About Me

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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, January 15, 2016

Time to Pack Again, Have I learned Nothing!

In a couple of days I'll be heading to Costa Rica and will be
Winter Lodge
shooting all over the country for nearly two weeks. This leads to several obvious challenges. First I have to dig out all my lightweight shirts and shorts, and immediately after this chore Susan will begin pointing out that I have pulled out way too much stuff. Winter trips are always stressful as we leave the house exposed to the worst weather of the year. Fortunately we have a very reliable house sitter, along with her vicious attack dogs, and her Navy Seal boyfriend. I will be publishing this article a few days early and may not be able to get next Sunday's blog on-line. Wi-fi permitting I will try to post some early images, but with any luck you will have your own vacation from my incessant babbling.

Finally, and most importantly there is the weighty matter of deciding what my camera kit should include, and weight is a major issue. On every trip I have to balance the stress on my aging back against the desire to bring everything I will need to fully capture the experience. So here is my current list, but I always tend to throw stuff in at the last minute.

Whenever traveling to a special place that I may never see again, a certain amount of camera redundancy seems in order. I will of course bring my Canon 5D Mark II, but since it doesn't add a great deal of weight I will throw my old 5D body into a different bag as a back-up. The camera body doesn't add much weight, but I will also need to add the different battery's and charger.

I usually bring a smaller "pocket camera" for when I want to go light or when I am in situations where an obviously expensive camera could be too tempting. For this my Canon SX50 HS should work well especially since it's 24-1200mm super zoom will give me all the reach I may need. And of course more batteries and charger.

  • Canon 5D Mark II
  • Canon 5D
  • Canon 5HS

The choice of lens is always a struggle, but I want to go as light as possible. On previous trips I have thrown almost everything into the bag. My argument was that a heavy pack would be uncomfortable but not as painful as missing a once in a lifetime shot. My attitude on this has evolved in recent years. Perhaps it is because my back and I are growing older or because I have experienced too my occasions when I have lugged more heavy glass than I could ever use. My choice this time is to go with just two lens. My work horse 24-105mm zoom is an obvious no brainer. It will cover most of what I need. The wide end seems adequate most of the time.  In the past when I brought my 15-35mm, it seldom seemed to leave the bag. Costa Rica is famous for its birds and I must suck it up and bring my massive 100-400mm zoom. But that's IT ... Well maybe I'll add my almost weightless 2x tele extender. 

Ok, there are lots of amazing flowers and foliage, so maybe, if there is room in the suitcase, I may throw in my 100mm Macro. Ahh, stop me before I get out of control!

  • 24-105mm
  • 100-400mm
  • 2x Tele-Extender

?? 100mm Macro

Easy, my light Gitzo carbon fiber tripod. I have to remove the head to fit it in my suitcase.

Accessories: (Without which nothing works for long)

  • Chargers for IPhones, IPads,  Laptop etc
  • Card Reader and Cords
  • Lens Cloths, brush
  • Filters (At least UVs and Polarizers)
  • Extra Batteries & Chargers (Three Cameras, All Different)

I would love to go only with my iPad, but I need the computer to allow me to backup images both the computer and an external hard drive. Besides it is fun to review each day's images and if possible post some along the way.

Redundant Memory
On the road my back-up strategy includes first my memory cards. With about 130 gigs of storage, on most trips, I don't have to write over my cards. Second I upload my images to my laptop and with a separate catalog in Lightroom. At the same time I store a back-up copy to my compact portable hard drive. I firmly believe that a image doesn't really exist until it is in three places, kept in 3 different locations.

I have to find a way to carry all this stuff in a way that does not require checking any crucial pieces for flights. Anyone who read my recent blog knows that I already have way too many bags from which to choose. We will be doing a fair amount of hiking and I've decided to try to go light with my Mindshifter Panorama Rotation Bag. This may be a bit small but I can carry my camera and tele and will have easy access along the trail. I will be packing it tight for a carry-on. I have a nice new messenger bag but will be going back to my old beat-up shoulder bag to drag with me through the jungle.

I think that covers things well, but I traditionally forget at one essential item. Hopefully San Jose will have a camera store. Now back to the cloths and the well deserved Wrath of Susan.

On the Road

Jeffrey Newcomer

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