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 8, 2017

Photography Highlights of 2016

Green River Bridge, Guilford Vermont : Foliage Workshop

This is the time of year for the traditional “best of” list.  I have always avoided trying to assemble a slide show of my bests of the year.  First it would difficult and more than a little self-indulgent  to attempt to select my ten,  twenty, or one hundred best images.  More importantly the process of discarding hundreds of my pixelated babies would be agony.  They are all my babies, but as I think of this, it might be fun to pick my ten worst published pictures of the year.  A great idea for a future blog, but I’ll save that for sometime during stick season.

As I think back over 2016, it is the special opportunities and experiences that are worth celebrating.  Happily, the experiences that have inspired and changed my photography this year, as every year, have all triggered articles in my “Getting It Right in the Digital Camera” blog. Having that material languishing in my archives makes it easier to assemble a couple of “best of” articles.  Just now, I need all the help I can get to leave time for another major project, my up-coming Lightroom course.

Figuring Out Lightroom, Again!
I’m currently working on reviving my Introduction to Adobe Lightroom course, and will be presenting it to a fresh group of victims starting this coming Tuesday (1/10).  I am a dedicated Lightroom user, but my familiarity with the program centers around my day-to-day work.   Preparing for a comprehensive course means that I must go back and explore all the features which are not part of my routine work-flow.  It takes time to relearn all those short-cuts and special preference settings, and I must remind myself of the differences between PC and MAC key strokes.  The result of all this work is that I must try to simplify my blogs for the next couple of weeks.  

This week I will mention my 2017 photographic experiences that centered around education, both my teaching of others and the vast amount that I have learned from those efforts. I will say it again, in my classes, I always learn much more than I teach.  All these teachable moments are worth a brief mention, but there are much deeper discussions in the referenced blog articles.


The Getting it Right in the Digital Camera Blog

One of my most surprising accomplishments of 2016 is that I have continued to publish my weekly blog without interruption.  After almost 350 articles it has become increasingly difficult to come up with fresh topics.  I must admit that it has become an obsession, but despite all the work, I recognize that the process of researching, writing and illustrating a weekly article has been THE major path to the improvement of my understanding of the art and craft of digital photography.

New England Photography Guild Blog

The New England Photography Guild is a great organization of some of the most talented photographers in the region.  I am honored to be a Member and proud to offer my occasional contributions to the NEPG Blog.

Photography Courses

Abigail and Grayson

Over the last couple of years, I have finally fulfilled a long-held goal of dedicating time to offering formal courses on photography.  I have frequently presented short talks to camera clubs and other organization throughout the region, but assembling the material for more comprehensive courses always presented a daunting challenge.  How to start?  I found that the most important step was simply to set a date.  I scheduled it far enough out so that it presented no immediate cause for panic, but with a deadline established I had no choice but to produce.  

Fortunately I had an extensive collection of material already organized.  My 350+ blog articles included discussions and illustration of most of the topics that
Washington NH, Perspective Control
 I would cover in my courses, and many of the images were ready to move over into PowerPoint.  I had to learn how to keep the slide captions simple and dynamic. I was conscious of the importance of avoiding slides that were filled with boring text.  The words should only be prompts for discussion, augmenting the images.  Any slide that stayed on the screen for more than a few seconds was usually a failure, as I felt my audience drift away.  I have now run my Introduction to Digital Photography Course three times (number four coming in April), and I continue to reorganize and refine the material each time.  Hopefully it is at least keeping me fresh and interested.

Mt Wshington Hotel Pano

One of the best parts of my introductory course is the opportunity to join the class on a couple of shoots.  It is always a challenge to find a time and location that works for most of the class, but it is great fun to wander among the students as they try to apply what they have learned to the real world.  Back in class, I always spend time “gently” critiquing the students work.  Always, there are “teachable” images and many wonderful examples of fresh perspectives.  I frequently find myself saying, “Why didn’t I see that!”.

 Introduction to Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is a remarkably powerful program which has become my go-to application, not only for image management, but also for the majority of my initial global image editing.  I still bring my images into Photoshop for final touch-ups, but for most photography enthusiasts, Lightroom may be all that they need.

It made sense that my first attempt at teaching digital edit should be directed at Lightroom.  Lightroom is also much more intuitive to use and far less intimidating than the massively powerful Photoshop.  

First Lightroom Class

Last spring I gave my first Lightroom course.  I decided to keep it simple and informal, holding the classes around my dining room table.  I planned to limit the number to 8 but somehow ended up with 10.  The class went well with the only surprise being that I needed to add a fifth class to over all the aspects of this widely capable program.  Fortunately, and perhaps because of the quality of the snacks, no one seemed to mind the extra session.

My second Lightroom course starts next week and once again I was incapable of keeping the group to under ten.

Fall Foliage Work-Shop

I have always liked the idea of running photography workshops and the fall foliage season seemed the perfect opportunity to give it a try.  After an evening introductory session where I discussed digital photography in general and foliage photography in particular, we gathered for shoots on the Saturday and Sunday after Columbus Day.  The weather was great and the color spectacular. The route had to be flexible depending on the conditions, but my goal was to provide a range of locations and conditions that would provide opportunities to work through a range of photographic challenges.  Saturday night, we reviewed the results of shooting in southern Vermont over dinner around my dining room table.  On Sunday morning, we explored Route 124 along the west side of Mount Monadnock.  I think everyone enjoyed the weekend.  I had a great time and will back next year, but I’m also considering other opportunities for workshops.

A New Camera

I must include in a discussion of my education for this year the work I spent learning my new Camera.  I have stuck with my faithful Canon 5D Mark II for many years and even resisted to temptation to take the expensive leap to the Mark II.  It is a great camera, but it just didn’t do enough for me to make the jump.  The new Mark IV was a long time coming and by the time it was announced I had to up-grade.  I was considering dumping Canon entirely and opting for a mirror less system, but Mark IV had most of what I was looking for.  I can deal with the weight and it is nice to protect my investment in glass without resorting to adapters.  I’m still learning how to get the most from all the new features, but in the meantime, I’m loving the image quality.  Perhaps it partially because I am jumping from the Mark II, but the resolution and the dynamic range is remarkable.   And besides, the automatic GPS recording is saving from all the complex gyrations with which I used to struggle to record locations.

Gettingto Know a New Camera 9/18/16

 There is always more to learn about the art and craft of digital photography and I look forward to the discoveries of 2017.  Next week I'll list some of my favorite explorations of 2016 the Costa Rican rain forest to the wilds of my own back yard.

Jeff Newcomer

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