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.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A New Conservation Web Site (Finally)

Today I am proud to share our new Chesterfield Conservation Commission web site, and it is about time!
Madame Sherri "Castle"
I have been a member of the commission in my home town for over 25 years and for much of that time I have managed our web site. The site has included the basic information that you would expect, including the members, meeting times, and links to our minutes. In addition, I added information about our many wonderful natural lands including descriptions, directions and trail maps. The site has been essential to developing an appreciation of our natural treasures and has encourage an understanding of the importance of their preservation. Although the site was innovative at the time of its origin, over the years it had become a bit musty. It was a constant struggle to keep up with events and almost impossible to get Commission members to contribute to keep the content fresh.


For years our site was run on less than a shoe string, and recently, after years of generous support from the Keene Sentinel, we found ourselves looking for a new host. It seemed the proper time to completely redo our web presence. I had recently redone my photography portfolio web site, using the Zenfoilio service. I was happy with the results and wondered whether a site designed primarily to highlight a photographer’s images could be modified to the needs of our commission. It seemed worth a try. The price was right, and Zenfolio solved both our design and hosting requirements. I already had experience with the program and the service offered a two week free trial. Zenfolio had many built in features including, a blog, contact and guestbook pages, and, as would be expected, a robust photo gallery system. Most importantly, for our needs, it provided the capability to design custom pages that I was able to use to shift the site from a portfolio to a full featured organization web site. I created over 15 custom pages that covered information from forest and trail guides to news about activities and events. It was easy to organized access to the site through a series of drop-down tabs that made navigation quick and logical.

A key requirement for our new web site was that it be easily
assessable to the commission members, allowing them to add and update content in a simple and intuitive way. After demonstrating the program to the commission and providing step-by-step instructions, some of our members are already adding material, although I still have to work on them to maintain a consistent style. Commission member input is most easily accomplished through the site's blog. Using a simple template simple they can publish announcements of upcoming events as well as general information about our activities. Although a polished and graphically attractive site is great, I have long understood that a web site will live or die based on the interest and freshness of its content.


The new web site provides much of the same information as in the previous version, but I took the opportunity to add a number of additional features. New Resources and Documents pages provide information on principals of conservation and regulatory rules. There are also links to other resources, such as the Nature Conservancy and the state Department of Environmental Services (DES). We have a new page to recruit and to celebrate our volunteers who are an important part of the effort to monitor and maintain our trails. Of course my favorite part is the photographs, and here Zenfolio's native purpose shines. Galleries of images are organized by forest and can be viewed individually or in slide shows. Included within the galleries are trail maps which are easy to download and print. It is all designed to encourage folks to come and enjoy our beautiful public lands. Finally, I was able to add an audio track to the site's front page. While watching the introductory slide show you will be listening to the riotous sound of Madame Sherri's Pond on a spring evening - and without the Black Flies.

Spofford Lake Gazebo

All-in -all, I found the process of creating two web sites with
Zenfolio to be straight forward and enjoyable. Certainly a lot easier than when I coded the Cheshire Medical Center's site in raw HTML nearly twenty years ago. Given the ease of creating professional web sites with services such as Zenfolio and SmugMug, there is no excuse for photographers or, for that matter, conservations commissions to miss the opportunity to shine on the web.


So check out our site. We hope that it will be an enjoyable and informative introduction to the wonders that are to be found in the forest and trails of our special corner of New England.

Zenfolio Web Site

SmugMug Web Site ( Another excellent solution )

Chesterfield Conservation Commission Web Site

Partridge Brook Reflections
( My Zenfolio photography site )

Jeffrey Newcomer


  1. This looks like a really great place. My wife and I are always looking for new places to visit around the world and this inspired us. We love the great outdoors and i can not wait to go fishing very soon. Thank you for sharing this with us and keep up the hard work it will pay off soon. Thanks.

    Raleigh @ Octane Web Group

  2. Those pictures look really great. New England is a great place to find the great outdoors and nature at its best. The pictures with the new camera also make it stand out so much better. Thank you for sharing this through your blog. My wife and I would have never known of this place if it wasn't for you. Thanks.

    Zack @ MyNetWire

  3. The hard work you put into sharing your home's natural landscapes through the website, helps expose more people to these incredible places. When they're given that opportunity, they have a chance to appreciate it like yourself and one day they might work to share and protect it too. The new website is a step in the right direction, great work.

    Steven @ Cambridge Local Marketing