Family History    Wines

Photography       Books

Amazon Bestsellers

Site Contents

Home Page

Book Resources

Family History



Wildlife Photos

Wine Tastings
 - Bottled Poetry

Other Pages

About Us

Contact Us

Privacy Policy


Site Map

Affiliate Sites

Deal of the Day

Powell's Books - Outdoor Gear

Additional Affiliate Programs

Wildlife photography, wine tasting, and great books

TheRagens Newsletter
November 1, 2003

Current Thoughts

The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder and my thoughts are turning to curling up with a good book and a good glass of red wine (or port) with some cheese.

The political season is starting to heat up. I think that there are too many Democrats to survive the primary season -- their message is too muddy when it gets spread across thirteen different candidates all saying shades of the same theme. They'd be better served by letting just the 3-4 strongest candidates compete on more differentiated platforms.

The website has gotten to a new level this year -- I figure my traffic has grown at least double and maybe more versus last year. The last two months of the year will be an important close. But, regardless, I'll be putting some time into website maintenance where I'll look at our top performing pages (in terms of views) and the worst performing pages and figure out if there's anything I can learn. It's possible that I might remove some of the older photographs simply because I'm no longer as excited about some of the pictures and I expect to have better quality pictures in the future that would naturally replace them.


In This Issue

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


New Wildlife Photos

I mentioned last time that I'm now using a digital SLR for our wildlife and other photographs -- and I've started to re-learn photography 101 through books and through field plus digital darkroom experience. I've added a couple of new pictures but we haven't had a chance to get back to the San Juan Islands and yet I haven't had time (on airplanes) to review my pictures and figure out the best of those to publish.

bullet Two Fawns, Waiting
bullet Curious Seal, At Sea

TheRagens Photography Gallery has been launched! I've taken the best pictures from the photographs on this website and, after checking their quality at different print sizes, have made them officially available. No sales yet but at least the page is starting to get viewed more frequently. Coincidentally, Pepper Pogue, a pen and ink artist from Tennessee has taken a liking to some of my pictures and has created drawings from some of them. We've made these pen and ink drawings available through our website as well.



After re-learning some of my photography skills over the summer through reading and just taking pictures, I've returned to reading some climbing and adventure books. This month's recommendation is a marvelously funny book.

Featured Book

Gorilla Monsoon by John Long
John "Largo" Long is an almost larger than life pioneer in the Yosemite rock climbing and Joshua Tree bouldering communities of the 1970s and 1980s. He is also an extremely creative and interesting writer. One of the best things about this book is that it is inundated with humorous touches and is often hysterically funny. The stories he tells in this book, most of them true or at least with a kernel of truth in those that are larger than life, are always interesting. While the stories here rarely touch on climbing, they demonstrate a consistent philosophy of an adventurer at heart -- someone who lives his experiences to the fullest. Through his writing, he shows that he truly cares about the environment where his adventures take place; even though his experiences exploring prehistoric cultures in Malaysia seem to show a bit of disrespect to the cultures he is interfering with, I always sensed that he was respectful of the people around him.

If you're interested in this kind of book, check out the other books that I've reviewed on my book review page.


Wine Tasting and Vineyard Updates

Our next wine tasting is coming up really soon. Our host hasn't yet communicated the theme and so we're all waiting to figure out what we'll be attempting this time. The best wine we drank during the summer was a 1998 Chateau Pavie from St. Emilion. This was an incredibly lush wine -- deep, dark sensuous mouthfeel where the taste went on and on. Clearly something from another world.

It was a great summer here in Seattle - much warmer than usual and even less rain than usual in the summer even though it never rains much here between July 4th and the end of October. This was great weather for our grapevines which thrived in the temperatures. About 75% performed really well through the summer and will have a great start next year. The vines are starting to go dormant now -- the vines are getting woody and the leaves are about to fall. We'll prune the rest back to just two buds and, now that they've established at least some roots, we'll expect great growth next summer. Also, over the winter, we'll be working on the label for Sunbreak Cellars so that we're ready whenever we have something to bottle.


Websites Worth Visiting

Film and Digital Photography Learning Center and CommunityI listed this site last month and I'm going to mention it again. This is a really neat photo enthusiast website where people from all around the world share their pictures. I've even posted a few of mine Although I wish there were more critical comments as I can learn more from them than from the sometimes bland praise, it's a really neat way to see some great pictures and learn, from the commentary what might be able to be improved.


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 by email 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!


TheRagens Home Page   Family History   Recommended Book Lists   Wine Tastings and Recommendations   Wildlife Photos   Feedback and
Site Registration


Amazon Logo


by title by author