Cats have become an inseparable part of me since elementary school. That bond is more extended than anyone who ever lived with me. I wasn’t planning to photograph my cats when I first had my camera. I tried using my Fujinon lenses several times, and the result wasn’t what I expected because it’s tough to nail the focus, even when using an auto-focus mode.

One day, I bought a cheap Minolta Rokkor 58mm f/1.4. It’s a vintage manual lens from the 70’s. Though it’s a manual lens, making it even harder to use, I love the result. The bokeh is so beautiful it makes the picture pleasing to the eye even though the object is far from sharp because I kept missing the focus.

After that, not a single day did I miss not photographing my cats. I learned how to adjust my camera setting to make it easier to focus manually. And since I was already making it a habit, my hand muscle memory that handles the lens’ focus ring adjusts accordingly with my eyes and my brain to capture the right moment.

I also learned my cat’s habits before taking their pictures. Set the surrounding environment so my cat can easily get distracted by a sudden noise and freeze. Time to take their picture is also essential. I usually do it in the morning or afternoon when the sun rises or sets to get better lighting.

Cats have become an integral part of my life. They taught me to be a better photographer with manual lenses because of my passion for taking their pictures. But that passion has slowly faded since both of my dearest cats passed away. I only take pictures of stray cats while doing my street photography routine.