About Me

My photo
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.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2014 Highlights

It is time again for all the "Best of 2014s", as we struggle to pick 10 or 20 or 100 of our best photographs of the year. This is a great tradition and an opportunity to see some wonderful images, but for me it is always agony to pick favorites among all my precious babies. Last year I finally realized that, for me, it was the experiences of the year and not the images that are worth celebrating. The images came as a bonus from the places, the people and the adventures I was privileged to experience exploring new aspects of photography. So again, I will list some of my favorite experiences that graced my photography over the last year.

Check out last year's
 The "Best" of 2013

Going Places


Denali Wilderness
Unquestionably our most exciting travel this year was our nearly three week exploration in Alaska. It was a trip that we had promised ourselves for years and the experience more than met our expectations.

We started with a drive from Anchorage to Denali National Park and Preserve. We spent an 18 hour day on one of the buses which travel 90 miles on the single narrow dirt road into the center of the wilderness.  We saw Caribou, Moose, Dahl Sheep and Grizzly Bears. It was awesome and so remarkable that we didn't think to be exhausted until after we got back to our cabin.

The remainder of  the trip included a jet boat ride up the wild Susitna River,  and a cruise around the dramatic Kenai Peninsula outside of Seward. The last week was spent on an amazing cruise among the islands, fjords and waterways of Alaska's Southeast tail on board the National Graphic Ship Sea Bird. There were close encounters with Sea Lions, Puffins, Sea Otters, and Grizzlies.  Well also got up close to breaching and bubble netting Humpback Whales. I ended up with over 3000 pictures which are still far from being completely edited. I've published two blogs about the early parts of the trip, but there is a lot more to tell, and I am sure there will be at least two more articles to come. 

Fishing Grizzly, Pavlov Island, Alaska

Alaska Adventure
Alaska, Talkeetna and Devil's Gorge

I am also building an Alaska Image Gallery on my web site

Martha's Vineyard

Edgartown Light
I've been in love with Martha's Vineyard since I visited there as a child during summer cruises on my parents little 26 foot boat. I have fond memories of being fogged in at Edgartown and learning to sail on a tiny dingy in Vineyard Haven. Since then I have enjoyed my occasional opportunities to return. This fall a VERY good friend offered his island house, and Susan and I could not resist. I try never to miss an opportunity to leave my beautiful, but land-locked Monadnock Region to return to the sea and it was a wonderful several days. The weather was almost summer-like, the food was great, and, to top it off, our daughter Abigail and her boyfriend Grayson were able to join us for most of the stay. The photographic opportunities were wonderful and varied, but I decided to focus on trying to shoot all five of the island's lighthouses. I had good success capturing four of the five and lamely cheated on the fifth. I still say it counted!
Menemsha Sunset

I am often envious of my friends who live near the coast and can shoot the Milky Way across the open ocean, thus avoiding the intense light pollution with which we inland folks constantly struggle. While on the island I was blessed with one clear night to catch the unsullied sky and was rewarded with a few nice shots.


Photographing Martha's Vineyard's Five Lighthouses (Sort Of)

Martha's Vineyard Gallery

Exploring in My Backyard

After the expense of our Alaska trip, I found it prudent this year to limit the range of my other photographic expeditions. No problem. There is still so much wonderful stuff to explore in my own territory. This is New England for peat's sake

Vermont Country Store

It been a few years since I last visited the Vermont Country Store. It was great to return to a place that has all the charm of the traditional New England country store, but is actually a country store on steroids. My challenge was to try to capture the "landscape" of this endlessly fascinating place, while not forgetting the friendly people that make it all work. This was the perfect destination for a pre-Christmas outing.

The Vermont Country Store

The Vermont Country Store Gallery

As much as I would like to think that I know my home region,
when I focus a blog article on a specific town, I am always surprised by how much more there is to discover. This was certainly true of my recently exploration of the historic community of Hancock, New Hampshire. On that occasion, I was writing two articles about Hancock, one for the New England Photography Guild and a complementary photo album on my own blog. Fortunately there was more than enough to talk about, and to photograph. The town center is
Hancock's Eye on the Universe
filled with classic architecture, almost all on the National Registry of Historic Places. It has all the necessary pieces; an iconic white Meeting House with an 1825 Revere Bell, a village green with the required war memorial and gazebo, and a classic old country inn. All of this historic beauty is surrounded by wonderful rolling New England country-side. And, a ten story tall radio telescope. Yup, that was a surprise but you will need to read more about why a visit to Hancock is not only a trip back to our nations early history but also a window on the origin of the universe.

Hancock Inn

Hancock Photo Album

Hancock New Hampshire, A New England Time Machine

Hancock Image Gallery


Ashuelot Gorge
This was definitely a waterfall year. I started with an article about the familiar waterfalls of Cheshire County, but, as I researched for the blog, I discovered that there were many falls that I had never visited. Actually, that I had never heard of. This could NOT be allowed to stand, so I set out to find and photograph some of the more obscure cascades. The crusade required numerous trips, a few false leads and considerable bush wracking, but I did find Fay Falls, Ashuelot Gorge and my
Catsbane Falls
favorite elusive hidden treasure, Pulpit Falls. This year was also marked by great improvements in the accessibility and visibility of the dramatic Chesterfield a Gorge, This was through the efforts of the dedicated volunteers of the Friends of the Gorge, who cleared the trail with the express purpose of opening up the best views on the cascades and thundering falls.

Pulpit Falls

Waterfalls of Cheshire County
Fay Falls and Ashuelot Gorge

Pulpit Falls, Finally

Noone Falls and My Sad Camera Bag

Gleason Falls and Fox Forest

Chesterfield Gorge Resurrected (NEPG Article)

Chesterfield Gorge Album

Bagging My Snowy
This was the year of the Snowy Owl eruption in New England.
During the early winter, I first enjoyed, and then was a touch annoyed by the endless avalanche of Snowy pictures. Wonderful shots and none of them were mine! I finally knew that I could not let the season pass without bagging my Snowy. I contacted John Vos, a great bird photographer, and received advice about where to look. I headed for the coast and was luckier than I deserved. The Snowys were right were John had suggested. They are truly magnificent birds, and the trip gave me a chance to try out my new 2x Tele-Extender on my 400 mm lens.  I'm still not a birder at heart, but I hope to see them again this winter.

The Magic of the Snowy Owl

Madame Sherri's Photo Album

Stairway to Nowhere
As a member of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission I have been involved with the development and preservation of the Madame Sherri Forest. The legend of the French costume designer who came up from New York to build her summer retreat in the woods of Chesterfield is a local tradition. This year, through the efforts of fellow Conservation Commission member Lynn Borofsky, we learned more about the Madame's fascinating history and in the process dispelled a number of the more scandalous
Madame Sherri
rumors which have colored her story. All that is left of the Madame's "Castle" in the woods is a burned out foundation and a spiral staircase that still beckons to the sky. I have summarized some of the history of the site and the Madame in a blog for the New England Photography Guild, but I was most excited by the special opportunity to work on restoring photographs from Madame Sherri's personal photo albums. It offered a magical look into moments of her remarkable life.
Restoring the Fantasy, The Madame Could Rock a Hat

The Mystery of Madame Sherri's Castle (NEPG Article)

Madame Sherri's Album

Antique Photo Restoration


2015 was notable for several landmark events which are worth mentioning

200 Blogs

Anybody Listening?

Somehow I have managed to keep to a schedule of weekly blogs about photography and more specifically photography in New England. It it is a mystery to me how I have been able to come up with things to write about every week. I'm just not that chatty in real life. I fully expect that some Sunday my blog will read simply:

"I got nothing."

But on the occasion of my 200th blog I was able to reflect a bit on
the process and why I keep going. First it is because there does seem to be a few people out there who appear to be interested or at least entertained by what I have to say. But the truth is that I do it mostly for myself. The process of blogging has forced me to explore new directions in my photography. It has made me more rigorous in my approach to the craft and has taught me much more about photography, especially in the digital world, than I have been able to teach in my weekly ramblings.

200 Bogs and Counting

Basics of Digital Photography
One thing that I have learned from blogging and from lecturing is that I enjoy sharing my understanding of photography with others. A future goal is to start doing more formal teaching to hopefully include classes and workshops. The problem is were to start. I have received lots of requests to do courses on topics such as basic photography, composition or Photoshop, but I need to get some of that stuff "in the can", ready for presentation. I realize that my blog could be a ready source of material, but, with that in mind, I decided to start supplementing my often overly technical and obscure discussions with a series of more basic articles for beginners in digital photography. This year I started with articles about selecting a camera and then added a two part discussion on exposure. Again, I apologize for my thoroughly unnecessary discussion of the origin of f/stop numbers. Just recently I wadded awkwardly into white balance. I plan to do more basic articles in the coming year, but I have discovered that "simple" topics are often the most difficult to present. It is a challenge to formally describe how to do things that I have done largely without thinking for years, but, here too, the process always seems to force me to perfect my approach to my own photography.

Check That Histogram

Digital Photography Basics


I expected that when I retired from 35 years of medical practice about 6 month ago, that I would have a nearly infinite amount of time to devote to my love of photography and the resulting business. I should have known better. My patients have always told me, "Since I've retired I have no time what-so-ever", and they were right. I will not go into the details, but I must say that it is amazing how even the simplest tasks seem to expand to fill the time available. Upon my retirement, I discussed my goals and resolutions and I can only say that those goals and resolutions remain pristinely intact. I vow to do better in 2015.

I will add one additional goal to my list. I swear not to drone on for so long in my blogs. Yah, like that's going to happen.  Now, on to 2015!

Done! Retirement and Discipline

Jeffrey Newcomer

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