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TheRagens Newsletter
November 1, 2005

Current Thoughts

Whoops - The deadline for the last bi-monthly newsletter in September came and went without a new update on the site. Mea culpa, mea culpa. My only excuse is that I was really quite busy working on some photographs from Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks that are now published on the site!! See the note below for some of the details.

I almost hate to raise this topic again but Google has been up to tricks. Site traffic from Google improved in August and September and then went into the dumper again in October. I don't think that there is any way that I'll match my 30-50% growth rate in visitors and page views over the last few years; in fact, it's likely that I may even show a small decline on an annual basis. It sure would be nice to get some consistency again -- maybe in 2006, they'll stop doing evil things to my site traffic.


In This Issue

bulletNew Photographs
bulletBookmarks - Booklists
bulletWine Tasting
bulletWeb Sites Worth Visiting


New Photographs

In August, we visited Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons National Parks. I used the time while hiking as a photograph adventure - wildlife, landscapes, waterfalls, hot springs, geysers and more. To highlight some of these images on our website, I've created a new album that is specifically focused on Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons with some of the best images from our trip. Check back by January as I have a few more that I'd like post at some point.

bullet North American Buffalo
bullet Steamboat Geyser
bullet Bighorn Sheep Closeup
bullet Lower Yellowstone Falls



Featured Book

Rock Prints by Greg Epperson
This is a beautiful book of photographs taken of rock climbers in their element. For many years, Epperson climbed with the best of the rock jocks and his images showcase many of those climbers in their natural habitat -- hanging from cracks, spidering up difficult routes, on boulders and on the big walls where the climbers look really, really tiny. About the only kinds of images that he doesn't have in this book are those of the multi-day expedition climbs.

I've enjoyed looking through this several times -- amazed at the grace and power of the climbers themselves and the incredible difficulty of the rock faces that they are climbing.

In addition to the featured book by Greg Epperson, I've completely reworked my book review pages for mountaineering and rock climbing books in order to provide a better way to link to other related books for each review. Check out the new page.


Wine Tasting and Vineyard Updates

It was the third year of vines in our backyard vineyard. It was an interesting summer; no grapes but good development of the vines and their root systems. There are three primary things that I learned this year:

bulletWater. There were early reports this year that there was going to be a water shortage in Seattle. I made the decision early on that I was going to sacrifice fruit this year in favor of encouraging development of the vines' root systems. By only watering once or twice in the summer, the vines were forced to send their roots as deep as they could go -- the end result is that the leaves stayed green through the summer indicating that they were getting enough water from somewhere. However, the grape clusters looked like little clumps of raisins which means that they didn't get enough water to be able to ripen.
bulletI really need to spend more time doing some pruning and leaf-pulling in June and July. We had a really good set of clusters in the spring and the vines grew vigorously, almost too much so. A little more effort in the vineyard will help ensure that the grapes ripen. Of course, if I had watered more, the grapes would have been plumper.
bulletIt is essential to get netting up over the vines by the first week in September in order to save some of the grapes from backyard critters. What little fruit had ripened was pretty much gone by the second week. Hard to tell if it was birds, raccoons, or something else. I'll also selectively drop a couple of traps under the vines.

Lessons learned. I'm looking forward to next year!!!


Websites Worth Visiting

For the last 18 months, I've been selling the occasional photograph from my website. In the last two months, I've decided to split my photographs into those that I consider to be fine art photographs and those that could be used in stock photography. Consequently, I've posted forty or so photographs on several microstock agencies. After a few months go by, I'll provide an update of whether this is an interesting way to monetize some of the photographs that I've taken over the last 2-3 years. If you're interested in seeing some of this work or are looking for stock photography to purchase, here are the microstock agencies that I've been starting to work with:



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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