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.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Spring Waterfalls and a Happy Surprise


Gulf Road Veil

With the recent rain, we are well into the spring waterfall season.  After a barren, snow deprived winter, the return of flowing water provides a welcome release from my dark seasonal malaise. 

Partridge Brook

A couple of days ago I ventured out to explore some of my favorite waterfall locations.  I first I stopped locally to capture the water of nearby Partridge Brook as it tumbled past the old factory building in Spofford. It is currently a sad site with the deserted brick structure crumbling by the stream, but there is exciting new local interest in rehabilitating the structure to meet a new purpose.

After a fresh rain, one of my favorite waterfall locations is along the winding Gulf Road in West Chesterfield.  The dirt road can become difficult following a heavy rain, with thick mud and deep ruts, but the road passes steep uphill cliffs that gush with spectacular cascades of water.  

The various falls weave around the rocks in beautiful veils and interweaving flows.  The roadside falls only become dramatic after heavy rainfalls and tend to disappear to a trickle in just a day or so.  

On that day 
the falls did not disappoint.


The light was threatening to fade, but I had time to rush to another favorite spot.  The normally placid flow of the Catsbane Brook in West Chesterfield can fill following a good downpour.  One the best places to appreciate the action is from the bridge across the brook at the Farr Road, near where the Catsbane joins the Connecticut River.  

Farr Road Bridge Cascade

As expected the cascades from this spot were dramatic, but then I noticed a surprise.  

A short distance upstream from the Farr Road bridge is an old mill dam. Seven or eight years ago the mill pond behind the dam had filled resulting in a spectacular flow of water.  I bushwhacked up to the falls and captured what I could only describe as a little Niagara.  The unique scene was amazing, but the next year I was disappointed to discover that it had disappeared.  For whatever reason someone had cleared a sluice at the base of the dam draining the mill pond and eliminating my little Niagara.  It was disappointing and I felt I may have captured the last of this wonderful waterfall.
Catsbane Mill Falls 2015

While I was shooting the Farr Road bridge cascade I happen to look up and in the distance I noticed what look like the water cascading over the old dam.  I worked my way up stream and was thrilled to see the mill falls roaring again!  

Catsbane Mill Falls Returned 2024

I don’t know whether the bypass had become obstructed, or the heavy rain had overcome the capacity of the sluice.  For whatever reason my little Niagara was crashing. But the surroundings had changed.  There was a curtain of blowdowns obstructing some of my best views, but even through a screen branches the view was impressive.  Hopefully, the falls may become more accessible after the stream calms down a bit, but I have learned that the mill pond could be drained at any time. 

The Falls Through the Blowdown

I’ll take what I can, but the waterfall season has just begun, and I am sure there will be more excitement to come.

Jeff Newcomer