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.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Preview

  Washington D.C.

Last weekend Sue and I took what seems to be becoming an annual spring trip to visit our daughter in Washington D.C. It was wonderful to spend time with Abigail and her friends and perhaps most importantly we had the importunity to get to know her new boyfriend. He checked out quite nicely.

Again this was a great time of year to visit the capital. Spring was fully in bloom and the oppressive summer heat had not yet settled on the city. The Cherry Blossoms were already gone, but the rest of the colors were a lovely foreshadowing of what is to come to us up north.

Botanic Garden

On Friday we walked the Mall, which seems in perpetual construction, and then escaped to the wonderful United States Botanic Garden at the base of the Capital Building.
The gardens were featuring a remarkable collection of Orchids. On a Friday morning
US Botanic Garden
the place was not especially crowded and we had a wonderfully peaceful and colorful stroll. The exotic flowers in the greenhouse were lovely subjects for photography. I only regretted not having my tripod to allow better control of depth of field with smaller apertures and longer exposures. As I discussed in my previous blog about cheating with greenhouse photography, enclosed settings eliminate the wind which can often limit the length of exposure in outside flower photography. Without my tripod, I did my best by cranking up the ISO and trying to suppress the jitters from my morning coffee. In these situations positioning of the narrow focus point becomes critical as I tried to place the
Get the "Business" in Focus
small zone of sharpness on the most important spots. In portrait photography that critical focus point is the eyes, for flowers it is generally the central pistil and stamen. If you get that sharp, the surrounding softness tends to serve only to draw attention to the flower’s “business" zone. All I could do was get as stable as possible, compose an interesting arrangement, and then adjust to ISO and aperture to allow a shutter speed down to around 1/40 – 1/60. With the help of my camera’s image stabilization function, this was about the limit of what I could trust myself to hand-hold. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not. I had to be careful not to trip people as I knelt next to the flowers and I quickly learned to photograph the name tags immediately after I shot each flower. I hate having to use labels such as, “Red Flower # 2”. Next time I will come better prepare, but it is silly to complain about any time spent in such a lovely refuge. 


Green Dragon

In the evening we went to the annual Gospel Concert by the National Symphony at the massive Kennedy Center.  Great concert, but sadly, not awfully photography friendly in the hall.

Kennedy Center

Northern Virginian Wines

Saturday was another beautiful warm day and

Trail-Side Dogwoods
we headed out to Northern Virginia to hike with Abby and her boyfriend Grayson in the shadow of the Blue Ridge. The Dogwoods were blooming along the trails at the Blue Ridge Center in Purcellville Virginia. It was a wonderful day for a walk and we would have lingered longer in the forest, but our primary goal for the day was wine tasting. Abby had her own favorite vineyards to sample as we worked our way through the spring colors in the
rolling Virginia hills. Susan was assigned to the job of driver so the rest of us
Abigail and Grayson,  Sampling the Wine
sampled many, “excellent vintages with a dry/sweet taste accented with a hint of smoky wood, fresh plums or citrus finish”.  I swear, vintners are even more annoying than photographers when describing their work. Despite all of the showmanship, the wine was fair, but the settings were gorgeous. I got my usual complaints whenever I wanted to stop for photographs, but I couldn’t bypass the old road-side barn that was nearly consumed by vividly colored Wisteria. The day was capped by dinner at a surprisingly good Thai restaurant located in a gas station in Leesburg.

Wisteria Barn, Purcellville Virginia

Old Town Alexandria

On Sunday, Abby and her house mates hosted about 20 of her

Doors of Old Alexandria
friends for a delicious brunch.  It was reassuring to talk to all these brilliant, committed kids who are so thoroughly engage in careers that, being in Washington, are focused on government and public service.  It is really true that our government is actually run by 20 and 30 year olds, and that's ok.  We spent the afternoon on a relaxing touring of the Old Town of Alexandria Virginia.  Although it has largely been transformed into a tourist haven, the Old Town is along the shore of the Potomac and has many historic building which recall the city’s seaport history. The challenge here was to capture the colonial charm without the intrusion of wires, neon signs and BMWs. For this, the back streets were much better than the busy main roads.

On our way home on Monday we watched as the spring color slipped away, but things here in New Hampshire are greening up as well.
Over the weekend we had a great early taste of the season,   but I know that, given our shorter growing time, our spring will be even more vibrant and exuberant. I can't wait.

Colors of Home,  Spofford New Hampshire


  1. Great post and wonderful blog you've got here, Jeff. I really enjoy your work and find a lot of inspiration while viewing. Thanks for sharing!

  2. your photograph become so live every time you shoot!!
    how do you do that??
    clipping path

  3. amazing photography!!
    you have a magic hand with camera.
    clipping path