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.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Let Lightroom Pick the Lenses for Your Next Trip

Jetty Sunset, Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard

Female Anhinga Costa Rica

Before I headed out on our recent trip to Costa Rica, I was faced with the inevitable question, what photography gear to bring, and more specifically, what lenses to carry along. Over the years I have tended to simplify and lighten my kit, but it’s always difficult to decide what to bring and, more painfully, what to reluctantly leave behind. Fortunately, Lightroom provides some much needed guidance.


Lightroom Course
Mormon Barn, Tetons Wyoming
I've been struggling to get ready for my Introduction to Lightroom Course which starts in one week (March 10th). It looks like I will have a fun group. I have been using Lightroom as an essential part of my routine work-flow and, I have become comfortable with the features of the program that are most important for my process, but as usual, preparing to teach a class has introduced me to a mass of new tools and tricks. The challenge will be to cover much of this without confusing the hell out of my poor victims.

Parliament Flame, Budapest, Hungary

Given my time restrictions, I suspect that my next few blogs will be short and, like last week, consumed with the wondrous features of Lightroom. Last week I discussed the program’s Panorama Tool, and this week it is about using the program’s metadata features to help decide what lenses to bring on a shoot or more challenging on a trip from home.

Away From Home

Sea Lion Yawn, Galapagos Islands
My goal on longer trips, especially those requiring being jammed into an airplane, is to limit the amount of equipment. Specifically, what lenses will I most likely use. On early trips I solved the problem by packing everything. On our trip to the Galapagos Islands in 2009, I carried my; 24-105mm, 100-400mm, and 16-35mm. Thank goodness I didn’t yet own my 100mm Macro. Still with an extra body, a tripod, a pocket camera and all the necessary accessories my kit was massive and barely made it on the flights. 

Bartolome Peak Galapagos Islands

At Anchor, Galapagos Islands
Over the years I have become aware of the fact that there is some gear that I seldom use and could easily, although painfully,  leave behind. This is where Lightroom proves very educational. Lightroom provides easy access to the pile of information with is held within each image file.  It is all in the Metadata,  including the identity of the lens used for the pictures. Here’s how to get at it.

Lens Metadata

Galapagos Lenses
From the Grid view in the Library Module, the Library Filter Bar can be opened by pressing “\”.  Under “Metadata” there are a number of columns of searchable information, usually including “Lens”. If this isn’t visible, it can be selected by left clicking on any of the existing column headers, or a new column can be added by clicking on the small box on the right of any header. Just don’t replace the “Camera” column since you may need that later to narrow your search to just one camera. The lens column shows the number of images taken with each lens within the selected directory. For a quick idea of which lenses you use most often you can start by selecting “All Photographs” in the Catalog, but I was interested in my lens statistics from some of my favorite trips.

For this exercise I selected the directories for the Galapagos, Rockies, Danube, Alaska and Costa Rica. I also looked at one trip to Martha’s Vineyard that was by car and therefore didn’t have the restrictions imposed by plane flight. I didn’t carry all my lenses on every trip, but the results were still interesting.

The Numbers Don't Lie 

The Results

Alaska Lenses
The results, summarized on a Spread Sheet, were not surprising. They showed that, by far, my most used lenses were my 24-105mm and the 100-400mm. Together I depended on this wide range of coverage 98% of the time. Importantly I used my wide angle or macro lens for only about 2-3% of the shots. Of course I didn’t have these lenses on every trip, but taking the trips individually the 24-105 / 100-400 combination was used between 95-100% of the time. 

Grizzly Fishing, Pavlov Island, Alaska

Breach, Alaska

My minimal use of the other lenses could be attributed to my inherent laziness, but more likely it has to do with the broad range covered by my two favorites pieces of glass. I also try to limit sensor contamination by switching lenses only when it is absolutely necessary.


Going Light in Costa Rica

Costa Rican Lenses

I was not surprised by the results of this exercise, but it did make me feel more comfortable about my decision to pack only my 24-105, the 100-400 and my 2x tele-extender on our trip to Costa Rica. I never felt short changed on capabilities and I was pleased that I could carry my gear in my light and capable Rotation  Panorama 180 pack. 

East Chop Light Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard Lenses
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not listing my Macro and 16-35mm lenses on eBay. These are marvelous tools and I enjoy using them in many situations, but it is good to know that, when necessary, I can go light.

You can learn a lot about your photography from data available in Lightroom’ s metadata screens. In addition to your lens preference you can select from a long list of information including, ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, Location, and Keywords.   So get out there and go to school on Lightroom.

Jeffrey Newcomer


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