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.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Branching Out in Your Photography



Love the Limbs
White Ridge
We are now approaching the end of stick season (hopefully). The leaves are all seeping into the soil, and we are all anxiously anticipating the first real snow. Ok, we had a dusting last night. I often talk about November and early December as my time to relax, recharge while focusing my efforts on working through all those spectacular Autumn photos, but I have also insisted that stick season has its own photographic attractions. Today I would like to focus on one, less obvious attraction, the stark beauty of the barren tree branches These are too often thought of only as depressing skeletons looming overhead. This time of year I routinely frame my images to minimize or eliminate the tree branches arrayed against the flat gray sky, but there is often much interest in the simultaneous stark strength and delicate beauty of the scaffold which holds the abundance of our seasonal foliage. I've been scanning through my images for examples of when I have allowed my photography to "branch" off in new directions. Sorry.




 

Mist and Sky
The fascinating pattern of bare branches are often best appreciated against the soft backgrounds of overcast and mist of approaching winter. They can also contrast nicely with the brilliant colors of an early winter sunset or silhouetted against the sky along a high ridge line. 




Looking Through the Veil
After the leaves have fallen away, new perspectives are revealed. We are able to see further into the forest where ranks of trees can form interesting patterns or the course of streams can be better appreciated. Unsuspected distant vistas may also appear, although always with a screen of branches. I have often struggled to find angles that would eliminate or reduce the obstructions, but more recently, I have come to appreciate how a veil of branches can add pattern and mystery to a scene. An intricate and chaotic curtain of branches in front of more regular shaped subjects, such as churches, houses or barns
Winter Wonderland
can add interest to an otherwise routine scenes. The art comes in finding an effective balance between order and chaos. Of course branches are not always bare and when they are coated with snow, the "winter wonderland" effect becomes fully apparent. I recently wrote an article about using various Photoshop tools to move a branch away from a church steeple. It was an interesting exercise, but in the end, I decided to leave the obstruction in place. It seemed more natural and is still one of my favorite village images - check out the cover of this year's New England Reflections Calendar.





Black and White

Of course, branches are a perfect subject for black and white photography, where contrast and pattern are most important. For black and white conversion, I look for images in which a strong pattern is the driving element. It is amazing how the removal of the distraction of color can totally shift the emphasis of an image. Experimentation is easy In Photoshop. Simply add a B&W adjustment layer and switch back and forth between color and B&W. 




 

If it Doesn't Move, Decorate It
It is that time of year when our branches become the scaffold for elaborate Christmas light displays. I won't dwell on this here, since I am scheduled to do an article on Christmas light photography for the New England Photography Guild later this month. Stay tuned.



 




The great thing about photography in New England is that, no matter how crummy the weather or uninspiring the season, there are always interesting subjects to shoot. The trick is to shift focus to what is available and try "branching" out to new perspectives. Once again, sorry. 



Jeffrey Newcomer
Partridgebrookreflections.com

No comments:

Post a Comment