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Wildlife photography, wine tasting, and great books

TheRagens Newsletter
September 1, 2003

Current Thoughts

Summer redux. The kids are about to go back to school so we are heaving great sighs of relief! The boys aren't quite as pleased but they have no choice. All in all, it's been a great summer but it's time for everyone to get serious again.

In addition to adding to my picture collections altogether, I had the opportunity to get some pretty nice photographs of orca whales off the shore of San Juan Island this year. However, it seemed as though there were even more whale watchers than ever before -- sometimes, the whales were outnumbers by a factor of 10:1. It's a shame; there must be some regulations that can be put in place to ensure that the whales can be around for generations to come.


In This Issue

bulletNew Wildlife Photos
bulletBookmarks - Booklists
bulletWine Tasting
bulletWeb sites worth visiting


New Wildlife Photos

I got my new camera! As I noted in my last newsletter, I went all out and decided to get the Canon 10D digital SLR. This is basically a entry-level professional digital camera with significantly higher resolution (6 megapixel versus 4 megapixel) than I'm used to. Together with the ability to easily use high quality telephoto and wide angle lenses, I should at least have the technology and persistence, if not the talent, to improve on the quality of my wildlife and nature photography pictures.

So, now that I've had a chance to muck around with my new camera and start to get comfortable with the controls, I have added a number of pictures to my online photo albums. Some of the more unique photos I've been lucky enough to get include:

bullet A Breath of Fresh Air (Orca Whales)
bullet Bald Eagle Aloft
bullet Little Harbor Seal
bullet Black-Tailed Deer, Up Close
bullet Lightning Photosfrom Black Butte Oregon
bullet Sunbreak at Seaside
bullet Blue Angels Overhead

As my pictures have hit new levels of quality, I'm starting to get quite a few inquiries from people who are interesting in buying some of my photos. I'm not sure how this may work but I think I'm going to dip my toe into this business and see how much real interest there is. Next newsletter, I may have an update on this new venture. [Note: Since I published this newsletter, I have figured out how to enable secure payment capabilities and, consequently, my online photography gallery has been launched!]



I've used the summer to work on photography. Our featured book is one of the books that I relied on to get some good, basic advice.

Featured Book

John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide by John Shaw
An updated bestseller, this book contains state-of-the-art instruction on how any photographer can aim for good results every time a camera is focused on the great outdoors. Even highly skilled photographers are often baffled by the problems facing them when they work outdoors. But with this field guide in hand, every photographer can conquer the problems encountered in the field. Using his own work as examples, the author discusses each type of nature subject and how to approach photographing it. Specific advice and information cover selection of equipment and lenses; how to compose a shot; how to get close ups; and other tips covering a range of techniques to enrich various types of nature photographs.

This is just one of the books that I've listed in our list of books on wildlife and nature photography that are worth checking out. These are books that I've often looked to for advice as I've started to improve my own skills. I've cross-checked my sense of the better books with some of the reader recommendations from and have only listed those with four or five stars.


Wine Tasting and Vineyard Updates

We didn't hold one of our formal wine tasting events this summer -- time just flew away from us. We did find a great Northwest Pinot Gris from Owen Roe winery -- this was a beautiful wine with lots of nice subtle nuances yet retaining enough acidity to give it some crispness.

We had a very hot summer for Seattle and I had initial concerns that it might bake our new grapevines. At least through the end of August, they had held up quite well. As they were planted from cuttings, there was quite a bit of variability in their vigor. We had some mortality as three of our 46 vines flat out perished; another four our five didn't show much vigor and I may replace them from spares this year. However, the majority of the vines (75-80%) grew at least 4-5 feet and the most vigorous grew to about 12-14 feet long from the ground to the end of the vine. We got all of the trellis in which was a great help. Now, I need to figure out how to train them and prune them for next year.


Websites Worth Visiting


This is a really neat photo enthusiast website where people from all around the world share their better pictures. I've even posted a few of mine so far. Although I wish there were more critical comments because it's easier to learn, this web site offers a really neat way to see what other people are learning and what seems to work.

Lightning Photography. After I snagged my lightning picture, I ran across this website and several others. There are actually quite a few lightning pictures out on the web which I think is pretty interesting for such an ephemeral phenomenon!


2003 Index Newsletter Index
bulletJanuary 2003
bulletMarch 2003
bulletMay 2003
bulletJuly 2003
bulletSeptember 2003
bulletNovember 2003


About TheRagens is a family website that highlights our family history in addition to wildlife and nature photos, wine tasting notes, book lists (with a focus on mountain climbing) and other interests of ours. We are happy to share our interests with you and you may pass on this newsletter to friends as long as you make no changes to the content. If you are receiving this newsletter from a friend, you may sign up to receive it by visiting our registration page. If you wish to be removed from the distribution list, simply reply to this message and replace the words in the subject line with REMOVE. We keep an index of our back issues on our site.

Thank you!



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