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Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Sketch Exercise & The Power of Pre-visualization


OK you must be thinking what this pencil sketch of a structure in a form of a rabbit, got to do with photography. Well, if you have been following my night photography blogs, you could have or might have figured out what I'm going to talk about today. If you have not, take a side track to my night photography blog here. Make the leap forward for the sketch exercise.



I remember listening to one of LensWork Editor, Brooks Jensen's audio podcasts, #63 - The Sketch Exercise some time ago, in which he talks about using a piece of paper and a pencil, to do a quick sketch exercise. By using your memory and from your mind's eye, draw one of your own personal best photographs without looking at that picture. OK here's the audio podcast.


So you see, I did the sketch exercise after my night outing at the old school playground where I made an exposure of this rabbit structure. As I view the digital image from time to time for about a week now, I am not really happy about the composition and lighting. Suffice to say, I have no controls over the latter factor even though I did some light-paintings with a neutral LED light. But however, I find that I can do better with a few more different perspectives. So I picked up a pencil and a piece of paper and started to sketch the ideal perspective. Instead of doing it out from my memory, I'm exercising the power of pre-visualization. The one shown above is a quick sketch, and I actually took the time to shade it. Yes I know it looks awfully out of shape and out of proportion. Well, I say that's the power of pre-visualization.

A day later, I still couldn't get over this bunny and so I drew it again and here's the second sketch.

Again, this isn't what I have pre-visualized in my mind's eye. I wanted a super low angle composition. So I drew another one.


AHA!!! Now we're talking. If I would to adapt this composition and getting more up-close, I need an ultra-wide angle lens e.g. Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, placing my camera on the ground and compose with a angle-finder of course. I have to take care of the hyper-focal distance and be mindful of the surrounding ambience lights as well as the converging distortion caused by the lens, which all greatly affect the overall result.

Nonetheless, this sketch exercise certainly opens up my mind's eye and enhances my power of pre-visualization. It's fascinating and I thought you might be interested and to try it out yourself. By the way, here's the night photograph I did a week ago. See how close my very first sketch resembles to this image.

Bunny Playground
© Martin Liew Photography

I will follow up with a new blog on my next night outing soon. So do visit my night photography blog or subscribe to both blog sites via email or be a Followers. I thank you for reading my blogs. Now go try out the sketch exercise.