About Me

My photo
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.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Some Days the Bear Eats You.

Hampton Beach Dawn

Yesterday was a busy photographic day and it reminded me of an
axiom that I first heard in college; "Some days you eat the bear, other days the bear eats you.". One of the things that makes photography exciting is that, despite all your efforts, you don't always get what you hoped for, it just makes the occasional successes much sweeter. Yesterday started and end with disappointment, but as always you have to make the most of what is given. At least in this case the unfortunate lack of Snowy Owls in the morning and the agonizing Patriot's loss sandwiched the
Crazy Plungers
the Frozen Sections
insanely triumphant success of the Penguin Plunge. This is the third year that I agreed to photograph the Cheshire Medical Center's team, "The Frozen Sections", in the Penguin Plunge. Somehow every February, the Plunge raises thousands of dollars to benefit the Special Olympics as otherwise sane individuals run into the frigid Altantic at Hampton Beach New Hampshire. For me it has been a great opportunity to help celebrate this wonderful cause and to capture my friends in a wide range of shivering blue tones.

Lovely Dunes
No Owls

Quest for the Snowy

With all the excitement about the unusual numbers of Snowy Owls along the mid New England coast, I decided to come over early to try to capture these remarkably beautiful birds. I have been following the great images from a number of my new friends in the New England Photography Guild,  and although I have always been only an accidental bird photographer, I had to give it a shot. I rolled out of bed at 4AM and got to the New Hampshire coast at 6:30, just before sunrise. I slowly cruised the shore from Seabrook to Rye, stopping
NH Marine War Memorial
frequently to scan the rocky coast and wandered along the sea grass decorated dunes. Nothing. I know that the potential for failure feeds the excitement of the quest, but if there is anyone who was out there yesterday and found themselves tripping over Snowys everywhere they looked, PLEASE keep it to yourself. The morning was clear and crisp, but the lack of clouds made for a less than spectacular sunrise. So I ended up with more images of the reflected golden light than the rising sun. I tried some long exposure surf shots using my variable neutral density filter. The trick was not to be washed away by the rising tide and when I turned around I found that I was nearly stranded on a rock along the beach. I was mesmerized by the strikingly beautiful and powerful granite Marine War Memorial statue. The golden sunrise dramatically illuminated this proud woman gazing out to sea as she is about to throw a wreath on the water that is the grave of her child. I have seen pictures of the statue before, but this light seemed to bring the mother to life. As the morning progressed I grab a few images from Rye Harbor and along the beach. I don't get to the coast anywhere near often enough and I wanted to take advantage of my short stay.   Even without birds the ocean really recharges my battery.

Rye Harbor

The Plunge

Eventually duty called and I had to reluctantly surrender the search and report to the Casino where the Plungers were gathering. Photographing the Plunge primarily involves getting shots of the excited folk enthusiastically running to the water, which was an unusually toasty 42 degrees, and shots of the triumphant and numb faces as they run back up the beach to the welcoming towels. The event is exciting and the plungers have a surprisingly great time, but, thank you very much, I will stick to the Photography. Once again this year our Frozen Sections won the "Super Flock Award" for raising the most money, over 32 thousand dollars, but the Special Olympics was the big winner raising a total of over 500 thousands dollars. For more about the Plunge you can check out my blog from last year.

Frozen Sections Victorious

The primary focus of the trip home was trying to stay awake. Thank goodness for books on tape and a mix of photography and political podcasts. Despite the exhaustion, I couldn't resist stopping to check out a favorite brook just off route 9 in Antrim New Hampshire.I was rewarded with a nice cascading flow and interesting light. Finally something worked out the way I had hoped.

North Branch River
Antrim, NH

As for the Super Bowl, all I can say is that we hosted a nice group of friends, the food was excellent, the game was exciting and the ending sucked. I guess some days the bear does eat you. 

Only Birds in Sight


  1. Well done Jeff and at least you were there to enjoy a wonderful sunrise. To me there is nothing better than being up to watch the sunrise. Of course ask me that a 6AM when I'm enjoying the warmth of my nice warm bed and I might give you a different answer... :-)

  2. Great post Jeff. I know the feeling of disappointment of not finding a Snowy owl. I was fortunate to find one on my first outing here in Southeast MA, but when I returned a few weeks later, the elusive owls escaped me!
    Clouds or not, you captured a beautiful sunrise........love the lighting on the statue images......the plunge images are just plain fun......and your last image is beautiful. You were lucky to get some snow with the winter we are having (or not having) :-)