Sunrise 154: Clifton, Mt. Adams & Newport KY (Downtown/OTR Fog Bank, St. Patrick’s Day Bagpipes)
Over-The-Rhine & Downtown Cincinnati against a massive fog bank over the Ohio River. As seen on the morning of St. Patty’s day from Bellevue Hill Park in Clifton.
We stopped by Mt. Adams for a beer & a Rugby game (oh, and another free breakfast!) at Tap & Go. Here we look out over the Ohio River from Mt. Adams.
A view from Newport, KY as a barge rolls along up the Ohio River. (The white balance may have gotten away from me on this one; original photo is down below)
(Don’t forget to check out the sister post that will show up in a few minutes from this morning. Sunrise 155)
This year the wife and I decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s day by getting up super early and heading to Clifton for a free hot breakfast @ Murphy’s Pub. I realized right away that this would put me within walking distance of Bellevue Hill Park, one of my favorites in the city for its historic location, so I made sure to grab my camera and bring it along with me for the ride. We ended up spending the early morning in Clifton, the mid morning in Mt. Adams, and the late morning in Newport, Kentucky. As we traveled around the rim of the valley (and finally down by the river), I kept track of the thick fog that sat along the Ohio River. By the end of the morning the sky had cleared up and I found myself gazing at the Cincinnati Skyline under a summer-esque blue sky with rolling clouds.
We started off our morning at Murphy’s Pub in Clifton. Murphy’s Pub is a Clifton classic and they sure know how to host a party. Their breakfast (and green eggs) were superb and the crowd was a nice mix of students and locals. This bagpiper scared the pants off of us as he started his morning serenade at 6:30am.
When I first arrived in Clifton I made the immediate realization that I was only two blocks from Bellevue Hill Park, my favorite park in the Clifton area due to it’s history and breathtaking view of Downtown Cincinnati across Over-The-Rhine. I jokingly offered the other members of our party a chance to join me in a jog to the park, but none of them cared to take me up. I ran into a friend from school, Duffee (who is actually my “little brother” from our days in the fraternity), who is always up for an adventure. He joined me as we high tailed it up to the park at day break.
We arrived in the park to a handsome view of a tall & fluffy pile of fog hanging over the Ohio River. At first I was disappointed that we weren’t going to get a colorful sunrise sky, but that disappointment was replaced with joy when we saw the wall of fog that provided a beautiful backdrop to the Cincinnati Skyline.
If you’re on the front page, please click here to continue. There are about 21 pictures total for this post. (more…)
Sunrise 153: Ault Park (Humid Spring Morning & First Magnolia Blossoms!)
I showed up *extra* early, taking advantage of the post-Day Light Savings sunrise… only to spend the morning in the dark.
I’m as surprised as you are that I got this good of a shot in the dim morning light.
Good morning! I ventured out for the first post-DST sunrise at 7:50am this morning. I took advantage of the late sunrise by getting up extra early and setting out for the park by 7:10am. I looked up into the sky and saw a thin cloud layer with patches of blue which meant that it was definitely worth a gamble. I’ve been getting a bit bored by the clear morning sunrises and have been hoping for a change up, especially with the upcoming spring weather. There was a chance that this morning’s thin cloud layer could provide an amazing reflective backdrop of pinks and oranges, but alas the clouds ended up being too thick for the sun to penetrate.
I did, however, take full advantage of the amazing weather this morning. A light rain came through the area last night so the pavement was wet and smelled like earthworms and petrichor (a word I learned last year and try to use as often as possible). The air was thick with humidity and as I dove into the park via the steep hill on Observatory Ave, I could feel the temperature suddenly drop. The cool air rolling across the quiet dark street from the budding forest was refreshing and spirit lifting.
This morning was quite dark. I had high hopes for the sunrise, but in the end it was warm, peaceful, and full of bird songs and the promise of spring. I noticed yesterday that the magnolia trees have started to bloom! Can you believe it? Last year the magnolias and cherry blossoms showed up in the second week of april, just after this project got started. Here’s one of my favorites from last year:
And another picture from April 2011 featuring some bradford pears off of Erie Ave.
Back to this morning: a plane takes off against the gray and stormy spring backdrop
The magnolias have started to bloom… the bradford pears are next!
Spring is here! It’s Magnolia Official (kind of like being Facebook Official but with more pollen)…
Sunrise 152: Ault Park (Clear Daybreak; Pavilion Sunrise)
Late twilight above the Little Miami River Valley, a day before Day Light Savings ends.
I woke up to another crisp, cold, & clear winter sky for Sunrise 152. I was up a bit late last night and so I chose to perform a recent ritual that I learned about, one that apparently native americans used to practice. Namely, drinking a full pint (or more) of water just before going to bed. That may sound like a recipe for disaster but luckily I don’t have a history of bladder control issues ;). It worked – I was up this morning and out the door by 6:30am.
It was really cold this morning. Normally this would be expected due to the fact that it’s still winter, but our recent warm streak has made me spoiled. I wore an off kilter hybrid of spring and winter gear – running shorts and thick gloves, with no face mask. It wasn’t too bad during the 22F twilight ride, except for the dive down the Observatory Rd hill that felt like dipping my face in an ice bath. The cold certainly woke me up, however… I didn’t grab any coffee and practically sprinted back up that hill.
Unfortunately DST starts tomorrow which means we’re back to 8:00am sunrises. Darn!
This morning’s sunrise had a nice magenta display that I witnessed on the ride up to the park. By the time I arrived the pink had mostly faded, unfortunately, and was replaced with a soft orange palette. Still not much cloud action in the air, a trend I hope to see pick up as we move into the dynamic weather of spring.
Heading through East Hyde Park, the sun is rising almost perfectly aligned with this section of Erie Ave. Curiously enough, this section of the road seems to be parallel to the alignment of the Ault Park Pavilion. This doesn’t bode well for the “purpose” behind Ault Park’s design, suggesting perhaps it’s a simple “Due East” alignment…
After climbing one of the residential hills, I looked behind me and saw a beautiful magenta horizon. The colors were quickly beginning to fade.
As I approached the park I decided to get a picture from the same perspective as a picture I took during the most recent overcast Sunrise 151. Isn’t it interesting how much the picture changes when you add a backlight? The following picture was taken earlier in the morning but under an overcast sky.
The beautiful century tree next to the pavilion. I often wonder if this tree had a symmetrical brother on the left side of the pavilion. Given the symmetry of the park’s design my gut tells me yes. What a sad loss for the park it must have been when this hypothetical tree died.
Ten minutes before sunrise, we can already see the light aurora forming in the Eastern Sky.
I wanted a vertical shot but didn’t want just an empty sky… this was the compromise.
Back at the pavilion I check the sunrise alignment. Approaching the center of the pavilion, but we still have a week or so before true alignment. I hope I don’t miss it!
In the Western Sky the almost-full-moon reflects back the morning sunlight.
As first light approached, I noticed the residential towers on the far western ridge line. You can’t quite see it in this picture, but the top row of windows were reflecting the tip of the sun that was just beginning to peak across the horizon.
The roof of the pavilion was closed for maintenance so I had to make due at the base of the building. First Light @ Sunrise 152!
Sunrise 151: Ault Park (Signs of Spring; Overcast Twilight)
It may look barren, but this garden is packed full of flowering cosmos and other prairie flowers. The center stone pot will be all but covered by July.
I woke up this morning and peered out the window to see a dark gray/blue overcast sky. The warm weather had me excited so I decided to take my chances and see if there was going to be a sunrise this morning after all. I was hoping that maybe the light cloud layer that rolled in late last night was still around, but as it turned out the sky was filled with thick gray rain-filled clouds.
I left for the park with a light drizzle lapping the pavement around me. This morning the weather was so warm that I actually wore shorts and a sweatshirt – no hat, gloves, long pants, double socks, or facemask! In fact I’d say that this morning’s sunrise ride was one of the most pleasant trips up to the park if for no other reason than I was able to truly appreciate the ambient sounds with more novelty since I was not wearing my winter facemask.
The wet atmosphere held a steady 52F as I worked my way up to the overlook in Ault Park. The air was sweet and smelled like spring. With no sunrise in sight, I casually strolled through the gardens and took some pictures of the desolate ground that has already started to show signs of life. There are several pieces of the gardens that look barren right now, but in just two short months they will be exploding with garden life as the plants take advantage of the warm humid sub-tropic microclimate of Eastern Cincinnati.
The birds were loud and flirty this morning in the warm air. No doubt they too detect the first comings of spring. I found buds in the trees, especially the magnolias. Their buds are already the size of my thumb and will be bursting open in white and purple blooms in just 6 short weeks. Mentally I’m still prepared for winter, but in the back of my mind I know that spring is almost here. With spring comes green life, organic growth, colorful blossoms, and so many insects to find. I’m looking forward to Armleder Parks prairie and the 10′ high stalks of meadow grass & compass flowers.
Rolling into the park I find the central yard quiet and calm under a blue layer of twilight clouds.
Just think about how lush this walkway will be in just 8 weeks. The daffodils have broken ground and are already starting to bloom.
Here’s another shot of a spot where I know the plant life grows thick. In the heat of the summer this garden explodes with several generations of daffodils & flowering bushes.
A calm and blue/gray Heekin Overlook as the storm front rolls in from the west.
Looking South/West across Lunken Airfield.
Sunrise 150: Ault Park (First Snow; Golden Twilight)
A fresh snow fall, the thickest of the entire year… and coincidentally the only day that I set my alarm incorrectly!
So this morning’s post is a bit of a hybrid between the actual Sunrise 150 and a couple of pictures that I took yesterday morning at Ault Park on my way to work. First of all – happy Sunrise 150! While the number is an accomplishment worth celebrating, I’m saving the confetti for the upcoming Sunrise 160 which represents the fourth set of sunrises stretching beyond my original goal of 40. In reality, yesterday *should* have been Sunrise 150.
Alright, alright. So this technically isn’t the first snow of the winter. It might be the second… but it’s the first snow that lasted more than a couple hours and certainly the first snow of substance that I’ve featured with this project… even if I’m a day late!
What a perfect opportunity, I thought to myself, to have the 150th Sunrise line up with one of the only fresh night snowfalls we’ve had this entire winter. But alas, I pulled a rookie mistake and set my alarm clock incorrectly and so I woke up much too late. I swung by the park on my way to work and snapped a couple of snowy park pictures. I just *had* to have at least one picture of Heekin Overlook adorned with a fresh snowfall. I’m still holding out for a winter snowstorm, but we’re quickly running out of days!
I’m rather excited to also announce one quick thing… there are buds on the trees around the overlook! That means that spring is just around the corner. I can’t wait, spring time in Ault Park is such a beautiful thing.
The overlook yesterday morning, after a fresh snowfall.
Down below, in the Little Miami River Valley, Armleder Park is flooded once again. It would be nice to get down there for a magenta sunrise if we could just get a little bit more cloud cover in the sky…
The early twilight sky, about 25 minutes before sunrise. Can you tell where the sun is going to come up? 🙂
The Tree of Heaven silhouette against a soft & open sky.
Looking east towards the awakening horizon at Heekin Overlook
Look at that! The tree branches have buds! The first signs of spring! I hope you’re as excited as me!
Upon leaving the overlook, I ventured over to the pavilion to check out the alignment of the sunrise. As you may know, I’m privy to finding out on which day the sun rises directly aligned with the pavilion. Judging by the location of this morning’s sunrise, we only have a few days (or maybe about a week) left. I’m not sure we’ll make it to the first day of Spring… which brings up the question: Is there another day in early march that has an astronomic event that is worth aligning the Ault Park Pavilion, and hence the entire park (through the symmetry about the pavilion) to?
Here we begin to see some side effects of my camera’s tiny lens. Check the slight warping around the top of the pavilion, even though the bottom cement appears to be perfectly horizontal. I’m a fan of how the pavilion is separating the oranges and yellows from the blues in the sky. Maybe I’ll try to get this shot another time but with a better perspective.
Sunrise 149: Ault Park (Soft & Humid Early Twilight; More Tree Silhouettes)
Sunrise 149 rises in a humid sky above the Little Miami River Valley
Ault Park Tree Silhouettes @ Early Twilight
This morning was the first time in ages that I woke on the first alarm buzz. The “earlier” sunrise times have started to catch me off guard – already 7:10am! Where has the time gone? It feels like just last week that I was complaining about almost 8:10am…
I woke up an hour before sunrise and by the time I left for the park the stars were still visible in the dark sky. It was another humid sunrise this morning which kept the colors compact about the horizon and subdued.
On my ride up to the park there are many steep hills. After this particular climb, I stopped to take a breathe and check out the slowly brightening early twilight sky.
This weeping tree was featured recently and I decided to give it another visit. This time I found a better angle with less background trees (and also had to move from lying down in the road to get out of the way of the park crew coming to work!)
The Tree of Heaven looks out across a soft muted early morning atmosphere. I’ve got to take as many pictures of it as I can! The light is slowly moving beyond the left side of the frame…
A hazy “First Light” of Sunrise 149. The high humidity, as always, meant that the sun rose a deep orange/purple that didn’t become blinding until a few minutes later.
Sunrise 149 morning gradient (Zoom)
Sunrise 148: Ault Park & Cincinnati Observatory (Soft & Humid Winter Twilight)
The sun rose up, quietly, in a soft orange eastern sky.
Here’s a nice quick post for today. The sky cleared up nicely last night and I quickly realized that this morning’s sunrise would be against an open atmosphere. The sunrise was quite humid, keeping up with the recent trend of wet spring-like weather. The sun rose up as a dark purple globe against the ridge line. Once again, as most humid sunrises tend to do, it caught me off guard as I was considering where I should take up my position for the impending First Light.
I swung by the Cincinnati Observatory on the way out of the park. I realized that if I want to start investigation into Ault Park’s alignment with the sunrise, I should consider asking the astronomy guys who hang out at the Observatory. I imagine that the Observatory is aligned to some significant astronomic event, like winter solstice for example. The eastern facing wall appears to be almost perpendicular to the Eastern sky and I’d like to think there is a purposeful design in how the building is aligned. I’m still waiting to see on which day the sun rises up behind the Ault Park Pavilion in perfect alignment. I’m placing my bets on spring equinox (March 20 this year).
The best part about an early Sunday morning is the quiet calm that exists in the city streets. Here we are looking east down Eerie Ave towards the sunrise.
I arrive at the park a bit late and the soft twilight sky has started to fade from purple to orange. The humid atmosphere kept the colors packed closely to the horizon.
This old oak tree is still slowly returning to the forest.
Looking out from Heekin Overlook
Looking South/West across Lunken Airfield. There grass down in the valley is laced with frost but the air is quickly warming.
As I head over to the Cincinnati Observatory, the skies are turning into that rich shade of deep blue. The Observatory’s campus is one of my favorite quiet and open lawns around. There are several century old trees up on the top of this bald hill. It’s amazing to me that at one time this Observatory was moved from Mt. Adams to Mt. Lookout to get away from the city lights. Now-a-days development is all around as this building is no longer “in the country-side”.
Some ice crystals on a young plant shortly after sunrise. This plant is growing on a slab of asphalt in an otherwise over grown grass lot down in the valley.
Sunrise 147: Ault Park (Layered Magenta Cloud Cover)
When I peered out the window at 6:20am, I couldn’t tell what the sky was doing. In my mind, I played with the idea of going back to bed but before committing I checked out the front door. High in the atmosphere there was a thick cloud layer that was making the eastern sky particularly dark, but it broke in the center of the sky to reveal a dark clear sky that was beginning to take on a subtle early twilight teal. I figured that it was worth the game and headed up to the park to see what the pseudo-spring morning had in store.
The temperature this morning was pleasant. Hanging slightly above freezing, it felt like spring with two sweatshirts on and insulated athletic pants. Looking out across the valley, the breaking cloud formation stood proudly in the distant left/north region of the sky. To my direct front, the cloud layer was thick but broke just above the horizon, revealing a deep gray-fading-to-orange sky beyond the far ridge line. At first, I wasn’t sure if any colors would get through the morning clouds. If only a sudden change in the western wind would slide the cloud break back over to the east a few miles…
But then I checked the time and realized it was 7:08am, a full 20 minutes before sunrise. There was still time for something interesting to happen. As it turns out, I only had to wait 5 more minutes…
Needless to say, the gamble paid off.
This is Mike the Turtle. His eyes are striped, matching his skin pattern. He loves romaine lettuce, hates iceburg. Likes chasing fish, does not like stawberries (unlike most other turtles who love them). When he’s basking in the sun he gets lethargic, likely giving into the life-giving warmth that only a cold-blooded animal could appreciate.
Coming into the park, I can see that the northern sky has broken and is reflecting some early twilight colors. But the eastern sky is dark and gloomy.
A plane takes off during mid twilight against a dark, gloomy, but hopeful cloud bank.
For the rest of this post, 12 pictures total, click to continue if you’re on the front page.
Sunrise 146: Ault Park (Weeping Cherry & Humid Sunrise)
A humid Sunrise 146 over the Little Miami River Valley
I’m keeping my eye on the sun’s journey across the horizon to see when the day of alignment occurs. I’m hoping it is a significant date, but who knows what the park designer had in mind?
I was hoping that this morning’s sunrise would have been similar to last night’s sunset. The sunset was a rich pink with streaks of teal open sky. Sunrise 146, while being pleasant in its own right, rose up in a humid atmosphere clear of clouds. It was another sneaky sunrise, one where I thought I had about 10 minutes left to sip on my coffee when suddenly the tip of Sol appeared on the horizon.
It was a brisk 20F morning and few souls had ventured out into the park. Frost laced the grass around the lawn and the birds were cheerfully calling to one another as if it were a warm spring morning. I could also hear a woodpecker deep in the forest boring into the rotting bark of a dying tree.
There were hardly any pinks or purples this morning in the humid atmosphere. The sunrise was mostly made up of a muted red that faded into a rich orange muddled with gray. I will say I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping for some cloud slurry against a crisp and dry atmosphere, but with spring just around the corner and rain storms forecast for the next few days, the humidity is to be expected.
I’m getting used to the commute up to the park on my new route. It is making me become more mindful of my missing lower gear set. Well, missing isn’t quite the correct word since it implies that something was once here but is now gone. My bike turns 35 years old this year, and somewhere in the past two decades the “granny gears” became mainstream. My first gear is the equivalent of a friend’s gear 7 or 8 on a modern bike. I’ve played around with the idea of re-building the drive chain, after all I love the steel frame and classic look of my Fuji S-10S, but knowing how I operate the bike would be out of commission for a few months while I read online forums and scouted craigslist for parts. So in the meantime I’ll keep leg pressing up the hills and remembering that it is only making me a stronger cyclist 🙂
Heekin Overlook at early twilight. I arrived 20 minutes before sunrise after stopping at UDF for some coffee.
The colors were muted, but overall it was a pleasant and chilly morning in the park.
An early humid twilight gradient
The Tree of Heaven against the twilight. The smoke stacks are puffy this morning.
Peering down into Armleder Park with streaks of smoke drifting across the horizon
First Light… this sneaky sunrise caught me off guard.
Every so often, when the atmosphere is right, the smoke from the industrial site down in the valley drifts visibly into the sky.
Prior to heading home, I swung by the pavilion to see how close the sun is getting to the center of the columns as it swings back to the left. Hopefully I can catch it in the middle sometime in the next couple of months. I’m curious as to what day this will occur on and I’m hoping to gain some insight into the park designer’s vision. Is there an intentional alignment with the sunrise? Or is it purely coincidental that the entire park, relative to the symmetry of the pavilion, points directly towards the sunrise? I may be placing my bets on alignment with the first day of spring, but that might be wishful thinking.
A frosty Ault Park lawn under a fading pink atmosphere
I’m going to guess this is a weeping cherry, although I’m not certain. These are all over Cincinnati and explode into a beautiful bouquet of blooms at the arrival of spring.
Sunrise 145: Ault Park (Crescent Moon & Sneaky Humid Sunrise)
Early twilight colors fade into mist over the Little Miami River Valley
The Tree of Heaven silhouette against the misty twilight under a crescent moon. mark
Sunrise 145; a humid, misty, winter sunrise on this beautiful Friday morning in February.
After a bout of rainy mornings I made sure to wake up extra early for today’s clear sunrise so that I didn’t have to rush up the hill to the park. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my new route, while being about the same distance to the park, is substantially more challenging. Armed with this knowledge, I rode up to the park with determination and energy. Fortunately I have mostly shaken the side effects of my head cold so I also had an extra bout of morning energy. The climb to the park was not bad at all this morning which goes to show you how much of life is determined by your mental approach and, to be quite honest, the state your body is in.
This morning was forecast to be clear with high humidity. When I strolled out our front door, I found thick patches of mist hanging around the edge of the forests and between houses. The misty backdrop under a clear sky meant that the sunrise colors were subdued and compact, while still allowing for the upper atmosphere to gain a brightness from the approaching twilight. I stopped by UDF for my $1 28oz refill and began my uphill climb (followed by the downhill slalom, followed by uphill climb).
The sunrise this morning was of the subtle, sneaky, but uniquely satisfying type. Not wanting to be rushed by traffic and forces of my own control, I woke up 1 hour before sunrise and tried to get out on the road as soon as possible. This put me in the park about 40 minutes before sunrise, a time that would have provided a brilliant magenta display if the humidity was 9%, not 90%. The crescent moon was on display high in the atmosphere, pointing down towards the horizon at the location that the sun was expected to rise. By the way, if you ever see a crescent moon pointing away from the sunrise (or sunset), you’re either dreaming (grab your totem!) or on some bizarro planet. Or maybe woodstock. It’s a nice indicator for checking reality as we know it.
The high humidity meant that there was a low lying mist bank down in the valley below. This is always a great accent to a sunrise because it lights up the lower part of the view, throwing lowlights and shadows across the otherwise dark valley. I imagine snow would have the same impact, but unfortunately we just haven’t had more than a single day’s worth of the stuff. The air this morning felt much warmer than I expected, likely due to the high humidity. I also had a visitor in the park this morning, a fellow sunrise cowboy who chose to stay in his parked blue mini. I’ve seen in a couple of times over the last several weeks, so I’m thinking that he’s making a routine of it.
Heading out of the East Hyde Park UDF, the impending sunrise is already attempting to push some colors into the atmosphere but the effort is being hindered by the thick humidity in the air.
This is the “downhill” section of my new route. Uphill, then this exhilarating (and tear-inducing) downhill, followed by a fresh climb back up into the park.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. 18 pictures total in this morning’s humid & cold sunrise post. (more…)
Sunrise 144: Ault Park (Clear & Chilly Winter Skies)
Early winter dawn @ Heekin Overlook in Ault Park, Cincinnati Ohio
Good morning! I have been on a bit of a hiatus over the last week so it was great to get out on the bike this morning for the chilly but clear Sunrise 144. Over the past two weeks I’ve been a bit under the weather so I took advantage of the extra hour of sleep that comes with skipping the sunrise ride. We also moved into a new apartment (still near Ault Park of course!) so there has been all of the logistics that come along with that. My new location is closer to the other side of Ault Park and it will be interesting to see how this affects the scouting of new sunrise locations. My routine has been a bit messed up lately due to the move, so this morning was a great opportunity to explore my new potential routes to the park.
Over the past week the sunrise time has shed about 15 minutes. This morning First Light was around 7:31am, a time that shocked me last night when I found out! It’s funny how that happens – the daily routine comes and goes, time slips by, and the sunrise keeps on moving along. It’s finally getting into “early” territory which means that the sunrise will no longer feel like sleeping in and will start to require a bit more commitment to getting up extra early, a tenant that resonates with the original purpose of starting this project. Now that I know about the beauty of early twilight on a clear sunrise, I have a feeling that there will be some 5:30am wakeups in my not so distant future.
Unfortunately I missed the most vibrant phase of this morning’s sunrise. By the time I tracked down all my gear, something I have been nervous about doing since the move, and then grabbed some coffee at UDF, I only had about 15 minutes to spare by the time I got to the overlook. The new route is quite a challenge, too, because I’m approaching the park from the opposite direction. From Mt. Lookout Square, the ride is mostly a smooth uphill. From Observatory, however, it is a steep uphill, steep downhill, then steep uphill again. It really gets the blood pumping. It is a nice challenge though as we approach the one year anniversary of the project.
The sunrise this morning was set against a crystal clear atmosphere with a nice set of vapor trails and whispy low horizon cloud action. Last night I could see a whole set of stars up in the sky after sunrise, including a bright appearance of a planet (is it Saturn?). The stars were awfully bright last night, meaning that if the sky held this morning’s sunrise would have started the show up to an hour, or more, before sunrise time. This was indeed the case this morning and while the sky was continually changing from the time I was out of bed at 6:50am until I arrived at the park at 7:20am, most of the pink and magenta colors had mostly dissipated early in the twilight. The late twilight colors were a glowing set of orange with bright yellow streaks reflecting off of the ice crystals embedded in the vapor trails high in the atmosphere. There is still a bit of snow left in the park, although it’s more of a sprinkling rather than a coating.
That’s my one regret from this 10 day hiatus is that I missed our most recent snow storm that came through with a fury after the January warm streak. There’s no worry though, because while it was a pretty snow fall, the warm ground didn’t let more than a half inch accumulate. I’m still waiting for the freak midwest snow storm that we deserve! The weather man is calling for some snow tonight so we’ll see where that ends up. Now that the temperatures are finally cold enough for snow, getting as low as 9F this morning, I think it’s just a matter of time until we get a decent snow fall.
Heading into the park past the Cincinnati Observatory, I can tell that the vibrant magenta display is already fading out.
I arrive at Heekin Overlook on this chilly winter morning during the final phase of late twilight.
The edge of the hill where the overlook sits still has a good amount of snow. The cool winds coming up from the valley likely provide a little micro climate that protects these snow piles during the warmest part of the day.
Looking down at Armleder Park under a light pink twilight
The favorite subject of winter sunrise pictures, the adolescent Tree of Heaven. Sadly, the sun is moving briskly across the horizon to the left, and soon our Tree of Heaven will lose the colorful back-drop of the twilight sky
Sunrise 144 @ Ault Park. The ultra-clear atmosphere means that the intensity of the sunrise is extreme from the get go.
And finally, here’s a blurry picture of Mike the Turtle, our six year old native painted turtle. He’s enjoying his freshly cleaned aquatic home and his 5 new fish companions. I had to make sure to get extra-lively feeder fish this time because their predecessors didn’t make it very long. These new ones have no problem skirting Mike’s lazy attempts to catch them. He usually gets bored after the first day so it looks like they’ll do just fine.
Sunrise 143: Ault Park (Thick Humid Sunrise, Airplanes & Helicopters)
A Humid Sunrise 143 over the Little Miami River Valley
The Tree of Heaven rising into the sky as our organic spaceship spins towards the solar globe that is giver of all life.
After missing a brilliant magenta show during the early stages of Sunrise 142, I was determined to get up to the overlook with time to spare… just in case. As it turned out, Sunrise 143 was not unlike some of the early April sunrises. It was incredibly humid this morning, with a dense mist that limited visibility. The distant ridge line faded into the gray atmosphere and the thick moisture prevented the sunlight from scattering into the upper atmosphere. During these humid mornings, the sun rises slowly without an introduction. She typically comes up through the gray horizon, glowing a deep majestic purple that one can stare at for a few minutes before the curvature of the earth and the less dense mid-atmospheric air allow more light to get through.
Sunrises such as this are likely the reason why I was so surprised to find that a low-humidity sunrise can begin lighting up the sky up to an hour before scheduled sunrise time. It isn’t all that surprising to see a “Spring Seasonal” sunrise right now, considering that the temperatures of the last few days have risen up into the mid 60s. In fact this morning was so pleasant that I didn’t wear my winter jacket and ended up removing my gloves for most of the sunrise. While I am enjoying this unseasonably warm weather, it makes me wonder what kind of winter surprises Mother Nature has planned for us in early spring. I’m hoping for an April snowstorm, personally 🙂
The early twilight sky was dark with only a light glimmer of orange developing against the gray. Black and White mode helped bring out some of the contrast in the low light.
The lower overlook and the single tree that hangs out over the valley, a favorite hangout spot for the local birds. The birds were quite active this morning, by the way. They’re loving this February spring weather.
About ten minutes before “First Light”, the sky shows little sign of the impending sunrise.
Heekin Overlook against the misty valley.
High overhead a big airliner ascends into the upper atmosphere. I’m going to take a guess and say that it recently took off from Dayton Airport, given the fact that it was still rather low and it was not heading for Cincinnati Airport from what I could tell.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. 14 pictures total in today’s humid pseudo-spring sunrise post. (more…)
Sunrise 142: Ault Park (Unseasonably Warm Sunrise, Guest Sunrise #6)
A moody sunrise on this warm winter Tuesday
It seems that the topic of the day is the weather. Here in Cincinnati we’re having an unseasonably warm streak. As I write this the temperature is pushing 60F and I’m wearing a polo! It’s really bizarre and it has me wondering what May is going to look like…
I woke up this morning and peered out the window. I saw two things. First, a family of deer were munching away in our lawn. Four young females taking advantage of the warm morning. They were about 7 feet outside our back window and just stared back at us, chewing grass, when we opened the blinds to say hello. Second, I noticed that while the upper atmosphere was clear, there was a huge cloud bank in the lower half of the sky. Normally this means no sunrise for me, so I took my time getting ready before heading up to the park.
You can imagine my surprise when I rounded the corner on Linwood Ave and saw one of the most brilliant displays of pink and magenta just above the horizon. As it turned out, the lower atmosphere had a clear opening under the cloud bank and I was missing the show! I arrived at the overlook just as a family of 4 (humans, this time) were packing up their things. The sky had faded to a dull orange, and I confirmed with them that I was 5 minutes shy of missing a beautiful pink sunrise. Too bad! Whenever I figure out that whole time traveling bit, I’ll be sure to set it to January 31 2012 for a guaranteed unique sunrise.
The sunrise this morning was not unlike the sunrises of April 2011 – dynamic, moody, and full of change. In other words, exactly what you’d expect on a day whose temperature is 40F higher than what you’d expect. Let’s hope that the next sunrise is of similar style so that I get a second chance. Although, to be fair, I haven’t adjusted to the fact that the sunrise is slowly creeping earlier each morning as our countdown to summer continues. I’m still mentally prepared for an 8:00am sunrise, so the 7:44am sunrise of this morning actually did catch me off guard. Now that I know about the majesty of twilight colors, sometimes up to 45 minutes before sunrise, I’m thinking that spring and summer of 2012 may be even more of a challenge than 2011, considering I’ve moved my arrival time from 10 minutes before sunrise to a half hour before sunrise. It is, however, totally worth it.
During the past couple of days I’ve received three sunrise pictures, so I’ve included them here in our sixth Guest Sunrise post. One is from Trent, another shot of the San Francisco sunrise, one is from Leah who is visiting Florida, and the other is from Amanda (the wife unit) who went to work a bit early this morning and caught the sunrise on the way to work. Thanks for submitting everyone!
Guest Sunrise #6: East Coast, West Coast, MidWest
Ft. Lauderdale Sunrise. Thanks for the East Coast sunrise Leah!
San Fransisco Bike Commute Sunrise. Thanks for another sunrise contribution Trent!
Erlanger, KY Sunrise. Thanks for the second viewpoint of this morning’s sunrise, Amanda!
The late twilight sky as I arrived at the overlook in Ault Park. To think that just 10 minutes prior, all of that orange would have been a blazing pink and magenta display.
A plane takes off into an atmosphere that is slowly getting brighter as we approach sunrise. This is an iconic “Spring Sunrise” atmosphere, which is strange since it is January 31.
Heekin Overlook. Armleder is flooded again. It is worth noting that Armleder was flooded last spring, another sign that this is unseasonable weather.
First Light over the Little Miami River
Sunrise 141: Ault Park (January Crocus, Guest Sunrise #5)
Twilight Magenta of Sunrise 141
Some crocuses (or tulips?) coming up through the mulch out in front of our place. They’re a bit early (at least a month, maybe two); hopefully they don’t get killed by the next hard freeze!
After a week of rain and ice, this morning we finally had a beautiful clear sunrise. There was some intense wind activity yesterday afternoon that preceded a breaking of the overcast conditions in the tri-state area. The weather has held and it looks like we’ve got some great weather lined up for the next couple of days. It was a humid sunrise this morning and this was evident in the late-twilight orange/yellow/gray colors of the haze. The early twilight was another splendid magenta-filled canvas that slowly faded into a dull yellow/gray sunrise that was mostly blocked by a far-off cloud bank just above the horizon.
This morning we also have Guest Sunrise #5, with three repeat contributors. Tara shares one of her favorite sunrise pictures that was taken by her father in Exeter, Pennsylvania on November 13 1972. This is a special contribution and I am thankful that Tara chose to share it. The photo comes at us from just under four decades in the past. Thanks Tara!
Two of my old roommates have also shared some of their recent sunrise shots. Both Phil and Trent have been commuting by bike, although it’s a bit easier for Trent out in San Francisco to be consistent than it is for Phil and I here in the midwest winter :). Phil’s sunrise is from sometime last week when the weather was breaking and we had a nice magenta display. I’m going to guess it may have been Sunrise 138. Trent has shared two sunrises, both from different days. Trent recently purchased a commuter bike for his new job out in the beautiful city of San Francisco, California. He has kept me up to date (and envious!) of his new morning commute through the parks and bike trails of one of the most bike commuter friendly cities in the US. He mentions that as he leaves for work it is dark out, and by the time he arrives the sun is up. Recently it has worked out that the sun rises over the bay while he’s zipping through of the local parks. Thanks Phil & Trent for sharing!
PS: I added a new link up there on top titled “Random“. If you click it you’ll be directed to a random sunrise post. Enjoy!
Guest Sunrise #1: Exeter, Pennsylvania 1972
“My Papa took this picture on November 13, 1972 in Exeter, PA. The tree is a
big apple tree in our front yard. I checked with him and he said it was a
sunrise. I know he has more but I happen to have this one because I asked if
I could have it years ago. I also asked his permission to share this photo
with Ault Park Sunrise and of course he said yes.”
Guest Sunrise #2: Columbus, Ohio
Phil’s colorful sunrise in Columbus, Ohio
Guest Sunrise #3: San Francisco, California
In Trent’s own words “iPhone does not capture the majesty of these sunrises”. Thanks Trent!
Onward to today’s sunrise over the Little Miami River Valley.
The twilight sky was humid with lots of magenta this morning. The whispy nature of the clouds added a smooth texture to the sky.
The Little Miami River reflects some of the morning colors down in the old pre-glacial Ohio River Valley.
The Tree of Heaven silhouette against the late sunrise. Already the sun is beginning to slip back to the left, making me greatly appreciate that I have been able to get a hand full of pictures of this young tree over the past couple of weeks.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue for the rest of this post. About 15 pictures total from Sunrise 141. (more…)
Sunrise 140: Ault Park (Humid, Clear, & Subtle Winter Sunrise)
Tree of Heaven silhouette, this time with a view of the little miami river in the valley below.
This morning’s sunrise fit my mood quite nicely. After the behemoth of a post that Sunrise 139 was, I was a bit drained this morning as I arrived to the overlook. It was also the first time in awhile I didn’t have any coffee, so I was happy about the subtle and calm yet still eventful sunrise. The temperature was pleasant this morning at a brisk 35F in the park. It appears we have a break today and then it’s back to the rain and freezing ice.
The sunrise this morning was high humidity, which was marked with a nice blue atmosphere that had a touch of gray into late twilight, and a purple sun that slowly rose out of the cloud bank without caring much about announcing its arrival. The birds were active this morning, and with the wet and damp air it felt a bit like spring even though its months away.
There was a friendly young man at the overlook this morning. We didn’t get to talk much, but his name was Derek. He makes an appearance in the final photo.
As I came up the hill to the park, I was happy to see that I hadn’t missed the magenta creep. Here we see the atmosphere about 20 minutes before sunrise over the little miami river valley.
A plane takes off at twilight against a muted blue and pink sunrise
In a heavy humidity atmosphere, the sunrise colors can fade quickly. Lots of vapor trails this morning.
Sunrise 139: Ault Park (Ice Storm, Deer Skull, Frozen Cherries)
Tree of Heaven silhouette… with ice
The ’77 Fuji S-10S in an icy, foggy Ault Park
A misty view of Ault Park Pavilion.
Did you know that cherries shrivel up like a rose when they’re engulfed in a globe of ice? Me neither. Or perhaps they were already shriveled before being frozen. Either way, it adds a bit of color to this otherwise grey-scale set.
This post is coming a day late! The weather has been downright crazy in the past few days and so it’s funny to see that by the time this is posted, all the ice is gone and it almost feels like t-shirt weather!
Late Friday night an ice storm rolled into the tri-state. Saturday was marked with careful maneuvering over exposed sidewalks. It rained heavily in the early morning, and then the temperature dropped out and froze everything. The trees glistened all around, covered in a half inch of clear ice. Sometime late Saturday afternoon I realized that I really wanted to get a picture of my “Tree of Heaven” silhouette while it was still covered with ice. I headed up to the park early Sunday morning for “sunrise” and found that the park was an icy wonderland. This is particularly interesting because all the ice was melted away by Sunday afternoon and today’s high was 63F. 63F! In January! We had an ice storm followed by t-shirt weather within 36 hours. Insanity!
I saw this on /r/columbus today and thought it was appropriate. A hat tip to the show Whose Line Is It Anyway?
The park this morning was particularly solemn. On one hand, it was a Sunday. This meant that the commute up to the park was quiet with little car traffic. However, normally a Sunday means that there is more people in the park on their day off. This morning, while there were certainly some dog walkers hanging by the sidewalks, I found no patrons who ventured much beyond the ice-covered streets.
There was a lot of moisture in the air which made a light layer of fog that hung in the backdrop, blocking the view of the valley through the forest. It also had that quality that I love about fog – the muffled air effect. Far off sounds, like an airplane landing at Lunken Airfield, become drowned out as the fidelity is lost. Other sounds in the foreground, such as bird calls and branches straining under the cold, bring themselves more to the front of attention.
I found that the streets were mostly clear of ice, so I had no problem climbing the hill to the park. Upon entering the park, however, I was greeted with a Road Closed sign. Having wiped out several times over the past year on my bike, but curiously enough none in the past 10 months (I am a slow learner, but when I finally learn I’m not quick to forget!), becoming intimate with the asphalt was not something I was hoping to accomplish this morning. Apparently the city trucks do not service the roads through Ault Park (or at least not as a high priority) because beyond the park entrance the road was covered with a thick layer of ice. I had to walk my bike to the overlook, a task which made me appreciate the mobility that a bike offers oneself.
I quickly found that walking through the grass was much more safe than trying to walk over the sidewalk. I did slip a couple of times, and I was being careful! It was quite hazardous, but also quite beautiful. One thing that struck out to me was the distant calling of a murder of crows. It occurred to me that I only notice them in the fog. Or is it that they’re only noisy in the fog? I made up an armchair theory that they use their loud “cawing” to communicate the flock’s location in the low visibility of the forest fog. Last time I saw over 100 crows, so it takes some serious logistics to organize a murder of that size 🙂
There was no sunrise this morning due to the valley fog. My little “Tree of Heaven” silhouette worked out nicely against the gray backdrop.
Please click to continue if you’re on the front page! 40+ icy pictures from this morning’s “sunrise”. (more…)
Sunrise 138: Ault Park (Purple and Orange Winter Twilight, a Crescent Moon)
Early twilight before Sunrise 138. Check out the crescent moon in the corner!
Heekin Overlook, looking out over the Little Miami River Valley. How many humans have seen the sunrise from this spot over the past ten millennia???
If you were to look at the forecast right now, or even out the window, you would probably be surprised to find out that the sunrise this morning was another beautiful winter display. As I write this, the sky has filled with clouds and it looks like we’re hunkering down for some snow. But just two hours ago, the skies were clear and misty with humidity, and the sun rose amid a bright twilight display featuring some deep purples and bright oranges. Not bad for “71% cloud cover”, eh? Once again the changing weather has proven impossible to accurately predict.
I woke up a bit early this morning because my wife and I had the intention of trying out, for the first time, a 6am spinning class at the local gym. As 5:45am rolled around, it didn’t sound like the best plan. We continued to sleep, but fortunately I mustered up some mental energy and peered out the window to see if I could see any stars. What did I see through the silhouetted trees? Why, a misty halo surrounding a crescent moon! This was enough to get me up by 6:45am, catch up on some email, and then head down to Mt. Lookout for some coffee.
As it turned out, the atmosphere held off the clouds that vacated the sky last night just before sunset. There was a substantial amount of misty humidity in the air, causing quite a beautiful scatter of the early morning twilight colors. Purple was well represented this morning, probably due to the thicker haze that tends to keep the yellows and oranges subdued until just before sunrise. The fuchsia palette was present throughout the early twilight, but it wasn’t the dominant player. Just before sunrise, the sky exploded, for about 20 seconds, in this brilliant orange glow, similar to the shade I saw during Sunrise 137 that basked the overlook in its rich hue.
I imagine that the ice crystals up in the humid atmosphere have a lot to do with these extended winter twilight displays. I was worried about the winter, but as it turns out I love the winter sunrises just as much as the ones during the rest of the year.
Oh, before we continue, I’d like to share some exciting news. This week, the Eastern Hills Journal is featuring a follow up to the May 2011 article on Ault Park Sunrise. It’s a nice piece and Lisa Wakeland, as always, did a great job. The journal is available at local book stores and other venues around the city. I picked up a copy at Joseph-Beth bookstore in Norwood.
As I peddled up the hill to the park, the moon hanging over this beautiful silhouetted tree caught my eye. We can see the sky starting to light up at the base of the tree.
I’m starting to amass a nice, but small, collection of twilight pictures with this tree of heaven as the subject. I was looking for a large tree silhouette, but I’m quite content with this little guy for the time being.
My friend, the adolescent Tree of Heaven. A new project favorite and the subject of an unexpected series.
The early twilight colors of Sunrise 138 over the Little Miami River Valley. The thick haze that hung high over head once again broke just above the horizon, similar to Sunrise 137. This time, however, the haze was thin and the opening much larger. My camera had no problem with the lighting today.
A soft textured sky as the colors begin to shift up the energy spectrum from blue/purples to orange/yellows.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. There are about 22 pictures total for this morning. (more…)
Sunrise 137: Ault Park (Stormy Winter Skies, Ft. Ancient Preview)
The twilight sky before Sunrise 137
First Light @ Ault Park’s lower overlook
It “warmed” up a bit this morning to just under freezing, a brisk 30F. The sky was clear last night before bed, but by the time sunrise rolled around most of the sky was filled with clouds. The horizon, however, was mostly clear. The forecast for this week puts us with some rain tonight and hopefully some snow later this week. The clouds that started to fill the sky this morning have successfully blocked out the night skies as I write this post late in the day. (I had to make a trip to the dentist this morning which pushed my schedule behind quite a bit!). Actually the dentist visit went great. It was one of those things where modern anesthesia makes getting a cavity filled a mere inconvenience, where as 100 years ago it would have been a memorable event marked with lots of whiskey and excruciating pain.
While I drove out towards the Mt. Carmel office, I found myself winding through the Little Miami River Valley, upon which Ault Park and Alms Park sit. I have recently been in contact with a graduate student who studies the Ft. Ancient culture, specifically the earthworks and burial sites that were at one time located in the Little Miami River Valley. Hopefully we will be working together in the next few months as we piece together old documents that he has uncovered from the late 1800s. These documents were surveys of the valley and identified interesting ruins and burial sites uncovered during the development of the region. Just a few miles over in Mariemont, a large serpent mound was recently uncovered and it may be the world’s largest. Matt tells me that this area would have, at one time, been home to tens of thousands of mounds. How many are left after 200 years of development? It would be most excellent if we are able to locate some of these sites that have not been documented in recent history and help set into motion the necessary actions that would lead to their protection. It is fascinating to me that while I’ve been concerned with the last 150 years of history in this region, there is a much larger and older story that dates back several thousand years. Matt has identified several old buildings and landmarks that may go by different names today (or be gone all together). It is my hope that with the resources I’ve explored in developing this project I can help Matt put some of these historical landmarks into the context of modern day. There are some old estates that are referenced that have probably long since been sold to developers, and also lots of locations that are given relative to old rail lines, tresses, and stations that existed in this area in the 1800s. Stay tuned, it should be a fun project.
On to the sunrise! This morning’s sunrise was a strange one. The thick cloud layer over head broke right above the horizon. This affect is always interesting because it can expose the open atmosphere to allow the sunrise colors to become visible, but at the same time the puffy pseudo-cumulus clouds can be just as interesting to watch due to the nature of the shadow patterns that dance around while the sun is rising and the light is changing. The clouds take on this bright blue/gray color with sharply defined boundaries. It’s very hard to pick up on the camera, but with the human eye it looks interesting. Speaking of the camera, this morning was one of the hardest sunrises to get a decent picture of. The bright twilight sky was restricted to being just above the horizon, while the rest of the sky was dark with clouds. This made my little camera’s sensor very confused as to what its white balance and exposure should be. A more configurable camera would have come in handy. Oh well! I turned down the exposure so that the twilight colors weren’t washed out and away I went.
One last thing about the sunrise this morning. Right when First Light peaked over the ridge line, the park was bathed in this brilliant deep orange glow. I caught it on camera but, as usual, the picture doesn’t do it justice. It was one of those shades of color where my vocabulary simply is at a loss to describe it. A deep red/orange/neon/yellow. Very rich.
Looking South/West towards Lunken Airfield.
Heekin Overlook, 30 minutes before sunrise. Dark with a brightening twilight horizon that was difficult to capture.
This is like -1 exposure, about as dark as I typically am comfortable doing. That’s the only way I could get a picture without the entire horizon looking bleached out white! This is my new favorite sunrise target. It’s a tiny little “Tree of Heaven” that rises up in front of the lower overlook. I used to get a bit annoyed at it when I realized the sun was moving across the horizon and it would be in the way.
So I think this little guy is an adolescent Tree of Heaven. Wikipedia tells me its latin name is Ailanthus Altissima. Want to know something interesting, fair reader? I hope you do, because I’m about to lay it on you. The answer to a mystery I pondered earlier this year, coming together in a full circle of life. Ready for it?
- I found a caterpillar back in spring. Species Unknown at the time. (Sunrise 24)
- I found this moth back in the summer. I identified it as an Ailanthus Silkworm, and postulated that it may be the adult form of the caterpillar from Sunrise 24 (Sunrise 91)
- Now it comes full circle. As it turns out, this Ailanthus Altissima (Tree of Heaven) is a host of the moth. As the tree migrated north (apparently it is considered a pest in some circles), it brought it’s orange and white colored moth friend with it. Cincinnati is in the northern tip of the “Humid Sub-Tropic” climate, so there are a lot of species around here that have crawled up from the wet forests of the southern USA and survive here quite well.
I just scrounged around and found a picture from Sunrise 48 that showcases this lovely little tree. Here she is (on the right) with a full coat of summer leaves, back in the middle of a hot and sticky day in Cincinnati. It’s also interesting to look back on this sunrise from the middle of winter. So much humidity. The sun rose that day with a shade of deep, blood red. Note how far to the left the sun is.
Sunrise 137, you were a tricky one.
“First Light”. I could not, for the life of me, get a picture that didn’t include this bleached out white glow. In reality it was a bright and rich orange.
Reminds me of a stormy spring day. This is January, right?
A vertical shot, looking out over the Little Miami River Valley
An attempt to capture that orange glow that was permeating across the overlook.
Sunrise 136: Ault Park (Clear Twilight & Eastern Hills Journal Interview, Pt. 2)
This morning’s sunrise was a special one. The atmosphere was clear and the twilight provided beautiful colors, once again, so it turned out to be quite the pleasant, if a bit chilly, morning. Lisa Wakeland contacted me yesterday to ask if I’d be interested in doing a follow up for the Ault Park Sunrise article that originally ran last spring in the Eastern Hills Journal. Of course I said “heck yeah!” and so she agreed to met me to talk. She was a good sport and humored my request to meet at sunrise at the park for the interview. I figured it was worth a shot since these are some of the latest sunrises of the entire year! I’m looking forward to seeing what she ends up putting in the article and I’ll be sure to link to it here. Thanks again Lisa!!
I was able to get up to the overlook a bit early again to appreciate the half hour of twilight display before the sun crested over the ridge line. This may be one of the last colorful sunrises for while as it appears we have some winter weather heading our way. Looks like we’re in for some rain and snow during the rest of the week. Boo.
I arrived at the overlook just as the “Magenta Creep” was starting to slide across the sky from the horizon.
There were light pockets of clouds that were slowly moving across the sky, seeming to line nicely with the part of the sky where I was expecting the sun to come up. Twilight colors are a nice set of light pinks and purples.
A plane takes off from Lunken Airfield against the twilight sky.
Naked trees above the Murdock water fountain.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. 17 pictures total on this clear and chilly winter morning. (more…)
Sunrise 135: Ault Park (Breathtaking Twilight, Tree Silhouettes, Victorian Gas Lights)
One of my favorite shots of the morning.
Early colors of twilight. I’m really starting to love winter…
Middle twilight color shifting into an orange dominated palette.
This Murdock fountain has become a favorite of mine as the sunrise drifts into this region of the horizon during the winter months.
Weepy Maples under a ripply cloudscape.
A nicely preserved Cincinnati Gas Light. Probably at least 110 years old.
Hello party people! I’m just going to start off and say that this post is a bit of a doozy! Hang in ’til the end, it’ll be worth it. This morning was one of those times when the stars aligned and everything came together in a great way. What’s the saying – luck favors those who are prepared? I was up early, had a fresh charge in the camera, was full of creative and explorative energy, and it just so happened that the sunrise was AMAZING. One of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. That’s saying a lot coming from me! The pictures, as beautiful as they are, do not do the true sight of the atmosphere justice. It was a true winter sunrise that was both illuminated by the clear skies, highlighted with a light cloud slurry, and from what I understand the ice crystals in the atmosphere can lead to all kinds of neat cloud formations that made an ever changing cloudscape.
As I mentioned previously, the wife has a bit of acute bronchitis. She started taking anti-bacterial medication for it and last night was the first time that the coughing had completely subsided. I fell asleep on top of the covers with my clothes on and promptly woke up in the exact same position at 6:15am, the first full night’s sleep without interruption I’ve had in weeks! As a result, when I got up to turn off the lights in our place, I felt fully rested and ready to go. I decided that rather than go back to sleep I’d go ahead and start the day. By 6:45am I was fully suited up and headed out to the park.
It was quite amazing to watch the transformation of the sky from a deep dark black into the colorful display of the twilight atmosphere. In fact, when I left the apartment it was so dark that not only could I see the stars, but I had no way of knowing that on the other side of the hill the twilight show had already started. I was planning on getting set up at the park by 7:00am (65 minutes before sunrise) and having nothing to do for about 45 minutes. I could not have arrived at the park at a better time. At 7:00am the low horizon had already taken on a deep red mohogany that was compact and restricted to the region of the sky just above the ridge line. The clouds were just beginning to take on a dark shadowy navy purple. It was still dark enough that the street lamps cast long shadows across the lawn while the sky began to change in the background. This was by far the earliest sunrise I’ve ever witnessed and really changed my perspective on “how soon” one should expect to show up for a clear sky sunrise if they wish to witness the entire ordeal.
The sunrise palette was the most rich I’ve ever seen, and again this was due to the fact that I happened to show up extra early during a morning where the sunlight just so happened to start penetrating the lower atmosphere during early twilight. The sky started off with deep purples that faded into red. The pinks, magentas, and finally fuchsias started slowly to brighten along the lower atmosphere and then moved upward across the sky as the thin layers of ice crystal clouds provided a canvas backdrop. After the fuchsias subdued, the dark oranges and finally bright yellows scattered throughout the atmosphere until the sun finally made an appearance at 8:05am.
I was as giddy as a school girl, running to and from taking pictures now to sort out at home later. In the process I explored some ideas for a project that I plan on pursuing throughout the winter. Namely, finding tree “candidates” for a Winter Tree Silhouette project. I’ve long been fascinated by the underlying fractal and organic form that the naked tree branches form against the winter sky. There are some beautiful old trees around the local forests, many of then “Century” trees. There are not, however, very many trees that are isolated enough to provide a decent silhouette and also on the top of a hill, positioned in such a way that they can be captured against the open sky. There’s one specific tree (Oak I think) in the yard of St. Ursula Villa that fits this perfectly. There’s also one down by Lunken Airfield although there is a chain linked fence and lamp pole in the view. Today I was able to try and find some new candidates around the Ault Park area as well. Some are good and one may make for a great choice, although none of them are completely isolated. I’m hoping to have some good luck down at Reeve’s golf course by Lunken Airfield where most of the century oaks have been well taken care of and sit by themselves along the fairways of the course.
To top it all off, at the end of my ride I discovered that one of the local roads in the neighborhood that Ault Park sits next to still has some authentic gas lanterns. I was unaware that there were any gas lanterns in this area as the only ones I’ve heard of are the iconic street lamps in old Clifton’s “Gas Light District” off of Ludlow Ave. I found ten of these lanterns along a side street that runs right by the Cincinnati Observatory. The homes that were built in the blocks surrounding the observatory have so many architectural features and it is excellent to see the gas lanterns still alive and kicking. They’re at the end of this post if you are particularly interested in them.
Without further ado, here’s the set from this morning. Some of them are a bit blurry from the low light and for that I apologize. There is one picture in particular that I really loved but for some reason it’s completely out of focus. Low lighting can be a pain!
On the way to the park, this home with its Christmas lights still out caught my eye because of the various accent lighting. Nothing too crazy here but I was hoping the picture turned out better. It’s difficult getting the settings on the camera right while wondering if anyone thinks I’m a weirdo for standing on the sidewalk taking pictures of the neighborhood.
Arriving in the park, I am surprised to find that the sky is not dark at all. Early twilight colors abound. On the left side of the frame we can see the light from a lit street lamp illuminating the lawn.
For all 70+ pictures, please click to continue if you’re on the front page. (more…)
Sunrise 133: Ault Park (Clear and Cold Winter Sunrise)
Sunrise 133: Cold and Clear for 2012
First and foremost: Happy 2012! Another year under the bridge as we move ever onward. 2011 was a great year and I should probably think about doing a “best of 2011” (which would end up being best of Ault Park Sunrise) post. I had planned on updating the “best of” page anyway, so this would be a great time to do it. It’s already a bit late so what’s a few more weeks?
This morning’s sunrise took place in an atmosphere that was, once again, completely unforecastable. This weather has really been strange recently, it reminds me a lot of the unpredictable weather changing that occurs during spring. I checked the weather report last night and it said “93% cloud cover”. As it turned out, the skies were almost crystal clear with a couple of aircraft vapor trails and a light low lying cloud bank. The current outlook for the rest of the week is mostly clear as well, even though it currently reads both “Clear” and “89% Cloud Cover”… I’m not sure what that’s about! One is probably the reality while the other is still based on forecast, perhaps? After what seems like a month of overcast mornings, it was a pleasant surprise to see the clouds gone this morning on this cool record-braking-low-temperature winter morning.
As I write this post, the temperature is hanging out at 19F. I think that breaks the record for the coldest temperature for an Ault Park Sunrise ride. And cold it was. I got some new gear from my parents for Christmas, so this was my first chance to try them out. My new reflective winter riding jacket (with light-up LED strip on the back, hah!) did a great job with my hooded sweatshirt on under it. I tried out a winter face-mask which did the trick nicely. Just as I headed home, however, the heat in my fingers finally gave out and I had a bone-chilling ride down the windy hill into Mt. Lookout. From now on I think I’ll trade my running gloves for the bulky but well insulated wool gloves. Warmth +10, Agility -5.
Yesterday morning through the afternoon we received our first minor snowfall. We received about a half an inch or so of a light dusting and some of it stuck around through this morning. I was hoping for a bit more snow on the ground, but there was enough to create some subtle highlights around the park. I’m still looking forward to my first true fresh snowfall sunrise, something that I expect to see as our humid tropical-climate gives into the cold fronts that creep down from the North. There was no ice on the road today so I didn’t have to worry too much about safety, and overall the sunrise was a welcomed break to the gloomy mornings that we’ve been used to.
The sunrise this morning was a humid one, with lots of deep orange and reds that filled the atmosphere just after first light. I actually arrived a bit early, unintentionally, so I was able to watch the sky slowly evolve from the twilight deep blues into the post-sunrise oranges before heading back to our warm apartment.
Twilight, looking over the Little Miami River Valley. I was a bit early, this is roughly a half hour before sunrise.
Twilight is always a surprise because unless you have a clear view of the horizon, it isn’t obvious that there is so much color in the lower atmosphere.
Heekin Overlook, with bits of snow along the ground.
After roughly 15 minutes, the sky is starting to lighten up. It’s quite humid, however, so there isn’t a bright aura forming above the horizon. Instead, the light is being scattered by the moisture in the atmosphere and spread out throughout the sky.
Apparently I spilled some coffee when I poured my second cup. It froze immediately when it came in contact with the steel foundation that supports the columns!
Due to the high humidity, I was only given about 20 seconds notice as to where the sun would pop up over the horizon. The clouds were starting to move from their deep purple into a highlighted pink shadowy palette. Bright pink/orange highlights started showing up across the low lying cloud bank, and even though you can’t see it from the picture, there was a glowing misty patch just above where the sun would soon show up. You can see it, kind of, in this picture above as the small circular orange spot in the center of the picture.
It was at this point I started to realize that the defenses of the gloves I was wearing were starting to give. I wasn’t planning on waiting around to see how bad it could get in under 19F (-7C) weather. Take care!
Ault Park in the winter
This picture was taken after a huge snowstorm in February. Most of the local schools were closed, the kids were out sledding down the hill.
Here’s to a warm and beautiful 2011!