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, July 10, 2011

Shooting Chesterfield's 250Th

This fourth of July weekend the town of Chesterfield New Hampshire celebrated its 250th Anniversary. It was actually in 1752 that the town was chartered as Chesterfield, but it wasn’t until November of 1761 that the first settlers traveled up the Connecticut River to build near where the current boat landing is located.  It has been our privilege to live in Chesterfield for over other 30years and although the natives still consider us "flat-landers", they must acknowledge that our two children have their roots firmly planted in Chesterfield's rocky soil. Over the years we have felt a strong attachment to the town and our neighbors. We have participated in the uniquely American tradition of town meeting government and while Susan has served on the Budget Committee and School Board, I have been a member of the Conservation Committee for over 20 years.  Last weekend's 250th Anniversary was a wonderful and well deserved celebration and I was honored to be asked by the Selectmen and the Historical Society to be their photographer. The festivities were held mostly on Saturday and included a parade, antique car show, historical skits, story telling, coronary artery clogging food and a ceremony honoring the town’s history. Descendants of the early families, many of whom still live in town, were recognized. The whole event was relaxed and low key, much like a big family picnic. 

I have photographed a number of events in recent years including the Penguin Plunge and the Stonewall Farm Sap Gathering Contests. I think I am beginning to get a handle on how to approach the job, but every event has its own challenges and opportunities. The 250th party had the advantage of being in a small area,  but I had to split my time between photography and taking my turn at the Conservation Commission table.  As usual I especially enjoyed getting in close to the participants to get intimate portraits, but I always have to remind myself to get the broader establishing shots. 

 Images of the signs and wide perspectives of the field and proceedings are important to give a feel of the overall experience. I try not to get in the way of the activities and for this my 100-400 telephoto was very helpful. Fortunately the day was bright and sunny allowing me to hand hold my big lens without too much trouble, but the bright contrasty light imposed its own challenges, especially on portraits. Where possible I tried to move my subjects into the shade, but I was also able to get more experience with fill flash. By the end I had about 500 images to process. So far, I have over 100 workable photographs, but one things is certain. If I don’t show a picture of every town fire truck that rolled down the parade route, I may not get much of a response the next time my house is in flames.

Due to the vision, dedication and hard work of so many townspeople, the whole celebration came across beautifully.  Now back to the rest of those 500 images.  I hope to get them done by the time the 300th anniversary rolls around.
Chesterfield's 250th Photo Album

1 comment:

  1. Jeff, I enjoyed your wonderful shots of this great small-town festival. They artfully convey the flavor of a New England community. I'm sure your final photo-set will be welcomed by all in Chesterfield.

    Here's a question regarding the online posting of images of people, including both candid and group shots and images of subjects who gladly posed for your camera: do you think that photo-bloggers and Flickerites need to be concerned about things like model-release or consent forms? I posed this question to Flickr a couple of years ago, and the Flickr authorities agreed that it was an interesting question but one that they declined to address.