How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Some time ago, I noticed that I had many, many photos of cars. Fast cars. Rare cars. Shiny cars. Racecars. Odd cars. I needed something to set my amateur-hour photography apart from the rest. I needed...a bunny. Meet Fluffy Bunny, Eater of Souls.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

See, I am fairly new to tinkering around with an entry-level DSLR. Sure, I was a film major back in the day, but them's movin' pictures. Believe me, it's a lot easier to capture movement with a video camera than it is in a still photograph.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

When you're shooting shiny moving objects, some Brandon LaJoie-type is inevitably going to show up and make you feel like a total n00b in comparison.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

If I can't get the best shots yet, I might as well be unique somehow—with a bunny.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

I collect stuffed animals like this (Puffalumps), so I have a lot of bunnies to choose from. I could even throw a duckie or a kitty in for good measure, but since my LeMons car's mascot is a bunny, the bunny makes the most sense.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Even though Fluffy Bunny usually appears in photos of things that are sitting still, photographing a pastel lilac bunny against backgrounds that are often dark (black seats, carbon fiber, garages—you name it) is harder than it looks.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

It's far too easy for the bunny to be blown out of the shot from overexposure, or for the background to be underexposed and lose all of its detail to compensate for a lilac bunny. Sometimes you have to compromise—do I want to see the background, or do I want to see the bunny?

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Don't use automatic point-and-shoot mode if you can avoid it. Sure, if you're short on time, grab your bunny shot and run away. Otherwise, having to adjust all the controls to compensate for a bright pastel thing in the middle of your picture will teach you a lot about how a camera works.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Of course, if you've loaned out your "real camera," there's nothing wrong with whipping out your iPotato for a couple shots, but it's less interesting than working with a bigger camera with a ton of settings.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Many of us here prefer the challenge of driving a manual transmission over an easier automatic or PDK because getting it right is so much more fulfilling. It's a feat. I'm the same way with my camera. I may take twenty shots to get one that's perfect, but that one is probably going to end up as my computer desktop.

If you need more serious photography advice than "buy a Puffalump," there's a whole Kinja group-blog dedicated to photography now, too.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

We also like to ask "Will it baby?" as a measure of a potentially impractical car's real usefulness. As wonderful as children can be, "Will it bunny?" is a lot less expensive, plus the rabbit is easier to take care of and easier to stuff into hilarious places without anyone calling the authorities for stuffed animal abuse. When Fluffy Bunny comes home smelling like brake dust and rubber marbles, all I have to do is toss her in the laundry—no "take a bath, kid" begging required!

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

For the record, press credentials sort of bunny—but they are a little big.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Editors bunny, too. Who'd have thought?

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Obviously, racing drivers bunny.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Even really, really famous ones. Yep, Hurley Haywood held my LeMons team mascot.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Sometimes people recognize the bunny. "Is that a Puffalump?" Why, yes, it is. One of the crew members on the CJ Wilson Racing team said that he recognized my Puffalump because he had one as a kid. They later won with one of the MX-5s that Fluffy Bunny sat in. Coincidence? I think not.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Miatas tend to multiply like rabbits, so of course they bunny.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Unfortunately, Bunny usually can't reach the pedals. Given that she is the Eater of Souls, maybe this is a good thing.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Bunny can't reach the pedals or handlebars on a bicycle, either. Or, you know...pedal.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Brake ducts, wheel arches, hood scoops and all forms of ventilation become rabbit holes for Fluffy Bunny.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Cup holders are a great test of bunny worthiness. If they can devour a whole Puffalump like an '02 Altima's do, they're probably too large. Lay off the jumbo Slurpees, man.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

Racetracks' start/finish lines will bunny, but I would only try this when there is no traffic—vehicular or otherwise.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

I say this because one of my friends accidentally hit a bunny—a live one, not a stuffed one. As for his car, I knew it would bunny right in the part of the splitter where that poor, poor lagomorph bit the dust.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

RIP, bunny.

How A Stuffed Bunny Taught Me How To Photograph Cars

So, take care of your bunny. I may have started sitting mine on things as a joke to see what I can photobomb with a Puffalump, but it's become an awesome way to figure out how to use a more complicated camera.

Photo credits: Desi Rodriguez (Magnus Racing, Hurley Haywood, Telmex bicycle, 911 and 911er)