Getting Tactical With Bunny


When you’re a rabbit, self-protection is not some airy intellectual exercise.

Which is good, because rabbits aren’t much smarter than the commander-in-chief.

Evolution inaction

Bunny was so confident in its camouflage that it didn’t move at all while I parked, got out of my car, took a picture of it, grabbed a few armloads of stuff, and huffed off.

The other possibility is that Bunny’s threat algorithms don’t include being chased by a big human. If I were a dog or a bobcat it probably would have never let me get so close.

Comments

  1. says

    John Morales@#1:
    I’ll give you a clue: one of the things many people criticize about my photography is my tendency to put whatever I am interested in dead center of the frame.

  2. John Morales says

    What a weird criticism! Anything else would be incompetence*.
    I looked at the image from the center outwards.

    (I see a blob that may or may not be a rabbit)

    Did you note the wind direction?

    * Or arty, I guess. Then anything goes.

  3. John Morales says

    Wow. OK, the close-up makes it obvious even to me, and the bunny looks leery. Thanks!

    (The original pixillated as I zoomed in)

  4. lumipuna says

    AFAIK, rabbits don’t change color for winter. Some hares do, and they’re also colloquially called “rabbits”.

  5. says

    Where we used to live, there was a thriving bunny population whose behaviour would have made Fiver and Hazel scratch their ears.
    In short, the bunnies had learned that while small loud humans might run after them, but were not dangerous, all humans kept foxes and birds of prey away, so out they were nibbling grass in broad daylight while you walked past them.
    Bunnies are smart. Believe me, my dad’s been engaged in a battle of wits with my kid’s rabbit for a year now and he keeps losing.

  6. says

    Spotted right away. That’s about the same colour as our wild buns. We have a very large thicket of fallen/trimmed tree branches by the woodpile, which gives them an excellent place to dart into to avoid everyone and everything.

  7. kestrel says

    Haha. Yeah, I’ve had that happen to me too: a bunny just sits there, even though I’m about 3 feet away, confident that I can’t see it. Sometimes they are also confident that I’m going to walk around them (I usually do, to be fair to them) so that on the odd occasion when I’m carrying something and can’t see them, I have nearly stepped on them. Our place has good fencing and no dogs, so they like it here a lot.

    It is amazing how they can blend in. Holding very still really works amazingly well at hiding them.

  8. says

    chigau@#7:
    I’d like to know how Marcus spotted Bunny while driving.

    That’s one of the trees in front of my house. I parked there, got out of my car, and Bunny was sitting there being invisible.

    and why is that bunny not white for winter?

    Out here winter is usually patchy snow; critters up here have evolved to mostly be blotchy camouflage shades of tawny dead leaf. In the summer when the grass is high they don’t need tactical wear at all.

  9. says

    Reginald Selkirk@#11:
    Amazing, it looks just like a pine cone.

    It’s like an anglerfish: the pine cone is to lure in unsuspecting pine cone-eating prey, then the bunny leaps!

  10. Raucous Indignation says

    The biggest criticism of my photography is that everything, every last thing, is always out of focus. I think of it as a form of Impressionism: Outoffocusism.

  11. says

    Raucous Indignation@#16:
    I think of it as a form of Impressionism: Outoffocusism.

    You could probably market that into a style, then other people would ape it, and you’d be the foremost practitioner.

    I can see it now:
    Interviewer: “How did you get the creative vision to so consistently do that?”
    RI: “I dropped my camera.”
    Interviewer: “What? How does that have anything to do with it?”
    RI: “It knocked my lens out of align, and I was too lazy to replace it.”

  12. says

    You could probably market that into a style, then other people would ape it

    This already exists. Just do a Google image search for “bokeh”. I know some photographers who choose their lenses based on how pretty the out of focus areas look (the prettiness of bokeh depends on the number of aperture blades, their shape, and also what kind of aberrations the lens has and has not; it’s also beneficial to select a fast lens with a wide aperture if you are interested in blurring the image). And then there are photographers who use adapters to shoot vintage lenses on their modern DSLRs. And some lens manufacturers even make historical lenses for modern cameras (for example, Lomography, Meyer Optik). The thing is that these old lens designs are not sharp at all compared with modern lenses. Often they result in images where everything looks somewhat out of focus (for the contemporary viewer who is used to sharp images). But these old lenses have a unique look and personally I like the results.

  13. cvoinescu says

    The image of a bright out of focus dot on a dark field is roughly the shape of the aperture, sure, but even harder to control is how the light is distributed within this shape. Modern lenses, probably because they’re built to compensate for vignetting, have bokehs with sharp, defined edges that tend to be brighter than the center; these are perceived as “ugly”. Simpler, older lenses create discs of roughly constant brightness, with softer edges; some of these are perceived as “beautiful”, depending on the other factors.

    In my opinion, few photos that are entirely out of focus are interesting at all: most come across as pretentious. Now, a subject that’s in focus surrounded by an artfully blurry background, that’s something I can appreciate. And yes, it probably helps to have a lens with a beautiful bokeh — but only if the other aspects of your shot are already masterful. (As with everything, there are some amateurs with more money than talent.)

    I must say I am impressed that the camouflaged bunny gets a more lively discussion than the intriguing Badgerian projects system. Good for you, bunny!

  14. says

    Ieva Skrebele@#18:
    Just do a Google image search for “bokeh”

    I shoot 11×14″ wet plates using an 1890 Darlot Petzval lens. I was “bokeh” when “bokeh” wasn’t cool.

  15. says

    cvoinescu @#19
    Modern lenses, probably because they’re built to compensate for vignetting, have bokehs with sharp, defined edges that tend to be brighter than the center; these are perceived as “ugly”. Simpler, older lenses create discs of roughly constant brightness, with softer edges; some of these are perceived as “beautiful”, depending on the other factors.

    No, this has nothing to do with vignetting, it’s about spherical aberration and correction thereof. When you have a lens with spherical aberration (such as older lenses like the aforementioned Petzval Portrait lens), you get discs of roughly constant brightness, with softer edges. That’s what gives you the pretty and creamy bokeh. If you have a lens without any spherical aberration (spherical aberration can be corrected by using an aspheric lens element), which is the case for most modern lenses, at least the expensive ones, then you get discs of constant brightness with sharp edges. Most photographers consider bokeh created by such lenses acceptable. If you have a lens with overcorrected spherical aberration, you get discs with sharp, defined edges that tend to be brighter than the center. And that’s your ugly bokeh. For more info see: http://bokehtests.com/styled/index.html
    Designers of modern lenses attempt to correct spherical aberration, because otherwise the lens is less sharp in the parts where it’s supposed to be in focus. Spherical aberration also causes problems like focus shift. It’s generally seen as a bad thing for a lens to have. Nowadays lens designers usually prioritize sharpness and reduction of aberrations for any lens they are designing. Pretty bokeh is usually seen as less important.

    In my opinion, few photos that are entirely out of focus are interesting at all: most come across as pretentious.

    I agree that most photos that are entirely out of focus does not seem interesting for me. However I have seen a couple of such photos that I really liked. Just like it’s possible to make amazing abstract paintings (for me it’s a matter of pleasing color combinations and interesting shapes and compositions), it’s also possible to make good out of focus photos.

    I must say I am impressed that the camouflaged bunny gets a more lively discussion than the intriguing Badgerian projects system. Good for you, bunny!

    The latest part about project management seemed reasonable for me. There wasn’t anything for me to object to. Nor did I have any great ideas for improvements. Generally I comment only when it seems like I can contribute something useful to the discussion, which didn’t seem to be the case this time.
    Besides, bunnies are adorable.

  16. cvoinescu says

    No, this has nothing to do with vignetting, it’s about spherical aberration and correction thereof.
    I stand corrected.

  17. says

    Simpler, older lenses create discs of roughly constant brightness, with softer edges; some of these are perceived as “beautiful”, depending on the other factors.

    One nice thing about Waterhouse stops is that you can cut star-shaped apertures if you want them. Personally, I almost always have my lens wide open – collodion is about ASA 1, and even with an F1.2 lens I’m doing 7 second exposures…

    As a certified Big Lens user, I have to say that the whole “bokeh” thing is merely a pointless side-effect of using small lenses, which give you excessive depth of field to the point where the shape of the aperture matters. I say “bah!” and even “humbug!” I work with depth of field that is about 1/4 plane 6 feet from my subject. You can have the eyes in sharp focus but the ears and nose? Nope! And what’s a “background”?

    When I use the Darlot I’m usually doing portraits (why they call it a “portrait lens”) but petzvals are legendary for having a rotational aberration. I’ve never seen it, but apparently if you shoot something close and have considerable depth of field, the objects in the rear of the scene warp slightly counter-clockwise. I don’t recall the physics of that; I never cared. But some photographers get all happy about it.

  18. Raucous Indignation says

    Really people? That is way more complicated than what I am looking for. I am just looking to be simply, yet highly and lucratively, acclaimed for my crappy out of focus photos. It’s not too much to ask and I don’t have any time to spare from my day job or my screwing around to do more than I already am. M’kay?

  19. says

    Raucous Indignation@#25:
    I am just looking to be simply, yet highly and lucratively, acclaimed for my crappy out of focus photos.

    Sometimes “out of focus” isn’t just out of focus!!

  20. John Morales says

    Re “bokeh”, I remember once mentioning (I think on this network) that their featured photos were out-of-focus, not realising it was a feature rather than a flaw. But I became educated about it, if not appreciative.

    Re bunnies, we here in Oz have very, very seriously to exterminate them for many, many decades (after they were deliberately introduced by English settlers), since they cause serious ecological degradation. They have survived.

    (It’s about population dynamics, not about individual survival)

  21. says

    The whole discussion about bokeh reminds me of that class in digital photography I’ve been wanting to take for ages. Maybe if I get my life back next year.
    It is a very subjective feature, as the picture I linked to would be considered to have “bad” bokeh with the blurs coming in sharp circles, yet that is exactly a quality I love about it.

    Btw, if “putting whatever you are interested in in the dead centre” is something you personally don’t like, set your autofocus point somewhere else. I got mine slightly to the right and top, so the focus automatically shifts to that, but only if you make sure to move the camera, or you will have some lovely bokeh right where your motive is.

  22. says

    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-@#28:
    Btw, if “putting whatever you are interested in in the dead centre” is something you personally don’t like, set your autofocus point somewhere else.

    That’s a great suggestion.

    Personally, I like it, which is why I do it. The way I do (most of) my photography, I use the camera’s centering as a way of controlling my point of interest. It’s a philosophy of art thing: I am trying to do photos where there is a point of interest and I want my compositions (such as they are) to reflect that. I’m mostly a studio photographer, of course, since that approach almost completely fails with nature or action photos.

    The way I think about it is it’s sort of like doing a photo of an ikebana arrangement: your composition should not interfere with the arrangement; the image is already about a composition and using a complex composition about that amounts to re-composing it.

  23. says

    One nice thing about Waterhouse stops is that you can cut star-shaped apertures if you want them.

    This can be done with any lens, see https://www.diyphotography.net/diy_create_your_own_bokeh/ for instructions.

    petzvals are legendary for having a rotational aberration. I’ve never seen it, but apparently if you shoot something close and have considerable depth of field, the objects in the rear of the scene warp slightly counter-clockwise

    Do you mean this look? https://static.bhphotovideo.com/explora/sites/default/files/TRVphoto%20644-00242%20reduced.jpg That photo is shot with Lomography Petzval 85mm f/2.2 lens. Personally I like the effect.

  24. Raucous Indignation says

    Thanks Ieva. I looked at the photo in the second link and immediately had vertigo followed by vomiting followed by seizure. Awesome effect. More please.

  25. jrkrideau says

    @ 27 John Morales
    Have you considered making “wild rabbet” a gourmet delight and fostering an underground traffic in rabbet in key Sydney and Melbourne restaurants?

  26. says

    Once upon a time you could make good money out of Australia’s feral bunny population. A good shooter would get hundreds of them in a single night. Various introduced diseases have knocked their population back to the point where rabbit shooting no longer makes enough to pay for the fuel. They still do plenty of damage though. Nothing like when I was a small child and Father stopped the car for us boys to have a widdle stop against a fence. Imagine my surprise when the whole blasted landscape exploded from a tranquil sea of eyes and ears into an avalanche of bunnies heading for their holes.

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