Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category


July 17, 2011 3 comments

When I moved to Iowa in 2005, I landed in Knoxville, a small town about 40 miles south east of Des Moines. What I didn’t know until I arrived is that Knoxville is the Sprint Car Capital of the world. The Knoxville Raceway is home to the Knoxville Nationals, a week-long (more if you count the 360 Nationals the weekend before) racing event that draws fans, cars, and drivers from all over the world. Okay, mostly the U.S. and a strong Australian and New Zealand contingent. I had never seen dirt track racing until moving to Iowa, so this was a new experience. I did not turn into a die hard fan, but I went to a few races a year, often with some of my coworkers who were completely obsessed fans (one had moved to Knoxville because of the track, and looked for a job after he moved). I learned about slidejobs, why the fans always booed Danny Lasoski, and just how important the track was to Knoxville’s economy. When the town population goes from 7,000 to several tens of thousands for a week, that’s a pretty big deal.

I left Iowa for Illinois in late 2008, so it’s been nearly three years since I’ve been to a race. I finally fixed that last Saturday night, meeting my friend Beth at Wilmot Raceway for a night of mostly midget racing. Now, my dirt track racing experience has all been at Knoxville, which, as far as dirt tracks go, is a Big Deal. The local county fair race track up in Wilmot? Maybe not so much. So, for the first hour I was there, I got to watch this thing go round and round and round, trying to work the track into shape.

Eventually, they got the dirt under control, and cars came onto the track for warmup laps.

No, the tractor wasn't racing.

And we finally started racing.

There's a racing explanation for that visor tag, I'm sure.

Emergency response to a flipped car, no injuries.

I had my camera with me, obviously, with the 45-200 zoom lens. But the Panasonic G2 I have isn’t known for having great low-light performance or very fast autofocusing. And I was trying to shoot fast-moving race cars at night, under artificial light. So, the pictures are what they are. I had to get some shots of the pace car, though. Beth swears it’s an old Subaru BRAT, and when she was at the track a month ago watching sprint cars (bigger, faster cousins of the midgets we saw last night, and the type of cars I’m most familiar with), it nearly caused a pileup as it couldn’t stay ahead of the sprints.

We finished up sometime after 12:30, and I was tired enough by that point to skip a post-race bar visit, and just come home and crash. Well, maybe talking about crashing isn’t the best thing to do in a post about racing…In any case, I had a good time, and am looking forward to seeing sprints on this track at some point in the future, perhaps in August during the Kenosha County Fair.

View more photos at my Flickr account over here.


Sunday Scenes

June 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Quiet for months, I know, I know. Blogging < crazy planting season. Bear with me. Until then, some scenes from my Sunday.

Good Morning!

Mixing Loads


My interesting choice of reading material for the day

At the end of the day, this robin in the tree above my house.


February 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Today was the warmest day we’ve had here in northern Illinois for months. The high for the day was 42 degrees! Downright balmy, compared to the single digits we had just a few days ago. The sun was also out, which has been rare, lately. February is generally my least favorite month of the year; it’s slow at work, the weather sucks, everyone is touchy and on edge from being cooped up inside, and spring seems so very far away. There’s definitely been a lot of that this month, starting with the blizzard on the 1st of the month, and going right into some really crazy/stupid situations at work. I’ve been a bit mopey and out of sorts since January; the endless gray weather has definitely had a lot to do with that.

So I had to get out of the house for a while this afternoon. There’s still lots and lots of snow on the ground, but with weather this inviting, who could resist the outdoors today? I ended up just outside of town, at one of the entrances to the Hebron Trail that runs between Hebron, IL and Richmond, IL. I was expecting snow, some trees, maybe a little bit of nature. After all, no motorized vehicles allowed, right?


Well….except in winter, apparently.

The trail is apparently an official part of the many snowmobile club trails in the area. Which is fine by me; the snow was packed enough for me to walk on, and I got a few neat shots.

I walked up Seaman Road, and got a few more shots of snowmobiles, this time with some agriculture as a background.



As I posted on Twitter, the wildlife today included Arctic Cats.


As usual, the entire set is up on Flickr.

Working on a post regarding sulfur fertilization, for those of you looking for more agronomic content. That’ll be up later in the week, as I’ll be making my final trip to Wisconsin Dells this winter to attend a Winfield Solutions regional conference Tuesday and Wednesday. Until then, enjoy the photos!

Categories: Photography Tags: , , ,


February 2, 2011 2 comments

Here in northern Illinois, we just experienced the 3rd worst blizzard on record in terms of snowfall. The entire Chicagoland area was basically shut down today. We made the decision yesterday to close the office. I left the office early on Tuesday as well, just before the edge of the major storm hit us. We had been getting flurries all day, and the wind had picked up during the afternoon, so my drive home down State Route 173 looked like this at about 3pm Tuesday:

Fun Shit For Driving

It’s a short drive home, but  it still wasn’t very fun. Shortly after I got home, the snowfall rate increased dramatically, and the winds picked up even further.


It was blowing so hard, my south windows began to fill with snow.


By morning, my back porch was completely full of snow, and the front driveway was drifted in to depths approaching 3 feet. And the overnight snowplows left about 4 feet of snow at the end of the driveway.





Snowmobilers were using 173 as a path…while it was well plowed in town, much of the road was actually closed to traffic, and it was drifting quite badly out in the country.




It was quite a storm. After this, I think I’ve had my fill of snow for the year. We’re basically dug out, and I think the roads should be in good shape by tomorrow. We’re headed north to Wisconsin Dells for the Wisconsin Corn/Soy Expo in Wisconsin Dells, so I’m hoping things will be clear. After that, it’s on to Minneapolis for the weekend, where we’ll be seeing friends we rarely see, and taking lots of photos at the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

Here’s a few video clips of snow, snow shoveling, and snowmobiles:

February 2nd Blizzard Aftermath from Jim Doolittle on Vimeo.

Categories: Personal, Photography, Weather Tags: ,


January 9, 2011 2 comments

I was out in the country on Saturday with the camera, looking for some interesting scenery when I saw this tiny, ancient graveyard in the middle of a field. You see these from time to time in the country, and they’re usually really old, and the headstones often leave you wondering. This one was no exception.

I was on Vanderkaar road, so of course there are Vanderkaars buried in the cemetery.


Stewart Road is the north-south road just to the west, and there are Stewarts, too. Joseph was born in 1795! Lived a long life, too. He was almost certainly a farmer; there wasn’t much else in this area in the mid-1800s.


These next two photos struck me. Mr. and Mrs. Lumley’s baby died at 6 months, apparently without a name? The 1800s were harsh. The modern toys at the gravestone are interesting. Maybe whoever mows the site left them.


Jennie E. was only 23 when she passed. Maybe in childbirth? Tragic. This may be one of the older gravestones in the cemetery.


On the other hand, there are also some modern burials. I saw a couple of dates from the early 2000s. There’s also at least one WWI veteran, with a nicely kept up wreath and flag by his side.


My fingers were getting numb at this point, so I packed it in. I was fascinated by the age of some of these stones; I’ll probably go back on a warmer day and take another look. I’d like to see if there are any older than 1866.

There are just a few more pictures in this set up on Flickr

Categories: Photography Tags: ,

Best of 2010

December 23, 2010 1 comment

I promised some photoblogging when I started this, and since I haven’t been taking many photos lately, let’s take a look back at some of my favorite shots from 2010.


We took a trip to Montreal, Canada in September. This shot is from the top of Mont Royal at the Chalet du Mont Royal. The Chalet itself was pretty boring, but the view of downtown Montreal was spectacular.


We visited a yarn store while we were in Montreal. Jenne couldn’t resist this ball of multicolored yarn. This was taken in one of the many cafes in downtown Montreal, near the waterfront.

Barn and Silo

This beautiful old barn and silo is in the middle of a subdivision, next to a 20 acre field a customer of mine farms. The field and the barn are surrounded either by houses or a swamp and a lake. I have no idea why it is still farmed, by all rights it should have been houses years ago. This was an iPhone shot, I’ll be going back next spring with a better camera. There aren’t many silos like this in existence in this area, anymore.


My father, on the ladder to his Gleaner R52 combine.


A stitched together landscape view of the farm I grew up on, as viewed from our south pastures. I shot the farm from three or four different directions at different times this fall, and this was the only view that really worked for me. I need to go a little nuts taking pictures around the farm next year, as I’m starting to doubt how long it will still be there, and I’m really, really going to miss it if it goes away.

Possibly my favorite shot of the year. Our friends Misti and Joe got married in November, this is Joe dancing with his mother. Something about the song they were playing was especially meaningful to mom…and I got this shot.

I think I’ll leave it there; that’s a good sampling. No more blog entries until after Christmas, I hope all of you have a great one!