SOMONAUK – Mark Tuttle’s fifth generation family farm in Somonauk will be featured during an upcoming WTTW television special, “Beyond Chicago from the Air.”
The show will air on WTTW at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, and again at 9 p.m. It also will be able to be viewed online at wttw.com. Additional upcoming episode airdates are also listed on the website.
Drone footage, which was completed over the summer, includes the Tuttles’ fields, including their wheat, corn and soybean crops, their farm buildings and barns, livestock and farm machinery.
Mark Tuttle said that it was a lot of fun to participate in the show and that he hopes “people will find a lot of interest and value in it.”
“It’s more than seeing beautiful farmland, the colors, rolling terrain and our rural agricultural area,” Tuttle said. “I think it will give people a better perspective of what farming is all about. Too many people think food comes from a grocery store, not a farm. I hope that viewers of the show will have a greater understanding and appreciation for farming, as well as get a chance to see our very scenic area.”
The show, described as a “high-flying panoramic exploration of iconic landmarks and little-known treasures across and beyond Illinois” in a news release, uses drone photography and video to capture Illinois’ towns, parks, railroads, waterways, monuments. All of the show’s original footage is shot entirely with a drone. The show is a sequel to “Chicago from the Air,” which was released last year.
Eddie Griffin, producer and director of “Beyond Chicago from the Air,” described the show as a way to go beyond the boundaries of Chicago to highlight more of Illinois.
“To make this show worth watching and interesting, we had to show you more exotic stuff,” Griffin said. “The Mississippi River, Mississippi Palisades State Park, Cahokia Mounds. We just had to cover and feature locations we don’t normally cover in our shows because they are further out.”
The special includes overhead views, as well as the history, of the Eternal Indian statue of Chief Black Hawk in Oregon, the Cahokia Mounds, the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Starved Rock, the lock and hydroelectric dam in Lockport, the Naperville Riverwalk, the Farnsworth House in Plano, working steam trains in Union, up close views of wind turbines and more.
Geoffrey Baer, the show’s narrator, writer and executive producer, said that sometimes Chicagoans “may not realize that there’s a whole other state of Illinois” outside the city.
“You can drive an hour outside of Chicago and you’re in an entirely different realm,” Baer said.
“Illinois is primarily a farm state, but you wouldn’t know that if you don’t venture outside of the city,” Baer said. “I’ve been doing shows for about 25 years, and I never talked about farmland. It was really fun researching the fact that we’re the top soybean producer in the nation and what other crops are grown in Illinois.”
Baer said that one of his goals in creating the show is the “I never knew that phenomenon.”
“I hear from people all the time … I’ve lived here all my life and never knew that,” Baer said. “Or I’ve walked by that building 100 times, but I never knew that. Well, that just takes that further.”
“Beyond Chicago from the Air” is produced and directed by Eddie Griffin and narrated, written and executively produced by Geoffrey Baer. The director of aerial photography is Colin Hinkle of Soaring Badger Productions, the editor Paul Thornton, associate producer Lauren R. Drell and art director Linda Fox.
Griffin described the show as more than a tour program, guiding viewers throughout parts of the state.
“We were careful not to make this a travelogue show,” Griffin said. “We have the story be the backbone, which is why all these places are featured in the show, because they contribute to a broader story. That story is sort of universal and shared by people across all counties of Illinois because it is the story of Illinois.”