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, June 19, 2016

Upcoming Classes and Workshops

For years I had promised myself that I would start sharing what I have learned about photography by offering classes and workshops, both on the capturing of digital images in the field, and on getting the most from them through the miraculous capabilities of modern post-processing.  I have enjoyed sharing my experiences through my weekly "Getting it Right in the Digital Camera" blog, which now contains more than 300 articles on all aspects photography, most notably focusing on my corner of New England.  Over the years I have received  repeated questions about when I would start offering classes and, beginning last fall, I began my first nervous attempts. 

I started with a basic course on introductory digital photography with the assistance of the nice people at Keene Community Education.  The program included 8 hours of classroom time and two photo-shoot field trips.  We covered everything from selecting a digital camera, to image file types, archiving, exposure, composition and dealing with different varieties of light.  The field trips were a great opportunity to review practices in real-life situations and the resulting images were a wonderful source of material for gentle, loving! critique.  My first course seemed well received and the folks at KCEd asked me to offer it again this last spring.  In response to demand, I expanded the class from 10 to a maximum of 15.  I felt that higher numbers would not allow the needed personal attention.  I was blessed with another energetically committed group and I guess you could say that I'm hooked.  My next introductory course is scheduled for this fall, when I will hopefully be comfortable enough on my new hip to manage a 2 hour class.   


A Need to Edit
A persistent request from my students was to learn more about how I use photo editing software to bring out the best from my images.  I felt the best way to introduce  these approaches was through a course on the Lightroom.  I am a dedicated long term user of Photoshop, but over the last year I have become increasingly impressed with the power of Lightroom, in terms of both its image management tools and its sophisticated image editing capabilities.  I still bring almost all my images into Photoshop for final tweaking, especially when complicated masking is required, but I  now use Lightroom for 80-90% of my global editing.  Given it power and ease of use, for the majority of digital photography enthusiasts, Lightroom likely all they will need to get started.

Lightroom Class

Home-Grown Class

I ran my Lightroom course last winter for a small group of folks sitting around my dining room table.  I had intended to cap the class at eight, but because of a couple of dangling commitments I ended up with ten.  I ran the class as a live demonstration, with students encouraged to work along on their own laptops.  It was a new experience for me trying to keep organized without my PowerPoint slides. I had a great time and the class seemed to enjoy and benefit from the

Selective Masking, Lightyroom

sessions.  As is always true of teaching a course, I learned a ton.  I thought that that four,  two hour classes would be enough to cover the program's many features,  but because of my tendency to ramble and lots of great questions, I had to add a fifth class to cover the Slide Show, Book and Web Modules. I probably could have used more time, but I definitely learned that 2 hours of software complexity was about the limit for my mature students especially since I held the classes in the evening.

Lessons Learned
From my early experiences, three observations seem to stand out and will contribute to future classes.

Lupine Sunrise, Sugar Hill NH

1. Given the availability of digital cameras that are both sophisticated and affordable, there is a large demand for information that can make these complex machines more understandable and to learn how to use their remarkable capabilities.  Lesson: There is a large and excited demand.

2. It takes a surprising amount of time and effort to assemble eight or ten hours of course material, even on subjects that I think I know a lot about.  Lesson: Don't bite off too much at one time.

Photo shoot, Ashuelot Falls, Keene, NH

3. Much can be communicated in the classroom, but there is not

substitute for hands on experience with the camera controls and the interpretation of light and composition.  During my introductory course, the field trips were valuable, but even with only 10 or twelve students it was impossible for me be as available as I would have liked.  Lesson: Smaller group workshops, spending more time in the field, and supplemented by critique could be ideal, especially for more advanced shooters

4. When people get a taste of the capabilities of modern photo editing software they become excited to learning more about how these programs can bring their photography to the next level.  Lesson: Share the miraculous capabilities of post-processing.

Fueled by these observations I have been planning my upcoming teaching schedule, but first I have to get my titanium hip working properly.  I'm making good progress and should be reasonably mobile by the fall.

The Curriculum

Introduction to Digital Photography :
September 22 - October 13, Keene High School
On successive Thursday evenings from 6-8pm
Participants have seemed to like this class, therefore I will continue to try to tweak the content to meet the needs of those just embarking on the exciting adventure of digital photography.
Two photo shoots will be planned at the convenience of the participants.
Contact Keene Community Education for details and to get on the list soon. 

Autumn Foliage Workshop : 
Weekend of October 13th -15th
Evening class Friday covering basics and special requirements of foliage photography
Extended shoots on Saturday and Sunday with locations based on the weather and the status of the color.
Evening of discussion and critique of work, over a simple dinner Saturday evening, with further feedback Sunday afternoon.
Contact me at jeffn49@myfairpoint.net, or 603-363-8338

Introduction to Lightroom
January 2017
Five (I've learned my lesson), two hour classes covering all the major features of this amazing tool.

To be held comfortably around my dinning room table.  Limit of 8 students.
Contact me at jeffn49@myfairpoint.net, or 603-363-8338

So that is the schedule so far.  In the future I would like to expand classes to include more advanced photographic techniques including panoramas, focus stacking and HDR, and workshops to explore topics including night photography and the great variety of our New England Seasons.  Some day I may even take a stab at introducing  Photoshop to a small group of unsuspecting victims.

Please get in touch if you have any questions about upcoming programs or suggestions for future topics.

Jeffrey Newcomer



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