I had made up of couple of small plastic trays for a selection of my pastel to use in the field on my trip through the Kimberleys. I only used them a couple of times, and not so successfully. The little plastics trays where fine, a great size for portability. As well as the pastels I made up a “soft” sketching kit with charcoal, compressed graphite, woodless pencil and conte. These are traditional sketching media but somewhat fragile, so not exactly field friendly.
However because the kit is nice and small, I’ve been trying it out as a way to prepare composition/notan sketches for my pathway project. My intention is to make quick composition sketches and possibly a few alternatives that incorporate the tonal balance BEFORE I take any photos. So I am thinking/seeing more like a “plein air” painter preparing a new canvas. The charcoal is quick and gives a strong contrast but it smudges easily, the compressed graphite is good but delivers a very pencil draw tonal range (its hard to get the deep darks). The woodless pencils seemed ideal, I have two hardnesses HB and 4B. They gave me the fast loose sketching of the main shapes and a decent spread from light to dark.
The composition was fine and I wanted to emphasise the lead in of the pathway in the lightest tonesand the contrast of the intersecting but hidden path and bush behind it. The strong dark blocks of the bush on the right hand side blocks this in a balanced sort of way. The lacy effect if the overhanging tree had some potential so I went to a wider angle and took a series of vertical (portrait orientation) bracketed images going from –2.0 EV to +2.0 EV. I have just recently purchase Aurora HDR 2018 and wanted to test it out. The default result was pleasing but having a notan sketch beside me when I did the post processing guided me to set the tonal balance to better match with what I saw. It also prompted to do a crop closer to the original framing of my sketches.