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.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

100 Posts - Where Did They Come From !

Great time in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom this week.
But this weeks article is about looking back

There is something challenging about milestones. I was surprised recently to discover that I was approaching 100 blog articles. Last week's post was my 100th and that seemed as good an excuse as any to take stock and make some changes. I started the blog nearly four years ago, but only got serious about the process in the last two years. Starting in January 2011 I committed to publishing on a weekly basis and despite the strain of trying to come up with something (ANYTHING) to talk about every weekend, the process has be rewarding. As I have worked to keep the posts interesting and constructive, I have discovered that I have learned more than I could ever teach in my short articles. My research often involves finding the actual basis for many of the photographic techniques that I have learned through painful trial and error. As a result I have been able to refine my own skills. 

Taking Stock

Reviewing the 100 articles, I have become aware of certain themes that recur throughout my posts. The most prominent of these is my frequent rants about "Getting it Right in the Digital Camera". My articles about photographic and post-processing techniques usually come back to the idea that the digital image in the field should be crafted to provide the best raw material for the digital darkroom and not the prettiest image on the card.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Arlington Crossing
I'm not telling where I was standing
I have also enjoyed sharing information about many of my favorite locations. I have never understood the tendency of some photographers to horde their prize locations like precious trade secrets. The photographic art doesn't stem from the location, but from the magic of each individual's interpretation. When I see a beautiful, fresh interpretation of one of my favorite sites, I first curse the bastard, and then try to learn from his or her vision. It can be a struggle to get beyond the cursing phase, but it's been worth the effort. 

Ice Bound Harrisville New Hampshire
Sadly, I have discovered that too many of my articles involve my whining about disappointing conditions. No snow, no fall foliage, too much rain, too little rain, and the ubiquitous, bad light, but I live in New England, if I only shot in perfect conditions, I would get out two or three times per year! The goal is to convert the whining into a discussion about how to get the most out of any conditions.

Change is Good

What's in a Name?
I have always felt a bit self- conscious, about the title of my Blog. "Jeffrey Newcomer Photography" was a quick selection of convenience when I was signing up for the blog, but it has always seemed a bit too narcissistic. 100 articles seems a good time for a change, and given the flow of my discussions, I have decide that "Getting it Right in the Digital Camera" may be a better hook upon which to hang the blog. 

Getting a Grip: Indexing

Blog Index
It has always been my goal to create a body of material that can serve as a source of reference for developing photographers, but scrolling down through four years of articles, I was struck by how difficult it is to find anything in that disorganized mass of topics. I have sweat blood for many of these articles with the hope that fellow photographers will find them valuable and it is painful to see them lost in the pile. It seems obvious that the only way to make this information useful is to organize the articles in an index of related topics. This will take time to perfect, but in honor of the hundredth, I have made a start. I have placed a Blog Index on my ancient main gallery site. I have started by listing most of my articles covering technique for "Getting it Right in the Digital Camera". I expect to organize this into subheadings. I have grouped many of my "location" articles in a separate section and split them between New England and "Out of Town". Down the line, I will be considering other topics to help with the organization. One will certainly be for quick tips and tricks. I'm not sure about a special topic dedicated to whining.

Teton Sunset

Thanks to all my readers. Please stay tuned and let me know how I can improve the Blog. I am particularly interested in your feedback about the index, but be kind, like everything here, it is a work in progress.

Getting it Right in the Digital Camera Blog Index

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Get Yourself Some Farms Album

This week it is my turn to post and article on the New England Photography Guild's Blog. Given the high quality of work which is routine from my fellow members, it is always a bit intimidating to offer something of mine for publication. I can't get away with my usual whining about the weather or about all the deadlines I am missing. I also have to deal with the strict rules of the NEPG Blog. They actually check spelling and grammar! There is also a limit on the number of images I can include, so, as has become my habit, I will use this week's personal blog as a supplemental photo album for main article.

For my NEPG article I chose to talk about "My Farms", the three local farms that I have adopted as sources of photographic and personal inspiration. The real purpose of the article is to encourage you to find your own local farms. Getting to know and be known by local farmers can open endless photographic opportunities and allow a deeper appreciation of the work these folks do to preserve a way of life that is at the base of what it means to be a New Englander.

So check out my article on the New England Photography Blog, enjoy the many moods of MY farms and go out and get your own.

Hubner Dairy Farm, Chesterfield, New Hampshire




For more images check out my Hubner Farm Flickr Set 


Roads End Farm and Riding Camp, Chesterfield, New Hampshire




For more images check out my Roads End Flickr Set

Stonewall Farm Educational Center, Keene, New Hampshire




For more images check out my Stonewall Farm Flickr Set

Back to my NEPG article

Saturday, September 15, 2012

If It Is September, I Must Be Late With The Calendar, Again

2013 New England Reflections Cover

 The Naked Trees of New England
Village Church, Spofford, NH
I have been publishing a calendar to benefit my Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene New Hampshire for 7 years. You would think, after all this time, that I would have it all figured out by now, but no. I have improved in my ability to select images for the calendar and to put together the draft for the printers, but I have NEVER been able to get the thing done by a reasonable time. The Calendar selling season starts no later than the summer of the year before. It is important to get your edition out early, since once people buy a calendar, they are not inclined to buy another. The market has become tougher as more people are publishing calendars for all sorts of causes and too many of them share a similar theme; “The Naked People of ………”, insert : Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Public Library, Joe’s Garage or the Ladies Book Club”. Despite the fact that most of these contain pictures that you would not normally want to behold, the local attraction is undeniable. How can my pictures of "naked" trees possibly compete. My only chance is to get my New England Reflections Calendar out early and that is something that I have never been able to do.

Dummerston Covered Bridge, November

Cathedral Farm, July

Just Out of  Reach, August
Part of the problem this year was our extended August trip out west. It was amazing, but I had a lot of catching up to do when we got back. Well, a couple of weeks of intense work, and the calendar is at press. I'm trying a new local printer this year and, if the product is as nice as the people it should be great. I hope to start the task of promotion and distribution in a couple of weeks. I have blogged about the process of calendar making before, but this week I thought I would preview some of the featured images for an early reaction. Remember it is for a great cause, so once again, your only question should be, "How many calendars do I need this year".

Portland Head Dawn, September

Next week I will be doing another double blog. It is my turn for an article on the New England Photography Guilds site. I plan to celebrate my favorite local farms and suggest that you should, photographically, adopt your own. As before, I will supplement that article with more images, here, on my personnel blog.

Feeding Time, Roads End Farm, Chesterfield, NH

I am excited and surprised to discover that next week will see my hundredth blog article. I am amazed that I, somehow, came up with 100 photographic things to talk about and astounded a few people actually wanted to read what I had to offer. More about that on blog #101, including a name change. No, I am not going fulfill my promise to add "naked women" to every title, but I DID manage to slip "naked" in here. Four times! Watch the visits soar!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Geo Labeling with the iPhone

I am now firmly back in New England from my trip out west. I am still struggling to catch up, so this week, I wanted to briefly discuss something I learned while away.

Morning Window, West Chesterfield, NH
For a number of years I have been compulsive about recording the GPS coordinates of my photographs. As I have often said, "there are just too many red barns in New England for my old brain to keep them all straight". My usual work flow includes continuously recording my position with a separate GPS tracker and then, using the GeoSetter program to merge that data with my images back in the studio. This has worked beautifully as long as I keep the clocks on the tracker and my camera synchronized. The tracker is particularly important when I am exploring unfamiliar areas, so you can imagine my annoyance when I discovered on the first day of our recent stay in Yellowstone that the tracker was NOT tracking. I tired everything but I couldn't get the device to find me. After I resisted the urge to heave the useless chunk of plastic into the gaping maw of Old Faithful, I started looking for alternatives.

Steve Jobs to the Rescue

Koredoko App
Then I recalled that my sparkling new iPhone 4s automatically records GPS coordinates on every picture. A quick search at the App Store revealed "Koredoko", a little app that displays the GPS coordinates of each picture in the camera roll and, when connected to the net, also shows the location on a Google map. It was quick, simple and FREE. Before I got out of the cabin door, I was back in business. All I had to do was remember to grab an iPhone
picture for every new location. At the end of the day I opened the images in
GeoSetter and manually assigned the coordinates to the images. It was a little more cumbersome to type in the coordinates, but the
GeoTracker Batching
process could be batched so I only had to input once for each new location. Done! This was not as simple and elegant as synching the images with the tracker, but it worked. I will try to get the Tracker back working, perhaps it will do better now that it is in familiar territory, but it is nice to know that I have a workable backup.

Cascade Creek, Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Many but not all phone have GPS capability, but if yours does, you may want to consider using it to help find that old red barn for another shoot.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Photography on the Oregon Coast

Yaquina Head Light, The Eddington Moment
"Getting My "Eddington Moment"

It is great to be home after an exciting trip out west.
Nellie, the Look
We managed to pack a lot into about 3 weeks of travel through Yellowstone, the Tetons, the Columbia River Gorge and the Oregon coast, but it is nice to be sleeping in my own bed, eating home cooking and apologizing to our dog Nellie. I have about 2500 photographs that I have barely reviewed and if history holds, I will have to come back to the archive in brief visits over the the next months as other more immediate demands press for my limited time. I am still returning to my pictures from previous travels of years past and I am sure I will be mining these treasures for years to come. Wadding through unexplored photographs is a great way to relive previous adventures.

Toe in the Pacific, Newport, Oregon
Before I veer away to Autumn responsibilities, I want to close my travelogue with some images from our brief glimpse of the Oregon coast. I never feel a trip out west is complete without an opportunity to dip my toe in the Pacific and for two days before our flight home Susan and I ran along the coastal highway from Tillamook Bay to Newport. This portion of the coast is not as ruggedly dramatic as other areas, such as the Big Sur, and it is sadly overdeveloped, but we enjoyed some lovely beaches and interesting lighthouses.

Cape Kiwanda Beach
On the first day, our drive to Newport was plagued with cloudy weather, but I had only one sunset opportunity on the coast and I was committed to looking for something interesting. During an early dinner in Newport I noted that the clouds seemed to be thinning just above the ocean horizon. Nearby Yaquina Cape Lighthouse provided a great subject and I determined that the sun would dip into the Pacific right behind the lighthouse. With my hopes, once again, on an "Eddington Moment" we went to the Cape and I set up on a low hill to await the miracle. As usual the lighthouse was crawling with people, contaminating my clean view, but then the first miracle occurred. As the sun approached the horizon many of the gawkers decided that the old guy with the tripod must know what he is doing and they joined me on the hill. The second miracle was that the sun did peak below the clouds, just before being extinguished by the sea, and by that time I had attracted most of the viewers to me and away from the lighthouse. Ah the power of a tripod! Next time I will set up an ice cream stand and will have no cloning to do whatsoever. 

Yaquina Head Light


As the sky remained a dull pinkish gray.  My fellow hill dweller seemed to be developing a growing skepticism about my photographic expertise, but when the sun began dipping below the overhanging clouds, my credibility was restored.. For a precious few seconds the golden light skipped across the overcast creating a ceiling of brilliant color. Pocket camera fired all around me., almost always with flash to help illuminate the sun! It was a brief moment of glory, but well worth the wait. I bracketed the exposure, but found later that only two images were needed to capture a nice dynamic range. I hope that people living on the Pacific coast fully appreciate the fact that they don't have to get up at 5 in the morning to see the sun floating on the ocean.


Three Arch Rocks, Oceanside Oregon

Cape Lookout Beach

The next day we worked our way up the coast in much brighter weather. We explored a number of spectacular ocean promontories and visited the diminutive Cape Meares Lighthouse. Now retired, this historic light is the shortest along the Oregon coast. It is an interesting experience to approach a lighthouse with the trail at lens level

Cape Meare Light
Cape Meare Trail

US Bancorp Tower, Portland
The Top of Portland
Back in Portland we treated ourselves to dinner at the Portland City Grill, thirty stories up in the US Bancorp Tower, overlooking the city and Mount Hood, brilliant in the sunset afterglow. It was the perfect, relaxed ending to a hectic, but remarkable trip. Now we need for someone to get married in Yosemite next summer .


Mount Hood from Portland
Mount Hood, From the Grill

Jeffrey Newcomer