About Wednesday’s ‘impressionist’ front page photo

Have you seen the front page of today’s Washington Post? It features an interesting photo from staff photographer Michael Williamson.

As the caption notes, “rain on a car window makes a photo taken inside Tuesday look more like an impressionist painting, almost obscuring a pedestrian walking with an umbrella past rowhouses in the 600 block of East Capitol Street NE.”

Williamson shared the photo on his Facebook page, telling followers: “Saw this view from a rainy car window and thought about how much it looked like an impressionist painting.”

Update: Williamson called from the road to tell us more about the photo. He shot it with a Nikon D700, using a 28 millimeter lens.

Williamson said getting the rain and background in the shot was a challenge — one that will be familiar to photography buffs. “It actually looks simple. It’s a tricky picture,” he said, noting that the key to the shot was getting the Depth of Field just right. Williamson’s camera lens was about six to eight inches from the rainy window.

But he knew it was a shot worth taking, so he sat in a stopped car, practicing and waiting to get the perfect shot, through a side window.

“I had the other advantage that it was a rainy day. Everybody saw the world that way yesterday,” Williamson said, adding that the photo’s setting — in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill — resonates with people because it looks familiar — is it Georgetown, Paris?

And while it’s an artsy shot, it follows a theme in Williamson’s photography, where rustic scenes often focus on texture — peeling paint, for example.

“I’m a texture stalker, and the fact that the rain is so unpredictable and so random — it’s a photo you can never replicate.”

On Twitter, Williamson notes that he’s often on the road “making photos (many with iPhone4 only) of Americana, breaking news & funky stuff.” You can follow him there (@mswontheroad) or on Facebook.

Tell us what you think about the photo in the comments below.

Bethonie Butler is a producer and a reporter on The Post’s engagement team. She oversees online comments and has also contributed to The Style Blog and She The People.
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Bethonie Butler · February 19, 2013