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, April 19, 2014

Revealed ! Rediscovering a Couple of Photographic Treasures

Change is Not Always Bad
Chesterfield Gorge
The only thing which is constant in New England Landscape is change.  The weather changes moment to moment.  The seasons are marvelously persistent in their rotation of color, mood and photographic opportunities.  This is what makes living and photographing in New England such a joy.  Just when you are becoming bored with the prevailing light and subjects, something changes.  We are going through one of those changes right now as the snow, and especially the cold!, have faded and we await the explosion of the variations of green that will trumpet the onset of our wonderful spring.

Change isn't always pleasant or productive.  You have repeatedly
Screening Jenne Farm, Reading Vermont
heard me bemoan the change that can rob us photographic opportunities.  Classic New England buildings have collapsed, or been torn down.  Centuries old trees have finally fallen to effects of time and nature, and beautiful, natural vistas have been choked with obstructing trees, bushes or new structures.  All very sad, but this week I was reminded by two examples that show how sometimes things can actually get better and, surprisingly these revelations occurred because, rather than in spite of human intervention.

Chesterfield Gorge Revealed

Last week I was revisiting some of my favorite local waterfalls to

Gorge Overgrowth, November 2012
supplement my blog article about waterfalls in Cheshire CountyChesterfield Gorge on Route 9 between Keene and Chesterfield New Hampshire is a lovely little park that includes beautiful cascades and dramatically plunging falls. The 0.7 mile loop trail descends on one side of the steep gorge and back up on the opposite side.  Along the way there are frequent excellent views of the tumbling water, but in recent years small trees and shrubs have grown up along the steep bank to obstruct the view of the most dramatic of the waterfalls.  The tumbling 75 foot drop was screened by a tangle of branches in the winter and nearly obliterate by summer foliage. The gorge has been largely ignored by the state, but in the last few years a group of dedicated volunteers have
Liberated Gorge, April 2014
formed the "Friends of Chesterfield Gorge" and have been working tirelessly to improve gorge's facilities and trails.  I recently approached one of the Friends about the overgrowth at the falls and he told me that they had already taken care of much of the problem.  On my visit last weekend I was thrilled to have my first clear view of the falls in years.  A few stray branches remain and will become more evident as they fill with foliage, but overall it is an amazing improvement.  Thanks to the Friends I actually can celebrate the return of a classic photographic site.  Take THAT entropy!

Jaffrey Meeting House View

The Jaffrey Meeting House is the focus of the Old Jaffrey Center. 
Jaffrey Meeting House
Separated from the developed hub of the town, the old center wonderfully preserves the sense of a classic New England village.  The Meeting House was raised on June 17, 1775, the day of the Battle of Bunker Hill. It was recorded that the workers could hear the distant canon fire from Charlestown over 60 miles away.  I have photographed the Meeting House from
all directions and in all seasons.  It overlooks a peaceful green and a classic stonewall bordered New England cemetery. 

Wooded Cemetery, August 2006

 In past years the cemetery featured a scattering of stately old trees shading
Cemetery Cleared
portions of the grounds and providing interesting patterns of light and shadow, but the trees created another problem.  I have seen old pictures of the Meeting House standing proudly with Mt Monadnock majestically looming in the background, but I was never able to find a angle with a clear view of the mountain.  The trees on the green and within the cemetery had grown to smother the once perfectly aligned tableau.  In the winter I could see through the web of branches to get a sense of the glorious view, but I could never find a way to avoid the screen.  Last year I was a bit annoyed to discover that the Meeting House caretakers had removed some old trees from the cemetery and green.  As a devote tree-huger, I mourned the loss, but on a visit this spring I realized what had been done.  It was with a sturdy dope slap that I turned around and saw that the vista to Mt Monadnock seems to have been restored.  The final verdict will need to wait until the leaves fill in, but, at this point it looks like the mountain will be shining through.  I can't wait to recreate my Meeting House pictures this year to include the mountain in all its majesty throughout the seasons.  My tears for the lost trees have dried.  Now if we can only get them to bury the damn wires!

To Monadnock, April 2014


Over the last couple of weeks, my whining about the fading beauty of classic New England landscapes has muted a bit.  I find myself looking for other situations where man or nature has improved the view.  It just confirms that New England is about all sorts of change and that's why I think I'll hang around here for awhile.

Jeffrey Newcomer


  1. Great blog as usual Jeff. I hate wires as well. I took a shot of October Mountain in the Berkshires with a beautiful pond at the base during Autumn. The only bad part was the power lines right across the screen. I think now with me getting better in photoshop the wires will disappear.

  2. Glen Taylor - Mountain View PhotographyApril 20, 2014 at 5:11 AM

    Jeff, I agree about wanting to see the view this fall from the meeting house. I love this local spot for the classic New England scene and the mountain is an added bonus. Before the snow melted this year I was able to get a great photo that included the little red shed to the left of scene for an added splash of color.

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