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TheRagens Newsletter
January 1, 2005

Current Thoughts

What an interesting thing has happened to this website -- after starting as a site to focus on our family history and some of my personal interests, it's actually turning into a nice little side business. It has taken me about three years of effort to get it to this point but, in just the last twelve months, our web logs show that about 134,000 unique visitors from 182 different countries came to our little website and viewed just over 420,000 pages in total. And, the earnings I get from photograph sales and from the various affiliate programs more than pays for its basic operation costs, although I'm probably still earning less than minimum wage on the hours that I put into maintaining the site and finding new content. Well - I guess it's still a labor of love...


In This Issue

bulletNew Photographs
bulletBookmarks - Booklists
bulletWine Tasting
bulletWeb Sites Worth Visiting


New Photographs

One of my photographs won a Photo of the Day Award at the Digital Photo Contest website! My photograph, which I called Misty Mountain Air, was taken on the North Cascades highway on my way to a day of visiting some of the bald eagle fishing sites on the upper Skagit River. I thought that there was some impact to this picture and I'm glad that at least a few other people did too! With this image, I feel that I'm starting to make some headway in taking noteworthy photographs that are more than just 'record' shots of time and place.

bullet Misty Mountain Air

I don't have many new photographs this time around -- instead, I focused on updating the basic navigation structure on my photography pages. In order to focus visitors on my better photographs (at least, in my opinion), I archived some of the lesser photographs. I'll keep this split structure for a while before I remove some of those photographs from the site.



With all of the end of year magazines having just come out, I decided it would be interesting to add some new book lists to my web site -- specifically, the holiday book guides and other selections from the best of the photography magazines. I've started with the last few years' selections from Outdoor Photographer magazine and will be adding lists more over the next few weeks.

bulletOutdoor Photographer's Holiday Book Guide - 2004
bulletOutdoor Photographer's Holiday Book Guide - 2003
bulletOutdoor Photographer's Holiday Book Guide - 2001
bulletOutdoor Photographer's Holiday Book Guide - 2000


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 vineyard has gone into winter dormancy. At some point in the next month or two, I'll prune the vines to prepare for the 2005 growing season. The goal is to get enough fruit to make a gallon or two of wine, maybe...

Speaking of wine, a few weeks ago, we pulled the corks on a couple of bottles of 1998 Domain Drouhin (Oregon) pinot noir. What a lovely wine - powerful, intense, but smooth and with quite a bit of fruit remaining. Really quite nice and a shame that I only have one bottle left.


Websites Worth Visiting

With the Sumatra tsunami completely fresh in memory, it seems appropriate to focus on charitable sites for this month. Two organizations worth supporting are:
bulletInternational Rescue Committee: My sister has volunteered for this organization and has worked in refugee camps in Thailand, Pakistan, and the Sudan.
bullet Doctors without Borders or Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Please help out those in need.

Thank you...


2005 Index Newsletter Index
bulletJanuary 2005
bulletMarch 2005
bulletMay 2005
bulletJuly 2005
bulletSeptember 2005
bulletNovember 2005


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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