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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.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Summer Deluge

Another Gulf Road "Transient"

In New England, every season offers its special photographic opportunities.  Autumn’s spectacular colors and winter’s quiet white blanket provide obvious attractions, while late falls “stick season” … well we must nap sometime.  Spring typically is valued both for the beautiful and varied early foliage, and also for the waterfalls that surge in response to the seasonal rains and spring run-off.

Garwin Falls, 2018

In recent years, I have scheduled a spring waterfall workshop for mid-May.  It is the best time of year to celebrate the flowing water in my corner of New England, but this year I had to cancel my plans.  First because the pandemic was still limiting close interactions and secondly because our unusually dry spring reduced the streams to disappointing trickles.

We finished May and June with severe drought conditions, but since the weather in New England never stays the same for long, we have been drowned in July.  Suddenly our streams and waterfalls have gushing at a time when the water is usually drying up for the hot summer months.

Old Jelly Mill Falls, Dummerston Vt

Chesterfield Gorge 

For several weeks I have been enjoying the late season flowing water.  Familiar waterfalls such as the Old Jelly Mill falls on Stickney Brook in Dummerston Vermont and Chesterfield Gorge in my home town, have been as active as I have ever seen. And, of course, the water has found its way into our leaky stone-lined basement.  Happily, our sump pump has been working hard to reduce what might have been 4-6 inches to just about 1 inch of water.

An Inch in the Basement

Route 30 Falls

I have been particularly struck by the dramatic flow in what I think of as transient run-off waterfalls.  My area has numerous falls that only seem to bloom in response to heavy downpours.  The water produces beautiful falls that come quickly and largely disappear within a few hours to a day.  On Route 30 near where Stickney Brook enters the West River, a steep road-side drop-off creates a lovely falls in response to heavy rain.  Come back any other time and there is only a trickle.

Fallen Arch July 2021

MadameSherri Forest in Chesterfield New Hampshire is most famous for the arched stairway which is the only remains of the Madame 1920’s summer party house.  Sadly, and inevitably, the recent storms appear to have been the last straw, resulting just a couple of weeks ago in the collapse of the top-most arch.  Happily, the area continues to offer other points of interest.  Next to the parking lot is the pond which had been the guest’s swimming hole.  The pond normally drains slowly into Gulf Brook, but here as well, the rains have energized the outflow to a boiling surge.

Madame Sherri Pond Outflow

Gulf Road "Transient"

Gulf Road Transients

Down the road from Madame Sherri, along the Gulf Road, is my favorite collection of “transient” waterfalls.  The road cuts through a deep gorge adjacent to the Gulf Brook, on its way to the Connecticut River.  During heavy rains, at several spots along the way, waterfalls plunge down the hillside to disappear under the road and into the brook.  When the weather is right you only need to stand in the road to capture these dramatic cascades dropping to your feet.  It’s easy shooting, but you may be forced to dodge the heavy trucks and bucket loaders as they repair the washed-out dirt road.  

"Transient after a couple of dry days

The important thing is to time it right.  Within a day or so of dry weather the show is largely over and we are back to a dry stream bed, or at most a trickle.

Another Gulf Road Transient

Boiling Gulf Brook

Wilde Brook, Chesterfield Gorge

So, I got my waterfall season, just a month late.  July is almost over and the rain hasn’t stopped yet.  I don’t know if this is the new, globally warmed, normal, but with the rain pouring down today, I guess I’ll be out shooting the falling water again tomorrow.

So get out and capture the falling water whenever nature delivers, and keep track of the “Transient” waterfalls in your area.

Jeff Newcomer, NEPG


  1. Wow, I really like the scenery you took

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