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.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

2018 Spring Waterfall Workshop

Big Drop, Garwin Falls, Wilton NH
Garwin Falls Green
I had an exciting time last weekend presenting my Second Annual Spring Waterfall Workshop.  I enjoy nothing so much as getting together with a group of people who are enthusiastic to learn about digital photography while sharing some spectacular waterfall locations.  I promised my workshop participants that I would get them a list of all the places that we shot, and what better way to do that than to revisit them in a blog.

Harrisville Mill Pond

Meet and Greet

Linda Learning the Gear - Tucker brook Falls

As always, we started the workshop with a Friday evening gathering around my famous dining room table to get to know each other and discuss the plans for the next two days of shooting.  I presented a talk about photography in general, as well as the special challenges and opportunities that waterfalls provide.  Topics included the importance of a polarizing filter, the effect of shutter speed and, of course, safety precautions to protect both body and, more importantly, the precious equipment.  

Pond Brook Falls in Time

Finally, we discussed the itinerary for the next two days and why it was important to get an early start.

Day One : Wilton New Hampshire
Our first day was spent mostly in and around Wilton New Hampshire.  The environs of Keene New Hampshire have some lovely waterfalls, but I have always felt that Wilton has the best concentration of dramatic falling water packed into a small area.  It was well worth the 45-minute drive from our meeting place in downtown Keene.  

Tucker Brook Falls
Tucker Brook Falls
We started at Tucker Brook Falls.  Tucker Brook is a peacefully ambling stream that almost unexpectedly drops into a dramatic falls.  It was a great place for my folks to experiment with their equipment and techniques.  I jumped from person to person trying to help with their individual issues, but as always it can be frustrating not being able to help everyone at once.  I spent most of my time looking over shoulders, but for each fall, I tried to take one or two shots of my own to demonstrate techniques and to give me something to show in the blog.  I have been to all of these falls many times, so for my images, I tried to find new angles.

Tucker Brook Drop

Lower Purgatory Falls

Purgatory Rocks

Lower Purgatory Falls is found at the end of a short hike along a flat trail.  We were rewarded by a vigorous flow down into the fall’s pool.  The falls provided interesting angles, combining the rocks, the pool and the brook.  I was excited to see how quickly my group applied what they had learned and scattered off to find their own opportunities. Everyone agreed that they could spend all day shooting this beautiful spot, but I promised that there was more, and better to come.

Garwin Falls
To me, Garwin Falls is the most spectacular collection of cascades and falls in the Wilton area.  Last year, I made the mistake of beginning our tour at Garwin, making everything that followed slightly anticlimactic.  This time, I found that by visiting a couple of other waterfalls first everyone had a chance to become comfortable with their equipment and technique and were better prepared to appreciate and capture the drama of Garwin’s falling waters.

Lunch and Frye’s Measure Mill Falls
Much Gear!
During previous workshops I had learned the importance of not starving the class, so we took a much-needed break for lunch at Shaka’s Bar And Grill.  The nice folks were happy to accommodate our damp and swarthy gaggle of camera geeks.  Our table was packed with gear leaving little room for food and drawing bemused glances from the boys at the bar.  

Frye's Measure Mill Falls

After lunch, we headed to Frye’s Measure Mill in Wilton to enjoy the classic mill falls as well as the well stock shaker box shop.  These beautifully crafted boxes continue to be made by just a few master box makers on site in mill.  

We had been threatened by rain all day and I had my group prepared for possible downpours, but we had only felt occasional drops.  It was at the mill that we experienced our first and only significant, but still gentle, showers.

Harrisville Mill 

Factory Brick - Harrisville NH

We finished our first day with a visit to Harrisville New Hampshire, a carefully preserved example of a small New England manufacturing village. The town does not have and major falls, but water tumbles through it, cascading from the mill pond, under and past brick factory buildings, toward Skatutakee Lake. 

It was a long first day of shooting, but remarkably my group was excited to return to my home for pizza and a chance to review everyone’s shots. I think everyone was exhausted, but happy, and remarkably, they stayed on till about ten PM reviewing pictures, chatting about photography and planning the next day’s adventure.


 Sunday Morning
 Our second day focused on waterfalls closer to home.  Our first day was a bit damp, but offered overcast skys, perfect for dramatic waterfall photography.  Sunday started foggy but quickly turned warm and sunny – beautiful, but a much greater challenge for waterfall shooting.  

Chesterfield Gorge

John and Rich - Chesterfield Gorge

We started at Chesterfield Gorge in Chesterfield, New Hampshire.  The deep gorge blocked the early morning sun making it easier to capture the flowing cascades and falls. I tried to give everyone a shot at the big waterfall in the gorge before the dappled sunlight crept in to complicate the process.

Chesterfield Gorge Slide

Pond Brook Falls Shooting
Pond Brook Falls
Pond Brook Falls flows into the Catsbane Brook in West Chesterfield and forms one of my favorites little waterfalls. The falls faces west and therefore is partially shielded from the morning sun. 

Catsbane Brook

Tutelage by the Catsbane 

The Catsbane Brook runs through West Chesterfield over several cascades and old mill falls.  Many are difficult to reach, but one convenient view comes from a bridge which crosses the brook close to where it flattens out to join the Connecticut River. The view at this spot is topped by a picturesque barn which overhangs the embankment.

Forty Foot Falls

Rich and Joyce at 40 Foot Falls

Our final stop was Forty Foot Falls in Surry New Hampshire.  This combination of cascades and powerful falls, is easy to reach, located only a few yards off the road, but it is less well known. By the time we reached the falls it was closing in on a sunny midday, and the light was more difficult.  I did get a chance to grab a picture of workshop members Joyce and Rich.  They represent a very rare pair.  A married couple, both of whom love photography, and even own the same camera, two Canons of course.  They recognized that it would be tragic for their relationship if they had a Canon and a Nikon.

It is always amazing how quickly these workshop weekends pass.  On Saturday we spent about 12 hours shooting, and another three hours discussing our shots and eating pizza.  Sunday was another four hours of waterfall photography before everyone dragged themselves home.  We managed to visit nine major waterfalls of all types and in a variety of conditions.

Garwin Falls - My Favorite Cascade
Everyone seemed to have a great time and I was amazed by their enthusiasm and remarkable energy.  Many of the group expressed a desire to come back for future classes and workshops and I would love to see them again.

 Next week I will be announcing my up-coming programs including my next Introduction to Digital Photography Class, my Fall Foliage Workshop and Introduction to Lightroom Course.  Stay tuned!

Jeffrey Newcomer


  1. Looks like a successful workshop Jeff, and I recognize a few fellow members from South Shore Camera Club in your photos!