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.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Editing Your Photos With the "Blow-Up" Scan

West River Valley. Dummerston, Vermont

Looking for the Bodies
Thanksgiving Gathering
Since  Susan and I are just getting back from a week visiting our daughter in Washington, DC,  this week's blog will be mercifully short.  We gathered at Abigail's house for Thanksgiving with Abby, her boyfriend Grayson, and a number of Abby's  friends and their families. Even our son Jeremy came down from New York City.  It was our typical intimate holiday feast for 15, with lots of
fascinating new friends, a
Space Shuttle Discovery
great  feast and a lovely visit.  Washington has a limitless supply of interesting things to see, and just about everything is free.  On this trip we went to the Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia and the amazing National Gallery of Art.  The Gallery's collection is remarkable and It was a reminder of how much we can learn from the masters about photographic composition and the use of light . 
National Museum of Art

 We got home late Saturday night, leaving little time to put together an article.  I thought this would be a good time to mention a simple editing step that I use on all of my pictures.  My "Blow-Up scan" harkens back to a classic '60s movie that should be on every photographer's must see list.

The Film

Michelangelo Antonioni's classic 1966 film, "Blow-Up" tells the story of a fashion photographer in mid-60s London.  The film studies the glamorous world of high fashion photography, but for me the key moment comes when the photographer, played by David Hemmings, escapes the glitz to do some voyeuristic street photography.  In the park he catches a couple in an intimate

embrace.  He is seen and the woman (Vanessa Redgrave) does everything she can to get the film, including offering money and "companionship", but without
The Body
success.  Later, in the darkroom, yes a real darkroom, the photographer finds evidence of a murder.  While scanning the detail of the image he discovers the grainy image of a man in the trees apparently holding a gun and later the suggestion of a body lying in the grass.  The movie devolves into reflections on the nature of reality, but it was what the photographer found while scanning the image detail that made a lasting impression.

Where are the Bodies?

The Trash

The "Blow-Up" Scan

Part of my editing routine is to zoom in to 100% and then systematically scan every inch of the image.  I start at the top and move slowly across the image, row by row,  to the bottom. In the sky, I'm looking for dust specs, erasing them with my healing brush.  If the sky is bright, I will darken it with a levels layer, to make the blemishes more apparent.  The new version of Lightroom has a Spot Detection Tool which has a similar effect.   As I get down into the rest of the image, I look
Spots Highlighted with Levels Adjustment
for trash or other distractions.   I clone out the random candy wrappers and cigarette packs, but I also look for distracting elements, such as bright patches, that might draw attention from the main subject(s) of the image.  Of course, while I'm performing this systematic clean-up, I never forget Blow-Up.  Perhaps it is a bit macabre, but I always watch for the occasional dead body.  Creepy?  Yes,  but it keeps me remembering to carefully scan my images, and that's what is most Important.  

White Distractions, or Perhaps a Bleached Femur?

Check out "Blow-Up".  It is a classic, of particular interest to photographers and, although you will probably never discover a body,  scan your images carefully, You never know what you'll find.

Jeffrey Newcomer


  1. good point Jeff, you never know what is lurking in the shadows...

  2. ...Hey, Jeff F. I'M lurking in the shadows! :) Nice article and a good reminder. Love spot detection - the older versions of Lightroom made it tougher.