirer as part of a small weekly special that talks about community events in eastern Cincinnati. Last week I met with Lisa Wakeland at Ault Park and we talked about the project. Thanks again Lisa 🙂 Lisa also mentioned the project to the Ault Park Advisory Board and it looks like they find it interesting.


Sunrise 19: Ault Park (back to gray)

My morning routine was the quickest yet. The birds woke me up at exactly the time I should have been in the park. As it turns out, I set my alarm to 6:10pm, not 6:10am; oops! My coffee was already packed in the thermos. I was up at the park within 10 minutes from being in bed – definitely a new record. In fact I had the bike in second gear the entire time – also a first! Fortunately the sky was overcast so I didn’t miss much. It was a nice opportunity to relax and check out the view. I took a few pictures of the sun rise, which ended up showing some color as the sun crept up into the sky, and headed back home for some early morning errands. More pictures, including the arboretum and japanese maple, click continue –> (more…)


Sunrise 18: Ault Park (Blazing Hills and Fibonacci Spirals)

I’m beginning to think that I actually like a week of thunder storms. Today’s forecast shows “chance of thunderstorms” in the morning, and “chance of rainstorms” all day. After the storms that whipped through yesterday and last night, the sky was left mostly clear in the upper atmosphere with low lying cloud banks to the east. So far the most unique sun rises have been on these days when a storm is expected to show up but doesn’t end up getting here until late morning or beyond. It makes me wonder if spring isn’t the best season for the sun rise? A summer full of clear warm days won’t make for a dynamic atmosphere. On the other hand, the lighting conditions that come with a clear sun rise provide great opportunities to take pictures of the plants and trees. Click “Continue Reading” to see more pictures if you’re on the front page. (more…)


Sunrise 17: Ault Park (Punching through a hole, Alms Park Sunset)

After the rain we had over the night, I was expecting to wake up to a gloomy wet morning. When I woke up I was happy to discover that there were light clouds in the sky but no rain. The forecast said today would have a “100%” chance of thunder storms. As it turns out they were correct, but the front didn’t move in until about 09:15am.

The dawn light had some definite color to it. (More after the “click to continue”) (more…)


Sunrise 16: Ault Park (1960s Bell telephone systems, with a special guest appearance by “The Sun”)

These overcast days have made me lazy. Last week I started setting my alarm at 6:25am, a clean 40 minutes before the sun rise. With the overcast mornings and rain storms we’ve had in the past week, I didn’t bother to re-think the alarm time this week. This morning I woke up at 6:25am and set out for the sun rise at 6:40am (5 minutes before true sunrise – 20 minutes before “overcast” sun rise).

I knew something wasn’t right when I walked into the kitchen. I forgot to make my coffee the night before, so I filled up the kettle and set it on the stove in a sleepy haze. I cracked the window open to get a smell of the morning air and listen to the bird report. The birds were chirping loudly, and I looked up and saw a dark, deep blue sky. Good. Dark and… wait, deep blue? What happened to the gray? I panicked a little bit and walked out side.  Sure enough, the sky was almost cloud free, save for what I could see along the horizon behind the trees. Now, because we’re only about 15 minutes before sun rise and the sky is dark, but clear, this can only mean one thing.  A clear sky with a low-lying cloud bank sitting on top of the horizon, right? “This could be interesting”, I thought to myself. I checked the time – I should have left 5 minutes ago if I wanted to casually stroll up to the park and arrive with some time to spare. I rationed out the water in the kettle so that I had just enough water to fill my thermos, and gathered up everything I needed for the morning. By the time I got out the door and started riding up the street, I was met with an atmosphere that had started to explode in pink and orange. “Oh crap” I thought as I pedaled the hardest and fasted I could up the incline towards the park.

I ended up taking a few pictures on the way. Please excuse the blurry, I was mid-pedal.

I like the entrance into the park because it is appropriate for getting an “eyeball” of what the sunrise is going to do. The massive oaks and old pines rise up 80 feet above me, pointing to the sky but obscuring the horizon. I also noticed that there were gusts of wind, some so strong that I could hear the difference in tire speed as I pedaled into the park. As it turned out, there was an eastern moving front that was trying to come through the valley. You can tell in some of these pictures that the left side of the picture is bright and orange, but the right side is dark and gloomy.

Arriving at the outlook, I realized that I wasn’t too late. I may have missed the opening credits, the but show was just getting started. There was a low-lying front blocking the sun rise (so I didn’t quite miss it!) but the open sky above threw off an array of pinks, oranges, purples, blues, and whites. It reminded me a lot of the sunrise from April 16 (Sunrise 09) where I took my favorite picture, “Wheels of Fire”, against the sun rise. There are two parts to a sun rise like this. The first part is that the atmosphere doesn’t get colorful until about 10 minutes before the sun’s true sunrise time because the clouds are blocking the area just above the horizon. The colors come on quickly but are scattered wide into the periphery of your vision while the horizon itself stays dark. If you are lucky enough to have a completely clear upper atmosphere, the second part of the sun rise comes next.

It caught me off guard this morning while I was taking a picture of the almost flooded east/west lane at lunken airport.

As I turned around I remembered this familiar cloud formation from the aforementioned sunrise 9. The sun finally peaks over the low lying frontal cloud bank, and if you’re even luckier it can be obscured by a higher level haze allowing you to look at it directly. This is a close up taken just as the transition from “stage 1” to “stage 2” takes place.The light illuminates the upper area of the lower cloud bank and provides a rolling mountainous plane. It really is a sight to see. The camera does it justice in some cases, but in person it just looks outstanding. This particular low-lying bank had a unique feature. The lower pieces of the bank started to spread thin, allowing patches of deep orange to shine directly down towards the earth. This provided a surreal situation where you’ve got the bright yellow/orange illuminated upper mountainous region with deep orange spot lights poking through towards the forest.

Needless to say, this sun rise was the last thing I expected when I woke up this morning.

I found myself on the eastern part of the park. I took the long way home, past the observatory and down through Mt. Lookout square.

I had hoped to catch the observatory against the beautiful backdrop, but as I was leaving the park the eastern moving front moved through to block most of the light.

I took the chance to snap a picture looking west on Observatory across Delta Ave. This is just north of Mt. Lookout Square. Behind me is Ault Park and the surrounding residential neighborhood. Observatory runs a parallel east/west with Erie Ave and provides a popular flat stretch for the local runners (and part of the Flying Pig route), considering most of the area is made up of unforgiving hills.

On the way back home I passed a building that I often wonder about but haven’t checked out. It sits on the corner of a quiet neighborhood inlet and Delta Ave. The lawn is always well kept and the brick building sits confidently in the middle of the plot. You can tell it is still maintained but it isn’t labeled in any obvious way. There are newspapers piling up on the front porch – enough to indicate that there is life on the property but that they don’t use the front door.  As I’m staring at the building, wondering how long after the “1940-1950s art deco boom” that is responsible for so many of the Cincinnati Water Works buildings, I noticed a plaque on the wall just to the right of the front door.

The plaque reads “The Cincinnati and Suburban Bell Telephone Company”. Ahh. An old relic of the Bell / AT&T monopoly. I don’t know much about this history (AT&T alone is interesting), but the local telephone carrier Cincinnati Bell is one of the few fragments left that still uses the “Bell” moniker. The history of Unix is tied into AT&T history as well, of course, which means that your ANDROID  phone (running linux) and even the iPhone (which can be traced back to FreeBSD/Unix) can be tied back to the legacy Bell computer systems. All of which are, in a 6-kevin-bacon-degrees-of-freedom kind of way, connected to this building. I bet there are some sexy analog switchboards hidden in the closets of this building. Judging by the brick and “modern” look, I’d place building to have been built sometime in the late 1960s / early 1970s. +/- 15 years, I don’t have anything to compare it to. A little bit more Googling and I find that this logo (seen above in the plaque) dates back to 1964.

UPDATE: The Cincinnati Bell History Page says that in 1971 the company officially changed names from “City Suburban Telegraph Company” to “Cincinnati Bell”.  That places this building as being built between 1964 (when the logo was first used) and 1971 (when the name changed). Holy cow, I was really close in my original guess. The page also mentions that there were several switching stations, one was called the “East” exchange. Perhaps this is the building they’re referencing?


Best-Of: Sunrises 1-10

One of the side effects of making daily posts is that it is easy for some of the “best” pictures to get pushed off the front page. For that reason, I’m doing something a bit different. I’m going to highlight some of my favorite pictures from the first 10 days. As I sit here listening to the storm outside, knowing I won’t have a clear sunrise for at least 5 days, it is nice going back and looking at some of the beautiful mornings I’ve been lucky enough to experience. I’m also highlighting some of my favorite macro (closeup) pictures and seasonal changes that have taken place in Ault Park in the past three weeks. There may even be a couple of pictures that didn’t make the daily cut. So far I’ve uploaded over 227 pictures to this project in 14 posts. There are at least three times that many pictures that I have packed away.

Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!

Sunrise / Weather


Macro / Closeup

Arboretum and Misc.


Sunrise 13: Ault Park (the sun is back!)

This morning was absolutely beautiful. It was everything I could have hoped for after these last two days of thunder storms, and more :). The atmosphere was crisp and clear, with a hazy cloud formation just above the horizon. The clouds provided a beautiful reflective orange pattern and there was a “slicing” effect caused by one of the lower cloud banks (I need more words for clouds…). I guess you could say today was a “mustache kinda morning” (thanks Mike!). Always remember – shaving your beard in preparation for summer is always an opportunity to wear a mustache (even if only for a single day)! Earlier this week I had a “mustache monday”; fortunately I only ran into a handful of people. Moving on…

This is my theme song for the day. Don’t judge!

The pre-dawn atmosphere was a pinkish color, no doubt influenced by the low cloud cover. When the sun actually came up, you could just barely see it through the clouds. It was so subtle and majestic. More pictures after the jump (more…)


Sunrise 9: Alms Park (Barge Races, Earth Day, Downtown Cincy)

It’s official, I’m addicted. I had every reason to sleep in this morning. I was up late and didn’t have any morning plans. I didn’t even set an alarm. But when the birds started chirping at 6:18am this morning, I awoke from my slumber. I even tried to go back to sleep but it didn’t work. “Fine”, I thought to myself. Let’s go see if that cold front has broke yet.

I took the opportunity to switch it up a bit. I have been curious about whether Alms Park, which is the Yin to Ault Park’s Yang, is set up appropriately to see the sunrise. There is a western facing overlook that makes for a beautiful sunset, but I haven’t noticed any particularly eastern-facing points.

The central overlook in Alms Park looks right down into Lunken Airport and provides probably the best vantage point to seriously watch the planes land and take off from 250ft above the basin.  I biked around the small loop in the park, and even went down into the off-the-normal-path reserved area where there is a small shelter. More after the jump

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Sunrise 8: Ault Park (Atop the Pavilion)

Amanda and I had to run some errands at 8:00am this morning, so this trip up to the park was nice and quick. 8:00am was no problem – one of the many positive side effects of my involvement with this project. The ride up to the park was beautiful, and I’ve noticed that I’ve started to break into the time period (around 6:45am) where kids are getting ready for school. I passed several high school students waiting on the bus, and said my morning greetings to a handful of parents walking to the local elementary school. By the time I got to the park, I was left with a whole 15 minutes before the sunrise to stake out my spot. I decided to switch it up a bit and see what the view looked like from the top of the pavilion. I’ve noticed that the pavilion sits squarely aligned with the eastern sunrise, something that I will devote an entire post to later on (regarding how the entire park seems to be designed with the sunrise in mind.  Think a along the lines of StoneHendge 🙂 ). I parked my bike at the base of the pavilion and climbed up the four or five sets of stairs.

View from atop the pavilion. The dawn morning looked beautiful, lots of pink and orange. There was a slight haze from the clouds that scattered the morning light nicely. (More pictures after the jump)

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Sunrise 7: Ault Park (Japanese Maples and the Cincinnati Observatory)

(Sometimes you just get lucky.  A small commuter jet coming into Lunken AND a set of Canadian geese flying north for the summer).

This morning was another beautiful day in Cincinnati. The sunrise was similar to yesterday’s: clear, vibrant, and warm.  I arrived at the overlook with 5 minutes to spare, taking time to get set up for the show. Lunken airport was fairly busy this morning, and I actually “accidentally” caught a couple of sunrise pictures with airplanes coming in on approach.

There were these thick pockets of fog scattered through the valley.  This is the first time I’ve seen these since I started this project.  Typically the fog manifests itself as a smooth mist evenly distributed through the air.  Lunken had several pockets hanging out on the runway, interestingly enough.

(More pictures after the jump) (more…)


Sunrise 6: Ault Park (Mushrooms, Tulips, Coyotes?)

I almost couldn’t wait for my alarm to go off this morning. After the past two gloomy mornings I was ready for a clear, crisp, beautiful sunrise.  We checked the forecast last night and realized that there was supposed to be nothing but clear skies this AM. When the alarm went off at 6:20am, the skies were already starting to lighten up.  The birds were in full-on chirping mode, and I was starting to get that familiar nervousness that maybe today the sun would break the laws of physics and come up a half hour early.  I was also excited because Amanda said she wanted to come up to the overlook this morning! Before we left the apartment she even commented on how bright the sky was, it seemed like the sun was already coming up a full 20 minutes early. In hindsight, I ended up taking a lot of pictures – way more than I probably should have. I imagine I had some pent up energy after sitting through two rain storms 🙂

I arrived a bit early and caught the ambient atmosphere before the sun crested the hills. I rode my bike and actually beat Amanda, who came by car.  It was a chilly morning for sure, we brought hooded sweatshirts and our breathing left thick clouds of moisture hanging in the air.  The air was crisp and clear, and down below in the valley you could see a thick patch of fog to the east.

(More after the jump) (more…)


Sunrise 5: Ault Park (Cold, Wet, Dark)

As I rolled out of bed this morning, my overwhelming mood was… uninspired.  I cheated last night and checked out the weather forecast (one of the wonders of the modern world that I never got in the hang of using). I saw that this morning was supposed to be gloomy with thunderstorms, 70% chance of precipitation. Not exactly an ideal sunrise situation. Fortunately, however, there were no thunderstorms by the time 6:45am rolled around. The atmosphere was dark, gray, wet, with a light drizzle. In other words, project sunrise was a go.

I pulled another rookie mistake this morning.  In my drowsy snooze-induced haze (who wants to jump out of bed to go sit in a thunderstorm? hah) I forgot that I charged the camera battery last night.  I didn’t realize this fact until I was up at the park.  Of all days to forget to bring the camera battery, I’m glad it was a day like today.  I’m lucky to have remembered to bring my trusty LG 9900, so once again please forgive me for the quality.

The sunrise was literally non-existent.  The ambient light increased a bit over the 20 minutes I was sitting out at the overlook.  The rain was light but persistent.  After the warm rain yesterday that seemed almost pleasant, today’s rain was downright freezing.  The nice thing about it though was that it made me think about that beautiful sunrise from day 1.  I thought about how necessary these spring rainy days are, and how beautiful the park will be in a few weeks when the storms pass and the sun comes out more often than not.

(More after the jump, including pictures that I didn’t put up last week) (more…)