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.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Winter Photography in New England

One of the joys of photography during our long New England winters, besides the crystal clear air and remarkable light, is the fact that dawn comes so late in the morning. I had a couple of chances to go out shooting this weekend and it was much nicer to get up at 6am to catch the “golden hour” rather than of 4am, as I must in the summer. We are all recovering from the spectacular show that our December ice storm provided, but the so far this winter we have enjoyed a number of storms to keep the snow clean and sparkling.

On Friday I had to bring a picture to Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough, NH and took a meandering route through Marlborough and Hancock. Hancock has an attractive town center with the classic white meeting house and great buildings along the main street. Photography is a challenge in Hancock primarily because of the web of wires that seem to contaminate every angle. I’m still exploring for locations however and the whole area is full of classic New England landscapes. “Snow Plows” was taken from a area of conservation land above Hancock Village that provides one of the better afternoon vistas of the town below. I’ll be showing some of work at The Fiddlehead CafĂ© in Hancock beginning on February 23rd.

Saturday I got back across the river to Vermont for the early light. The temperature was below zero at dawn but got up to a toasty 10 degrees by later in the morning. . Shown here are a couple of Saturday’s images from the back roads of Dummerston Vermont, one of my favorite nearby locations for exploration. I still have a lot of work to do.

Photography in the cold weather imposes many challenges, but I’m always glad that I made the effort. The light has a sparkle that you don’t see other times of the year. Here are a few observations about coping with winter shooting. This is not news to many of you ,but it helps me to organize my strategies this time of year.

1) Digital Freeze. Digital camera batteries do not like the cold and loose there charge more quickly. Keeping the camera warm inside your coat will extend battery life as well as help avoid sticking shutters and blowing snow, but watch out for condensation when you place that frigid piece of metal and glass into the warm moist microenvironment next to your body. I generally deal with the battery issue by keeping a replacement battery warm in a pocket. Of course it’s always important that the batteries start out fully charged.

2) Back to the condensation issue. Bringing a cold camera into a warm moist environment unavoidably lead to condensation. This will fog your lenses and potentially cause damage as liquid gets into the mechanical and electronic components. I try to keep the inside of my car comfortable cool to avoid drastic changes in temperature as I cruise for opportunities. When going inside my cozy house I place the camera in a plastic bag and allow it to warm slowly, without exposure to the moisture.

3) Keep yourself warm & dry: This seems an obvious recommendation, but not so easy when you are standing in the middle of a frigid, wind blown field, knee deep in snow waiting for the morning light to fall on that line of trees in the distance. A warm jacket & boots are a must, but my greatest discovery this year has been gloves with the fingers cut off to allow manipulation of your camera. The gloves have a mitten flap that you can pull over your fingers. when not in use. I wear a light pair of gloves underneath that adds warmth while still allowing control. My wife will tell you that these gloves are my constant topic of conversation!

4) Finally the whole approach to composition can be different in the winter. Your eye has to adjust to a nearly black & white perspective as color is subdued by form and line. Colors tend to be more subtle and vibrant tones may be most effective in small amounts to provide contrast to the quieter elements.

Wow. I know when I start talking about “color subdued by form and line” it is time to stop. I hope everyone is doing well and look forward to what you are doing to capture this great season.

For more images see my winter section at


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  2. Hi Jeff,
    Just wanted to let folks out there know that I admire you as one of the finest landscape photographers in northern New England. I wish you all the best with this blog.

    Peter Urbanski
    Westbrook, Maine