We take another dip into the archives. This shot comes to us from the glory days of the backyard parsley patch. When I opened it in my NEF (Raw) file editor today, the “Picture Control” setting was on “Vivid.” I’m not sure if I was fooling around back then or accidentally selected it, but typically I avoid the Vivid setting. While it can render striking images, I find this setting usually creates a dark and contrasty unnaturalness that is not to my tastes. I almost always use the “Neutral” setting and edit with individual controls of my post-processing software. For this hover fly shot, however, I was digging it — almost enough to use the Vivid setting. In the end, the contrast was too much, so I set the Picture Control to Neutral and brought the contrast up to a level that was higher but not too high. The other thing I really liked in the Vivid setting for this shot (owing I think to the nature of the shadows) was the super-rich colors. I rarely do more than modest color saturation adjustment, but after seeing the Vivid setting I could see how the richer colors, especially the greens of the parsley stems and the red of the eyes, enhanced the photo; I bumped them up a little extra. All told, it is still probably a conservative rendition, but the extreme view helped me figure out a version I like.
Note: “Picture Control” and the rest of the above refers to the Nikon system I use. Canon and other systems have similar features, I’m sure, but I am not familiar with those, unfortunately.