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.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Angry Wet Sea

Last weekend Susan and I went to the Maine seacoast for a celebration of her birthday. I love photographing the coast. It's the one thing I miss by being in the center of New England, and I'm always looking for a reason to get back to the ocean. This weekend the food was great, the bed and breakfast was warm and friendly, and the weather absolutely SUCKED. I firmly believe that bad weather, generally, makes great photography, but this really challenged me to find interesting subjects and ways to shoot without getting my camera and myself completely soaked.

Cape Porpoise. Maine
We arrive in Kennebunkport late Friday afternoon and checked in to the Maine Stay Inn, which is a lovely B&B, with charming friendly owners. It hadn't begun to rain so we ran over to Cape Porpoise before it got dark. The Cape provides a nice contrast to the touristy bustle of Kennebunkport. It is a picturesque, working lobstering village with boats nestled in a protected cove and Goat Island Light marking the entrance. The condition were still cold, dark, and blustery so I concentrated on shooting the details of the traps and wharf. On the way back to town I noticed a lovely tree seen across a pasture with a base of wildflowers. I couldn't resist. Susan was very patient, almost as patient as Nellie. Thank god for crossword puzzles.

The next day the rain came down in a heavy drizzle only during the brief interludes between the prolonged assaults of gale blown deluge. We decided to head north along the coast, but
Paddy Creek Rain
 with the exception of a quick shot of Paddy Creek, it was just not possible to escape the car. I'm a firm believer in shooting in the rain, check out my blog article "Surviving the Wet", but this was crazy. With elaborate protection, I was able to keep most of the water off the camera, but there was no way to keep the lens dry in the swirling sheets of rain. We eventually ended up in Portland, where we had lunch with good friends, and where Susan could do some much deserved shopping. The evening turned out much better. Still pouring, but we had the chance to have dinner with Bob and Margie Dennis at Joshua's, a marvelous natural food restaurant in Wells. Bob is a great photographer who has become the go-to guy for images of the Kennebunkport area. He has a beautiful house on the water in Cape Porpoise and takes full advantage of his prime location. I got to know Bob through his work on Flickr, but his work is seen in many local stores, and in his books and calendars. It was great fun to pick Bob's brain about his region. He is well connected, but he still couldn't get me an invitation for tea with George and Barbara on Walker Point. My only frustration from the evening was my total failure to convince Bob to shoot in Raw!

Walker Point Surf

Sunday morning the rain had softened but the winds remained
strong. I just couldn't leave the coast without trying to get at least a few ocean pictures, and I knew that the surf would be impressive after all that wind.
St. Ann's Chapel and Rectory
We cruised along the shore from Kennebunkport to just past Walker Point. I got out several times in full rain gear and my camera in my Opt/Tech Rainsleeve.  Thank goodness for Gortex!  The wind was still howling, but I found that I could protect my lens, at least for a few shots, as long as I kept my back to the gale. I shot off bursts of exposures as the waves came crashing in and caught a few nice images. I have never been able to predict which waves are likely to produce the best show. Thankfully, with digital, I could waste tons of images to catch the occasional prize. 


North Branch River Rush
On the way home I had to check out the flowing water in a couple of my favorite locations, including North Branch River in Antrim and the Stone Arch Bridge in Surry. I even got a couple of shots of kayakers enjoying the rush on the North Branch.  This is considered some of the most challlenging white water in New Hampshire


Surry Stone Arch Bridge

All-in-all it was not the best weekend to be on the coast, but we still had a lovely time away. If we were home in the rain, I'm sure Susan would have proposed a long list of worthy indoor projects, so Maine was just fine!


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