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.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Seward & The Kenai Fjords


Part 3 of Our Alaskan Travels
Since returning from our trip to Alaska late last summer, I have been working in spells on the over 5,000 images that I brought back from that amazing adventure. Given all the distractions of our
Fleeting Bear
glorious New England autumn and the depths of this winter's bounty, it has been a slow process. I needed a kick in the butt and Susan provided it by signing me up to give a presentation about the trip to the local Rotary Club next week and I have been scurrying to get a collection of the images into a PowerPoint presentation. The biggest challenge has been to select pictures that will fit into the mere 30 minutes that I have been allotted for the talk. I could easily go on for an hour or two. I don't think I have ever presented a talk that was less than 60 minutes! My plan is to try to focus on the remarkable wildlife from the trip, letting much of the spectacular landscape and the travelogue stuff stay in the can for future, and longer talks.

A Short Digression on the Number of Images

5,000 sounds like a lot of pictures, but in truth the great mass of my images comes from my habit of capturing different angles and

Horned Puffins
multiple exposures from every scene. When capturing a scene which possesses interesting depth, I will typically grab at least 3 images, one each focused on the foreground, background and on the middle zone and that number is often multiplied by experimentation with different f stops. When photographing hand-held, I like to shoot in burst mode, finding that the second or third shot, after a jitter inducing shutter poke, will be sharper. By the time I finish selecting the best angles and the sharpest exposures, and have blended focus-stacked images, I will be happy if I end up with a couple hundred keepers. Such a waste of valuable pixels? Thank goodness for digital photography.

Back to Alaska

Since I have been spending the last few days wandering through the Alaska images, I thought that this would be a good time to put together the third installment of my Alaska Blogs. The first two covered the immense Denali National Park and our jet boat trip up the wild Susitna River to the rapids of Devils Gorge. This week I will share the next chapter of our adventure traveling south to Seward on the Kenai Peninsula and the Kenai Fjords. It will mostly be an album of my favorite images. The pictures are what tell the story.

To Seward

After our trip on the Susitna River we headed south from Talkeetna back through Anchorage on a lovely late afternoon and evening drive to Seward. Along the way we stopped just long enough in Wasilla to confirm that, in fact, you CAN'T see Russia from Sarah's home town. On the way south, we were rewarded with occasional glimpses of the sun , but by the time we arrived in Seward we were back in the overcast and rain.
Seward Harbor

Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier
Seward is located south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula. It is named after William H. Seward, who negotiated the purchase of Alaska while Secretary of State under Andrew Johnson. On our first day we toured the nearby Exit a Glacier and were able to hike down to the Glacier's toe. The Exit Glacier is the most accessible of the nearly 40 Glaciers coming off the massive Harding Ice Field and, like most Glaciers, It has receded many miles in the last decades.

The Kenai Fjords

Restless Coast, Kenai Fjords

Bear Glacier

Kenai Fjords Cruise

On our second day on the Kenai Peninsula we took a day-long cruise around the Kenai Fjords. The views of the pristine rugged coast were spectacular and for this one day we actually enjoyed beautiful sunny weather. We cruised from Resurrection Bay

along the coast and up the Northwestern
Fjord to its terminus at Northwestern Glacier.  This tidewater Glacier is named after Northwestern University which had sent an early party
Glacial Cocktail Ice
to explore the region.  The deeply sculpted fjords dramatically revealed the awesome effect of the ice flows as, over centurys, they carved the landscape.  All that persistent strength was still hard to comprehend as we examined some of the ancient, but crystal clear, glacial ice floating in the bay.

Northwestern Glacier

Northwestern Fjord

Lone Sentinel, Stellar Sea Lions
As impressive as were the rocky shores and massive glaciers, the best part of the cruise was the varied wildlife. We saw Sea Lions basking on the rocks and Horned Puffins nesting on the shear cliffs. Grizzlies were prowling the steep banks of the fjords although we never got close enough to adequately capture their fleeting appearances.
Horned Puffin, Kenai Fjords


On the way back we were able to get close to a number of Humpback Whales including a mother and her calf playfully cruising the shore and periodically entertaining us with flamboyant breaching.

Sea Otter

All-in-all it was an amazing day with bright sunlight, flat seas and wonderful wildlife. On our return to Seward, we threw our gear

Denali From Anchorage,  It Counts !
into the car and headed back up the Seward Highway to Anchorage. On the way we caught a spectacular rainbow over the Turnagain Arm. In Anchorage we enjoyed dinner with an old friend from Keene New Hampshire and, from the 20th floor of the hotel, we had our trip's only distant view of Denali (Mt McKinley). The Mountain was over 200 miles away in the fading light and shot tangentially through the glass with Susan's camera, but, hey, I got my shot of the Denali - It counts!
Turnagain Arm

Dinner with Laura & Friends, Anchorage

The next morning we flew off to Juno to start our cruise among Alaska's southeastern islands aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird, but that will be the subject of the next one or two blogs.

Alaskan Blogs (More to Come)

Jeffrey Newcomer

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