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.

Monday, October 24, 2016

2017 New England Reflections Calendar in the Stores

It is time for my annual episode of shameless begging.  The 2017 New England Reflections Calendar is now available and, now that I have finish my fall classes, I can devote more attention to distributing them throughout the region. 

Two things are always true about my new calendars.  First, once again, it is unquestionably the best calendar I have ever produced, and secondly, all the proceeds still go to support a wonderful cause, the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Cheshire Medical Center / Dartmouth Hitchcock Keene.  Last year I increased the size of the calendar in response to those who wanted more writing room.  It makes the calendar more functional and, importantly, provides more space for my pictures.  

As always the calendar images focus on the unique beauty of New England and especially my home territory of the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont.  We don’t have the highest mountains or a restless seacoast, but we do boast beautiful lakes and rivers and, of course, our region has “The Mountain that Stands Alone”, Mount Monadnock.  It is not a region of many superlatives.  Our beauty comes from the peaceful rolling hills, miles of meandering dirt roads and classic small villages and farms.  That is what I try to capture in my photography and in the images which fill my calendars.  

Of course, I love the ocean and, as always, included one image from the seacoast, this year the Portsmouth Harbor Light House at dawn.  There is also a picture from my first visit to the Cheshire Fair and I shot (nonviolently) a deer who was gorging on the apples from my orchard.   The cover image is always most important and the view of the Jaffrey Meeting House with Mount Monadnock in the background seemed appropriate.  Recent tree removal has opened the view to the mountain making this an especially iconic vista.

You can check out all of this year’s images in my :

Even today, with everyone’s head buried in the calendars on their devices, I think a wall calendar provides essential benefits.  Its reminders are always there and don’t require you to remember to turn on anything.  The new bigger calendar covers a major portion of that unsightly refrigerator door and the pictures are a constant reminder of how lucky we are to live in rural New England.  Many of my calendars get sent around the world, to show friends and family why we choose to live in this special corner of the world. 

So, get out and buy a bunch of calendars.  They make great gifts for the holidays or, really, anytime.  It is a way to support an important cause and, instead of a coffee mug or a tote bag, you will come away with a useful tool that also has pretty pictures.  I am still in the process of distributing the calendars to all the wonderful regional store that have agreed to dedicate a portion of their precious counter space to this cause.  Don’t forget to thanks them for helping out. 

Here is a list to date, but I will be adding more as I continue my rounds: 

  • Toadstool Bookstores, Keene and Peterborough New Hampshire
  • Hannah Grimes, Keene New Hampshire
  • The Cheshire Medical Center Gift Shop, Keene New Hampshire
  • Historical Society of Cheshire County, Keene, New Hampshire
  • J & J Discount, Chesterfield, New Hampshire
  • Hancock Inn, Hancock New Hampshire
  • Jingles Christmas and Country Shop, Westmoreland New Hampshire
  • Gilsum Village Store, Gilsum New Hampshire
  • Walpole Grocery Store, Walpole New Hampshire
  • Apryl's Orchard, Walpole, New Hampshire
  • Sharon Arts Center, Peterborough New Hampshire
  • Vermont Artisans Design, Brattleboro, Vermont
  • Harlows Sugar House, Putney Vermont
  • Putney General Store, Putney Vermont
  • Green Mountain Orchard, Putney Vermont

The calendar can also be purchased on-line at the Cheshire Medical Center web site (With free shipping!) :Watch Here for the Address

And of course, I always have a bunch in the back seat of my car and, if we meet on the street, be prepared to either buy calendars our sprint desperately away.

Jeff Newcomer

Monday, October 17, 2016

Walkikng Stick Camera Stabilization


It has been awhile since I have come up with an article for the “Tips and Tricks” section of my blog, but this is the time for something simple and very quick.  This week, commitments have piled up.  I am continuing my Introduction to Digital Photography course, I am working on my Fall Foliage Workshop which will begin Friday evening, and I discovered that It was my turn to publish an article for the New England Photographers blog.  The foliage Workshop has been taking most of my time as I wander all over the region checking out the color and trying to predict where it will be best over the weekend. 

So with all the demands, I decided to go quick and simple, with a trick I discovered last week to add to my options for camera stabilization.  Holding the camera steady is a key part of obtaining sharp images and, in various articles, I have discussed a range of approaches.  These have included stable hand-holding and low impact shutter release techniques (aka the “Finger Roll”), the use of external stabilizers from trees and walls to mono pods, and sturdy tripods.  They all have their place, but what if all you have is a simple hiking pole?

Blue Hour Autumn
Balancing on the Stick
A few days ago I stopped on the side of the road to try to capture an autumn scene in the last of the evening light.  Susan and I were coming home from a concert by the great Apple Hill String Quartet.  On the way to the concert, I had caught a glimpse of a narrow path cut in the foliage, and I hoped that there would be enough light to grab an image on the way home.  By the time we returned, the scene was already into the blue hour.  Of course I had no tripod or monopod.  I needed some source of external stabilization and my only choice was my walking stick.  I balanced the camera firmly on the top of the stick, but with only marginal results.

As I was struggling to get a steady shot with enough depth of field, another photographer pulled in.  He was trying to capture a picture of Mount Monadnock in the evening fog.  He was also “tripodless” and was struggling with the impossibility of hand-holding his longer lens.  I offered my stick.  Having never tried a walking stick for stabilization, he took a fresh look at the devise, and without even one “eureka”, slipped the lens into the hand strap.  Brilliant!  Why have I never thought of that?  Slung from the strap, the camera could be pulled down and stabilized against the shaft of the stick.  

In the Loop

It’s not perfect but in a pinch it does offer a nice solution when you are in your wife’s car without a tripod.  I tried it on my dark autumn path and, with a little practice, it worked rather well.  I didn’t get the gentlemen’s name, but I would like to thank him.  It goes to show that a fresh look at a problem can result in a new solution.  It also was a reminder to always throw a tripod in the car, and it means that I have to add a couple of slides to my talk on camera stabilization.

That is my quick and simple, now back to work!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Photographing the DeMar Marathon

Ashuelot River along the course
Last spring, I was asked by the folks running our local DeMar Marathon, if I would help out by taking photographs of the course.  The DeMar has been an important tradition in the Monadnock region and the course, especially the first part, travels through miles of lovely backroads and along tumbling brooks.  It is arguably one of the most beautiful marathon courses in the country.

   I was thrilled to take on the assignment.  Since the event has been managed by our local Elm City Rotary Club it has expanded in inclusiveness and popularity.  This year almost 300 ran the 26.2 mile course, but in addition to the full marathon, participation in the half marathon has increased.  The DeMar has become a community-wide event with the “Super Senior” race for those over 70 years of age and kids races for children ranging from kindergarten to 5th grade.

The Course in Spring

I enjoyed the opportunity to shoot along the course last spring when the greens were just beginning to burst forth, but I was reminded of the fact that I had never shot the actual race.  This year I got out to capture the excitement from a number of different locations.  And I they even used one of my pictures of the stone bridge in Gilsum for the bib.

Warming up

The Kids and The Super Seniors
College Volunteers
I started early in the morning to catch the start of the Kids and Super Senior races.  Both groups managed to run or walk a total of 25 miles over the summer and then, on the day of the marathon, they finish their last 1.2 miles. 

Kids and Super Seniors
It was great to see the enthusiasm in both the seniors and the children, and both demographics seemed to gain inspiration from each other.  My favorite shot was a group photo, that I suggested with the seniors and youth all together, but the energy at the starts was also electric.

The Cemetery Run
Cemetery Run

The kid's starts were by far
the most fun, but, after they were on their way , I followed the suggestion of one of the organizers and headed off to catch the half marathoners as they ran through the lovely rolling landscape of the cemetery, around mile ten.  It was a great day for running, cool and dry, and the light accentuated the early fall foliage.  I’m sure that seeing a photographer ahead can change a runner’s attitude, but, after ten miles, the expressions had evolved from the excitement of the start to focused determination.

Cemetery Turn

To the Finish
Next I had to work my way to the finish line.  The DeMar’s last few hundred yards are along Keene State College’s beautifully green Apian Way and finally through the ubiquitous inflatable finish line arch.  I was impressed that the organizers were able to identify most of the runners by name as the crowd cheered. Finishers were personally congratulated and awarded their medal.  It all reinforced the DeMar’s reputation as a warm and comfortable “little” marathon. 

Main Street Banner
A couple of years ago Keene received an undue amount of bad publicity after the nasty episode near the college campus on the evening of the Pumpkin Festival.  This isolated and aberrant episode led to some necessary changes, but events such as the DeMar Marathon reinforce the strength and warmth of our community.  The work that has been done by so many to expand and enrich this event is amazing and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to contribute a small amount to its success.

Read more about the DeMar’s long history and tour the beautiful route in my first blog from this spring.

Jeff Newcomer