About Me

My photo
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, January 28, 2018

2017 Retrospective

It is January, and therefore, it must be time for some retrospection.  As always, I try to focus my “favorites of the year” on experiences and events rather than trying to agonize over what I might consider to be my best images.

This year had its share of great experiences and photographic opportunities.  In the next two articles I will share a few of the pictures which will always remind me of the beauty and excitement of the past year.  Happily, I have no personal images which would document the tragedies of 2017, the natural disasters, the seemingly endless and totally avoidable string of gun related violence, and, of course the national embarrassment of Donald Trump.

Thank goodness, the beauty of New England continues to provide an island of peace in this increasingly crazy world.

Bird Feeder Photography

Tufted Titmouse
I start with one of my greatest joys year-round, watching the birds that cluster around my bird feeders.  They visit in all seasons and weather but are particularly welcome when they bring color to our drab winter.  Although I continue to insist that I am NOT a birder, I am beginning to identify the many species including: Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker and Cardinals.  And I love the bird watching that I can do from a comfortable chair in my toasty house!

Our Local Bald Eagles

While I am discussing birds, I must mention the family of eagles which, for many years, has nested across the Connecticut River from Chesterfield.  For several seasons I have enjoyed watching as their chicks matured to active juveniles.  It is great to see these majestic birds, but it is most exciting when I have been able to observe their behaviors.  Last spring, I captured an interesting aggressive interaction, over dominance of the nest, between a juvenile and a parent – the parent won.  Sadly, this winter the bare snag, which has been the location of their nest has fallen into the river.  Hopefully, they have found a new location which will continue to be visible.

Spectacular Winter and Escaping South

I love the winter.  It is one of my favorite seasons for capturing the unique beauty of New England, especially in December and January when the white is fresh and is a welcome relief from the drab brown of the November stick season.  But the winter in New Hampshire is long, and by the time March comes along, the persistent cold, snow and sleet becomes increasingly hard to bare. 

Key West Sunset
This year, Susan and I decided to escape the worst of the season and head south for some much-needed warmth. We loaded a rented mini-van and left on a month-long drive.  Susan scheduled a month long, warmth seeking, tour along the coast, as far south as Key West, planning visits with friends and family along the way.

  We spent the majority of our trip in Florida, mostly exploring both sides of the Everglades and relaxing for five nights in a quiet Key West condo oasis.  Our trip back home included stays with friends and family around Naples on Florida’s west coast, in addition to enjoying the beaches and nature preserves.

Everglades Gator
We had a great trip and I came home with over 4,000 pictures.  Many of the green landscape but mostly of animals, especially a great variety of birds.  Yes, I am a birder now.

For more images, check out my Search for Warmth Gallery

Key West Sunset Aboard the Appledore

We were considering another southern trip this winter, perhaps to New Orleans, but another project has come up to claim our time and money. We decided to stay put and enjoy the full winter experience.

White Egret Gulp, Everglades


In the last couple of years teaching has become an increasing part of my photographic work.  It seems a natural extension of the wide-ranging topics in my weekly blog.  Teaching has always been a goal, and I’m thrilled that my classes have seemed to be welcome.  

Over this last year I have expanded my offerings to include two sessions of my popular Introduction to Digital Photography Course and two Adobe Lightroom Courses.   

The Introduction to Photography program includes 8 hours of classroom time, and two photo-shoot field trips.  We cover everything from selecting a digital camera, to image file types, archiving, exposure, composition and dealing with different varieties of light. I am amazed at the number of people in our community who are excited to learn about the capabilities of their new digital cameras.  The class keeps filling quickly.

Lightroom around the table
The Lightroom Course includes 5 weekly, 2 hour sessions, during which I cover the essentials of this amazingly capable organizing and editing program for digital images.  For many, it is all that is needed to go from snapshots to works of art.  I had previously hosted my Lightroom classes at home, around our dining room table.  I am currently in the middle of my first class of the year and, given the vagaries of our winter weather, I am offering it in Keene.  Monadnock Imaging on Main Street is generously hosting the sessions.

Mt Washington Valley, Lightroom Panorama

In just a few years teaching has become a prominent part of my photographic work and I suspect that my time spent on the classes and workshops, along with my commitment to this weekly blog will only continue to grow.  If you have any questions, you can always check out my Blog Index, which now categorizes over 400 articles on digital photography in general and New England photography in loving particular.

Photography Workshops

I was excited this year to offer two workshops, one exploring spring waterfalls in our region and the other repeating my Fall Foliage Weekend Workshop.  Workshops are very different from classes with some discussion around the table, but much of the learning coming from dealing with practical issue in the field. 

I scheduled the waterfall workshop for early in the spring when I hoped the streams would be flowing at their maximal rate.  In fact, we had heavy rains prior to the weekend and the falls were all amazing.  Of course, being spring in New England, we had to deal with intermittent showers, but I had a great group that was well prepared and excited by the falling waters.

Porcupine Falls

This year the Foliage Workshop suffered from spotty color and from the fact that it began a day after I returned from our three week trip to Italy.  I somehow struggled through the jet lag, helped along by a very energetic and sympathetic group.  We managed to find some excellent locations and I was impressed with the images that my “kids” captured.

I enjoy the workshop format and will be offering my Waterfall weekend this spring.  Other possibilities for the coming year include a winter workshop and possibly one on night photography. 

That’s it for the first five highlights of 2017.  Next week I will collect a few more.  I may need more than 2 weeks to get this all together.

Jeff Newcomer, NEPG

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