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

Posts tagged “winter

Sunrise 154: Clifton, Mt. Adams & Newport KY (Downtown/OTR Fog Bank, St. Patrick’s Day Bagpipes)

Over-The-Rhine & Downtown Cincinnati against a massive fog bank over the Ohio River. As seen on the morning of St. Patty’s day from Bellevue Hill Park in Clifton.

We stopped by Mt. Adams for a beer & a Rugby game (oh, and another free breakfast!) at Tap & Go. Here we look out over the Ohio River from Mt. Adams.

A view from Newport, KY as a barge rolls along up the Ohio River. (The white balance may have gotten away from me on this one; original photo is down below)

(Don’t forget to check out the sister post that will show up in a few minutes from this morning. Sunrise 155)

This year the wife and I decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s day by getting up super early and heading to Clifton for a free hot breakfast @ Murphy’s Pub. I realized right away that this would put me within walking distance of Bellevue Hill Park, one of my favorites in the city for its historic location, so I made sure to grab my camera and bring it along with me for the ride. We ended up spending the early morning in Clifton, the mid morning in Mt. Adams, and the late morning in Newport, Kentucky. As we traveled around the rim of the valley (and finally down by the river), I kept track of the thick fog that sat along the Ohio River. By the end of the morning the sky had cleared up and I found myself gazing at the Cincinnati Skyline under a summer-esque blue sky with rolling clouds.

We started off our morning at Murphy’s Pub in Clifton. Murphy’s Pub is a Clifton classic and they sure know how to host a party. Their breakfast (and green eggs) were superb and the crowd was a nice mix of students and locals. This bagpiper scared the pants off of us as he started his morning serenade at 6:30am.

When I first arrived in Clifton I made the immediate realization that I was only two blocks from Bellevue Hill Park, my favorite park in the Clifton area due to it’s history and breathtaking view of Downtown Cincinnati across Over-The-Rhine. I jokingly offered the other members of our party a chance to join me in a jog to the park, but none of them cared to take me up. I ran into a friend from school, Duffee (who is actually my “little brother” from our days in the fraternity), who is always up for an adventure. He joined me as we high tailed it up to the park at day break.

We arrived in the park to a handsome view of a tall & fluffy pile of fog hanging over the Ohio River. At first I was disappointed that we weren’t going to get a colorful sunrise sky, but that disappointment was replaced with joy when we saw the wall of fog that provided a beautiful backdrop to the Cincinnati Skyline.

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Sunrise 153: Ault Park (Humid Spring Morning & First Magnolia Blossoms!)

I showed up *extra* early, taking advantage of the post-Day Light Savings sunrise… only to spend the morning in the dark.

I’m as surprised as you are that I got this good of a shot in the dim morning light.

Good morning! I ventured out for the first post-DST sunrise at 7:50am this morning. I took advantage of the late sunrise by getting up extra early and setting out for the park by 7:10am. I looked up into the sky and saw a thin cloud layer with patches of blue which meant that it was definitely worth a gamble. I’ve been getting a bit bored by the clear morning sunrises and have been hoping for a change up, especially with the upcoming spring weather. There was a chance that this morning’s thin cloud layer could provide an amazing reflective backdrop of pinks and oranges, but alas the clouds ended up being too thick for the sun to penetrate.

I did, however, take full advantage of the amazing weather this morning. A light rain came through the area last night so the pavement was wet and smelled like earthworms and petrichor (a word I learned last year and try to use as often as possible). The air was thick with humidity and as I dove into the park via the steep hill on Observatory Ave, I could feel the temperature suddenly drop. The cool air rolling across the quiet dark street from the budding forest was refreshing and spirit lifting.

This morning was quite dark. I had high hopes for the sunrise, but in the end it was warm, peaceful, and full of bird songs and the promise of spring. I noticed yesterday that the magnolia trees have started to bloom! Can you believe it? Last year the magnolias and cherry blossoms showed up in the second week of april, just after this project got started. Here’s one of my favorites from last year:

And another picture from April 2011 featuring some bradford pears off of Erie Ave.

Back to this morning: a plane takes off against the gray and stormy spring backdrop

The magnolias have started to bloom… the bradford pears are next!

Spring is here! It’s Magnolia Official (kind of like being Facebook Official but with more pollen)…


Sunrise 152: Ault Park (Clear Daybreak; Pavilion Sunrise)

Late twilight above the Little Miami River Valley, a day before Day Light Savings ends.

A chilly morning in Ault Park

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.

Sunrise 148

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”.

The Cincinnati Observatory

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)

Sunrise 147 @ Ault Park

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.

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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.

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