Published Sep 1, 2008

A little too much on the old to-do list has made this vacation weekend a little less than a vacation chez I could see it was heading for twilight on a bright Labor Day when I finished the last task, and I’d been wanting to shoot all weekend long. With nothing to do at the last minute I thought of the old saying in the title and headed for the lemon tree in the backyard.

The lemon tree’s next to the hammock, in the bright sun. Further off, in the shade of the neighbor’s trees, is an old, broken-down brick barbecue.

One of the things that had bothered me about the photos I’d taken with my new(ish) Canon was how much more mechanical and less warm and intimate they looked than, say, those I took in Southeast Asia with my old Minolta. Now, Canon offers this feature — Picture Styles — that lets you tune what the final product you shoot turns out to look like.1 To be honest, I don’t know why I never got in there before, but a few weeks ago I finally fooled around and set a custom Picture Style that matched what I wanted, visually. I decreased the sharpening, which Canon is really aggressive with, to get a slightly more natural and intimate feel; increased the saturation, to add richness; darkened the photo to get the deep blacks I wanted; and also changed the default white balance to add natural greens and intimate ambers. I’m happy with the results — getting towards the look I want! Now maybe I need to create fun new Picture Styles for film types I’d like to shoot, like orthochromatic black-and-white or cross-processed Velvia.

1 So long as you’re shooting jpegs, anyway.