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.

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.

Eureka
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!

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