About Me

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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer had 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 blog about photography in New England.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Time-Lapse Time

What do you do when you are stuck in one place for four hours? Photography everything! 

Mountain Time-Lapse
A few weeks ago I decided to set up for a long time-lapse video. My plan was to capture the clouds moving across Mt Monadnock from late afternoon until dark. Assuming a standard 24 frames per

Ground Cover
second video, I would need 720 images to yield a 30 second time-lapse. Taking an image every 20 seconds, I had to record for 4 hours. I set up in Marlborough's Town Meeting House Park with a lovely view of the mountain. Time-lapse consumes a lot of clicks, so I routinely use my old Canon 5D to avoid wearing out the shutter on my Mark II. I set up my intervalometer to shoot every 20 seconds. Since I knew that the light would be fading, I adjusted the exposure to be bit bright. I made sure that the the camera was in manual mode, with both auto focus and auto exposure off. Variations in exposure, such as with a passing cloud, can be very distracting in the final video. I turned the monitor off to avoid excessive drain on the battery. Everything was set. I pushed the intervalometer button and stood back to watch the magic unfolding. 

Waiting for the Magic
Five minutes later, the magic was still unfolding, and I still had 3 hours and 55 minutes to go. So what do you do while you are waiting for a four hour time-lapse to be finished? Nellie and I could have just settled on the grass to enjoy the beautiful scene, but the black flies had other ideas and we quickly realized that we had to keep moving.

My workhouse 24-105 lens was stuck on time-lapse duty, but I still had my 5D mark II and lots of other lens choices. I started looking
around. The first shots were obvious. I took pictures of my camera setup and of the lovely mountain panorama. The old Meeting House is long gone from the park but the site does offer some very nice opportunities to frame Monadnock with lovely birches and old apple trees. The park is lined by a nice rough stone wall and is bordered by a classic tree lined dirt road. Great, I captured all of that and I still had 3 hours to go. 

Grab the Macro

Cemetery Cover

When you run out of ideas, you can always go someplace else or grab a different lens. I wasn't going anywhere so I grabbed my 100mm Macro and started thinking closer. There were patches of beautiful delicate spring wildflowers which were particularly nice where they contrasted with the cold gray of the stones in the adjoining old cemetery. Nellie looked a little confused as I lay in grass but as the growing dusk led the mosquitoes to chase away the black flies, I couldn't stay in one place for long.


As usual, Nellie was extremely patient, but I did have to alternate periods of photography with brisk walks up and down the road. Although it seemed unlikely that roving gangs of thugs might be cruising the local parks looking for unattended cameras, I still felt uncomfortable straying too far from my tripod. 

Infrared Magic

I was running out of options, but then I remembered that I still had my Infrared converted Canon 20D in the back of the car. As always, infrared opened a new set of opportunities. The spring foliage contrasted nicely with the Mountain peak and with the tree lined road. As I have discussed previously, Infrared requires a whole different way of seeing the world. 


Eventually the bugs got too aggressive and we retreated to the car for the last 30 or 40 minutes, but I was still able to shoot the half moon, framed by the branches, through my car's moon roof. In Infrared the inky sky contrasted nicely with the moon and surrounding foliage.


And Finally the Video
The four hours were up. I grabbed my equipment and headed for home. The time actually passed quicker than I expected. The time-lapse turned out ok, but I actually had more fun trying to figure out what to do with the four hours. Being tied to one spot can stimulate fresh ideas and vision. Although I could have done without the bugs. 

Windy Sunset on Mt. Monadnock

Check out the Video on YouTube

Jeffrey Newcomer


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    Time lapse

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