Q.

I inherited several albums and scrapbooks filled with old family photos and snapshots of great sentimental value. They are arranged haphazardly and I wish to remount them in new albums.

Unfortunately, most of them have been stuck down with what appears to be liberal amounts of waterproof household glue, probably something like Elmer's. That's bad enough, but they are mounted back-to-back on both sides of many of the sheets!

Careful dabbing with water, alcohol and terpolene doesn't work, nor can I tease the photos apart with a hobby knife without damage.

Do you have any suggestions?

A.

This is a tough one. I was in a similar situation a couple of years ago and tried the same things.

The only thing that worked for me at all was soaking the pages in a tray of water for over a week until all that black paper disintegrated. In some cases that freed the prints that were back-to-back.

The biggest problem is that that iron glue didn't dissolve so it was extremely difficult to re-dry the prints. In most cases I just air-dried them or used blotters.

If all else fails, you have to do some copying. If that's not possible, do your remounting with the shot you prefer on display.

Q.

I have a Nikon EM with the 50mm Series E lens and also an Albinar wide angle lens and a telephoto lens. I would like to get a zoom lens for general purpose use and in the mid-range price. What would you suggest?

A.

Without knowing what the focal lengths of your wide angle and telephoto are, I think you're ready for a 70-210mm zoom or something in that range.

This will enable you to expand your photography to such things as nature (there are some great shots to be had of squirrels and birds in the back yard), sports (visit your own neighborhood high school and make some really great stuff) and some remarkably good portraits (try some open shade pictures on a bright, sunny day).

Visit your camera store and try out a couple on your camera.

The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is holding a photo contest. Entries, either in color or black and white, will be judged in three categories: "Form and Function," which focuses on the building itself; "People Plus," a candid look at the Museum's visitors; and "Capturing the Collection," which centers on the exhibits and artifacts.

Prizes of $500, $250, $100 and camera bags will be awarded for the top four winners in each category. Winners will also be on display at the Museum for six months.

The contest ends November 30. For information and entry forms, call 357-2700.

Here's one of the season's most intriguing contests:

Sponsored by the Coalition for Scenic Beauty, it's called "The 1987 Lens on Billboards" contest.

Entries should show how billboards negatively impact on: public health and safety; scenic beauty; the urban environment; the rural environment; residential neighborhoods, parks, schools or historic districts; efforts to curb smoking, drunk driving and alcohol abuse.

Photos will be judged for a public health message, an anti-pollution message, originality and photographic quality.

Top prize is $250. For more information: CSB, 218 D St. SE, Washington DC 20003. 546-1100.

Here's a freebie I'm delighted to recommend: Fuji Film U.S.A. has come out with a second printing of its 32-page booklet, "Take Your Best Shot: A Fuji Guide to Travel Photography."

It covers such topics as choosing and packing camera equipment; shooting on location; photographing people, parades and festivals; and capturing details and closeups.

The booklet points out that the key to good travel still pictures and videotapes is to do some advance planning and prepare your shots carefully. It is clearly written and takes the mystery out of some of the things that perplex travelers. The illustrations are good and really make their point.

To get it, write Fuji Film Travel Photography Guide, P.O. Box 3737, Grand Central Station, New York NY 10163. Allow four to six weeks for delivery.

Carl Kramer deals with questions of general interest but cannot respond individually. Address him c/o Weekend, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington DC 20071.