December 12 tips and tricks.jpg
Bell exposed for 1/1250 sec at f/4 and ISO 80. Darwin Bell

“I wanted a cat’s-eye view of my neighbor’s pet, so I set my Canon PowerShot G9 on the step of my stoop and waited for her to get accustomed to it,” says San Francisco-based artist and healthcare worker Darwin Bell. “Because the camera was a nonthreatening compact, she wasn’t disturbed by it.”

Soon enough, he reached down, pressed the shutter, and nabbed this beauty. His tips for feline photos:

● Avoid big cameras and lenses. When cats see big lenses, they tend to nose them. “You don’t want that,” says Bell. Use a wide-angle zoom setting, a compact camera that focuses close, and one like the G9 that has an articulated LCD screen.

● Natural light is best. Cats often bolt when a flash goes off.

● Focus manually to assure what should be sharp is indeed sharp. Luckily, compact cameras, even at their largest apertures, provide deep depth of field.

_See more of Darwin’s excellent work on Flickr. _