Blog Posts...

Adventure Park

posted Sep 14, 2019, 5:45 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Sep 14, 2019, 5:45 AM ]

My photo partner, Rod, had posted some baby giraffe photos from a nearby animal park that I never knew existed.  So, after doing a bit of research online, I found that they were only 1 hour from home and offered a special private encounter with one of my wife's favorite animals: sloths!  Since her birthday was just around the corner, we had to sign up and go.  So we did!

Not only sloths, or course, but some really special animals and a few we've never seen.   Enjoy!

Mom and baby.

Sleeping cougar.

Fantastic bobcat.

Lazy lioness.


Typical grooming behavior.

Hyenas!

And, SLOTHS!






An awesome way to celebrate my awesome wife's birthday!

-PHIL

Salt Lake City, Utah

posted Sep 14, 2019, 5:35 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Sep 14, 2019, 5:37 AM ]

One of the best perks of my day job is travel and being able to visit places I might not otherwise get to.  This time around it was to Salt Lake City, Utah and the University of Utah.  What a place!  My first thought of the landscape was "this is like Mars!"  We just don't have anything like it here in the East.  I grabbed a few smartphone photos while there and here they are to enjoy...

My first view after landing and driving to the hotel.

The U of U building for our meeting.

Murals inside the building.


My boss's favorite lunch spot - also having an anniversary in 2019!

We also made a quick stop at Temple Square to see some of the building and pipe organs at the Mormon Church.  This is the hall where the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs. 

Check out those pipes!

The Visitors Chapel at Temple Square.

Also with its own pipe organ.

Wonderful towers on this one.

Historic bell monument.


This time I stayed awake on the plane and grabbed some shots of the amazing landscape as I flew East and home...



A logo on the mountainside for the college below. 

Valley road over to the next hot spot by the lake.  What a view!

Happy Trails!

-PHIL

Staycation 2019

posted Jun 23, 2019, 2:33 PM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Jun 23, 2019, 2:34 PM ]

Being without pet sitters for the week we chose to take vacation, we decided to make it a staycation and hit some of the local spots we'd wanted to visit.  Here's a run down of our activities...

A ride on the Adirondack Scenic RR from Utica Station to The Soda Fountain for lunch.


Next, a bit of yard work to remove rotten landscape stairs and convert to a ramp or slope.



Then a trip down to Corning, NY and the Corning Glass Museum.







A bit of golf.


A couple of movies...



And dinner out a couple of times... all in all a nice week off!

-PHIL






Covered Bridges in PA

posted May 6, 2019, 7:42 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated May 6, 2019, 7:45 AM ]

On a rainy, foggy, and gloomy day (as is always the case it seems!) photography buddy Rod and I set out to find and capture some of the historic Covered Bridges of Pennsylvania.  We spent about 11 hours in the car and the rain, found 5 bridges (including 1 that wasn't on any map!), and a few other things to shoot.  A grand day out and a few spots we'll likely revisit in the Fall when the leaves are changing.  I hope you enjoy!

First Bridge: Buttonwood Covered Bridge.  A very short span over Blockhouse Creek.

Second Bridge: Cogan House Covered Bridge over Larrys Creek.  Just on the other side and to the right is a single family home and they seem to own the entire corner of land along the creek.  So jealous to be able to see this beauty every day!

On our way to #3, we spotted this gorgeous barn and farm property.

Bridge Three:  This is the one we never saw coming!  Hillsgrove Covered Bridge over Loyalsock Creek.  This is a nice long span!

Looking down the side - I like the window awnings on this one.

And, the interior was painted red - the first I've seen this done with a covered bridge.

Placard.

The entrance of Hillsgrove Covered Bridge from the far side.

Fourth Bridge:  The downstream view of the Folksville Covered Bridge.

The Folksville Covered Bridge along with the Folksville General Store.

A really old wooden sign directing travelers to an Inn, Hotel, and Motel offering Good Food and Drinks.

A bit of local history.  Do you recognize the last name?

Bridge Five:  By far, our favorite of the day!  Knapp's Covered Bridge.  The bridge was more unique and setting just about perfect!

Lovely stone work to support each end of this bridge.

And the last stop of the day.  It wouldn't be a Rod & Phil trip without some kind of train shot!  Here is a multi-segment trestle bridge in Athens, PA spanning the Chemung River.


Happy Travels!

-PHIL

The Wild Elk of PA

posted Oct 21, 2018, 6:29 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Oct 21, 2018, 7:00 AM ]

Yes, you read correctly - Wild Elk in Pennsylvania!  Shooting partner Rod had told me about this a few years ago: a region in PA where wild elk roamed around and people went to see and photograph them.  Since the foliage season of 2018 has been so unpredictable, we decided to head south and try our luck with the elk.  Boy, were we lucky!!  Enjoy these photos and put this spot on your travel to-do list.

The PA DCNR has an extensive signage program and designated viewing areas throughout the region.

Before we got to Elk County, PA (its real name!), we found this cool little train yard where they run sightseeing and dinner train excursions on the weekends.  (http://tiogacentral.com/)



We also made a stop at the George B Stevenson Dam/Reservoir which looks like a fantastic little recreation site.



Even the local lunch hot spots get into the elk theme.

This display was useful in understanding the size of the elk we'd be seeing.

The PA DCNR do a great job catering to the needs of the wild elk herd.

Our first sighting!  A younger bull enjoying an afternoon snack.  He was about 50-75 feet from the car.

Having a rest before starting their evening routine.

A nice grouping with several bulls.  We were surprised at how many bulls there were with a much higher ratio than what you see with white-tailed deer.  We estimated a 3-5 ratio of bulls to cows.

Another train scene, just to mix things up.  As you can see, the foliage this year was very lacking in color.

The evening call to taps... a military joke, since the calls they make is called bugling.

A nice sunlit portrait of a big bull elk.

Once evening hits, they come out of the woodwork and just wander around the village!

The next morning we started out early and were treated to a lovely coating of frost for some different scenes.

Once again, lots of big bulls running around.  This guy has seen his share of battles.  Rod noticed that the antler tips are much sharper on Elk than on deer.

The morning bugle call.  (I'm having a camera issue, so some shots were a little fuzzy.)

3 bulls in the morning.

A close-up of the morning bugle call.

Finally, the sun came all the way up and gave us some great light.  However, that was also the signal to the elk to retreat back in the woods and this was one of our last sightings.

On the way home, we stopped at yet another train site - this is the Horseshoe Curve National Historic Site.  It's worth a quick read online, since it's a cool feat of engineering.  (http://www.railroadcity.com/visit/world-famous-horseshoe-curve/)

Wouldn't be a train site without a clock!

The final shot from PA on the way home.  Just a windy road through the fall foliage.

Another great trip and experience for us and I hope you enjoyed the photos.  I'm sure I'll have more to come as we get back into the winter months!

-PHIL

Tour of Ontario

posted Jul 15, 2018, 5:57 AM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Jul 15, 2018, 5:59 AM ]

Recently I made another trip around Ontario, Canada to visit some of our great customers for work.  I managed to make a few stops with my camera, including taking a drive through an African Safari Wildlife Park!


My first stop, though, was a pretty cool shipwreck!  It's actually a replica of an explorer's ship from the 1500s that someone built and then abandoned.  Its name is La Grande Hermine.



Now, to the Lions!  The fantastic thing about this park is that all the animals roam free and you drive through in the "cage" that is your car.  Best approach for all involved!




This shot of the baboon is after he climbed up on the back of the minivan in front of me and sat down staring at me!








Another great trip up to our friends to the North!

-PHIL

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

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