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TheRagens Newsletter
November 1, 2004

Current Thoughts

Fall has come in Seattle and its almost gone as the winter rains have started. The elections are over -- now it's time to pray as W is going to need all the help he can get in order to get something right...

The holiday shopping season is just about to start. This website is funded, in large part, through the purchase of items through affiliate programs, or through sale of our photographs. As we go into this shopping season, I hope that I've added enough new content (and corresponding links) to generate a bit of an uptick. If you like my website, check out the various affiliate programs that we're associated with and then help me keep this website ticking by clicking through and buying something!

Our favorite websites for various reasons:

bullet Starting with books but adding links to just about anything now.
bullet Powell's Books. Just a book store but well done with lots of hard-to-find used books for that special holiday gift.
bullet Shutterfly. This is where we print our holiday cards. They offer a nice service with lots of options.
bullet Wine Enthusiast . For the wine lover, all sorts of gifts both practical and novel.


In This Issue

bulletNew Photographs
bulletBookmarks - Booklists
bulletWine Tasting
bulletWeb Sites Worth Visiting


New Photographs

I'm still working on some of my photos from the summer. Here is the next set of photos that I've published on the site. The eagle photo is probably one of the more challenging pictures I've completed -- it was taken just a few minutes after first light before there was much natural light. While the exposure was long, the head of the eagle was remarkably stationary while the wings were "painting the sky" as the eagle landed on the rock.

bullet Four Helmets
bullet Red Hot Helmet
bullet Painting the Sky



October and November are great for climbing and outdoor books. Three different awards are given out across almost fifteen different categories and we've updated our web pages for each of the awards. I haven't read most of the books as there are so many that make the winner or finalist lists but there is always something interesting in the winners.

bullet Boardman Tasker Memorial Prize for mountain literature.
bullet National Outdoor Book Awards in such categories as Adventure Guidebooks, Literature, Design and Art, and Outdoor Classics.
bullet Banff Mountain Book Festival Awards in categories such as Mountain Literature, Adventure Travel, and Mountain Image.


Featured Book

Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution
William Echikson

Bordeaux has long epitomized fine wine. After the 1855 classification was put into place, the French reverence for tradition settled in. Fortunately, over the last 2-3 decades, some revolutionary "garagistes" (winemakers who work on smaller lots) have begun using new growing and wine-making techniques to to make extraordinary wines. There is considerable controversy in this modernist approach and this book makes the most of it. In fact, this book was temporarily pulled from bookstores due to a challenge by the old owners of Chateau d'Yquem. Wine lovers will come away from this lively account with a sense of how globalization and economics have created ferment and growth in ancient Bordeaux.


Wine Tasting and Vineyard Updates

Our first "harvest" season has come and gone for Sunbreak Cellars, our backyard vineyard. As I've noted in our vineyard journal, we didn't intend to get a crop this year. Our goal was to strengthen the vines and their root systems. And I think we accomplished that.

I have noted, though, that we did leave several bunches of grapes on some of the vines just to see how they matured through the year. Excitingly enough, they did quite well! I tasted them several times and they were getting progressively sweeter. Sweet enough that something (birds or raccoons) went through the vines one mid-September night and chowed down on the few clusters that were left. No disappointment as I was anticipating that to happen but I now know that I need to put netting over all the grapes by the first week in September or risk losing all of them next year!


Websites Worth Visiting

Nature Photography Directories
 - Nature Photography Top 100
 - Photography

One thing that I've always wanted to try is infrared photography. It's somewhat more practical with film as all you need is a good IR filter and some IR film. However, it's more challenging with digital as most digital cameras have a IR cut filter that limits the infrared that gets to the imaging chip. If you have the right kind of camera, there are a few guides that you can follow to surgically modify your digital camera. It's a one-way journey and you'll void the warranty but you can get decent infrared right in the camera.

bulletCanon G Series Conversion
bulletConverting Nikon 950 or 990 cameras
bulletIR Digital Conversion as featured in Digital Photo Pro

A slightly more practical way to do this at minimal cost is to use a Photoshop action from Fred Miranda. This is essentially a script that tweaks the images to make them look as though they are infrared.

bullet Fred Miranda Digital Darkroom with Photoshop Plug-Ins and Photoshop Actions


2004 Index Newsletter Index
bulletJanuary 2004
bulletMarch 2004
bulletMay 2004
bulletJuly 2004
bulletSeptember 2004
bulletNovember 2004


About TheRagens is a family website that highlights our family history in addition to wildlife and nature photos, wine tasting notes, favorite book lists, and other interests. We are happy to share this with you and you may pass on this newsletter to friends as long as you don't change 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!


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