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, July 19, 2021

Summer Infrared Season

Lower Pasture Chesterfield, NH
I have been sitting on this article since last summer.  Now, the earth has turned and it is again a great time to talk about exploring our landscape beyond our own vision into the infra-red.   

I hate to generalize, but for photography in New England, summer is not my favorite season.  Perhaps I expressed it best in a previous article from the summer of 2017:

“It’s summer!  Great! The days are balmy, which is just a nicer way of saying hot and humid.  The Black Flies have been replaced by voracious Mosquitoes, and, if you want to see the sunrise, you must drag yourself out of bed at 4:30 AM.  It is wonderful to see all the green, but the foliage has largely matured to the same monotonous shade for maximal photosynthesis.  BAH HUMBUG?”

To be sure, I enjoy the rich fragrant air with its sweet scents of fresh growth, and I will admit that New England’s warm summer months hold their own visual attractions.  Summer sunsets and sunrises can be dramatic, as can the light during the changeable weather, from morning fog to afternoon thunderstorms.  I have always insisted that, if we are prepared to accept what nature provides, all seasons and times of day can provide photographic opportunities, but I get bored with the persistent monochrome of green.

Happily, summer offers another photographic attraction.  All that green creates the perfect conditions for infrared photography. 

Bradley Hill Vision

Pasture Gate, Chesterfield NH
 Everything that we see comes from our retina’s ability to respond to a narrow spectrum of reflected light.  Beyond the reds, in slightly longer wavelengths, which are just beyond what we can see, lies infrared. Reflected infrared light changes the appearance of the world.  Most notably, plant matter reflects light strongly in the infrared, making the summer greens appear like a winter landscape and the blue sky turns a deep black as it absorbs the infrared light. Infrared penetrates haze, causing even the dullest landscapes to snap to attention.  It may all seem unreal, but what an infrared sensor "sees" is actually no less true than what our retinas record in blues to reds.  

Electromagnetic Spectrum

Infrared photography follows most of the rules of Black and White.  Void of color, the visual impact depends on pattern and contrast. 

Spofford Home

In previous articles, I have discussed the effects of infrared light and how I modified my old Canon 20D to become an infrared camera. What I wanted to do in this post was to share some of my infrared images from this summer.  Hopefully I can inspire you to convert one of your old dust-collecting doorstops into an infrared camera.  LifePixel specializes in such conversions, and I was happy with their service.   It is not expensive and you will learn that there is much more to our world than can be seen through the illusion created by our narrow visual spectrum.


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