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.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Getting the Most Out of a Few Inches

Whetstone Brook
Brattleboro, Vermont

About a week ago winter finally arrived in the heart of New England. After the tantalizing late October storm we had no snow cover from November into early January. We were all getting a bit panicked, and as a result the few inches that fell a week ago seemed like a gift from heaven. It always seems that I am locked away in my office on the best snow days, but I tried to get out on every possible occasion for this event. In New England, and especially during New England winters, you have to make the most of what nature gives you and when it is given. With many other responsibilities, it is a challenge to try to structure my time to get out shooting during the best conditions. Fortunately, the photographic natural history of a snow storm generally evolves over a few hours to several days and the recent storm provided an excellent example. 

Day One

Guilford, Vermont
The storm started last Wednesday evening. I left a little early for work on Thursday morning and managed to catch a few images from the back roads in Guilford Vermont. The snow was still falling and the countryside was an expanse of soft contrasts. I spent the morning gazing pitifully out my office window praying that the snow would not change to sleet and rain. At noon the snow was still clinging nicely and, because many folks
Stickney Brook
Dummerston, Vermont
had canceled their appointments, I had about an hour to wander along Route 30 toward Newfane. I started by exploring the nearby Whetstone Brook in Brattleboro, but when the clock is ticking I usually fall back on old friends that are close by. Stickney Falls, in Dummerston Vermont, is one of my favorite local waterfalls.
Dummerston Bridge
The volume of water can vary greatly but on this day the brook was beautifully encased in snow laden trees. This was the first opportunity I have had to use the high wadding boots that I have been carrying in the car. It was nice to have dry feet for the afternoon. Sadly after grabbing some shots of the Dummerston Covered Bridge on the West River I had to run back to my office prison, and by the time I was done, all was dark.

Day Two

Westmoreland, New Hampshire
The next day offered a different window on the storm and happily I had the whole day off. With warming temperatures the snow fell from the trees as the morning progressed. To prolong the magic,
Walpole, New Hampshire
I headed north and up and was able to catch a couple of hours when the snow was still covering the branches and while the increasing temperature summoned some lovely mist. This narrow window of opportunity passed quickly. After taking the shot of the clump of trees in the fog on a ridge in Walpole New Hampshire, I literally turn around to capture the field below and the fog was gone. The rest of the day was overcast and dull with the trees looking sadly skeletal. 

Fog on the Ridge
Walpole, New Hampshire
Fog Clears


 Day Three

Winter Sunset
Chesterfield, New Hampshire
The third day was hectic. The morning was still dull. I was occupied with the weekly dump run and in preparation for a Patriots Play-Off party at our house. The preparations had to be perfect since we were going against both Tebow and God. In the evening I snuck away for my last major pass at the storm. This time the skies had cleared and I was able to catch the first spectacular winter sunset of the season. I was also reminded that snow is made for more than photography, as a local family enjoyed sledding into the fading light coming across the Vermont hills. 

As I worked through the pictures that I had collected over three days, I was struck by how many different moods were generated by this relatively minor snow storm. It is typical of the rewards we can reap from persistently pursuing our changeable New England weather. Hopefully by the time this is published we will have more fresh snow to enjoy, but particularly in the winter, it is important to remember that the storms are not events but stories and you don’t want to miss a single chapter.

Finally, I know I said last week that, in hopes of increasing my audience, I was considering starting every blog title with “Naked Women”. This week however the title seemed to require no embellishment.


  1. I am loving your blog and your photography!! I have tried responding a few times, and for some reason, haven't been able to.......just wanted you to know I'm a fan. Keep up the good work!!!

  2. Thanks for the lovely blog, a joy to read the stories.