About Me

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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.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Photography Studio Set-up

I now have this box.  It is a lovely box, measuring 12’x27’, about 320 square feet.  It has beautiful new ship lap walls, extremely tight insulation and an efficient heating and cooling system.  My new studio is hidden in a quiet corner of our barn away from the distractions of the house, but now the bigger challenge is what am I going to put in my box.  It all comes down to deciding what I want to do in the space.

Studio Stuff Piled in the Barn
For Susan, the answer is simple.  She wants all my photography crap, and, by extension, me out of the house.  I admit that the tentacles of my clutter have invade most corners of our lovely old home, but I have resisted the plan to make my studio the dumping ground for all my photo stuff. The plan is to at least start off being selective 

I have started to move things into the studio and my first discovery is how quickly this “big” space is filling up.  I need a plan and that must start with a prioritized list of what I actually want to accomplish in the studio. 

1)    Matting and Framing

Cutting and utility tables and Desk
My previous studio occupied my daughter’s old upstairs bedroom, and was jammed with the materials, equipment and furnishing that I needed to cut mat board and frame pictures.  All this must be my first priority for my new space.  I have moved my utility table into a convenient space opposite my desk.  My cutting table was always a patched together affair with a piece of plywood perched precarious on a smaller potting table.  Happily, Susan remembered that the Indian King Framery was moving to a smaller space in downtown Keene, and I discovered that they were graciously willing to let we have some of their equipment that would no longer fit in the new location.  I acquired a great carpeted 4’x4’ cutting table and a lightly used CH Advantage Mat Cutter.  I also got a good deal on a professional, wall mounted mat board and glass cutter.  Very exciting, but I quickly realized that my desk, utility table and cutting table occupied more that 1/3 of my available space.  I needed to get more serious.

2)    Storage
Storage Shelving
   Studios aquire a lot of stuff; hanging wire and hardware, framing tools, cleaning cloths and solutions, tool boxes, table-top stands, and glass, just to name a few.  All these essentials must have their place and I have been busy assembling storage shelves to organize the glut.  
And, of course there is the mat board and foam core

My boxes of full-size mat board will fit nicely against the wall, but through the years I had also accumulated piles of odd pieces of board that I fancifully expect to use some day in some imaginary project.  I have donated boxes of the stuff to our local school’s art department, but even they are getting overloaded.  I know I can’t store all this material in the studio, but it is inexplicably painful to consider chucking even small pieces of this precious material.  I will save the largest pieces and then make some difficult decisions.

I know I need to escape my pack-rat tendencies, so here is my plan. 

Horse Stall Storage
First, I need to Identify those things that I use infrequently and can also survive living in an unheated or cooled environment.  These items, such as many tools, and some framing materials can be stored in the old horse stall at the other side of the barn – more shelving to be built. I may also see how mat board survives the wide temperature fluctuations in the stall.

The real problem are the things that are temperature sensitive, most importantly my bins of framed pictures.  All those that I can’t fit on the walls of the house or studio will stay in the studio bins.  The studio has an array of spots to highlight the pictures on the walls.  Now, I have to decide on a convenient and reasonably priced hanging system

3)    Studio Lighting
Mat board cutter and back wall
Lights coming
It has been my dream to build a space for studio lighting in my new studio, and I have been struggling to retain a small area in the back of the studio where I can set up my present and future lights and backdrops.  Susan keeps insisting that I should surrender this sacred territory to more storage, but, so far, I have resisted. 

4)    Man Cave
In order to fully accept my banishment to the barn, I insisted on a few creature comforts.  I realized that a pool table and hot tub were impractical, but I do have a comfortable leather couch which includes two recliners.  The initial plan called for a 65” flat screen tv, but given the size of the room, I had to downsize.  Every studio needs a comfortable reception area for clients.  I think this will serve nicely and will also provide a much needed napping location.

Paula, Bob and Tom watching the Patriots lose

Out Back
The final piece, which is scheduled for next summer, is the addition of a screened porch off the back of the barn.  Susan has been fanatically opposed to the idea, but it is MY space and my dream, and everyone else thinks it is a great idea.  Off course ”everyone else” won’t be paying for it, but I’ll just keep threatening to come back into the house if I don’t get my porch.   Beside we have already begun the necessary first steps.  We replaced the back window with a door, which currently opens onto nothing and the porch lights are already installed.  The porch will overlook magnificent cherry trees leading down to the meandering Partridge Brook.  After all, my business IS called Partridge Brook Reflections, LLC.

View Out Back

Well that is the plan.  I still have a lot of work to do.  I apologize, to those who have actually read this far, for this selfish attempt to organize my own thoughts on this project.  It has been helpful for me and I hope to others who are being thrown out of the house.

I would be interested to hear from others who have gone through a similar process of planning and outfitting their own studio.  I hope to get things reasonably arranged soon so I can get out shooting again.  Fall is coming.

Jeff Newcomer, NEPG

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