The Sunset Project 2011

I love sunsets.

My favorite time of day is when the sun begins to sink in the western sky, and the bright light of day melts into the beauty of the evening to come. The day seems to slow down, and mellow. The fading light often plays with clouds, landscapes and the horizon to create beautiful and memorable montages of light and color.

That’s what makes me a sunset guy.

In 2011 I’m going to take as many photos around sunset as possible and post them here in Updraft.

I’d like to say I can get all 365 days but with my schedule that’s not going to happen. There’s just too many travel, severe weather and other days where I’ll be unable to sneak away from the microphone and do a photo justice near sunset time. I’ll try to take as many photos as possible within an hour of sunset and document them here. You can click on the photos for bigger images.

I’ll post the location and time of the photo, and the local sunset time that day. I’ll also highlight any additional interesting information I can include. I’m not a professional photographer so I expect a mix of some clunkers, decent shots and maybe a gem or two.

I hope you enjoy my look at sunsets 2011.


Date: January 1, 2011

Location: Phoenix, AZ Sky Harbor Airport

Time: 3:05pm MST

Local sunset time: 5:31pm

Temperature: 48 degrees

Weather: Bright sun

January 1st Phoenix2.JPG

Comments: Took this shot well before sunset waiting for a flight home to MSP. Bright, sunny but chilly day by Phoenix standards. South Mountain in the background with the TV & radio towers on top.

Date: January 3, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 4:00pm CST

Local sunset time: 4:44pm

Temperature: 19 degrees

Weather: Light snow

January 3rd Deephaven2.JPG

Comments: Light snow in the hour before sunset at the Weather Lab. The sky, trees and smoke plume gently rising from the chimney all say deep winter. Note the deep snow cover on the rooftop. It’s definitely January in Minnesota.


Date: January 4, 2011

Location: Lake Minnetonka, MN near Bug Island

Time: 4:25pm CST

Local sunset time: 4:45pm

Temperature: 8 degrees

Weather: Arctic sun, light wind.

January 4 Lake Minnetonka.JPG

Comments: Classic winter sunset on Lake Minnetonka. Brisk, calm arctic air. Ice house village ready for sundown on a frozen Minnesota lake in January.

Date: January 5, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN (west metro)

Time: 4:25pm CST

Local sunset time: 4:46pm

Temperature: 16 degrees

Weather: Mid level clouds-light NW wind

January 5 Deephaven2l.JPG

Comments: Clouds rolled in just before sunset. Faint sun glows through broken cloud deck. Bare trees (Fleetwood Mac?) exudes deep winter feel.

Date: January 6, 2011

Location: St. Paul, MN

Time: 4:15pm CST

Local sunset time: 4:47pm

Temperature: 16 degrees

Weather: Gray

January 6 St. Paul2.JPG

Comments: State Capitol from MPR 5th floor deck. Nice urban balance with white snow cover & overcast skies. Daylight noticeably longer now (especially on clear evenings) in the evening as we’re gaining a full minute on sunset each day.

Here’s a great link for tracking sunrise & sunset times anywhere.

Date: January 7, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 4:30pm CST

Local sunset time: 4:48pm

Temperature: 10 degrees

Weather: Mixed clouds, chilly breeze.

January 7 Deephaven.JPG

Comments: “California Dreamin'” scene on a Friday evening. Chilly breeze and sun fading into low broken clouds at sunset.

Date: January 8, 2011

Location: Lake Minnetonka, MN

Time: 4:35pm CST

Local sunset time: 4:49pm

Temperature: 3 degrees

Weather: Bright sun, clear, calm & cold.

January 8 MYC sunset.JPG

Comments: Classic arctic sunset on a frozen Minnesota lake. Sun is setting behind Minnetonka Yacht Club on Lighthouse Island at the mouth of St. Louis Bay on the eastern end Lake Minnetonka. I like how the light streams radiate out through the openings between the spruce trees illuminating the snow cover. MYC has a weather station you can access here.

Date: January 9, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 4:35pm CST

Local sunset time: 4:50pm

Temperature: 13 degrees

Weather: Sun fading into high clouds. Light east wind at 5 mph.

January 9 Carsons Bay.JPG

Comments: Why not a “twofer” today?

1st Photo: “Inner” Carson’s Bay on Lake Minnetonka looking SW through shoreline cattail marsh. Sun fading into 10k foot cirrus shield overcast moving in ahead of approaching low pressure. Slight reflection gleaming off of wind swept ice on the bay.

January 9 Cottagewood Rink.JPG

2nd Photo: Nearby Cottagewood ice rink. Sun glows behind bare trees to the west of the rink. Happy skaters enjoy hard, smooth ice in this winter of consistent cold.

Date: January 10, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 4:40pm CST

Local sunset time: 4:51pm

Temperature: 21 degrees

Weather: Light “powdered sugar” snow.

January 10 Snowy rain gauge.JPG


1st Photo: Huttner Weather Lab tipping rain gauge waits for milder days to melt snow into measureable “liquid” precipitation.

January 10 Bosco Weather Cat.JPG

2nd Photo: “Bosco the Weather Cat” surveys an inch of fresh powder on the weather deck.

Date: January 11, 2011

Location: Excelsior, MN

Time: 4:15pm CST

Local sunset time: 4:53pm

Temperature: 23 degrees

Weather: 3″ fresh snowfall. Filtered sun emerging.

January 11 Excelsior.JPG

Comments: Wintery street scene. Downtown Excelsior. Fresh snowfall piled up around parked cars on street edges at the corner of Lake & Water Streets says mid-winter. Filtered sun setting behind Jake O’Connor’s. Dock Cinema on right serves popcorn with real butter!

January 11Thorpe.JPG

Today’s bonus image: Thorpe Park in Deephaven features deep snow pack. Sun fades between trees through broken cloud layer.

Date: January 12, 2011

Location: Woodland, MN

Time: 4:53pm CST

Local sunset time: 4:54pm

Temperature: 15 degrees

Weather: Mostly clear, cirrus west

January 12 Lake Marion.JPG

Comments: Pretty sunset over Lake Marion in Woodland. Nice contrast of snow and marsh in foreground. Robinson’s Bay in Lake Minnetonka visible background right. Sun melting into cirrus layer in the west.

Date: January 13, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 9:15am CST

Local sunset time: 4:55pm

Temperature: 8 degrees

Weather: Snow total 1.9″

January 13 Wx Lab.JPG

Comments: Broke my own rules with a morning shot of snow. It was just coming down too good…and better than the sunset pics of the day. Spruce provides the backdrop. Winter now in high gear.

Date: January 14, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 4:00pm CST

Local sunset time: 4:57pm

Temperature: 16 degrees

Weather: Snow total 2.5″

January 14 Wx Lab ice.JPG

Comments: Another day, another clipper. Snow falls pm & evening messing up another commute. Photo shows late PM snow against spruce backdrop. Ice dams bracket the shot from the weather lab roof.

Date: January 17, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 4:55pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:00pm

Temperature: 24 degrees

Weather: Flurries

January 17 Wx Deck1.JPG

Comments: Freshly scraped weather deck at sunset. Massive snow piles have us all looking for new places to pile more snow as it falls.

January 17 Wx Deck2.JPG

Bonus shot with flash on captures flurries falling at sunset.

Date: January 19, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 4:30pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:03 pm

Temperature: 9 degrees

Weather: Sunny. Cirrus west

January 19 St Louis Bay.JPG

Comments: Nice sunset at the Deephaven boat docks on St. Louis Bay in Lake Minnetonka. Sun fading into cirrus deck west, but still strong enough cast shadows from dock posts. Winter’s peak?

Date: January 20, 2011

Location: St. Paul, MN

Time: 5:00pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:04 pm

Temperature: 5 degrees

Weather: Clear & cold

January 20 St. Paul Cathedral.JPG

Comments: Sunset behind the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Lone cumulus drifts to the north. Lighted globes add transitional effect from the Minnesota History Center.

January 20 St. Paul l.JPG

Bonus photo: St. Paul skyline at sunset. Faint glow of sunlight off the buildings.

Date: January 21, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 5:02pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:05 pm

Temperature: 2 degrees

Weather: Light snow

January 21 Deephaven.JPG

Comments: Common sight on rooftops in Minnesota these days. Snow and icicles collect a few more flakes as clipper sails through.

Date: January 23, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 4:55pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:09 pm

Temperature: 12 degrees

Weather: Mostly clear, cirrus west

January 23 Deephaven.JPG

Comments: Classic winter sunset over Lake Minnetonka, but it could be any Minnesota lake this time of year. Cirrus decorate a creamy sunset sky. Park bench awaits warmer days.

Date: January 25, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 4:50pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:11 pm

Temperature: 20 degrees

Weather: Mixed clouds & sun

January 25 Deephaven.JPG

Comments: Winter sunset in the maple forest. Towering trees cradle the setting sun. Cirrus shield filters last evening light.

Date: January 26, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 4:55pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:12 pm

Temperature: 18 degrees

Weather: Partly cloudy

January 26 Walden.JPG

Comments: Mystical sunset over Carson’s Bay on Lake Minnetonka. Flat cumuli shade the disc of the sun as a backdrop against hill and bare trees.

Date: January 27, 2011

Location: Woodland, MN

Time: 4:50pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:14 pm

Temperature: 25 degrees

Weather: Broken clouds

January 27 Woodland.JPG

Comments: Filtered sun again through broken altostratus deck. Weather pattern features clouds and peeks of sun. Lake Marion marsh and hill make for classic wintery scene.

Date: January 30, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 4:55pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:18 pm

Temperature: 22 degrees

Weather: Clouds rolling in, snow on the way

January 30 Lake Tonka.JPG

Comments: Minnesota winter scene on lake Minnetonka. Ice houses ready for another snow. Cirrostratus deck moving in…about to bring 4.7″ of fresh snowfall.

Date: February 2, 2011

Location: St. Paul, MN

Time: 5:06pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:22 pm

Temperature: 5 degrees

Weather: Arctic sun

February 2 St. Paul.JPG

Comments: Sunlight reflected on the State Capitol in St. Paul. Crisp, cold arctic air in place.

Date: February 3, 2011

Location: Greenwood, MN

Time: 5:20pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:23 pm

Temperature: 10 degrees

Weather: Arctic sunset

February 3 Greenwood.JPG

Comments: Arctic sunset looking SW across Excelsior Bay toward Excelsior from Greenwood.

Date: February 4, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 5:25pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:25 pm

Temperature: 30 degrees

Weather: Sunny & milder

February 4 Deephaven.JPG

Comments: Nice mix of bright sky and trees in the maple forest. Daylight now evident until nearly 6pm on clear evenings. Nice night for outdoor ice hockey and other winter activities.

Date: February 7, 2011

Location: Deephaven, MN

Time: 5:25pm CST

Local sunset time: 5:29 pm

Temperature: 4 degrees

Weather: Finger numbing cold

February 7 Deephaven Beach.JPG

Comments: Arctic sunset at Deephaven Beach on St. Louis Bay of Lake Minnetonka. Empty picnic pavilion with an artcic wind chill of -15. Fingers numb after snapping a few photos. Warmer days ahead.


  • Lauren

    Cool project! I look forward to checking back on it!

  • Cool project, Paul. Sunrise and sunset are great times to take photos.

  • Jenni Kattelman

    Hey, Mr. Huttner,

    I’m a preschool teacher in Golden Valley, and this year, I thought it would be fun to measure the total seasonal snowfall amount with my kids. We’ve talked about how the amount of snow that falls isn’t the amount that we see on the ground and my kids are fascinated and impressed by the fact that the totals for this year are already above most of their heads.

    My problem is that I started this early in the season, which as you know started with 2 major snow events. These major events were measured from weather stations closer to our school in Golden Valley. Yet, those were almost 2 inches more than the “official” snowfall that was recorded at the airport! Can you help me figure out an accurate snowfall amount for our school?


    Mrs. Kattelman & Kids