About Me

My photo
Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer has been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a weekly blog about photography in New England.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Digital Photography in the Glorious New England Spring

Fryes Measure Mill Falls, Wilton NH

On the Mississippi, New Orleans
We have escaped the cold and snow on our southern road trip.  I love the New England winter, but by March I have found that I am ready for a little warmth and a jump-start on spring.  After two weeks we have settled into a nearly week-long stay in warm New Orleans. Neither Susan or I have been to the big easy before, so we have enjoyed a great time touring, eating and hearing some wonderful music.  On the way we stopped in Lexington Kentucky, Nashville Tennessee and Memphis.  At present we plan to head home along the Gulf Coast and then reluctantly head north up the Blue Ridge.

Singer-Song Writers at Nashville's Listening Room

We are having a great time, but I’m looking forward to getting back home for my spring photography programs.  In addition to sharing a few images from our trip so far, I wanted to let everyone know about my plans for the spring.  When we get home, these programs will be coming on quickly, and given the limited size of the classes, I want to get people signed up as soon as possible.

You can contact Keene Community Education for my Intro to Digital Photography Course and directly with me, at jeffn49@myfairpoint.net, to get signed up for the exciting Spring Waterfall Workshop.

Introduction to Digital Photography
Digital photography has greatly expanded our ability to capture images that reflect the beauty of the natural world. Yet to capture the best images, one must still appreciate how to achieve the optimal exposure in various situations through the interaction of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  Techniques for nailing sharp focus with both automatic and manual controls are also needed along with an understanding of the capabilities and controls of your camera.   These aspects of photography will be covered as well as the essentials of strong composition, which will be addressed through discussion and constructive feedback of your own images. In addition to the four classes, two field trips to local areas of beauty and interest will be scheduled based on class consensus.  Please bring your camera and manual. Limit: 15
  • Date: Tuesdays April 9 to May 7, Tue., (no class 4/23)
  • Time: 6-8 pm (8 hrs.)
  • Location: Room 326 at Keene High School
  • Instructor: Jeff Newcomer
Contact Keene Community Education at
·         (603)357-0088


Spring Waterfall Workshop 
Weekend of May 17-19

Garwin Falls, Wilton

Spring is some weeks away, but it is time to begin thinking about the spring runoff and the seasonal rains which hopefully will be invigorating our many regional waterfalls.  I am an enthusiastic fan of waterfall photography and there is no better time to capture the excitement than in the early spring.  

This year I will be following my usual, time tested, schedule.  We will gather Friday evening, May 17th, around my dining room table, for a chance to meet everyone, and review our plans. It will be my opportunity to assess the varying levels of photographic experience among the participants and consider how everyone can be accommodated.  I will discuss key elements of the photography of flowing water, including the importance of a sturdy tripod, a cable release and, of course, a polarizing filter.  We will also have a chance to plan Saturday’s schedule.
Over all day Saturday, and Sunday morning, we will explore some of our region’s most dramatic waterfalls, from the marvelous group of falls in Wilton New Hampshire, to some lesser known falls in Chesterfield and Gilsum.  Saturday evening, we will gather again around my dining room table for pizza and discussion of the day’s experiences. We will also have a chance for review and gently critique many of the images from the day’s shooting and plan Sunday morning’s explorations.

2017 Workshop

Sunday morning, we will gather again for more falling waters.  I will let you all escape, by noon, exhausted but with a camera full of wonderful waterfall images.

It should be an exciting weekend and I’m looking forward to sharing many of my favorite spots and techniques.

To allow for individual attention, the workshop is limited to only

 8 participants.  The entire program including snacks and an informal dinner will be $195.  

Get in touch as soon as possible, by email or phone, to get on the workshop list.  I look forward to seeing you. And in the meantime, stay warm.

Oak Alley Plantation Up-River from New Orleans

Jeff Newcomer

Monday, January 7, 2019

Grounds for Sculpture, and for Photography

A Great Reason to Visit New Jersey, Finally

As I am getting ready for the start of my Adobe Lightroom Course, which starts tomorrow, I wanted to step back briefly to share images of a magical location for art and nature in New Jersey.

Grounds for Sculpture is a sculpture park and museum situated among 43 acres of beautifully maintained gardens, occupying the former New Jersey State Fair Grounds in Hamilton New Jersey.  A wide range of sculpture, from massive modern works of abstract art to intimate, life-sized sculptural recreations of impressionistic paintings, are scattered along narrow paths which wind through the gardens.

The Scream
We visited on an unseasonably mild afternoon in late December, and although the gardens were anything but lush, they remained a lovely refuge. Additionally, visiting in winter meant that we shared the park with only a few other people.  We would like to return in the spring or summer, but we appreciated the quiet, and the lack of visitors made photography a much simpler task.

Art Recreated

Renor and Van Gogh

One of the most surprising features of the park is the many recreations of familiar works of art.  These elaborate sculptures were created by Seward Johnson who founded the park.   Perhaps the most striking and whimsical is seen as you leave the Welcome Center.  Right next to the park entrance is an massive sculpture of Renoir’s “Dance at Bogival”, and immediately in front is Van Gogh, sitting at his easel, gazing on the Renoir masterpiece, but painting his own, “CafĂ© Terrace at Night”.

Nearby, on a grassy hill, is Monet’s Woman with Umbrella.

After Manet's "Argenteuil"

Many of the sculptures allow visitors to become part of the art, as they can sit next to the works on benches, or around a beautifully set sculpture of a formal dinner table.

Questioning Reality
Many sculptures are meant to fit into the environment.  Around bends in the paths we came upon a couple embracing in the bushes or napping at the edge of the gardens. We had to cautiously approach to be sure that they were not alive.

 The exhibits both among the gardens and in the museums are constantly rotating.  We saw numerous abstract pieces along with others that were more representational.  The sculpture of a dramatic head surrounded by a herd of sheep was especially bizarre, but I particularly enjoyed the stately female figure-head which seemed to float on one of the park’s ponds. 

There were many more interesting works that I could mention, but for me it was mostly enjoyable to photograph my way through the park.  The bright light provided interesting challenges, and every bend in the path presented a new opportunity to capture examples of wildly varying artistic expression.  Grounds for Sculpture is definitely worth a stop, and it is great to know that now there is a good reason to go to New Jersey.

Grounds for Sculpture Gallery

Jefff Newcomer

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Holiday Lights

Tis the season for for warmth, family and, of course, holiday lights.  Sadly, both of our kids are away this Christmas, one working in Manhattan, and the other playing in New Zealand. But we are still busy with friends and family and we can enjoy the beauty of holiday lights.

Photography of the lights provides its own special challenges and opportunities.  I have written about this many time s in the past and I have little more to offer.  So. in the spirit of the season and to give me time to enjoy the holiday, here is a reprise of past articles about shooting the bright magic.  Enjoy and have a wonderful warm holiday season!

Too Much

Jeff Newcomer

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Whites

lenticular Sky

Tis the season, and is always true of this time of year, I am overwhelmed.  In addition to the last-minute holiday orders, I am also trying to find time to get ready for my winter Lightroom CCClassic course.   Lightroom is such an amazingly capable course that it is always a challenge to cover all the essential features of the program, and this year, as always, I must catch up with the new tools that have been recently added. 

I have a lot of work to do and complicating my efforts is the requirement to come up every week with a fresh blog article.  This week I will try to simplify by devoting my blog to a gallery of images from our recent week in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Bob's 70th
Last weekend a group of our friends gathered in a house in Glen New Hampshire to celebrate Bob’s 70th birthday.  Bob is not the oldest member of our group, but he is DEFINITELY older than me, at least for a little longer.  It seemed like a great excuse for a trip.  

John studying the Manual

The house was great, with plenty of room for 5 couples, including my daughter Abigail and her husband Grayson.  We had wonderful views of the mountains, including a glimpse of Mount Washington.  Given the culinary talents of this group, we didn’t need to go out to get great food.  There was plenty to eat and, of course, because we were celebrating Bob, the desserts had to be amazing.

Mt Adams Birches

The weather was sunny and not terribly cold.  Glen is north of North Conway and Jackson on the eastern side of the White Mountains.  Everyone had a broad range of choices for winter activities, including cross country skiing, snow shoeing and hiking.  Of course, I also found some time for photography. On Saturday Susan and I drove up Route 16 enjoying incredible views of the mountains.  I hoped to hike in to capture images of winter waterfalls, but Glen Ellis Falls was snowed in. 

Tuckerman Ravine Trail

Abby and Grayson

We hiked up the Tuckerman Ravine Tr
ail to see the Crystal Cascade, but the flow was largely frozen over.  The best part of the hike was the social interactions.  On the way up, we ran into Abigail and Grayson  as they were coming back from a much longer hike to the base of the Ravine.  

Frozen Crystal Cascade

On the way down we saw Larry Davis.  Larry is a Mount Monadnock legend, who is featured prominently in our up-coming documentary on the Mountain.  He holds the record for most consecutive days climbing Monadnock - 2,850 consecutive days between 1990 and 2000. Recently, Larry moved to Gorham New Hampshire and has now shifted his allegiances to the White Mountains, where he is a steward for several miles of wilderness trails.

Abby and Grayson

Larry Davis and Susan, Tuckerman Ravine Trail

Sunrise Light on Mt Washington

Sunrise Light

Parish Light

Sunday morning, I got out for a sunrise from the Mount Washington overlook just north of the center of North Conway.  Although Washington was shrouded in fog, the light had a wonderful rosy hue that reminded me of the magic quality of light in many Maxfield Parish paintings.  Later, we returned to Jackson, famous for its cross-country skiing facilities.  We explored some old favorite locations such as Black Mountain, the Christmas Farm Inn and Jackson’s “Honeymoon” Covered Bridge.

Honeymoon Bridge

Ellis River Cascade : Jackson

Sunday afternoon, we traveled across the Spectacular Kancamagus Highway.  The weather varied from sunny to overcast and, at the higher altitudes, the mountains were covered with clouds.

Jackson Barn

Kancanagus Highway
It was a great weekend, delicious food, wonderful scenery and good company.  I must thank Bob for his advanced age that provided the excuse for this lovely gathering.

Jeff Newcomer

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Library Time Capsule

Keene Public Library Enhancement Project

The public library in Keene New Hampshire has a long history.  As early as the late 1700’s, Keene residents worked to establish a library.  Book collections moved several times and finally settled in 1898 in its current location, the stately brick Henry Colony mansion.  Over the years the library has undergone several remodeling’s and expansions and currently a major expansion is underway.  In addition to improvements in the existing library, a connector is being built to link the library to the adjacent Library Annex- the site of Heberton Hall. 

The Time Capsule

Time Capsule Space

As part of the project, a time capsule will be placed in the wall between the current main library desk and the new construction.  The capsule will hold artifacts rom our time and place and will be opened in fifty years. I was honored to be asked to contribute pictures from our region to the collection.  Fifty years, I wonder what Keene will be like?  My children will be in their 80s.  Hopefully they would have found a way to save the environment, but if not, perhaps some pictures of trees will be appreciated.

Collection and Preservation
 The people involved with collecting material for the time capsule requested that I submit a few prints and then assemble a much larger collection of regional images to be recorded on a DVD.  The survival of electronic media will be questionable.  The biggest issue is whether people in 2070 will have equipment that can read a DVD, and translate ancient JPG or Tiff file formats.  

We can only hope that an old DVD player will be available somewhere on whatever replaces eBay.  DVD disks have a finite life-span, but we will be using archival disks which are predicted to last for decades, especially when left untouched.  We can only hope.  Perhaps our future viewers will learn most about the sadly inadequate technology of the early 21st century.  That is where the prints may be most important. 

Using archival ink and acid free paper, the giclee prints should stand up reasonably well in a dark box for 80 years or more.  I have old prints that have lasted for more than 150 years, but I will only be able to squeeze a few prints in the small box.

How did I choose which images to include in my collections?  I was given broad discretion.  I started with images from our region.  I tried to think of what folks fifty years from now might find interesting; identifiable locations and structures, events, activities and occupations.  Of course, I am primarily a landscape photographer, images showing the natural attractions of the region had to be shown.  I can only hope that, when the box is opened, the beauty will not seem part of a lost era.

For the digital images, the task of selection was not difficult.  I can fit several thousand medium sized JPGs on a DVD.  I used my standard web format, with a maximum dimension of 950 pixels and file size around 400kb.  The images are organized into separate files for each season and include over 2000 pictures.

Selecting images for the physical prints will be an impossible task.  Perhaps 5-6, 8 x 10 prints.  I’ll start with an image from each season, but then what?  Perhaps I’ll include a picture of my good old dog Nelly and my house from across the apple orchard.  Who know?  You’ll have to wait 50 years to find out.

I was excited to be asked to contribute to the library time capsule.  For a project such as this, the choices that we make, teach us more about our own time and place.  I enjoyed the process of selecting images with future generations in mind, and arriving at the best solutions for optimal archival storage was an interesting challenge.  Finally, given the fragility of electronic media, I realize that, in fifty years, the contents of the capsule may be the only existing substantial collection of my work.   Now I must start on another time capsule to preserve next year’s images.

Jeff Newcomer