As you know — and as you perhaps struggled with over the past couple of days — daylight saving time went into effect early Sunday.

I built this timeline history for Sunday’s Victoria Advocate.


Click that for a much larger, readable version. Or, better yet, follow this link to read the online version.

In the far right chunk of intro copy, I addressed what we call daylight saving time: It’s “saving” and not “savings,” and it’s all lower-case letters with no hyphenation. I’ll bet money I’m the only journalist who wrote about daylight saving time this weekend who quoted Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. I’m rather proud of that.

The photo up top is a five-year-old file photo by the talented Frank Tilley.

This page was a revised version of a Focus page I did last fall for the Orange County Register.


But the real reason I’m showing this to you is the back page of the Your Life section in Sunday’s Advocate: This enormous diagram showing the number of daylight and nighttime hours for every day of the year.


Again, click on that for a much larger look.

Down the side are various superlatives: Longest day, shortest day, earliest sunrise, earliest sunset and so on. The little notches are the days daylight saving time kicks in and out.

And that page, too, is a do-over of a Focus page I built a year-and-a-half ago for the Orange County Register.


Note, however, that the gigantic bar chart — with more than 1,000 separate data points — had to be redrawn from scratch. Victoria, Texas, and Santa Ana, Calif., are at completely different latitudes. The longest day of summer in Texas is a whole 22 minutes shorter than the longest day in California.

So what would this chart look like if it were drawn for a city way up north — say, a city like Fargo, N.D.?

Glad you asked. My friends at the Fargo Forum also drew a version of this chart for Sunday’s paper.


That was built by the Forum‘s Troy Becker. When I was teaching at the Forum a couple of weeks ago, I showed them this chart and suggested they try it for the day the clocks changed. Troy was brave enough to give it a try.

But talk about a difference in latitude! The longest day of the year in Fargo lasts nearly 15 hours and 53 minutes — that’s a whole hour and 49 minutes longer than it is here in South Texas.

Graphically, this manifests itself in a curvier curve on Fargo’s huge bar chart.


Fargo’s is on the right. Texas is in the center. My old California chart is on the left.

The Forum ran this inside Sunday’s paper. Out front, the Forum ran a story about a local man who changes the giant clocks in the tower atop the Cass County Courthouse.


Read the story here by the Forum‘s Archie Ingersoll.

Note the nice A1 refer to Troy’s graphic.

So, where did all that info come from? Troy built this fun little piece to demonstrate the creative process behind this project.


Ah, yes. Very cute. But seriously…

1) Find a reliable listing of sunrise and sunset data for your area for the entire year. Or if, like Troy, you want to go more than an entire year. My favorite source for this type of data is

2) Convert all the data — sunrise and amount of sunlight hours — to minutes and then chart them using Adobe Illustrator.

3) Make sure all the data is charted to the same scale. You could probably build all this using stacked bars, but I build mine separately and then stack the bars manually.

4) Once all the bars are in place, group them and then fill with whatever gradient turns you on.

5)Very carefully place all the labels. After all that work, you wouldn’t want to make a mistake at this point.

OK, so there’s an idea for you to rip off — with my compliments. A timeline history of daylight saving time plus an enormous light/dark bar chart.

Daylight saving time ends on Nov. 1 and will resume again on March 13, 2016. Reserve some space now.