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.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Southern and Central Vermont Color Preview

Autumn Ranks, Reading, Vermont

Alaska Will have to Wait
Mill Brook Shack
Pomfret, Vt

This week I had every intention to add another article about our fantastic tour in Alaska. The next episode was to be about our time in Seward and our SUNNY cruise along the Kenai Fjords. That's right we actually had gloriously sunny weather for our day-long exploration, and the rocky shoreline, the glaciers and the remarkable wildlife could not have been more dramatic. I've got some wonderful photographs to share, but that blog will have to wait. I'm back in New England, and if there is one hard and fast rule of New England photography, it is that autumn color rules. My Alaska images will still be there to brighten the November gloom, but for now I must talk about the color.


I've been out for a couple of serious shoots in the last few days, each heading north to gauge the progression of the color. First, over
Coming Color
Jenne Farm, Reading Vt
last weekend, I cruised around the Newfane and Townsend areas of Vermont and then, on Monday, further North from Springfield, up Route 106 past Woodstock into Pomfret and Hartland.  Autumn color in New England is always spotty depending more on the altitude, orientation to the sun, and the dampness of the soil than to a specific date on the calendar. My general impression is that, as of Monday the color was fairly thin in Southern Vermont, but as I traveled North of Woodstock things improved significantly. Leaving Woodstock I climbed the justly famous Cloudland Dr and saw more consistent color as I gained altitude. My thoroughly fallible opinion is that things will be at, or approaching, peak in this area by this coming weekend, which is why I'm publishing early this week.


What follows are some of my images from the last few days. Obviously, I chose to shoot scenes with nicer color and this may give a false impression of the overall hillside drama, but it may be a reasonable reflection of how the color will have bloomed by this coming weekend.

Newfane and Townsend

Smith Brook, Newfane, Vt
Sunday was a bizarrely warm and sunny day for late September. I only had a few hours and limited my explorations to nearby towns
in Vermont. I cruised up Route 30 to Newfane where I was saddened to discover that the nice folks at the Newfane Country Store are permanently closing shop. I hate to see them go, but I appreciate how difficult and exhausting it is to run a country store in a small New England village. I wish them luck, but I was happy to have found a new venue in town for my New England Reflections Calendars. Check them out at the Newfane Market . Color here was scant, but I found some nice patches up nearby Cemetery Road. Heading north toward Townsend I got distracted exploring a road along the West River. The color was generally better along the damp banks and it was pleasant to explore an unfamiliar road in the warm September weather.

Sunny West River, Townsend, Vt

Route 106 to Woodstock and Beyond

Harvest Bales, Reading, Vt
Route 106 is one of my favorite paths through Central Vermont. On
Monday, I got out early and, as usual, I shot up US Route 91picking up the road in Springfield, Vermont. The Route north includes lovely green valleys nestled in the mountains and at this time of year the bales of drying hay provide interesting patterns. The weather was mostly overcast but I generally prefer softer light for fall colors. Even with a polarizer, the reflections from bright light dulls the rich colors.  This day was all about the color, but I had to stop when I spied a Zebra pacing in a pen above the road. It's Vermont, so why not a Zebra! Of course, traveling up 106, I had to
Jenne Farm, Reading, Vt
check out the famous Jenne Farm. Being a bit early in the season and on a Monday there was, remarkably, only one other photographer roaming the familiar hill. Unfortunately, every year the shrubs grow a bit higher in front of the red farm house, but I prefer the view from down the hill where the meandering fence provides a nice line to the buildings and the house is less obscured. I predict richer color and bus loads of photographers for this coming weekend. Be sure to buy some maple syrup, or slip a buck or two into the donation box on the hill.  The sugar shack at nearby the Spring Brook Farm was unimpressive, but the birch groves are always interesting and I came across some adorably friendly calves grazing on an upper pasture.

Spring Brook Farm, Reading, Vt

Who says Black & White
Doesn't Work in Autumn?
Reading, Vt

Through Birches, Reading, Vt

Cloudland Road

Cloudland Beckons, Pomfret, Vt

"Perfect" Barn
Sleepy Hollow Farm, Pomfret, Vt
My Ride into Woodstock included a stop at the South Woodstock General Store. This is a classic New England store with a
wonderful collection of traditional necessities, including my two favorites, good coffee and a clean bathroom. Happily now the store is also stocked with a supply of my calendars, so stop by. Woodstock is a lovely town, but way too touristy for me, even on a Monday. As I often do, I shot through the village and north up Cloudland Road. This road is justly famous for its collection of lovely farms and highland pastures. Of course the road is most known for Sleep Hollow, a carefully coifed "farm" which although arranged perfectly for photographers, bares no obvious
Pasture Flame, Pomfret, Vt
resemblance to an actual New England farm. Sleepy Hollow was once owned by Aerosmith's guitarist Joe Perry, and I do feel sorry for the current owners. Imagine having hordes of strangers with long telephoto lens photographing your house on a daily basis. Feeling sympathy, I respectfully took my 30 or 40 pictures and then moved on. Happily Cloudland is home to a number far more authentic farming establishments and by the time the road joins Pomfret Road your can count on being thoroughly saturated with rural New England color.


Cloudland Road, Pomfret, Vt

Enveloped, Pomfret, Vt

I worked my way a bit further north then across to Hartford Vermont and eventually back home on Route 91. The fall color was definitely filling in as I traveled north above Woodstock and, again, I think it will be lovely by this coming weekend. Back home I am seeing the reds and golds build almost hourly. It is a great time to live in New England and Alaska will just have to wait.

Jeffrey Newcomer

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