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.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Brewbakers Show

    OK, I appeared to have lost the thumb drive with the pictures of Brewbakers Cafe, so all you get is pictures from the exhibition. If you want to see the cafe you will just have to go and enjoy the coffee and the ambiance.  
As I start to write this we are on approach to Rome Italy.  We have an exciting three week itinerary ahead.  The only unfortunate thing is that I will be missing the early tastes of autumn in New England.  On our ride to the airport we already saw some early color, mostly along the road and in the marshy areas.  It should be a great season and I look forward to getting back just in time to lead what is now my annual Fall Foliage Workshop, October 13 – 15.  There is still one, maybe two slots available and I expect to have at least spotty email access on the trip to accept more participants. 
 On our trip, I expect I will have little time for blogging, so I will start with a mention of my show at Keene’s Brewbakers café, which continues in my absence.  Brewbakers is one of my favorite coffee stops in Keene and it is at its tables that I write the majority of my weekly blogs. Jeff Murphy runs a place that offers just the right combination of friendly atmosphere, unobtrusive staff and excellent coffee.  I enjoy the constant flow of interesting clientele, but I’m never as distracted as I am with all the options that I have at home.  I put on my noise cancelling headphones (their music is not my first choice) and settle into the work that needs to be done.

Several times a year I get the opportunity to show my work on Brewbakers walls.  The exhibitions are quite informal, but the lighting is good, the hanging system is easy to use and there is a good flow of visitors who, while siping their lattes, are forced to stare at my work. The café is a comfortable spot to unobtrusively enjoy eavesdropping to comments about my pictures – mostly. Twelve of my pictures, which include many of my newest work, will be hanging at Brewbakers through October 10th.  Sadly, no eavesdropping this time. We won’t be getting back until late on the 11th, but my good friend Steve Hooper has agreed to take down the pictures for me.  How is “good friend” better defined than as someone who is willing to take down your show.

Come by sometime over the next couple of weeks to check out my work at Brewbakers on Main Street in Keene, New Hampshire and, while you are there, settle back with their wide range of coffees, soups and sandwiches.  Enjoy the early fall for me and I will try to find ways to post a few pictures from our tour through, Rome, Tuscany, Florence, Bologna, Lake Como and Venice. 
Bel Autunno!

Jeff Newcomer, NEPG

Sunday, September 17, 2017

My Clunky Travel Telephoto

I’m getting ready for a trip to Italy coming up in a few days.  We are celebrating Susan’s birthday in grand style.  The itinerary includes a week in a Tuscan hilltop villa with all the family, and then a packed schedule including visits to Rome, Florence, Bologna, Venice and Lake Como.  We’re very excited, but as always, I have started obsessing about what gear I should lug along on the trip.  


Canon 24-105

The basics must include my Canon 5D Mark IV  and my back-up 5D Mark II body.  For my small “carry around” camera, I’m conflicted about whether to take my Canon G11 or the remarkably versatile, Canon SX50HS.  The HS has a ridiculously wide focal length range, 24-1200, but its tiny sensor can’t match the image quality of the G11.  I’m not sure that I will need the long focal length,  as I shoot in the narrow streets and confined churches of Italy, so I am leaning toward the G11.  If I could only get Susan to touch “her” 50HS, I could have both.

Keel Billed Toucan, Tortugero Costa Rica

Of course, I must include lots of memory cards, batteries and chargers.  For back-up I will bring a portable hard drive and therefore I must bring along a laptop.  Memory cards, hard drive and laptop will satisfy the rule that an Image doesn’t exist until it is in three places.  Then there are the filters, lens cloths, cable release, and my light tripod. I will walk with my Arca Swiss enabled monopod/walking stick, both to steady my camera and to gain sympathy as the TSA scans my artificial hip.  

 I will decide on a couple of camera bags, but which bags will depend on the my toughest decision, which lenses to bring. 

Cresky Krumlov, Czech Republic

The Lens Dilemma

Bare Throated Tiger Heron

Obviously I will be bringing my work-horse 24-105 lens. For all those cramped churches, my 15-35 wide angle must be included.  I can’t justify bringing my beloved 100mm macro nor my 85mm portrait lens.  The big question is, “to telephoto or not telephoto”.

Alaskan Breach, 400mm

I have faced this question before.  On trips to the Alaska, the Galápagos Islands and the rain forests of Costa Rica there was no question that, to get closer to the wildlife, I needed all the reach possible, but Italy may to be a different matter.  My Canon 100-400 f4 is an amazing lens, but it is a beast, weighing in at 3 pounds.  Back in 2011, I was struggling with the same issue as I prepared for trip through Central Europe which included wonderful Prague and then a cruise down the Danube to Budapest.  I didn’t want to lug the 100-400 and eventually pulled out my old Quantarary 70-300mm.  This is the lens that, years ago, I dropped into a brook below a waterfall in the Madame Sherri Forest.  It wasn’t worth paying to dry out this inexpensive off-brand lens, but After a few years I found that the elements had dried without any apparent corrosion or mildew.  It seemed to work fine including the auto-focus.  The front lens still has very slight water spotting, but it doesn’t seem to affect the image quality.  The lens lacks image stabilization and it doesn’t have the sharpness or rigid build of my beloved L Lens, but it is dwarfed by my 100-400, and is 1/3 the weight.  Ok, I’ve talked myself into it, the 70-300 is a go.

Schonbrunn Palcace Vienna Austria, Quantarary 70-300mm

How to Carry it All – On a Plane.
Messenger Bag
Air travel is getting increasingly dicey for photographers with prohibitions on the use of electronic devices and special restriction that might apply to photographic equipment.  I start by wanting to avoid being forced to check any of my gear.  I have a nice, medium sized, camera pack which should work well and I plan to bring my sturdy Peak Design Messenger bag as my “personal, under-seat item. 

That’s the plan, but who knows how the regulations may change within the next few days.  Wish me luck.

As we wander around Italy, I’m not sure whether I will have access to the web.   I’ll try to keep checking in, but I apologize in advance for any missed posts. 
Jeffrey Newcomer

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fall Foliage Weekend Workshop

October 13-15
Fortuitous Cow
This autumn, I will again be offering my Fall Foliage Weekend Workshop.  Get in touch soon since there are only a couple of opening left in this years workshop.

Last year we had a great time, and hopefully we will have similarly wonderful weather and color.  I will be following the same format that seemed to work well last year.  Again, I picked the weekend after the Columbus Day weekend craziness.  It is an opportunity to see great color without the same crowds that typically congest our beautiful countryside.  Our base of operations will be around my dining room table in Spofford, NH.  I will host the participants at my home on Friday evening for snacks and a discussion about photography in general, and the specific opportunities and challenges of foliage photography.  It will also be time to plan the shooting for all day Saturday and Sunday morning.   Saturday, we will head out early to explore as many different locations as possible.  My goal. Will be to place the group in beautiful locations and then help them get the most from the opportunities. Last year, on Saturday morning, we focused on Vermont, including Guilford and the magic village of Green River.


Later in the day we spent time exploring a classic farm stand in Walpole New Hampshire and ended by finding a spot to watch the full moon rise above Spofford Lake.   There will be no full moon on October 14th, but for any who want to stay late, we might see a little of the Milky Way over the lake. In the evening, we will return to the dining room table for an informal diner of pizza and some gentle critiquing of the day’s shoot

Green River Bridge, Guilford, Vermont

Grazing under Mount Monadnock
We will head out again Sunday morning for more of our exploration of color, and I will finally let people go around noon. Last year everyone seemed to come away exhausted but thrilled with the experience, and I had a great time sharing my love for photography in this special time of year. 

Fall Foliage Workshop 2016


Please get in touch if you have any questions about this and other  up-coming classes and work-shops, or if there other topics you would like to see me cover either in a class or on the blog. In a few days we will heading away for a long vacation, returning about a week prior to the workshop.  Email will be a better way to contact me, but leave a message on the phone if you prefer. I hope you will be able to join us as we explore New England's most spectacular season.

Jeffrey Newcomer

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Portland’s Six Lighthouses : A Gallery

Portland Head Light

Portland Maine has six Lighthouses protecting its rocky coast.  This week, in a blog article for the New England Photography Guild, I highlighted each of these beacons.  Radar and GPS have revolutionized the process of coastal navigation, but, especially for smaller craft, they have not replaced the importance of Lighthouses in lighting the way to safe harbors.  Photographically, New England’s lights are one of my favorite subjects whenever I get back to the coast.

Check out my Guild article for details about each of Portland’s six Lighthouses.  They range from the isolated and abandoned Rear Range Tower of the Twin Lights, to the majestic Portland Head light, arguably the most impressive example of New England’s coastal beacons.  Here, To supplement my article, I have collected a few more of the many images of these lighthouses that I have captured over the years.

You can check out the locations on my map and follow the GPS locations.  I decided to tour the lighthouses from south to north starting with the most challenging ones to approach, the Twin Lights.


1-2)  Twin Lights, Cape Elizabeth

43.5643N, 70.1989

Only one of the two Twin Lights is still functioning and both are on private property.  Both were built around 1828.  In 1924, the government dismantled the West (Rear Range) Tower.  It is closed off and now is a private residence.  The other light is closer to the shore and, although it is still operating, it can’t be closely approached.  

Rear Range Tower - Inactive
East Tower - Active


3) Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth

43.6232N, 70.2079W

The Portland Head Lighthouse was commissioned by President George Washington and completed in 1791. It is the oldest lighthouse in Maine.  Sitting heroically on a rocky point extending toward Portland’s main shipping channel, it is easy to see why it is the most photographed lighthouse in New England.
Obviously, it is one of my most photographed Lighthouses.




4) Ram Island Light

43.6314N, 70.1876W

Across the entrance to Portland Harbor from Cape Elizabeth and Portland Head Light, is Ram Island Lighthouse.  Built in 1905, It sits precariously on a ledge that threatens the northern side of the harbor channel.  The lighthouse can be photographed from Fort Williams Park with dramatic images often including Portland Head Light in the frame.

Distant Ram Island Light



 5) Spring Point Ledge Light

43.6499N, 70.2255W

Located next to the Campus of Southern Maine Community College, Spring Point Ledge Light was built in 1897 to mark a dangerous Ledge which lies to the west of Portland’s main shipping channel.  Originally built on a caisson in open water, in 1951, the lighthouse was attached to the mainland with a 600 foot granite breakwater and can be viewed from the beach or breakwater.  



6) Bug Light

43.6556N, 70.2349W

Little Portland Breakwater Light, which is also called “Bug Light”, was built in 1875 to mark the entrance to Portland Harbor. Bug Light Park includes a memorial to the New England Shipbuilding Corp shipyard.  During WW II, the massive yard constructed over 200 of the Liberty Ships that were so crucial in transporting American industrial output across the Atlantic.  Now, all that is left is a skeletonized bow,  representing one of the ships.


Liberty Ship Memorial

Jeffrey Newcomer