Blog Posts...

Security Cam Critters

posted Apr 15, 2018, 6:19 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Apr 15, 2018, 6:33 AM ]

A nice collection of critters caught on the security cams at our new house - fun stuff!  (No sound on these.)

Birds doing a flyby.


Bunny Crossing.





Even a couple of White Tailed Deer.






And, we even have a fox in the neighborhood!






Most recently, a Raccoon. 



Pe Pe le Pew made an appearance.



On his way to "sit down beside her".



And, finally Kerry's favorite, a woodchuck.



Looking forward to see what Spring will bring!

-PHIL


First Trips, 2018

posted Mar 11, 2018, 8:06 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Mar 11, 2018, 8:22 AM ]

It's already March - yikes!  It's been a busy start to the 2018 and I've already made 6 trips for work around the US and Canada.  The travel is great and I enjoy meeting our customers and seeing all of the different campuses.  But, it's always better to come home.  Anyway, here are some photos from recent trips to Spokane, WA and both Alberta and Ontario provinces in Canada.  Enjoy and I'll try to keep up throughout the rest of the year!

A Snowy Owl near St. Catherine, Ontario, Canada.

A SECOND Snowy Owl near St. Catherine!  We actually saw three, but these two were the most photogenic.

I was traveling with two co-workers from the UK, and they don't have many of the song birds we find common.  So we spent some time photographing at a local park and they were able to get photos of many birds that were new to them.

A sultry female Cardinal.  LOL!

One of my favorite little birds, the Black-Capped Chickadee.  I'm still trying to get a perfect shot of one.

A male Wood Duck.  This was a new one for me - I'd seen them in the past, but never got a photo.  This one has paired himself with a female Mallard.  They say love is blind!



The common black squirrel found throughout the northern US and Canada.

A Red-Tailed Hawk watching me watch him (or her.)

I even got to hand-feed some of the locals!  Really fun!

There were also loads of Trumpeter Swans trying to stay out of the freezing cold in this little harbor.

Trumpeter Swan close-up.

Next trip was to Spokane, WA and Edmonton, Alberta.  This is the Spokane River rushing past the central park in downtown, home of the 1974 World's Fair.  Some of the structures still stand, but the whole park was being renovated so I couldn't get close.

One of the sights from the World's Fair.

There is also the historic Spokane Flour Mill, which is now condos and shops.  As a bread baker, I could live there!

The Rockies! This was on my way up to Edmonton, Alberta from the plane.


I loved the pattern of this mountain side.  Reminded me of the top of the Chrysler Building.

The vast expanse of Alberta, Canada!  I'm thinking snowshoes...

Last stop:  University of Alberta - this is sunrise over campus.


Lots more trips to come!

-PHIL

Vermont in Sub-zero Temps!

posted Jan 8, 2018, 3:12 PM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Jan 9, 2018, 5:14 AM ]

Once again, my friend and shooting partner Rod and I set out for Vermont to capture some winter scenes.  During the planning phase, the weather was looking sunny and clear.  However, the "bomb cyclone" quickly changed that forecast as the fast developing and fast moving storm ransacked the East Coast.  We were undeterred and headed East.  :-)   We drove straight into the outskirts of the storm and arrived in Bennington in a steady snowfall.  But we were prepared and started our shoot, immersing ourselves and our cameras in bitter cold, knee deep snowbanks, and the wonderful and classic feel of winter in Vermont.  Here are my favorite photos from our trip - please enjoy! 


A classic New England Colonial sporting a classic wreath and candles for the holidays.

This is Rod taking a shot mid-snowstorm.

The historic Henry Covered Bridge.  This photo is for sale on my store site:  www.philspitzestore.com

It wouldn't be a "bomb cyclone" without wind!  Snow blowing off the roof of the Henry Covered Bridge.

Just in time for lunch, we found this awesome little cafe - Two Brews Cafe.  Put this on your "must visit" list!

Further North, we stopped to photograph this gorgeous little inn.  Can you spot the shadow from my tripod legs? 

Some lovely decorations adorn the Taconic Hotel.

Here is the entryway - who's craving a cup of hot chocolate?!

Rod loves his barns, so I joined in and got this photo from the Manchester Inn.

Isn't this the perfect name for an outfitter's shop!  (Downtown Manchester, VT)

Wreathes were everywhere, including this side door of the First Baptist Church.

More holiday decos.

One of my favorite images from the trip.  Simple, yet powerful.

This lighted garland was all around the main circle in Manchester - very festive!

Another barn image from the Manchester Inn.  As you can tell, by day two the weather had passed and we were enjoying clear skies and -5 F temps!

On our way to Woodstock, we stopped by Plymouth, VT to research another barn that Rod was after.  Somehow we left without setting foot in this shop!  I'm going in next time.  :-)

Another barn on the way to Woodstock, but this one is special as it is 5 stories tall!  It looks in good shape and I would love to see the construction on the inside.  Just massive!

One of the National Historic Register buildings decorated for the holidays in Woodstock.

Is there a more perfect church to visit during winter in Vermont?  I don't think so!

Here's the Middle Bridge in Woodstock.  Named this because it crosses the same river as two other covered bridges in town, one upstream and one downstream.

A different angle of Middle Bridge.  (This one may end up on my store website, too!)

Now Taftsville is a new bridge for me, so it was fun to explore.  It's incredibly long at 189 feet!

Taftsville features a Burr arch-truss support structure.  Gorgeous engineering!

Here is the full span of the Taftsville Covered Bridge.

Our final stop was the Old First Church, back in Bennington.  I do love the look of the classic candles!

The front facade of the Old First Church.  That's it for this trip.

Happy New Year!

-PHIL

2017 Travel in Review

posted Dec 20, 2017, 7:41 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Dec 20, 2017, 7:42 AM ]

On September 18th, 2017, I started my dream job with Software2.  After just a short 3 months, I accumulated quite a few travel miles and of course photos.  :-)  These are my stats and below are some of highlight photos for the last quarter of 2017.  Happy New Year, everyone!

Travel Days = 26
Flight Legs = 24 (most destinations for me require 2 flight legs)
Cities = 16 (Syracuse / Seattle / New Rochelle, NY / Rolla / Pittsburg / KS / Philly / Indy / Manchester, Lancaster, Leeds, Plymouth, UK /Toronto, Kitchener, Barrie, CA / Ann Arbor / Dearborn)
Countries = 3 (including the US)


My first customer visit was to my old employer, Le Moyne College!

Then a quick drive to Iona College (just 30 mins north of NYC.)

Then out to Seattle for a conference with my boss, Dave.

Found this spot in Seattle!

A view of Mount Rainier from the plane.

Down to Philly for another conference.

It's always fun to see the hotels we stay in decorate for the holidays.  This was a Halloween display in Philly.

Philly at night from the air.

A classic Pace Car at the Indy airport.

Sunrise from the plane over England!

One of the many hotels I stayed in while visiting England.  (And yes, the little dog came home with me!)

Another sunset from the plane.

A plane reflection shot, while headed up to Canada.

Christmas display at my hotel in Michigan.

Another "Kerry" spot in Ann Arbor, Michigan!

Final sunset shot on my last flight of the year, just before landing back in Ithaca and going home.

Can't wait to see what 2018 brings!

For more photos, feel free to checkout my Instagram feed:  https://www.instagram.com/philspitze/

Wishing everyone the most joyous holidays!

-PHIL

England, Part 4

posted Dec 3, 2017, 2:58 PM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Dec 4, 2017, 12:44 PM ]

This is the final installment, Part 4, Days 5-7:  Leeds to Plymouth to Manchester, England and back to Philly and Ithaca.  Plymouth is the largest town on the southern coast and is a seaside city.  It was far enough to fly, so my co-worker Phil Morgan and I hopped down and back again on 45 minute flights from Manchester.  This part of the trip was to deliver some training to a fairly new customer to help them along with our software.  It was also Phil's first time to Plymouth, so we had a great time exploring.

Plymouth, UK = 250,000
- Madison, WI = 252,000
- Providence, RI = 180,000

Right from our hotel windows we could see the ruins of the Charles Church, dating back to the late 1600's!

Being a coastal town, there of course was a marina.  :-)

Lovely architecture and old cobblestone streets were everywhere!

A fun side door with a fisherman relief as the keystone.

Weathered fisherman.

All you need to catch dinner.  :-)

This is the first time I've ever seen a spiral staircase used as a fire escape. 

Another cobblestone street - this is a one-way track.

This is one of the oldest buildings in Plymouth.  Records have been confirmed for 1608!  It's a museum and currently closed for preservation work.

Another spiral staircase on the back of the museum.  Probably not from 1608!

Manchester, England from the airplane on my last night in the UK.

Returning home to the Ithaca airport, we were treated to a wonderful sunset.  Here are a few iPhone shots...




That's it for this time.  I'm excited to go back in 2018 and will hopefully get to spend some time in the countryside with my camera!

Have a great holiday season!

-PHIL

England, Part 3

posted Dec 3, 2017, 2:37 PM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Dec 3, 2017, 3:57 PM ]

This is Part 3, Days 4-5:  Lancaster to Leeds, England.  This time we carpooled to our next stop.  Leeds is where my company was started and the owners are in the process of buying an abandoned pub to convert into our new home office!  Very English.  Anyway, the purpose of this stop was for our all-hands annual company meeting and holiday dinner.  It was very nice to meet everyone in person and hear how well the company is doing. 

Leeds, UK = 715,000
- Boston = 665,000
- Milwaukee = 595,000

This is the Ferris wheel setup for the holidays.  There were several other rides and food vendors setup for shoppers.

Much to my delight, there was also a traditional German Christmas Market!  Here is my photo buddy Nik in front of the dedication sign.

A view from above.  There were dozens of food and gift vendors, all featuring German or German-themed merchandise.

Such as Nutcrackers!  LOTS of Nutcrackers!

A very ornate and gorgeous carousal.

The courthouse was lit with some decorations, too.

Here is the City Museum and more gorgeous architecture.

Next we visited some of the local outdoor shopping malls, which all had these arcades in the truest definition of the word: a covered passageway with arches along one or both sides.

Simply gorgeous to take in!

Our last stop was the Whitelock pub - the oldest operating pub in Leeds, dating back to 1715!

This is the bar on the inside, made completely of copper!

Only one part left to go.

Cheers!

-PHIL

England, Part 2

posted Dec 3, 2017, 2:23 PM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Dec 4, 2017, 12:41 PM ]

Here is Part 2, Days 3-4:  Manchester to Lancaster, England.  This part of the trip was to visit one of our major customers and participate in an all-day event where other customers from around the country came to share ideas.  Our host was Lancaster University, a quite prestigious college in Northern England.

Lancaster, UK = 45,000
- Ithaca = 31,000
- Concord, NH = 43,000

First up was a train ride north.  I managed to get a few shots of the countryside as we went along at 60mph.  Please forgive the glare from the window glass.


Lots of sheep along the way!

During the campus tour part of the day, we learned about this tree which is found in the library.  The space used to be an outside courtyard, but during a recent renovation was enclosed, but the tree was preserved and now lives indoors!

The indoor tree from the 2nd floor.

A nice modern, clean feeling following the renovations.

Fewer books and a lot more space for students to gather and work.  There were only a few places that were "quiet zones", which shows a change in how students prefer to study these days.

One of the many small, old details from around campus.

Another lighted fountain!

This is the lobby/great room of our hotel on campus.  The fireplace was a real wood burning one, and the two gents are my boss on the left and our tech support guy on the right.

On to part 3!

Cheers,

-PHIL

Across the Pond to England!

posted Dec 3, 2017, 2:07 PM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Dec 4, 2017, 12:38 PM ]

One of the huge perks to working for a company that started in England is that you get invited (and they pay!) to go over and visit headquarters and meet everyone in the UK office that you've only talked to via Skype.  Just after Thanksgiving, I did just that and spent 7 fantastic days in Jolly ole England.  It was a whirlwind of a trip with stops in 4 major cities and 6 nights in 5 different hotels!  To make things easy on myself, I've broken the trip and photos into 4 parts, starting here with Part 1, Days 1-3:  Ithaca to Philadelphia; Philly to Manchester, England.  I hope you enjoy and someday get to make a visit across the pond for yourself.  It's a truly special place to visit.  Enjoy!

Here is rough population comparison to help you gauge the size of each city I visited:
Manchester, UK = 2.5 mil
- Chicago = 2.7 mil

My flight across to England was from Ithaca to Philly to Manchester, England and was an overnight trip.
Leaving Philadelphia, iPhone shot.

Sunrise over England before landing in Manchester, UK, iPhone shot.

Tea tray in my hotel - EVERY room in each hotel had this and there wasn't a coffee maker anywhere to be found!  :-)

Typical English architecture - very fortified.

The lighted fountains of Piccadilly Square in Manchester.

One of the original canalways used to transport people and goods.

A statute of Alan Turing, often credited as being the inventor of modern computing.  Check out the movie Imitation Game for a look at his life.



Some of the buildings surrounding Sackville Square, where the Alan Turing memorial can be found.

More Manchester Architecture....



And here is the train station where we caught the train north to Lancaster.  A great ceiling structure!  iPhone shot.

Some more of the Manchester station, iPhone shot.

Continue on for the rest of my trip!

Cheers,

-PHIL

Philadelphia!

posted Nov 4, 2017, 6:06 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Nov 4, 2017, 6:12 AM ]

As part of my on-going travels for the new job with Software2, I attended the year's largest technology conference for colleges and universities.  This year it was held in Philly, and me and my camera were ready to go.  While I did get a lot of good shots and saw many historic sites, it is clear that I need to study up on my history!  I hope you enjoy this collection of photos...

I was lucky to have my hotel on South Broad St, also known as the Avenue of the Arts.  The street features many theaters and tributes to artists (seen below.)

But first, I had to get there...  This is the Ithaca airport's idea of a jetway, haha!  At least the plane had jet engines.

First up, was a nice walk to the historic part of downtown and some of the tourist stops along the way.  This is the post office where Ben Franklin worked.

The famous Liberty Bell.

Independence Hall and the steeple that once housed the Liberty Bell.

A unique clock on one end of Independence Hall, not visible from the street.

This is the monument in George Washington Park.




The Forest Theatre - one of many theaters in Philly.

No collection of photos would be complete without a few night shots!  This is City Hall, looking down Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

And, this is Benjamin Franklin Bridge which crosses over into NJ.

Broad Street Station Historic Site Plaque.

Real gas light outside the Academy of Music building.


City Hall Tower.

Beneath the City Hall Tower.

William Penn Prayer Plaque, found beneath City Hall Tower.

Mother Jones Historical Plaque.

A spikey railing outside of City Hall.

Here are some of the featured artists along South Broad St...




What a deeply rich history and culture Philadelphia has to offer!  To get the most out of it, brush up on your history first, though.  :-)

See you again, soon!

-PHIL

Kansas Trip, Part 4 - Pittsburg State University

posted Oct 29, 2017, 7:03 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Oct 29, 2017, 7:28 AM ]

Last but least, a visit to PSU, home of Gus the Gorilla!  This is the only college in all of the US with a gorilla for a mascot.  Neat!  Next up on my travel schedule is a conference in Philly!  Looking forward to some good photo ops there.  :-)

Welcome to PSU!

Home of the Gorillas!


Their ad for the College of Business.  Nice!

One of the crown jewels on campus, is this restored pipe organ in the school of music building.  Gorgeous!

Sadly, I ran out of time and didn't get to walk about campus as much as I would have liked.  I'm sure I'll be out again and will try to get more shots.

Thanks for reading!

-PHIL

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