GShutter Studios

June 25, 2009

Colombia S.A. Week 2 2009

Filed under: General,Photography — glenn @ 5:02 pm

Well, another week has come and gone and it was filled with a few interesting things that you won’t be able to see for another few weeks. The first was a trip to a local town where we walked up a huge staircase that took you to the top of a contraption that you could see cities in every direction. This sounds boring? Well, wait until you see the contraption… It was made from trees that had been smoothed into logs and then bolted together to make long legs. This thing had to be over 100ft tall and even rocked a bit as you went higher and higher. Don’t think I”m knocking it though, I was absolutely amazed that someone came up with the design and that it’s been standing there for years.

The weekend however, brought the most interesting part of the trip so far. As you all know I’m a pretty competitive person and when I set my mind to doing something I usually accomplish it. My wife is pretty much the same. So between the two of us we can usually push each other to accomplish that goal, whatever it be. Well, almost… You see, my wife wanted to take me to a local volcano that has snow on the top of it year round. Now in my mind, something is wrong with this picture, but, well, lets just say it didn’t register immediately.

You seem, Colombia isn’t a cold place, it actually stays warm here year round for the most part, so something with snow on it at all down here should have made me question where exactly we were heading, but the fact that it is almost always covered with clouds should have been the second. Through in the old metric to english conversions and you’ve got a really confused Glenn. Oh, and one that can’t breath very well to boot.

It took us 5 hours of driving some of the worst roads I’ve ever seen. Roads that I’m sure Toyota would love to film some commercials on. We eventually make it to our destination through multiple stops and lots of Spanish explanations that I skip to go take pictures. One thing I did get however, was the fact that the volcano is the highest thing in Colombia and that it was over 5000 meters tall. Problem was, for some reason in my head, a meter was half of a mile, so my calculations put us around 13,000 feet and I’ve hiked that far up with no problems. So I wasn’t thinking it would be that big of a deal.

Once out of the truck and my feet hit that hill though, my brain started to question those figures. 10 steps up, 2 minute break, 10 steps up, 2 minute break, head swimming, those pesky specks of lights started floating by. Ah drink water, lots of water, keep pushing, my wife and friends can’t see me stopping… urggg… damn, what was my name again?

After 30 minutes I turn around to look down at the truck and what do I see? The truck, not very far down at all, damn have I moved? I turn back around barely able to hold my camera to my face to snap a few shots and I have to put it down. What the heck is going on here? I know I’m not in that bad of shape. I’ve been playing 2-3 hours of soccer every day since I arrived and had no real problems doing so… 13,000 feet… man, I’m confused.

After a couple hours we’ve made it up 3/4 of the mountain and getting close to the top, but I just can’t do it. My wife turns and tells me she thinks we should turn around and go back, now I’m really confused. She’s giving up too. Of course I put on the face that we can keep going to the top or that I’d wait and they could finish, all the while hoping that she wouldn’t cave in because going down had to be easier than going up. Finally we’re turned around and going back toward the truck without reaching our goal. The first time in my life that I didn’t actually finish the trip.

One thing that helped too was the fact that once we got to the snow line which wasn’t far ahead, you hit a cloud bank and really couldn’t see anything else. There wasn’t much sense in going much farther since my main goal was taking pictures and there’d be none of that. (There, I got that excuse in… :-)

Going down hill wasn’t really a whole lot easier. We had to take multiple breaks going back down but eventually made it to the truck. The trip back home was terrible. I didn’t really feel all that great and my wife ended up getting sick.

Now for the really funny part. Once back home and a quick google of conversions I finally figured out that the volcano we were climbing was 18,700 feet tall and that us little people don’t breath so well up there no matter what your shape. So while I don’t feel any better about coming back, I do plan to go back and do it again with a little more preparation. So don’t laugh too hard, we will have pictures of the top of those clouds soon… :-) or at least it feels better to say it…

I’ll have pictures up as soon as I get home, sorry for the mistake, but I know it won’t happen again.

–glenn hancock

June 16, 2009

2009 Colombia SA Trip Week 1

Filed under: General,Photography — glenn @ 12:27 pm

We’ve been here for one week so far and this blog entry will cover the happenings up to this point. Last Tuesday when we set out on our trip everything went very smoothly until we hit some bad weather at our destination airport and ended up having to divert to Bogota. The one airport that we were trying to avoid and we ended up there anyway. We already had a 3 layover flight, which turned into a 4. Other than the immigration people there being slow enough to start a molases racing contest, everything went ok. We ended up in Perera around 11pm and base camp around 1am our time.

I’ve gotten to play soccer every single day since I got here and Elizabeth has been visiting family and friends to the point that she can no longer talk, if you can imagine such a thing. Nothing eventful happened all week, going to the gym at 6:30am, playing soccer until around 10-11am and then working the rest of the day.

Elizabeth and I, along with a few friends got to go to the hot springs an hour or so north of Perera yesterday and I got some nice photos from there. Speaking of photos, I’m sure everyone is surprised that none have been posted yet. Turns out that after moving my stuff back and forth between bags trying to find some combination that would allow me to get things on the airplane, I left not only the battery charger, but also the device that lets me load the card into the computer. So I’m on battery watch and having to conserve energy as I go to try to make 2 batteries last 3 weeks. It has made me take much fewer photos than usual so I hope that things turn out in the end.

This coming weekend we are suppose to go to a volcano that is a few hours away and I hope to get some good pictures from there. If anything eventful happens I’ll post again, otherwise I may wait and make a single post next week.

Until then

–glenn

April 16, 2009

Tea Party 2009 Atlanta Georgia

Filed under: General,Photography — glenn @ 11:52 pm

Last night I had the extreme pleasure of joining 20,000 like minded Americans in a protest against our governments complete disregard for our Constitutional rights. The protest wasn’t for Republicans nor Democrats, it was meant only to show our United stance against them all. I believe that both parties should be disbanded and we should form a new American Party that stands for American ideas and principals. Ideas that made us the greatest nation on earth, not the ideas of recent, to form some sort of global neighborhood where we’re more responsible for others than we are our own families. These types of governments work great for those in charge but not so well for the ones actually having to do all the work.

We need to have more rallies and continue to unite until we take over Washington and throw all of the politicians out of office and put ourselves into office. I’m sharing these pictures from last night just to show how peaceful everything was and how very honored my wife and I are to have been able to participate in such a great activity. I’d also like to thank Sean Hannity for taking his time to come to Atlanta to share in the first ever grass roots effort to shake up Washington.

My Message to Washington:

Label us any way you like. Call us, blame us, point fingers at us. Just know this one thing: We are uniting, we are coming, and you will be removed from your cushy little jobs like a summer storm in the night. We are finished listening to your excuses, your lies and watching you embarrass us throughout the world with how truly ignorant you all really are. Obama was 100% correct when he declared that Change was coming to Washington, he was just 100% wrong with where that change was coming from.

Here is the link to the photos and I hope you enjoy. Photos

–glenn hancock

February 27, 2009

Day 8 – 9 of the California Trip

Filed under: Photography — glenn @ 11:52 pm

The last couple days of the trip before returning home were spent in the Redwood Forest. The trip up from San Francisco was really nice and lots of scenery to see and photograph. We spent the night about 80 miles from Cresent city and then spent day 8 driving the final leg and hiking a few trails along the way. We got a nice intro to the park on the first trail as it was only a couple miles long and a nice easy walk. The second trail was about 4 miles and took a while. We also got some good shots of Elk but didn’t get the great shots due to it raining really hard. Our gear we took worked perfectly, as we stayed dry along the way, however, we were unable to take out the camera to take photos so you’ll just have to trust me. Or maybe you’ll have to trust my wife as I might make things up from time to time to entertain everyone…

By the time we made it into Cresent City it was almost dark and we were exhausted after walking hours in the rain, but the hikes were wonderful to take in. We ate dinner and turned in to prepare for the next days events.

Photos from day 9
Day 9 was spent taking in the light house which was a bit of a disappointment since we couldn’t actually get out to it, and also because it was raining. I was starting to think our last day might be spent driving around instead of hiking but it turned out quite the opposite.

The lady at the hotel pointed out a nice drive to take and since it was raining I figured we’d go give it a shot. It turned out to be a one lane dirt road that had many trails that run off of it. One I recognized as being told it was nice by a park ranger the day before so we took off. It stated that it was 2.8 miles and we weren’t sure if it was out and back or a loop. It turned out to be 2.8 miles 1 way and it was out and back so we got quite a hike in. The sun came out and the clouds went away so it ended up being a perfect hike, albeit long.

We got lots of nice pictures the last few days and started home this morning which is actually day 10 but not really considered part of the trip so I’m not listing it separately. We’ve gotten almost to Salt Lake City tonight before we quit but we drove about 1000 miles. I’m hoping to be able to accomplish this each day which will get us home sometime Sunday night if all goes well. The trip today was really beautiful and took us through Oregan, California and Nevada and the mountains and scenery have been really beautiful, especially Nevada. We weren’t real impressed with the south end of Nevada but the north side has been great. Its hard to drive by all these places as I keep wanting to stop and take pictures but I’ve resisted so that we can get back home in time.

Anyway, tomorrow we are planning another 1000 mile trip so we should get a bit closer to home and we’ll see everyone Sunday or Monday some time.

Oh, and I know I’m missing a few days worth of photos but will get them up as soon as I can.

–glenn hancock

February 25, 2009

Day 7 Walking in Sanfrancisco… and walking… and walking

Filed under: Photography — glenn @ 11:57 am

Click Here to see the Photos

We left the hotel this morning after being told it would be raining and that we were too far away to walk to the Golden Gate bridge, armed with a map and a deadline of 2pm for our parking spot. First off we were hungry and didn’t know where to get food so we just started walking, and thinking that we’d find something. I finally asked someone and they pointed us in the right direction.

We had 2 eggs, toast and a foot tall glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. $19.00 gulp… However, it was the absolute best toast and eggs I’ve ever had, so we moved on. The girl at the place told us also that we couldn’t possibly walk to the Golden Gate, but armed with my supreme power of being hard headed I was convinced that we could. I had a map of the streets and it just didn’t look that far away.

My conclusion was right on, however, I didn’t not know about the 300 steps straight down that would have to be navigated in order to get there. The bridge was not far away and we got some awesome pictures, even witnessed the after effects of what happens when someone jumps off. Oh, and some very funny pictures of me getting swamped by a huge wave hitting the rocks. My wife wouldn’t get close enough so I let her drive the camera while I bravely stood where no man before me had been. Problem was, while I knew I’d be getting wet, I had no idea how much so. We had been there for 10 minutes and watched the waves hitting the rocks and I thought I had things planned out where we could get good pictures and me still be able to walk away fairly dry. Well, the pictures tell the rest so I’ll just let you see them for yourselves for the rest of the story. I think it was the hardest my wife and 10 other people had laughed the entire time we’ve been gone though.

Afterwards we walked the 300 steps straight up, ate lunch again at the expensive place on the return and got back to the car at exactly 2pm. Couldn’t have timed it better, although both of us were totally wiped out after our 7 hour hike. We decided we’d start driving to the Redwood Forest and stop somewhere along the way. Then we got hooked up with our friends and ended up driving 80+ through the mountains and got all the way up here to Eureka. We have 90 miles to go to get to the Forest and we’re about to start that trip now.

I was too tired to upload the images from yesterday so will try to do that tonight. Until then…

–glenn hancock

February 24, 2009

Day 6 Los Angeles to San Francisco

Filed under: Photography — glenn @ 1:16 am

Click here to see the photos from today

We reached Los Angeles this morning and spent most of the day driving up Hwy 1 on the coast, going out to Hollywood and looking around. The city was cool but not really anything we wanted to hang around for long so we decided to hit the road and drive on up to San Francisco. The day was unbelievable as far as the weather went. You’ll see from the images I’m sure. The landscape up here is the most awesome of anywhere we’ve been. I can definitely see why people love this state.

I am also in love with the roads. I’m actually one of the slower drivers on the road I think. At 90mph this is no small feet I assure you. These people out here just fly by you like you’re sitting still. You think that’s funny though, I was driving along at 85mph and looked up to see a police officer right behind me. He zipped around me like I was sitting still and continued up the road. A few minutes later another one did the same. The best part was that they road behind another driver that had zoomed by me doing at least 90mph for a few minutes, then pulled around him as he must have been going to slow for them. I assume pulling people over out here really isn’t that important.

One thing that is amazing though is how long these roads are. I started out around Texas I think, counting miles for straight stretches of road. Around New Mexico I came across an 8 mile stretch that I was quite amazed with, at least until getting into Arizona. There, I found a 15 mile stretch that I barely got counted out. I decided then that I was done counting miles as it’s the next best thing to counting sheep, and when driving 85mph it’s not really the smartest thing to do I guess. California beats the other two stretches I believe as it seemed like we drove forever before anything changed. It went by really quick though due partly to the 90+mph rate of travel and the landscape that just wouldn’t stop. I know Elizabeth was getting tired of me saying “Look at that”.

We reached San Francisco around 6:30pm here and literally the second we hit the Golden Gate Bridge it started raining. We found a hotel here in the city that was empty and they wanted $100 per night plus taxes. I told them I’d look around a bit more and they came down to $80 a night so we are staying inside the city not far from the Golden Gate. I’ve got some literature to go through in the morning to see where we’re going next but I think we’re going to use this as our base port for the next few days and go visit various things around here.

So, since it’s after midnight our time and my brain is starting to turn to mush I’m going to knock off. I hope to have nice pictures for everyone tomorrow but the guy told me that it’s suppose to rain the next few days. I’m hoping the weather men here are as good as back home… :-)

Hope you enjoy the pics.

–glenn hancock

February 23, 2009

Day 5 of the California Trip – Las Vegas

Filed under: Photography — glenn @ 12:23 am

If you’d like to view the photographs click here

Today we left the Grand Canyon and started driving for Las Vegas. The trip was beautiful and the landscape dreamy. In fact I felt that I had left planet earth a few times and entered another planet altogether. It amazes me the different landscapes you see going state to state. On the surface one might resemble another, but paying even a little bit of attention you notice that they are completely different. The mountains and landscape as you get close to the Hoover damn is one such place. I’ve never seen anything like it and the dark colors of the dirt on the hills made it other worldly to me. The pictures we took of this area didn’t really turn out very well due to the 80mph speed and overcast sky. On the way home I plan to stop and take a few still photos which should turn out a lot better.

I was also amazed at how small the Hoover Dam really is. I’ve always seen pictures and imagined it was huge but in real life its much smaller. Still a very interesting place though.

Speaking of the 80mph speed, I have to say that one true pleasure of this trip is that I’ve not once been stuck behind someone driving slower than the posted speed limit. In fact, I’ve found myself a bit stressed just trying to keep up with some of these people. We also noticed that as we got into California (yes, we moved on) people were driving faster in the right hand lanes than in the left. However, with a little adjustment I started passing on the right and just trying to keep up.

Las Vegas was nothing like we had imagined and in fact made us want to move on rather quickly. Elizabeth played a few machines and had informed me that she’d be winning $1000 for our trip. I told her that I’d give her $5.00 (yes I’m cheap and don’t believe in luck) to win this and she said it would be no problem. However, $10.00 later we still hadn’t seen any returns and moved on. Las Vegas was a lot larger than we thought and at the same time the actual Las Vegas you see on TV was a lot smaller. The outskirts of the main strip are rather dirty and run down and the strip itself reminding us of being in Orlando.

After snapping a few shots of the area for posterity sake, we decided to see how far we could make it to California. We made it a couple hours out and decided to call it a night due to the traffic which was terrible. I’d never have imagined so many people would be making the trip on a Sunday Evening but we now know. We plan to finish the last 2 hours in the morning and hopefully make it out to the west coast for the first time ever for either of us.

I’m exhausted and headed to bed so we’ll see you on the other side.

–glenn hancock

The original plan was to spend the day and night in Las Vegas but things changed a bit after arrival. Las Vegas was nothing like either of us had imagined.

February 22, 2009

Day 4 on the California Trip Grand Canyon

Filed under: Photography — glenn @ 1:59 am

If you’d like to see the photos Click Here…

We finally made it to the Grand Canyon today and what a perfect day. Not only was it 45 degrees and a pure blue sky, but we also had a beautiful thick cover of snow on most everything which just added to the mood. The trip so far has been more than we could ask for. I can’t imagine a better time than we had today with all the snow and colors which I hope you can get a small taste of from the photos.

We also got a few pictures of an elk on the way back which put a cap on a perfect day indeed.

I told Elizabeth tonight that if we make it back in one piece we sould be in great shape. I feel like I”ve been swimming everyday as every part of my body is sore from all the hiking and driving. We met a few very nice people that gave us some great advise on where to go for good sites and hopefully we did a good job capturing them along the way.

I apologize for my postings being so short but its taking literally hours upon hours of trying to get all these photos processed and uploaded each night and I figured most of you would rather see the photos than listen to me ramble anyway. Tomorrow we plan on heading for Las Vegas and will hopefully get some good shots from there. We’ve gotten a few recommendations on where to stay in California and what to see while we’re there so hopefully that leg of the trip will have some nice sites as well.

It’s 1 am and I’m just finishing the last of the photos so I’m turning in. Elizabeth left me an hour ago to go to sleep so I’m going to join her. Talk to you guys tomorrow… :-)

–glenn hancock

February 21, 2009

Day 3 on the California Trip

Filed under: Photography — glenn @ 12:37 am

See the photos here

Yes, I believe Biscuit, one of my cats, got hold of my camera and took a picture of Shyboy before we left to make sure we didn’t forget them. So the pictures of the cats were staged and weren’t actually part of the trip.. :-)

Ok, It’s official, a day out west with no law problems. However, for those planning on a similar trip I can tell you to be very careful coming through New Mexico. I’ve never seen so many police in my life. I believe we passed a minimum of 50 police cars in the last half of our crossing.

We almost drove past the Petrified Forest because the area around it didn’t look all that interesting. Boy would that have been a mistake because today’s pictures are absolutely awesome. I’ve never seen so many interesting things in one place in my life. We ended up having to skip the last 20% of the park because it was much larger than we had imagined. If you get through this area though, you need to make sure you stop by the park as its worth the $10 entry fee.

To end the day we drove through the snow and up to the Grand Canyon park. We’re staying in a hotel here at the South gate of the park and are all excited to get started in the morning. We plan to spend a couple days here before moving on to Las Vegas. I’ll be posting again tomorrow with hopefully some good pictures from the day.

See you then…

-glenn hancock

February 20, 2009

Day 2 on the California Trip

Filed under: Photography — glenn @ 1:44 am

Don’t like reading? Here are the photos from today. Today’s Photos

Again today, I was concerned with my humor and what I’d say to entertain everyone, and then it happened.  We were on the road just 30 minutes and just outside Oklahoma City when a truck jerked over in front of me.  The speed limit was 70mph and I was doing 72 (cruse control set).  I hit the brakes about the moment I saw two cars sitting on the side of the road shinning their lights back towards us.  I wasn’t sure what was going on, but the truck got back over, I reset my cruse control and continued on.  A couple minutes later I look up and see someone coming up fast so I pull over to the right hand lane to let them get by.  They jerk in behind me and turn on the brightest lights I think I’ve ever seen.

I pull over, he comes up and informs me that I was speeding and tail gating a semi.  Hmm, speeding?  I asked…  Yes he said.  I said, what did you clock me at?  He said 72mph.  I said really?  You pull people over for 2 miles over the speed limit?  He said “zero tolerance here.  I said, well, as for the truck I was behind, he cut me off when he came around the curve and saw you guys sitting on the side of the road with your lights in our face.  ”Uhh, could you step back here behind the car please.”

Now I know what you’re thinking.  I was thinking it as well, those Tennessee guys really did take out a warrant or something.  Well, I go back to his truck and get in.  He writes me a warning and of course didn’t list how fast I was going or the circumstances in which I found myself behind a truck.  Only that I was speeding and tailgating.

Anyway, we continued on without a problem and almost decided to trek on to the Grand Canyon, but I opted to stop in New Mexico due to being a bit tired of sitting in a car.  When we got here around lunch I struck up a conversation with a guy and got the name of the best place to see in a one day stay.  We were not disappointed.  The place was amazing and we got lots of pictures.

Ah, just when you thought I was finished, I have to lay one more funny (they just don’t stop out west it seems).  When we got to the place we were going to hike, the guy told us it closed at 5pm.  It was only 3pm so we’re thinking this was plenty of time to hike 3 miles and get pictures and check it out.  At this point we had no idea what we were about to see.  Well, once there, things took a bit longer and we just couldn’t get enough.  We ended up literally jogging down the 600 ft hill, out and around another 1 mile part of the trail to get back to the car.  We reached it at 5pm and jumped in to head out.  The drive out was along a 5 mile stretch of dirt road and we didn’t reach the gate until about 5:05pm.

Yes, you guessed it.  The ranger dude left us and locked us inside the heavy steel gate.  We looked around for a good 5 minutes and found a sign with a phone number on it.  About the time I dialed the number and got an answering machine the guy rolled back in to let us out.  So it seems the Mexicans here in New Mexico are not without a sense of humor (or rudeness).

Well, I’m sitting here at 12pm Georgia time, 10pm here, trying to get all these hundreds of photos uploaded so you guys can see them.  Not sure I’ll pull it off tonight but will do my best.

Tomorrow is on to the Grand Canyon with one small stop along the way.  See you then…

–glenn hancock

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