Politics Imitating Photography

This item of mine was first posted almost ten years ago.

Why am I not surprised that its message is as (more?) true today as it was then? The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Or is it photography imitating politics;

what would Oscar Wilde say?


Most politicians see the world in just Black & White

With NO shades of gray

and miss the true big picture

Great Smokies

Bud Ogle’s Barn Viewed from Inside Ogle’s Cabin

Technical – Nikon D300, Tokina 16-50 @16mm, f/16, ISO200, WB=Cloudy, multi-segment metering, aperture priority, RAW capture, tripod, circular polarizer, 5-exposure HDR (-2/3 to +3.67 in 1-stop increments)

One of those rare times, IMO, where HDR is essential for capturing the full tonal range of the scene
It was gloomy/rainy outside and very dark inside (the window frame looked black in the viewfinder)
To carry the political analogy further – it takes more than just one point of view to shed true light on a subject, 5 in this case


  • Shoot at an angle to the window for a more interesting & dynamic shape than straight on
  • Position the barn off center
  • Frame the barn with a window pane


1 – Convert 5 RAW exposures in Photomatix Pro to produce a tone-mapped HDR image

2 – Convert the HDR image in Silver Efex Pro 2 (tutorial here)

Here are 3 of the 5 exposures used for the HDR (both extremes and center)

Here is how the “politician’s version” was made in SEP2.
Party A’s view of the world –

and party B’s view; “It’s white NOT black, damn-it!!!”

The bulk of the B&W conversion was done using Levels and Curves as shown near the bottom of the right panel. You can see that the curves reflect the current political mindset (binary, no compromise)- they force every tonal value (shade of gray) to be either black or white. Heaven forbid there should be any compromise!
This next image reflects how, IMO, this “me & my party first, everyone else be damned” attitude makes the entire process and its results (or lack thereof to be more accurate) look to an average citizen.

A big black hole.

On a brighter note, two more versions of this image.

My Favorite – Luminosity blend of HDR and the “good” B&W

and last, the “good B&W” blended with the HDR – normal blend with B&W opacity at 75% to let a little color bleed through.

For a touching story that puts all of the politicians to shame – Rachel’s Last Fund-Raiser – a little girl with a heart, soul and mind bigger than all of the Washington politicians put together. Just thinking about the comparison really ticks me off. Shame & a pox on both of your houses!
If you’re unhappy with politics & politicians (where ever on this planet you may live because they’re all the same IMO) please pass this post on to friends and to your representatives (tell them you’re fed up).

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