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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!


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.



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!



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!




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!


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!


Kansas Trip, Part 3 - Ha Ha Tonka State Park

posted Oct 29, 2017, 6:54 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Oct 29, 2017, 7:28 AM ]

For Part 3, I veered way off course to visit the Ha Ha Tonka SP where I'd seen there were castle ruins!  I also found a neat natural bridge.  Enjoy this side trip!

Here is the story board of the castle and its eventual ruin by fire.

The outer walls are pretty much all that remains.

A little drive thru to the back - good for entering the home in bad weather.

I did this shot for my buddy Rod, who loves a good sunburst!

Here is one of the carts used to haul the stone from the nearby quarry.  They were pulled by mules.

More about the castle.

Now over to the natural bridge.

This is the best photo I could manage - it was really hard to convey scale.  The opening below is almost 10 feet tall and you can walk right under and through it.  Really cool to see, but super hard to photograph!

That's it for Part 3!


Kansas Trip, Part 2 - Route 66

posted Oct 29, 2017, 6:45 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Oct 29, 2017, 6:45 AM ]

Here we are in part 2 of my trip visiting customers in Missouri and Kansas.  It's time to get our kicks on Route 66!  Enjoy!

Everyone have their Corvette tuned up and ready to roll?  :-)

A couple of old cars around this site.

This was quite a scenic spot as you'll see...

The river heading towards Devil's Elbow - looks great for kayaking and canoeing!

A double trestle train bridge crossing the river in the valley of Devil's Elbow.

The actual RT 66 bridge crossing the river - I love the painted symbol on the pavement.

The last stop was the Rail Raven Best Western in Springfield, MO.  Original architecture, decor, cars, and famous because Elvis stayed there!

Rail Haven Best Western

Old timey gas pumps on display.

I was super lucky to have this old coupe pull in and park as I was taking photos!

Continue to Part 3 and 4!


Kansas Trip, Part 1 - MST

posted Oct 29, 2017, 6:22 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Oct 29, 2017, 6:24 AM ]

For my most recent customer trip with my new job/company, Software2, I headed to the midwest!  I would be in both Missiouri and Kansas and was looking forward to a couple of new college campuses, plus some sights along RT 66!  Here is the first batch of photos, from Missouri University of Science & Technology.  Please enjoy!

Home of the Miners!

As with all college campuses, some gorgeous architecture to be had.

One of the oldest buildings on campus.

A newer campus building.

Some smart peeps hang out here!

Leaving the light on for the Chemical Engineering folks.

Study hard, play hard.  Take your chance against the zombies!

More to come in Parts 2 thru 4!


Fillmore Glen at 24mm

posted Sep 12, 2017, 8:39 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Sep 12, 2017, 8:42 AM ]

On a recent photo trip/hike of Fillmore Glen State Park, I decided to practice some composition skills by shooting only with my 24mm prime lens.  It was quite fun and I recommend this type of adventure to all my students!  Here are my photos, please enjoy!

This is a gorgeous stone arch bridge over the main creek, and I continue to struggle with a composition that I like.

A different angle.

Cowsheds Waterfall.

Looking upstream - I liked the golden reflection of the water.

Along the path, this tree defies gravity.

Waterfall and ledges.

This is the only shot where I used a different lens, as I wanted to capture the multi-directional spray close-up.

Fillmore's boyhood cabin from the mid 1850s.

Enjoy the fall, it's just around the corner!


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