Three pears
In a recent post, Hanneke showed us a beautiful pencil drawing of three pears. In the comments, she and Karl expressed interest in comparing this drawing with a photograph. I decided to experiment along these lines, and above I’ve posted a first result (click on the image for a larger view). I plan to vary a number of factors involved in creating the image; you can help me decide what would be interesting to try.

In this first effort, I used one of Hanneke’s tricks: a dark background. The pears were ones I happened to have in the house, and are different from Hanneke’s, not as nice in shape. I used a similar arrangement to hers, with natural illumination from a nearby window. I’m not thrilled with my composition, but I didn’t take much time, and I can do a better job when I come back to this. Please give me your thoughts on things you like or don’t like about the composition.

One difference between the two media is that in straight photography, there is a single plane of sharp focus. In my image, this is somewhere in the middle; the top of the right pear and the bottom of the middle one are in front of this plane and slightly blurred (this shows up best in the larger image), and the left pear is behind the plane and is the most blurred. Of course, one can locally blur or sharpen areas on the computer, but I haven’t done that here — all adjustments were on the image as a whole. Naturally, in a drawing one can choose arbitrarily where to show detail and where to sketch more loosely. What do you think of the choice I made here? Would you rather have everything as sharp as possible?

So I’m asking for your guidance: What do you think would be an especially good background tone? What would work best if I want the pears to seem “luminous”? What other impressions would be interesting to attempt, and how might I go about achieving them? And the $64 question: can you imagine a photograph you would prefer to the drawing?

I’m off to Yellowstone park today for skiing and hot spring bathing, so I won’t be available for discussion until later. But I look forward to responding to comments soon and trying your suggestions in future experimentation.