About Me

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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer had 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 blog about photography in New England.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Do Windows ... Is That Wrong

Whenever I can't decide where to go shooting I know I can't go wrong by heading south on Route 124 from Keene NH. I don't believe there is a stretch of road in the Monadnock Region that can match the concentration of classic New England scenes along the 12 miles from Marlborough to Jaffrey. Mt. Monadnock's dramatic profile is the major attraction, but one of my favorite stops is the old Jaffrey Center with its quintessential colonial New England meeting house. It is an amazing building with an amazing story. The Jaffrey Meetinghouse was raised on June 17, 1775, the day of the Battle of Bunker Hill. It was recorded that the workers could hear the distant canon fire from Charlestown over 60 miles away.

I have captured the meetinghouse from all angles and in all seasons. On this day I was concentrating on framing the pristine white building with the surrounding trees. As I came around to the front I was horrified to discover that the three windows along the spire had been removed and replaced with black wood panels. I assume that this is part of necessary renovations, but they COULD have checked with me first! Nothing to do but take the shots. The view looking up the road to the front provides nice framing and had the added advantage of being relatively straight on making adjustments in post a little easier.
Back at home I had to decide what to do with this image. To me there was little choice. The black panels clearly did not reflect the essence of this historic structure and since my goal was not to faithfully record the progress of the renovation, I had to move some windows. This is where purist are allowed to gasp ..... OK moving on. Happily the front of the building is full of excellent candidates for copying. I elected to select the window panes to a new layer rather than cloning since this allows the necessary rotation and scaling to make the proper fit. It wasn't too complicated. Just took a tittle time. The small features, such as getting the snow on the sill to remain in front of the glass, were the most painstaking. I believe that the result represents what you see when the meetnghouse is in its glory. The windows are identical to those that were there originally and my window replacement service is A LOT cheaper.

I hope few are offended, but this is just one of the miracles of digital photography. Ansel Adams once commented on criticism he received for spotting out graffiti that had polluted the rocks on one of his classic images; "I am not enough of a purist to perpetuate the scar and thereby destroy - for me, least - the extraordinary beauty and perfection of the scene". If I am criticized I can only respond, "Ansel made me do it".

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeff --

    Meetinghouses have been a fascination of mine too, and you might be interested in my new photography book, A Space for Faith: The Colonial Meetinghouses of New England, which just won the Independent Publishers 2011 Gold Medal for the best northeast regional nonfiction book of the year. See www.aspaceforfaith.com .

    -- Paul Wainwright