Cats make ideal inside subjects for your camera. If you're stuck in the house this winter you can find the domestic equivalent of an African safari in the warmest spot in the room, where any comfort-loving kitty is.
Unlike dogs, cats have never quite left their jungle home. No matter how lazily they lounge around the fireside or cozily rub against your leg, they're instantly alert when they feel the call of the wild.
This feral quality can be aroused by a buzzing fly, a flitting moth or even the rustle of a breeze-swept curtain. Or it can be stimulated by teasing with a ball of string, making a scratching noise or barking like a dog. Whatever causes the reaction, you have to be quick to capture it with a camera.
The best way to stalk a cat is with a flash. Dim inside lighting requires slow shutter-speeds which blur the action. If you have an automatic flash, set the f/stop for the near range. If you have to figure the setting from the Guide Number, set for three- to five-feet distance.
A short telephoto lens -- the 80mm to 135mm range -- is the ideal caliber for the hunt. It will get you a large enough quarry and yet keep you from intruding.
If all else fails and cat is just too comfortable to be disturbed, there's a surefire way to attract attention -- go fishing. A swimming aquarium fish is an object a cat can't resist. Q. I have some color prints from my 35mm camera which I would like to make into slides. But at $5 each commercially, it's out of the question. Is it possible for me to make my own slides by shooting the prints? A. Of course. Nothing could be simpler. All the special equipment you need is a close-up filter for your lens so you can get a full-size image. These filters (really close-up lenses) come in sets and are numerically graded for distance. Ask your photo store to show you what's available. (Take one of your prints with you, so you can move in close on the print and judge which filter you need.)
When copying, be sure to have an even, non-glare light on the print. This can be in the sunlight if it's shining from a side angle. Be sure to move in close and not show the edges of the print in your viewfinder so that your copy will look like an original.
If you don't have an Slr (Single-Lens Reflex) camera which permits you to look directly through the lens, but have a range-finder model instead, you can still make copies.
For the range-finder model you have to open up the back and hold a piece of ground glass (tracing paper will do) on which to focus your image. Put the shutter setting on T (time) so the shutter stays open. Then move the copy back and forth until you get the right size image as you focus with the close up lens through the back of the camera.
Once you have the distances set, fix your camera on a tripod and outline the print so you can put the successive copies in the same place.
After you have determined your distance and focus, proceed as for any copy.