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, May 26, 2013

Lemon Aid for Photographers

 This weekend has been a workshop for bad weather photography

There should be no surprise that we are experiencing miserable weather this holiday weekend. This is New England and terrible weather is the population's curse and photographer's treat, but this weekend has been depressing even for those of us trying to keep the damp from our cameras. Fellow New England Photography Guild member Jim Block is even dealing with snow on the Lilacs. Crummy days are always good for getting caught up in the studio. With a show at Keene's Prime Roast Cafe and the Keene Art Walk all coming up next week, I have plenty to do, but I had to get out to try to see what I could do with, and in spite of, the weather.

Hubbard Brook Falls

Spring rains are always an obvious invitation to shoot our many waterfalls. In a few weeks the summer droughts will dry many of the
Hubbard Brook Falls
best cascades, so my first trip was to falling water. I was trying to decide where to go when I received a call from a photographer in Laconia New Hampshire asking about a image of the falls on Hubbard Brook in Chesterfield, New Hampshire. It is challenging to get to, and not freely open to the public, but it is a lovely spot when the water is high. The call made my decision and Nellie and I headed out. The falls on Hubbard Brook are actually a series of cascades and higher drops. The hike into the ravine involved bushwhacking down steep embankments, made trickier by the soaked ground, but as usual it was worth the terror. As I worked my way down along the brook, two things occurred to me. First the cold weather had swept the black flies from the forest. Second, if slipped, Nellie would be of no practical value in getting help, and I had no cell reception in the depths of the ravine. Through much care and considerable butt bouncing I made it down and out alive.

Sound of Thunder

The light was gone, but I still had one more capture to make. The night was fractured by a series of dramatic thunderstorms and I was able to record about 40 minutes of the action on my Zoom H2n field recorder. I have started to collect natural sounds as background for my slide shows. Check out the pasture melodies on my web site front page and the thunder storm on my Summer slide show. 

To the Dump

On Saturday I was able to excite Nellie with one of the few phrases she actually understands, "Want to go to Dump?" Dump, Walk and
Pasture Corner, Roads End Farm
Dinner, that's about it. The weather remained cold damp and blustery, but we still made our regular circle through Roads End Farm. The horses were way off in the back pasture, but the rain had freshened the spring leaves along the fields. By afternoon I had to get out of the house and went into Keene to plant myself with a cup of coffee at Brewbackers Cafe. Brewbackers is usually bustling, but for some reason I find it the perfect place to write. I settle in with my iPad and my own music selection and can usually get more done in an hour than in an afternoon with the distractions at home. 

Infrared in the Rain

Central Square Gazebo

As the afternoon progress the sky grew darker, but I had a plan and I had my Infrared camera. The great thing about infrared photography is that the images are not much affected by extremes of weather. Bright, impossibly contrasty, midday light ignites the infrared spectrum. The leaves shine and the sky stays black as ink. At the other end, dull flat light still comes through with good contrast between bright foliage and dark trunks and structures. I ended up spending time shooting around Keene's iconic Central Square. I have photographed the square countless time before, but Infrared provides a whole new perspective. 

Ladies Wildwood

Wildwood Depths
I was loosing light but there was one other place that I thought might do well with the soft light. Ladies Wildwood Park is a surprising treasure in the middle of Keene. In 1890 the park was created to protect a stately grove of trees from development. The original grove was leveled in the 1938 Hurricane, but it has been replace by ranks of tall White and Red Pines.
Infrared Park
The park is small but in the right spots you can feel enveloped by the forest. The challenged is to find the angles to look through the pines without catching glimpses of the surrounding houses and roads. The flat light was great to capture the brooding mood of the pines on a carpet of nearly iridescent green. Infrared also worked well, contrasting the bright ground cover with the towering dark pillars. Light gone. Time to go home. 


Today Nellie and I visited the flag bedecked Spofford Cemetery. Nellie wandered respectfully among the stones and then honored the fallen by doing her business off in the woods. I grabbed a couple of flower images in the soft light, but then disaster struck. The sun actually broke through.


Disappointing. Nothing to do but go home, edit images and write this article. My only consolation is that, this is New England, and the good weather can't last forever.

Jeffrey Newcomer

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