Archive for February, 2012

Good Leap Day to you all dear readers,

today I’d like to talk about the contents of my Camera bag and my uses of those camera’s as well as talk a little about some of my inspirations.

look ma there's a tree

My current camera collection consists of the excellent and versatile Fuji film HS20EXR for those of you who are unfamiliar with it I’ll go into a little detail. It’s what is commonly known as a bridge camera, taking the convenience of a compact camera (no interchangeable lenses) and adding in features of a full-blown D-SLR with full manual controls and an incredible zoom extending all the way out to 30x or 24mm to 720mm in old money. It has many fantastic features that I wanted when looking for a camera to replace my much older stolen Fujifilm S5000 a fantastic little camera in its own right. I could go into huge amounts of detail about all of the things that I love about it but I think it would be more prudent to point you towards the review that initially persuaded me that it was the camera for me. The only other thing I will add is that one of the most powerful deciders for me was the fact that unlike many other camera’s today it still makes use of AA batteries meaning I can have a couple of sets of fully charged high power 2500MaH batteries with me and still be able to just buy disposable’s pretty much anywhere in the world.

Bunny Chow the invincible

The camera that you have seen the most from recently on this site is a fantastic cheap little compact from Canon called the IXUS 107. Technically this is identical to the IXUS 105
in every way except for the fact that it was a limited edition colour (baby blue) and happened to be what was in stock when I was shopping with the insurance vouchers from the earlier mentioned robbery. I have to confess that I didn’t put much research into this camera before purchase, and whilst I am more than happy with the image quality it produces when you consider it’s price and pocketable size it has no manual controls and is happiest if you leave the settings along and let it figure things out for itself. The only thing I tend to adjust is that when I shoot at night I’ll invariably put it into black and white mode as this seems to reduce the noise common to shooting at high ISO in low light.

Lastly but I guess by no means the least I use the camera that is always in my pocket the some what ubiquitous iPhone4. I have been forcing myself to carry the little Canon most of the time but no one can deny the sense behind the quote “the best camera is the one that’s with you” I’m not a die-hard iOS man in fact I’m hoping to jump over to the Android ship as soon as my contract expires but there is a reason why the most used camera over on Flickr is the iPhone, it’s convenient, it takes great snaps right out of the box and there are dozens if not hundreds of Apps for making your pictures look arty without trying too hard. I for one am going to hugely miss Hipstamatic which at the time of writing at least is an iOS exclusive app which uses software to replicate dozens of retro films, lenses, flashes etc. I adore the random nature of what it captures although you can if you choose individually mix and match these elements to exacting specifications I actually like the hit and miss nature of its shake to randomise function.

The Monkey Boy

So there you have it, the contents of my camera bag laid bare for derision and ridicule.

snowlights

Anyway continuing my ramble about camera’s and photography I’d like to make mention of some of the people and websites that blogging has exposed me to. First on the list absolutely has to be the incredibly talented but approachable Nick Mayo of http://nickexposed.com/ he posts pictures and the stories behind those pictures on a daily basis. I’ve learned a lot from him and look forward to learning more.

Next up I’d like to talk about Bellamy Hunt and his incredibly fascinating site http://www.japancamerahunter.com/ Bellamy as you can probably guess from the name of his site runs a business out of Japan seeking out camera’s for clients. He specialises in old film camera’s but the main reason I want to talk about the site is the incredibly fascinating posts Bellamy and his guests write about all aspects of photography and Camera porn in general. They do reviews, suggest idea’s and just speak about their own experiences of what they love with such passion and incredible knowledge that you cannot help but be inspired. 

The last person I’d like to talk about is the incredible Mike Shaw who is not only a blogger over at http://mikefshaw.blogspot.com/ but more importantly for me at least he’s a huge personality over on Google+ you can find his profile here. Mike is an incredible man and incredible photographer, his portraits strike right at the core of human emotion and his landscapes are just beautiful. Mike suffers from depression and shares openly an honestly about this both in his stories and pictures. I really do wish I could understand how someone so compassionate and talented (he has over 700000 followers on G+ at the time of writing) can find the time not only to share his own stories but interact with someone like me. He was even generous enough to share my name amongst others as upcoming inspirational photographers. Wow what an honour, I can tell you that my email and google+ streams nearly exploded on that day, how he keeps up I’ll never know. I will continue to admire and support Mike through his troubles and hope that many of you join me.

This is turning into quite a ramble but I’m not going to apologise it’s what I do I’m afraid, I’ve been thinking about my photography a lot recently during quiet times when I’ve been out walking the dog, I of course would love to throw lots of money at it and buy copies of Photoshop, lightroom etc to go with the Leica rangefinder collection and big professional standard D-SLR with f1.4 prime lenses but of course I know that this won’t improve my eye one jot it will just make me lazy. Why bother chasing fantastic shots when I can just edit them later. Sure if I had the money I might invest in some of the above but I don’t so it’s irrelevant even thinking about it.

technology for the children

Something that I would like to do though is try shooting with lots of different camera’s especially older ones so if any of you out there have an old camera of any description lying unloved in a drawer that you’d like to donate to me I’d be most grateful. I have no prerequisites in this blatant begging process, I don’t care if it’s film or digital working or not, I’m sure that whatever it is I can learn something from it even if it’s just in the taking it apart and seeing how it all works inside because it’s beyond economical repair.

Otherwise how are you my friends of the blogosphere, are you keeping well?

I always love to hear from you and am getting pretty good at being interactive both within these pages and over on my google+ profile where you can not only interact with me but see lots more of my photography than I share here. I tend to post most of my pictures publicly so you don’t even need to sign up until you’re ready.

Thank you for taking the time to read this far.

Take care and until the next time

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

P.S.

The photo’s within the post are a few of the ones of which I’m most proud, and play no real part in the narative, I just like them. If you want to use any of them for personal use then please feel free, I’m happy for them to be published on personal blogs etc. as long as you provide a link back and credit.

Welcome back and thanks for visiting I know that I’ve been pretty dry on my good old fashioned rants of late but away from the fact that my two year old doesn’t want to eat his dinner until he’s been put to bed, screamed his lungs out till he’s gotten up and only then eaten his dinner (it’s only been a couple of days but it wears thin pretty quick) life in the Bunny Chow household has been sailing pretty smoothly.

Nanny Bunny Chow arrives this weekend anyway so she can assume the role of evil parent who insists that all meals don’t consist of yoghurt and cheese on toast.

Anyway back to photography, this weeks suggested theme from Google+ was depth of field. The ideal way of achieving depth of field is to open up your camera’s aperture to the lowest f-stop possible and you’ll get lovely creamy blurred backgrounds or bokeh but to get those really low f-stops you need really expensive posh equipment or at least equipment I don’t own with both of my camera’s only opening up to f2.8 I was forced to go with Macro and see how I got on. I also forced myself to shoot in colour for a change and am actually pretty pleased with how it turned out.

You can view the full album this shot came from here.

 

Depth of Field

 Next weeks theme is Spring/Autumn so I need to think about whether I go with the cliché and find some Daffodil’s (they weren’t in flower last night when I looked anyway) or go on the hunt for something more original.

As always I appreciate any and all feedback and invite you to share my photography with those around you.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

As I’m sure many of you are picking up by now I have fallen back in love with photography and spending as much of my limited free time as possible with a camera in hand experimenting and trying to learn more about this fascinating craft.

One of the things that I’m finding toughest though is that I’m too much of a wimp to approach strangers on the street and ask to take their portraits, nor am I brave enough to just take their pictures guerrilla style and not ask at all/ask later. I know that this is what many of the photographers I admire most do but I’m not there yet.

I know you’ve by now seen plenty of my abstracts and nocturnal wanderings but I’ve only had minimal exposure to portraiture away from my own kids and would love to learn more. So with that in mind I’m going to throw my cards on the table and offer myself out to you the public.

I can’t promise you amazing results but if you’d spare me yourselves I’m interested in taking portraits of you, your kids, your pets etc. etc.

For now at least I won’t charge for my time or digital copies of any pictures that you like so if you’re willing to come to me (Croydon, South London) it will be free, gratis, nada.

If you want me to travel or are looking for studio shots or prints then I’ll look to recoup my expenses and nothing more.

Give it some thought people, are your kids at that age where you want to remember them, are your parents getting wrinkly and interesting, do you have a wedding coming up and want some alternative candid shots (please still hire a pro it’s your special day after all) do you just fancy an afternoon having a giggle while I phaff about trying to look moody and cool.

My main passion is for Black and White but will experiment with whatever your needs may be.  

Please pass the word out to your friends and family and get in touch via rantingmrbunnychow@gmail.com and we’ll make a plan.

I look forward to the rush.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

another week seems to have flown on by and once again I’m sharing with you a photo from my project 52.

This weeks suggested theme was “in the workplace” and not wanting to take any clichéd shots of my desk and work station I tried to think outside of the box, as many of you know I work for a large car dealer group so could easily of taken shots of the showroom or the mechanics and their tools in the back but I didn’t really want to have to go through the explanations.

Instead the shot I have chosen was taken again using my little Canon IXUS 107 in the dumping ground above our parts department. I really like the mixture of textures and tones achieved.

What do you guys think?

In The Work Place

Next Week the suggested theme is depth of field so I’m going to have to put my thinking cap on.

 
Mazda5

Image via Wikipedia this isn't my car but the same colour and spec

We’ve now had the Mazda5 for a hundred miles or so and I thought I’d take a few minutes to share a few of my thoughts on how I find the car to live with on a day-to-day basis.

I’ll start out with the hits:

There is plenty of space with the seats moving in and out of their multitudinous functions with ease, it’s really great to be able to raise and lower seats single-handed when the other hand is invariably busy trying to hang on to a wriggling toddler. We’ve taken her shopping and made use of the extra seats a couple of times. I’ve even laid them all flat and loaded her up to the gunwales with half of a giant jungle gym we bought sight unseen.

maybe we should have thought about this before agreeing to buy it even if it's really cheap

I still have to go back and collect the rest of it, I probably could have got more in but ran out of time before work. Still it really is a huge amount of space and really easily accessible because of the clever seats and massive doors. Accessibility is after all why we needed a new car in the first place.

I’m also surprised by how sporty and quick it feels. Yes I’m sat high up but the 2.0l petrol engine is free revving and really picks up its skirt if you make use of your right foot in a lead booted manner, I was expecting to miss the performance of my Audi but the raspy Mazda engine if anything makes this feel quicker than the more refined Audi. Looking at my speed reference points, i.e. places where I know what speed is safe and possible, shows that the Audi probably has the edge but it’s much closer than I would have expected and certainly entertaining.  

For such a big car it’s incredibly easy to parallel park with huge mirrors, massive amounts of glass and the parking sensors we had fitted I’ve found I’m no longer driving round the block looking for bigger spaces as I was in the Audi.

Misses:

I’m probably being overly picky but here are some of my thoughts. Firstly if you’re in the market for a Mazda5 seriously consider whether you need/want the larger 17″ alloy wheels, they are certainly better looking than the 15″ or 16″ options on the market but boy do they make for a firm ride. I’m sure a lot of it is to do with the fact that the Mazda5 is trying to be a dad’s MPV and sporty or Zoom Zoom in Mazda parlance but it is possible to develop a sporty chassis/suspension setup that absorbs the bumps in the road as opposed to simply trying to bash them/my spine into submission. I know that I have been spoiled for the last couple of years but ouch.

The interior plastics are a little scratchy but that’s to be expected, what does get on my goat though are the information displays. At any one time I can either see what the outside temperature or the temperature I’ve set my climate control to. Minor irritation but still there. On the other side of the info display though is the one that’s really getting on my nerves I can either see the clock or information on fuel consumption, why, why why is the clock not always visible, which idiot made the decision to scrimp on a very cheap LCD display for an always on clock.

While we’re on the subject of fuel consumption the on dash display which is generally hiding behind the clock is set to display as litres per hundred miles, now I grew up in Africa and we always measured consumption there in litres per 100kms but I’ve been in Britain for a long time now so had gotten used to miles per gallon, it made sense to me and provided a reference for me to compare consumption between vehicles. The most obvious answer is that there should be a way of being able to choose the unit of measurement and I was even a big enough man to resort to reading the manual, well I looked at the pictures and still I cannot figure it out so at least for now I have no idea how much fuel I’m using. I’ll either figure it out or just get used to it but for now at the end of 100 odd miles and week one its irritating me.

Otherwise I’m happy with our purchase, We’ve been back and checked on the dealership we made the trade with and of course they’ve got our old cars on the forecourt marked up at 90% profit, but to be fair this will have been eaten into a huge amount by the work they needed to be prepped for sale, with things like MOT’s paint blemishes, ok scratches and general toddler filth, I don’t think we did too badly even if the dealer is still the one with the biggest smile.

Anyway those are my thoughts for the week.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

I could and probably should be writing a long-winded soppy post highlighting my love of the beautiful Mrs Bunny Chow today but I’m not going to. Mrs Bunny Chow I do love you very very much and think you’re amazing as highlighted by this picture.

you want how much for a card?

but instead of that soppy post that none of you want to read I’m going to share a blog post written by someone I’ve never met nor am I ever likely to meet but I think his points and feelings say more about what Valentines Day should mean to millions around the world.

His name is Garrett McCord and he’s primarily a food blogger and I like a lot of the stuff that he writes but on reading his post this morning it just about broke my heart that this far into the twenty-first century we as human beings are unable to act in a more civilised manner to each other.

Please world can’t we just accept that every one is entitled to live their lives being loved by someone and that that love should be offered the same rights and protections as any other couple. They’re not hurting you they’re just loving each other.

Give them what they deserve California, we’ve almost got it right here in the UK.

I’ll just say one more I love you to Mrs Bunny Chow and leave you to ponder where it all went so wrong.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

 

Happy Day to you all,

my challenge from the Google+ world this week was to photograph a fellow photographer/sucker a willing model into posing for me whilst I dicked about and thankfully an old friend who I’d not seen in years responded to my Facebook pleas and agreed to stand about in the snow whilst I dicked about.

So please give a big shout out to the beautiful Ms Webster (that’s not her real name but in the interests of maintaining some sort of Anonymity I’ve done what I did myself and named her after her dog)

For the photo geeks the picture was taken with my Fujifilm Finepix HS20EXR at F/5 for 0.003 sec (1/320) and ISO speed 400 and a focal length of 31.5mm.

Portraiture is not something I’ve done a lot of in the past so I’m actually quite please with how this picture came out but as ever would love to hear what you think of the picture.

other Photographers

Until next time

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

Good morning friends, family and others,

It has been a while since I’ve had a full-blown rant within these pages but I can hold back the tide no longer. This post is long and involves many asides to give background information and provide light humour for me the ranter.

As some of my long term readers may recall from mention in my earliest posts Mrs Bunny Chow and I were burgled back in March last year, we lost some of our most treasured possessions including but not limited to my grandfathers Omega, Mrs BC’s late fathers retirement watch, Mrs BC’s grandmothers jewelery, her late mothers jewelery. In the middle of the value scale (emotionally if not monetarily) we lost a whole bunch of consumer electronics, camera’s etc. etc. and then down at the bottom of the scale we also lost lots of really irritating things like my phone charger, I mean seriously a bloody phone charger, why steal someone’s phone charger, they’re not expensive it’s just irritating.

But anyway that’s just for background information to give you an idea of why I am shouting inside whilst bashing forcefully at my keyboard. The most irritating thing that was stolen was the spare keys to both of our cars, I say the most because now nearly a year later, we have spent the insurance money buying new stuff and whilst you cannot replace the sentiment attached to things that belonged to your departed loved ones, you can buy new stuff and it’s fun to be able to walk into a jeweller with a big voucher burning a hole in your pocket and go I’d like this, that and that, oooh and because we’re spending loads can we please have a big discount, thank you very much.

No I’m coming back to those car keys though, because they were not covered by our home insurance and being honest citizens we of course informed our car insurers of what had happened and attempted to make a claim to have the locks replaced. Hmmmm insurance company “we’ll offer you £100 per car”, hmmmm I don’t think that’s going to cover it, try closer to a grand per car, I shouted a lot at the time and made lot’s of poor telephone monkeys in regional towns question their will to live and tangle with a master of the telephone monkey game.

The long and short of it is after them confessing to me on a recorded call that had the cars been stolen they would have paid and that that yes they would indeed cover the lock replacements for both cars they were forced to do just that and to their credit they eventually did. This of course cost me my excess for both vehicles and meant that we both lost our no claims bonus.

At the same time as all of this wrangling was going on our car insurance was also up for renewal and we discovered that because someone had phoned our insurers and claimed that they might have hit one of our cars in their big 4×4 but they weren’t sure, at the time we had dismissed this and said, no the big 4×4 most certainly had not his us and that there was no damage to our car. Our insurers though took this months earlier reported and unclaimed for incident to assume that we were obviously high risk drivers because someone might have but didn’t drive into us tried to vastly increase our premiums.

Much more shouting at regional telephone monkeys and we managed to get this incident stricken from our record after they agreed to inspect our car for damage caused by this big 4×4 when it didn’t hit us months earlier. Surprise surprise they couldn’t find any damage from where the 4×4 didn’t hit us and struck the incident from the record bringing us back to just the two claims for the two cars keys and bringing us back to a still ridiculous but much more acceptable renewal premium.

We did shop around anyway and found them to still be the most reasonably priced option and stuck with them.

Right background to rant over and fast forward to the present day.

As mentioned we’ve just agreed to trade in the two cars for a newer single car as discussed earlier in the week and of course needed to organise some insurance for the new car as well as cancelling our policies for the cars we’re trading in. After doing lots of virtual leg work online and receiving all sorts of wild and wacky quotes ranging from the we won’t insure you at all because you don’t meet our demographic of never use the car but have it garaged and massaged only policies. To we don’t want your business but will give you a quote of £4000 per annum on the off-chance that you’re a moron and will buy it any way. To lots of the big advertising, big name insurers quoting around the £2000 mark down to the more sensible sorts of quotes that we were expecting around the £600 per annum mark.

Annoyingly cheapest on this list was our present insurer, but because of my past experiences with them I decided to ring a couple of the slightly more expensive options first, and what did I find out, that the cheapest three quotes we’d received were all from my present insurers trading under different names and that I might as well stick with the original letterhead as it was still slightly cheaper than going for the same company using a different letterhead. Aaaargh, I called them up and went through all of the usual what is your inner leg measurement and do you intend to actually use this car you are buying or just garage and massage it questions. 

Then we began discovering all sorts of interesting little asides, for example that because we’re not letting our old policies with them run for a full year we will not be entitled to claim any no claims discount that we’ve built up with them accrue we’d be starting again from scratch, so much for loyalty, it obviously means nothing to them, no of course it doesn’t they’re an insurance company and they have us by the short and curlies, we need insurance by law and they know it, ha ha ha ha, what a business plan they have.

Not to worry though Mr Bunny Chow we can offer you an accelerator policy which will allow you to accrue a years no claims discount if you buy a ten month instead of annual policy. Ok we’ll go for that then, right ok then move on, you’d like to pay monthly sir, we’ll that will be 15% more expensive, ok we’ll pay by credit card in one lump, of course no problem but we do charge you an extra £5.95 for the privilege of paying us by credit card.

Aaaargh, now because you are going from having two policies with us down to only the one policy it means that you lose the benefits of our advanced policy which means that we will no longer cover you for personal injury if hit by an uninsured driver and also in the event of total loss and you lose the right to a replacement vehicle whilst we investigate. Now I can add these options back on for you for an additional £56 each or if you were to take both and because I’m a smug telephone monkey and I like you I can offer them both to you for only an additional £91.60, No, well just remember Mr Bunny Chow that you cannot add these options on later because we’re and insurance company and have you by the short and curlies.

Right thank you for handing over your (actually Mrs Bunny Chow’s credit card) details and paying an additional £5.95 for the privilege, but because I’m a charming sales person with a regional accent and obviously paid far too well for anything but sales, in order to cancel the policies for your other cars I’ll need to transfer you to a moron in an Indian call centre, I will send you a free cuddly toy for your loyalty though…………..

“Ello my name is Sanjiv how may I be helping you please”, “I need to cancel the policies for my old vehicles please” Ok sir but please first I am asking for your inside leg measurement for security reasons I am needing to asking for this please, after going through this tedious process I hear cries for help emanating from the other end of the house and rush to the aid of Mrs Bunny Chow who has been attempting to persuade our toddler to try using his potty for the first time. Mrs Bunny Chow has succeeded in the persuasion but unfortunately our toddler has missed the potty. I hang up.

After operation clean poop off floor, now screaming toddler and side of potty, to be fair Mrs Bunny Chow was far more involved than me, I just fetched industrial strength cleaning products and attempted to control my gag reflex. Mothers are much better at this sort of thing and Mrs Bunny Chow is particularly amazing, I again attempted to complete operation lets give our money to lots of crooks who have us by the short and curlies buy car insurance.

“Ello my name is Ranjeev how may I be helping you please”, Hello Ranjeev I’d like to cancel two of my cars off of my policy, “ok no problem sir may I please be having your inside leg measurement for security purposes please”, waffle waffle yada yada, “thanking you very much Sir now please I need to be speaking with Mrs Bunny Chow to asking for her inside leg measurements and to asking her please the same questions I have just asked you now please sir” I tried arguing but Ranjeev was nothing if not persistent thorough so Mrs Bunny Chow duly took the phone and repeated the same yada yada waffle waffle I’d already been through before giving Ranjeev permission to speak with me about one of the cars on the policy.

I should explain this a little further because we had two cars under one umbrella/multicar policy we each had one car insured with us as the main driver and as named drivers on the other car. So despite it only being one policy in order to do anything we both have to be present but hey what do you expect they’re an insurance company and have us by the short and curlies.

Anyway once the yada yada’ing and waffle waffling was over I could get down to the reason for my call in the first place, “ok no problems please Mr Bunny Chow I will be more than happy to be helping you with this request please, as we have you by the short and curlies we will be charging you please £42.95 to be cancelling your policies before the term has ended please, no it is not mattering that you are a loyal customer who has taken out a new policy we are an insurance company who has you by the short and curlies please and anyway please we are sending you a free cuddly toy for your loyalty please.

Aaaargh!!!! We got there in the end, our new car is insured from Saturday and the policies on our old cars will be cancelled from Sunday night, now I suppose I should probably get on the phone to the dealership and make sure that the car definitely will be ready for us to collect this weekend.

It’s once again time to share a picture or three from my personal weekly photography challenge.

I’ve once again followed the theme suggested by the good people of Google+ which this week is shadows.

Next week might be a break away from them as the suggested theme is other photographers and being as I don’t really know any outside of the web it could be fun finding one before the end of next week.

Maybe I’ll have to co-opt one of my friends or family into posing for me, I’ll give it some thought, unless you want to volunteer yourself that is.

Anyway on to this weeks chosen picture, it was again taken with my little Canon IXUS 107, it really is proving itself to be a joy to use whilst producing some great shots that suit the style I’m trying to develop.

Because of the inclement weather I’ve been shooting whilst wearing gloves which pretty much means I have to use my feet as the zoom and think a little more about composition.

Mini Shadows

This week has also seen a few other captures that I’m really prod of and wanted to share so if you’d like to see a selection of them please click on this link.

otherwise I hope this finds you all well and I look forward to interacting with you in the near future.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

 

 

 

 

LightBox Tutorial.

this has got to be my next project.

Many thanks to Nick Exposed, you really should check out his blog and some of his daily photo posts.

He’s way more talented than me.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow