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After completely finishing the overhaul of my photography site last month, I've had time to work on some new photographs again! Here are some of the new pictures that I've added in the last two months. Of these, The Morning Gargle is my favorite simply because it showcases an American bald eagle in something that is less than full glory.
Rock Jocks, Wall Rats and Hang Dogs: Rock Climbing on the Edge of Reality
by John Long
While Long's specialty as a 'rock jock' is described in detail and the first 3/4 of the book is mostly about his learning experiences, the last 1/4 of the book also discusses the two other primary types of rock climbers: 'wall rats' who make multi-day climbs and haul hundreds of pounds of gear up vertical cliffs; and 'hang dogs' who, in a way, have transformed the sport of rock climbing into competitions. Admirably, even though the wall rats and hang dogs have a style that he doesn't naturally gravitate towards, Long does not really become judgmental; rather, he acknowledges that each new generation of climbers establishes themselves in their own way and that change is the nature of evolution in the sport. Overall, this book is not as funny as Gorilla Monsoon but it is still a good read from one of the premier rock climbers of the 1970s.
We visited Napa over the July 4th holiday and, even though wine tasting was a distant second on our agenda to simple relaxation, we did sample some very nice wines -- starting with a simple and refreshing rose (the Rosado from Casa Nuestra) that was perfect for our first day picnic all the way to a beautiful, complex wine bursting with flavor but still silky smooth pinot noir from Hirsch Vineyard that we savored with our dinner at Bouchon.
It wouldn't be summer without an update on our vines. The clusters started to swell in mid-June indicating that they've been pollinated and should start to grow. Since this is the third year for most of the vines, I might be able to coax about half a crop from them this year -- which ultimately means that I need to cut off more than half the clusters that are growing. I'll give it until the middle of July to make sure that the clusters really are set and then I'll work my way through the vines and also do some leaf pulling from the cluster area so that the clusters will get enough sun. I do need to get out in the vineyard and pull up weeds -- and re-lay the weedblock fabric that hindered the weeds' growth over the last two years. I just need 4-8 hours of free time to do it right.
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As I've been doing more reading on photography, my horizons have opened to photography websites on the web. One of the photographers that I greatly admire is Ron van Dongen due to the attention that he places on every photograph he takes -- there is something (the lighting, the textures?) about his photographs that is exquisite and I enjoy them quite a bit. His website includes an almost complete set of thumbnail images for every one of his published photographs. I've now invested in first edition versions of each of his four books, available as monographs directly from Ron's website or from Nazraeli Press.
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