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.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dumb Luck and Foreshortening

Yesterday, after some errands in Keene NH, I decided to loop my way home through Gilsum, Alstead and Walpole to take advantage of the late afternoon light. On the way I stopped at the Filter Connection in Gilsum to pick up some sensor cleaning solution. A few years ago I was surprised to discover that a great on-line filter reseller was actually just down the road. I have since become friends with the owner and staff, but they were initially surprised when I informed them that I would be dropping by to pick up my order. Their building is remarkably unimpressive, but their stock, prices and knowledgeable support are first rate. Most importantly, they also welcome my dog Nellie to come in and play with the office canines. Check them out at 2filter.com and yes, the Lamas belong to the owner.

As I wandered along, the evening light was warm and clear, but I didn't find much that I found exciting to photograph. I had just about given up, but sometimes you just have to accept dumb luck. On the way home from Walpole, I thought I would check out how the sunset light was playing on the hilltop of Alyson's Orchard. Looking up I was floored by the nearly full moon positioned perfectly over the great Oak at the top of the hill. If anyone asks, I had checked the tables and planned my arrival for this convergence. I started at the bottom using my 400mm to magnify the moons appearance over the tree. Then I work my way up the hill. Each switchback provided different angles to exploit and also gave me a nice example of the phenomena of foreshortening with a long lens.

Foreshortening refers to the apparent enlargement of distant objects compared to the foreground when telephoto lens are used. It is argued that this is actually just an optical illusion and it is true that when taken from the same location images recorded with long and wide angle lens have the same perspective. When the wide angle image is enlarged to match the telephoto they appear identical with exception of the narrower depth of field with the telephoto. The power of foreshortening comes when you move. As can be seen in these two images, when I was further away from the subjects using a longer focal length the moon appeared much larger in relation to the tree. The upper image was taken from the bottom of the hill at 235mm, the lower was closer and at 160mm. I frequently back up to increase the size of background elements in a composition. The important thing is to avoid backing into the lake or off the cliff. So a day that hadn't been working out well ended up yielding a nice photo opportunity and a couple of images that I suspect will find their way into a talk sometime.

Dumb luck rules!

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