I’ve recently been trying to get into stock photography. So far I’m up and going on Shutterstock (http://submit.shutterstock.com/?ref=1128698), and am now trying to get onto iStock. I uploaded my sample images to iStock and they said I should submit a more diverse portfolio, as all my samples were of wildlife. So this weekend I set out to try and get a few good macro images, using my Canon 550D and Sigma 105 mm macro lens. The thing about macro is that you have to be zoned out to everything else – for me that involved walking right past an African Paradise Flycatcher which was posing perfectly with a bug in it’s beak. I find that trying to do two or more types of photography at the same time often dilutes the end results. My venue of choice was the stunning Lowveld National Botanical Garden, a peaceful haven of riverine forest and open lawns along the banks of the Crocodile River, altogether a superb place for mission at hand, though due to the cooler weather on the day there weren’t as many big bugs about as I had expected. With the 105 mm lens it’s not easy to get up close and perfectly focused on moving subjects, or those that are moving haphazardly anyway. One needs to find stationary subjects, or those, such as ants in a column, which are moving along a predictable path. The trick then is to get your tripod opened out so that you can get down to the right level, and to then, using live view, zoom in and get the precise focus on the right part of the subject and take photos using a cable release to avoid camera shake. When done this way the results are great, delivering extreme sharpness even when viewed at 100%. One of my subjects was this fig which had fallen from the tree and which was attracting fruit flies. At 100% those flies in the centre of the fruit are pin-sharp, which would be unachievable without using live-view. I will probably go back to the gardens soon to complete the mission and get signed up with iStock. I’ll keep you posted!