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.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Where have You Been ( Part One ) Ireland with a Stent

Morning Rainbnow over Doolin Ireland

Ha'penny Bridge Dublin Ireland
Those few of you who, over the years, have followed my photography blog know that up until late this summer I have slavishly maintained a once weekly schedule of postings.  Including my articles for the New England Photography Guild, that makes over 450 blogs covering all aspects of digital photography, withe a special focus on the Monadnock region and southern Vermont. 

Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland
Then suddenly, I disappeared from view - one or two folks even noticed.  The purpose of this article is to explain why I have taken a prolong hiatus, how I have been, and what I have been doing over the last 3 months.

The story includes some exciting activities and news, as well as one significant bump in the road.  Although all of this provided major distractions from my blogging duties, I must admit that there was also a vast amount of personal laziness.  After years of work I felt I deserved a little vacation, and this turned out to be the perfect time.

The Special Green of Ireland
The story begins in late August, shortly after my last blog article.  Susan and I joined a group of 5 other friends for a 2-week tour of Ireland.  Prior to leaving, I was pressured by the fact that I had to set out my tent for Keene’s annual Art in the Park.  As always, the two-day festival was a great chance to meet friends and show my work, but this year was especially stressful since, two days later, I was on a plane to Ireland.  No time for a blog!

The Emerald Isle
County Galway Ireland

There can be no question that Ireland is overwhelmingly green.  Once out of the cities it is green on green, with fields broken only by the ubiquitous stone walls, and dotted with gatherings of sheep and cows.  Living in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, I have become accustomed to rolling pastures, but Ireland’s lush green comes in rank on rank of neatly bounded meadows which often climb up precipitous hillsides.

Gregan's West, County Claire

Irish Heather, Wicklow Mt, Ireland

Our trip began with a couple of days exploring Dublin and its surroundings.  Dublin is a walkable city with lovely strolls along the River Liffey, a profusion of restaurants and pubs and, of course, Guinness wherever you look.  Our stay also included a side-trip south to the beautiful Wicklow Mountains, including the Dramatic Glendalough Valley where the ancient monastic settlement of St. Kevin's is located.  Many of the monastery's structures are nearly 1000 years old. 

St Kevin's Monastery, Glendalough

Arch Surf from Dunluce Castle
From Dublin, we all crowded into one Van, which was overly large for the narrow, stone-lined, country roads, but a bit cramped for seven adults.  We called her “The Beast”.  Heading to Northern Ireland, we skipped Belfast and concentrated on the rocky northern coast.  Along the way we toured sheer cliffs, castle ruins and quaint villages.

Rock Island Light, Inishmore Island Ireland
 For much of our trip we followed the Western side of the island along the Atlantic coast.  From Doolin, we cruised to the Aran Islands, which are crisscrossed with a dense maze of stonewalls, and features precipitous cliffs facing out to the North Atlantic.  We were having a great time taking in spectacular scenery with a group of close friends and then my tour was suddenly interrupted

A Green MI
During the evening of the 9th day of the trip, while visiting Killarney, I developed some vague chest discomforts.  I responded in the usual way for a physician, I came up with alternative explanations for the symptoms, stomach acidity, chest wall strain, but the pains persisted.  I finally said to myself, “Ok moron, if a patient reported these complaints you would immediately send them to the hospital”.  We called an ambulance, and when the EKG showed a myocardial infarction, I was off for an exciting ride to Cork University Hospital. 

Blarney Castle Cork Ireland

I received great care and within minutes, my occluded vessel was opened with a stent.   The good news is that I have been doing well.  The bad new is that I missed four days of our trip, but since the airline wouldn’t let me fly until one week after my infarction, I gained back a couple of those days.

I continue to place images from our trip on my web site in the
Ireland Gallery.

Tunnel Green County Claire

Over all, the trip was memorable for a variety of reasons.  I prefer to recall the spectacular scenery, the remarkably friendly Irish people, and the companionship and support of a group of close friends.  Upon returning home, I settled into my program of cardiac rehabilitation. Pacing myself,  I tried to get out for reasonably relaxed tours of the fall foliage, but, as you will see in my next article, my foliage was interrupted by another wonderful event. 

Owen Emerson Bryant

Jeffrey Newcomer


Monday, August 26, 2019

Fall and Winter Photography Classes

It’s time to talk about my upcoming fall and winter photography classes and workshops.  This year the planning has been affected by my very hectic and over booked summer, including various travels, getting our son moved into a new apartment in NYC and our daughter into her new house in Medford Mass (in anticipation of the October arrival of our first grandchild !!).  Also, I am preparing for the Annual Art in the Park which is coming up this weekend at the Ashuelot River Park in Keene. 

Finally, my I’m packing for and exciting trip touring Ireland with a group of dear friends and, since I will be away for a few weeks, I wanted to get the information out, before I left.  While away I hope to have at least spotty email to answer questions and get people on the lists. 

Again, I will be offering my Introduction to Digital Photography class this autumn along with my annual Fall Foliage Photography Weekend Workshop.  My Introduction to Adobe Lightroom Classic will be coming up in March, in hopes of avoiding the worst of the winter storms.   Here are some details

So, here is what is coming and please let me know if you have a comments or suggestions for future programs.
Hope to see you soon.

Introduction to Digital Photography
Sponsored by Keene Community Education
·         Date: Oct. 29 to Nov. 19, Tue.,
·         Time: 6-8pm (8 hrs.)
·         Location: Room 326 at KHS
Keene High School

My introductory class on digital photography has evolved over the years as I have tried to find better ways to inform and excite students about the amazing capabilities of digital cameras.  The course includes 4 two hour classes and two photo shoots. I cover a wide range of topics from understanding the differences in camera types, to image file formats, file management and archiving. Special emphasis is placed on exposure, composition and the use of different types of light.  All these topics are applied to the results of the photo shoots.  This class always fills very quickly, so sign up early at :

Contact Email Erin White at ewhite@sau29.org  for more information

Sorry, for health reasons, I have to cancel this year's Foliage Workshop

Fall Foliage Workshop Weekend
October 18th – 20th, 2019
Monadnock Region and Southern Vermont

This autumn, I will again be offering my Fall Foliage Weekend Workshop.   I will be following the same format that seemed to work well over the last several years.  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. Depending on the state of the color we may travel west to some of my favorite locations in southern Vermont, such as Guilford and the magic village of Green River, or we may explore the hills and farm around the Monadnock region and my own village of Chesterfield.

In the evening, we will return to the dining room table for an informal dinner of pizza and some gentle critiquing of the day’s shoot.

We will head out again Sunday morning for more of our exploration of color, and I will finally let people go around noon. I promise you will come away exhausted but thrilled with the experience.  I look forward to sharing my love for photography in this special time of year. 

The three-day program is $195, including the delicious snacks and an elegant pizza dinner.  Please get in touch soon, by email or phone, to assure your place in the workshop. If you are coming from outside of the area, I can send you a list of some the best local accomodations.


Introduction to Lightroom Classic – AND the Transition to Photoshop
Six Tuesday Evenings March 3rd  through April 7th, 2020
? Monadnock Imaging, Main Street Keene New Hampshire
For the last couple of years, Monadnock Imaging has provided facilities for my classes, but I haven’t been able to confirm that the store will still be available after their business transition.  The alternate site will be around my comfortable dining room table in Spofford.

I am a dedicated long-term user of Photoshop, but over the last few years I have become increasingly impressed with the power of Lightroom, in terms of both its image management tools and its sophisticated editing capabilities.  I still bring almost all my images into Photoshop for final tweaking, especially when complicated masking is required, but I now use Lightroom for 80-90% of my global editing.  Given its power and ease of use, for the majority of digital photography enthusiasts, Lightroom is likely all they will need to get started with image management and editing.

 During the last couple of years., I have offered a comprehensive introductory course covering all the essentials of Lightroom.  I run the class as a live demonstration.  Students are encouraged to work along on their own laptops, but a computer is not necessary to benefit from the material.   I’ve had a great time and, as is always true of teaching a course, I have learned a ton. Over the last couple of years Lightroom has evolved and grown, with increased capabilities, and I have worked to keep up with the changes.  

Recently Adobe has complicated our lives by splitting the Lightroom Program in two.  There are many good discussions of the differences between these very different programs, but simply speaking, the new Lightroom CC is an entirely new cloud-based program.  With a simpler interface, but significantly pared down capabilities.  It is designed for more casual photographers, and those who work primarily through a mobile interface.  For more serious photographers who store larger image archives locally on hard drives and who want to use the full features of the “old” Lightroom, the new program has no significant place. 

For me and most serious photographers, the “new” choice is called “Lightroom Classic”.  It sounds disconcertingly like the old “Coke Classic”, but Lightroom Classic is just the old Lightroom CC with all the amazing features and functions and a few new tricks.  This split seems to be designed to create a simpler path for mobile, and other smart phone photographers, without stripping the power of the “Classic” Lightroom program.  Adobe promises to keep up with innovation on both versions of Lightroom.  We will be watching.

If you, like many, are still confused, just know that the CC and Classic versions are both included among the options in the Adobe Photography Subscription Plan, and still for $9.99/month.  

My course will be covering the full power of the Lightroom Classic Program.

I initially thought that that four, two-hour classes would be enough to cover the program's many features, but because of my tendency to ramble and lots of great questions, I subsequently added a fifth class to cover the Slide Show, Book and Web Modules.

A Sixth Class
Lightroom is a great program which covers most organizing and editing needs of the majority of photography enthusiasts, but there are many aspects of fine tuning that can be performed best from within the scary confines of Photoshop.  My Lightroom students frequently ask, “When are you going to do a course on Photoshop?”.  The prospect of trying to organize a comprehensive course on this massive program scares me to death.  But perhaps an easier approach is to take a smaller bite of the pie.  Some time ago I added a fifth class to my Lightroom course and last year I added a sixth session.

In this additional session I focused on the transition from Lightroom to Photoshop.  Starting with pictures which have been optimally edited in Lightroom, I will again examine some of the important ways that Photoshop can refine those images using more precise selections, layers and compositing.  Consider it a chance to dangle your toes in the ocean of possibilities that is Photoshop, but for many who already own Photoshop as part of the Adobe Photography Plan, it can be an encouragement to take the plunge.

There will be. not five, but six, two-hour, evening sessions, and of course, snacks will be provided. The expanded course will be $225.  Please get in touch by phone or email as soon as possible to reserve your spot on the list.

Stay tuned for this coming spring’s offerings including the Spring Waterfall Weekend Workshop, my Introduction to Digital Photography Course.

Jeffrey Newcomer

Monday, July 1, 2019

Lush Summer Green

As the lovely variety of spring greens have evolved into the dark hue of summer, we can enjoy our next New England mini-season: the perfect lush green of early summer.    

Lush Green Season
In the early summer the leaves of the trees and plants show a deep green, but this uniform color seems to fade and become more irregular as the season proceeds.  Leaves become speckled with various pests and fungi and other insects begin munching on the leaf edges.  It is a slow process which accelerates as we approach autumn and, as a part of their normal senescence, the leaves lose their chlorophyll pigment.

Within the next few weeks it will be time to enjoy the deepest and unblemished colors of summer.  Get out and fight off the black flies to capture some great images.

Clouds are your Friend

As is true of much landscape photography, overcast days are the best for catching the rich shades of early summer foliage.  The reflected glare from bright sunlight can block the color and create troublesome high contrast, but during these conditions, nice effects can be created by trans-illuminating the young leaves.

Even on cloudy days a polarizing filter can enhance the depth of color in summer foliage.  I routinely keep a polarizer on my camera and experiment, balancing its effect against the loss of one or two f stops.

Walldog Distractions
The beautiful green is all around but I have been busy recording the wonderful work of the “Walldogs” in Keene.  Over 5 days, more than 200 mural artists have descended on our city to create 16 large murals which celebrate important aspects of the history of Keene and the Monadnock region.  Every year the “dogs” pick one location in the country to decorate and this year we are the lucky ones.  I’ve been recording their efforts – stand by for more images, but in the meantime get out and enjoy the perfect green!

Jeffrey Newcomer

Thursday, June 6, 2019

2019 Spring Waterfall Workshop

Dummerston Falls Detail

John Overlooking Stickney Brook
My recent Spring Waterfall Workshop was a wonderful success.  As usual I was blessed with a great group of photographers.  We had the opportunity to visit many of my favorite waterfalls and explored other falls that I had not included in previous workshops.   New England springs can offer a broad array of weather and this year the conditions provided opportunities to show how to get the most from the challenges that nature can provide during this fickle season.  We had to contend with the horrors of a  classically difficult “beautiful sunny day” as well as spring downpours, before we finally were treated to soft overcast light.

Miniwawa Brook

Miniwawa Brook

We started with a drive to the great waterfalls in the Wilton/Milford area.  Along the way we stopped at Minwawa Brook in Keene. The brook was flowing strongly under the bridge and it was a chance to help the workshop members become more familiar with there equipment.  The sun was bright and shining into our cameras, but we were able to find trees to block the glare.

Steph and Robin at Miniwawa

Tucker Brook Falls

Tucker Brook Falls, Graduated ND

Outside of Wilton we took a short hike in Tucker Brook Town Forest to reach the Tucker Brook Falls.  The falls were flowing well, but the primary challenge was to deal with the dappled sunlight.  It was a great chance to demonstrate the use of neutral density filters, especially gradient NDs, that allowed us to cut the contrast between the brightly lit falls and the shaded brook.  I was excited to see my group enjoy the adventure of searching for fresh angles on the location, including small pools and interesting views downstream.

Robin's Detail at Tucker Brook

Lower Purgatory Falls

Lower Purgatory Polarizer and 3Stop ND

After another short hike we reached secluded Lower Purgatory Falls.  Again, the falls were bathed with unfortunately bright light, but ND filters allowed us to capture the falls with slow shutter speeds which were sufficient to soften the flow.  Despite the beautiful weather and the congested parking, we were surprised to find that the location was relatively free of crowds.  After an enjoyable stay in Purgatory, we were ready for lunch, descending upon the Rivermill Tavern in Wilton.

Garwin Denied!
Maybe Next Year for Garwin
After lunch, we headed to nearby Garwin Falls.  I had saved this as the special treat of our explorations in Wilton.  Garwin combines surging cascades with several dramatic drops.  It is my favorite choice among the Wilton/Milford falls, but sadly, we were denied.  Apparently, the Wilton town-folk have complained about the heavy concentration of visitors which have congested the near-by roads.  The Garwin trailhead only has room for 3-4 cars and everyone else must park along the road.  In response, the town has posted threatening No Parking signs in all directions.  It was a tragic loss, but we had no choice but to move on. I learned my lesson, and next year we will visit Garwin early in the morning.

Faye Measure Mill
Hana's Frye Measure Mill
Faye Measure Mill offers a combination of a lovely old mill falls and a unique store which features the mill’s exquisite (and expensive) shaker boxes.  I usually check out the “seconds” bin for something more within my budget.  This year I grabbed a box to organize the remotes in my studio.

Shaker Box

Harrisville Village

Since we were deprived of a long stay at Garwin Falls, on our way home, we were able to stop by at the magical New England manufacturing village of Harrisville.  Harrisville has classic views of the mill water racing under the factory buildings, but the conditions remained challenging.  Harrisville is really a “sunrise” location with the setting sun shining into lenses from most of the best locations.  Again, we used obstructing trees and ND filters to salvage what we could from the conditions.

Pizza and Pictures
Saturday evening, we gathered at our house for a light dinner and review of many of the day’s images.  Despite the terrible “beautiful” conditions, there were many nice shots.

Sunday’s Beautiful “Terrible” Conditions

Steph's Pond Brook Falls - In the Rain
Sunday began overcast with showers and occasional downpours – In other words, PERFECT waterfall weather.  In Chesterfield, at Pond Brook Falls and the Catsbane Cascades, we struggled with the rain, but once we headed to Vermont, the precipitation largely stopped.  We were left with a wonderful soft overcast for the remainder of the morning.

Dummerston Falls

Mike's view of Dummerston Falls
Dummerston Falls is a surprisingly dramatic waterfall along Route 30 in Dummerston Vermont.  It is just a few hundred yards down the road from the turn-off to Stickney Brook and Jelly Mill Falls.  Despite the endless times I have visited Stickney Brook, I never before noticed this beautiful drop.  I suspect that this is, at least in part, because the waterfall is variable in intensity, being more prominent after storms and during spring run-off.  The water was flowing well during our visit and pictures taken from locations just of the road made the waterfall’s impressive 25-foot drop appear as if it was nestled deep within the forest.  I almost felt guilty as we captured such great images with such little effort.

The Team at Dummerston Falls

Stickney Brook and Jelly Mill Falls
Rana at Stickney Brook
For years Stickney Brook has been my favorite cascades across the Connecticut River in Dummerston Vermont.  The area is also known as Jelly Mill Falls, with some of the mills original stonework still visible along the edge of the brook. Many photographic opportunities can be found on either side of the brook, with a succession of cascades weaving down to its terminus in the West River.  This was a great spot to finish our adventures and I was excited to see how the group showed greater confidence as they explored various locations.

Hana's Stickney Cascade

Stickney Brook 
I Hate to Have My PictureTaken!

This year’s waterfall workshop was unique, first because of the skill and enthusiasm of the participants, and second because the weather provided a range of challenges that the group seemed to enjoy confronting.  The pictures that I have seen posted on our special web gallery have shown how well these lessons have been embraced.

Great job guys !

Jeffrey Newcomer