Saturday, January 22, 2011

Macro-in-a-Mason Jar

Wow, try saying that five times fast!

20101027_ps[1]-David Perry-opening photo

I've been saying it over and over since I first heard of the contest being sponsored at Gardening Gone Wild. It's a rather catchy phrase, quirky sounding, even. David Perry, the judge for this months contest, is known for his brilliant creations and concoctions on A Photographer's Garden Blog. But what does it mean, this 'm-i-a-m-j'? Well, exactly what it implies. Placing and photographing something (or some 'things') in a mason jar (or other similar glass container). Theoretically any camera can be used as long as it is capable of balancing the camera on the rim of the jar (or glass container) with the lens inside when in the 'on' mode. This method allows us to use a point and shoot camera, to create a 'macro view' that might be just as nice--or better--than what a more expensive macro lens on a more expensive digital camera might be able to produce using a tripod. Of course, David allows SLR cameras with macro lenses to be used in the contest, too, so it's up to each person to come up with their own plan. But I thought I'd try my point 'n shoot for this experiment, to utilize the little 'flower' symbol that serves as the macro setting...a setting I have to admit I had never tried before!

This past Tuesday was the day I chose to do some experimentation with this concept. It was an icy day outside as we'd had some sleet and freezing rain during the night, and everything was in a slightly frozen state. I had spent some time earlier taking some icy photos for a post entitled Now That's an 'ice Picture! I gathered up some goodies from the yard (ie): rose hips, nandina berries, dried agastache, echinacea and rose blooms and some acorns.

This is the glass canister that I first used to collect the garden materials...I've only included it here for  continuity.

I didn't do any particular arranging once inside the mason jar...I simply dropped the stuff in. One thing I did do, however, was place the jar in a blue glass bowl, filled with water. I was curious about the effect I might get. Around the edges of the container I placed the dried agastache blooms, some of the berries and rose petals.

I shot photos from various angles above and from the sides, first using my SLR camera with the regular--not the macro--lens attached. I never did actually think to try this using my large macro lens...that might have been interesting to compare.

Then I took shots using the Canon point 'n shoot. I varied what was placed underneath the jar and bowl just to see what results I could get. (I never thought to do that when I was using the SLR camera, so again, can't really do a full comparison).

Here, the mason jar is placed in the bowl filled with water and plant material, resting on a red place mat:

Here is the mason jar alone, on the counter top:

And here, the mason jar has been placed on an orangey/red Fiesta Ware plate:

Finally--the shot that my daughter told me looks the best, and which I at first chose as my entry in the contest-- the mason jar sitting on top of the red place mat. I had a hard time making a decision so I thought if I asked my daughter, it might help me.

My daughter nudged me toward this photo (above)...

...but I finally had to go back and choose this photo (above) because it was originally my intent to include the blue bowl  filled with water, and I want to be true to that. *I do think the lighting could have been improved in this one, however.

There is still time to try this out for yourself and contribute your work...the deadline isn't until midnight on January 24th...this coming Monday. Even if you aren't inclined to try it, you owe it to yourself to check out the extremely creative submissions at the Gardening Gone Wild website. It's always fun and entertaining, as well as a true educational experience, to visit!

Today I'm thankful to have had my daughter home from college for the weekend, as she helped me to think about my 'intent' for this project.

1/30/11: Congrat's to the winners! (I consider them all winners). I always find it interesting to see things from a judge's perspective.

Words and photos ©Thanks for today.™, by Jan Huston Doble
Written by Jan @ Not to be reproduced or re-blogged without express permission of the author.


  1. Jan, Love the shot you picked! Your daughter was right! Well done!

  2. How mice to do that I gone try my self the results are splendid !!!

  3. Well done, Jan. Very interesting idea.


  4. Jan this is good...I tried but lost the the one you chose!

  5. Thank you all. I am not sure I chose the correct one...but then again, there probably isn't a 'correct' one. It's all in the eye of the beholder, as most things in life seem to be;-) If you haven't tried it though, it's fun, and well worth the 'experience':-)

  6. Oh yeah, I knew yours would be excellent. I even tried food coloring in the water ... that was interesting too. Good Luck! I'm glad you have time with your daughter.

  7. I couldn't decide on the right one to submit for the contest and I asked my daughter for help as well. LOL! However, I am sure your daughter picked the right one. All the best!

  8. Thank you for showing us the comparisons, Jan. I'd like to try this, but am slow in getting it done. :-)

  9. What a clever idea for a photo contest. I like your daughter's pick but they're all very cool. Good luck!

  10. Those are stunning. I'm going to try that.

  11. They are so pretty Jan! I am enjoying seeing these posts and how everyone is so creative. Love the red berries in your jar.

  12. What a fun project. I hope you win. Maybe I'll give it a go myself...

  13. How pretty! I wanna try!

  14. pretty shots! I love your wintertime material. Enjoy the weekend with your daughter!

  15. Amazing and informative! Love the results!

    Enjoy the weekend!


  16. I haven't tried this technique yet, but your great shots, along with everyone else's, really has me intrigued. Hmmm, should I try it?

  17. Hi Jan,

    These photos remind me of kaleidoscopes...very creative and fun way to utilize a mason jar. I want to give this technique a try...just for fun.
    I think your daughter chose well!
    Good luck to you with the photography contest!

  18. Wow! How creative you are, Jan! Love especially the pink one chosen by your daughter. The background reminds me of a baby's smocked frock...simply beautiful and mystifying that you were able to get such awesome results from your concoctions! All the best to you in the contest!

  19. Wow - what a genius idea! All the photos are great but the one you picked is stunning! Good luck!

  20. Ok, now I know I understand that meme...saw it elsewhere and wasn't sure.
    Love all your colorful shots.
    Must be hard to judge. Are there different categories ?

  21. Hi Jan,
    Looks like you had a lot of fun, too. I like your entry!

  22. Hi, Jan. That is a wonderfully creative arrangement. Love that blue bowl for the background. I think you've interpreted the theme well.

  23. Jan, thank you for your comment on my photo. I really enjoyed your photo and the flowers you chose.

  24. Hi Jan, what an intriguing idea, and you obviously had a lot of fun with it with great results. I personally like the one on the red place mat, but they are all good. So you ended up submitting a photo made with your point and shoot rather than with the SLR?

  25. Hi

    Thanks for the comment on my entry. I love the vibrant colours in yours. It'll be fun to see what David Perry makes of all of these!

  26. I've always wanted to try this project ... you did good, girl :) Good luck!

  27. Jan, these are just soooo fantastic; cheery and colourful and wonderfully whimsical. I wish you the very best with this one--I had no time to participate but I've enjoyed seeing some of the entries, and am glad I'm not judging this competition...

  28. Good Morning Jan. I love your kaleidoscope effect! Beautiful! Best of luck!

  29. The photos are just gorgeous! What a neat idea!


Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment! Please enjoy your TODAY and all of the gifts in YOUR garden of life!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Post Topics

17 year Cicadas...Enough Already! 2011 Official Post 2012 4th of July collage 5-lined skink A Certain Kind of Light A Cozy Fire A Dusting of Snow A Family Meal A Hawkish Tale A Little Bit of Winter A Visit From Miss Glad on Blooming Friday A Visit With The Queen A Warm Cup of Tea Acorns African Violets African Violets:Kitty Style Agastache Allium Am I too late for GBBD Amaryllis Amazing Zinnias American Beautyberry American Hazelnut American Lady American Robin Anemone Anenome Anglewings Anise Hyssop Another Birthday aphids April 2010 April blooms Arbor Day Are Words Really Necessary? Artemesia Asarum Asclepias Asiatic lilies Aster Aster Yellows Audubon-at-Home August 2009 GBBD August 2013 Autumn Autumn Reflections Awards Awesome Azaleas Azalea on Ice;Picture This Photo Contest;Winter's Beauty Azaleas Azealea Back Yard Backyard Bird Series backyard birds Backyard Makeover Bald Eagles Balloon Flower Bee Collage Bee-Balm Bees Bees Busily Buzzing on Blooms Before and After Being Settled berries Big Eyes Bird Collage Bird Conversations Bird Itch Birdfeeding Birds Birds Before Blooms Birthday Books Black Swallowtail Black Swallowtail Butterflies Black Swallowtail butterfly cats Blackeyed Susan Bleeding Heart Blog Anniversary Blogger blogging blogging friends Blogiversary Blooming Friday Blotanical Blotanical awards Blotanical's 2009 Best Virginia Award Blue Blooms Bluebeard Bluebird Bluebird Fledglings Bluebird in Snow Botanical Interests Boulder Bouquet of the Month:April 2010 Bouquet of the Month:March 2010 Bright Flowers broad-winged damselfly Brown Creeper Brunnera Buddleia Bugbane Bulbs BulbsSproutinginPot Bumblebees Butterflies BUTTERFLIES LIVE Butterfly on Salvia Butterfly weed Calorie-Free Candy Camera-less in April Can You Guess What This Is? Can You Please Identify Me Can't Get Enough Cosmos Cancer Experience Cardinal Cardinal (Female) Cardinal (Male) Cardinal Flower Carolina Wren Carolyn's Shade Gardens Carpenter Bees Carpet Rose Caryopteris Caryopteris x clandonensis Catmint Cedar Waxwing CedarWaxwing celandine poppy Celebrate Your Freedom Cercis canadensis Certified Wildlife Sanctuary Chelone Cherry Blossoms Chickadee Chris McLaughlin Christmas Fern Christmas Rose Chrysanthemum Cicada's Ahead of Schedule Cicada's May 2009 Cicadas May 2013 Cinquefoil Clematis CobraHead Collage Collages Columbine Common Buckeye Common Whitetail dragonfly Composter Coneflower Containers Cooper's Hawk Coral Red Honeysuckle Coreopsis Corona Corydalis Cosmos Covered Hellebore Plants Cozy and Warm Cranberrybush Vibernum Crepe Myrtle Crested Iris Crocus Crocus 'Romance' Crow Cut Flowers From My Garden Cutleaved Coneflower Daffodil Daffodils dainty blue flowers Dayflower Daylilies December 2010 December Birds Deer Poop Desert Island Plant Challenge Desperate for Color on Bloom Day Devastation in the Garden Devotion Dicentra Digitalis purpurea Does This Outfit Make Me Look Fat? Dogs Dragonflies Dragonfly or Damselfly Dried Blooms ducklings Dutchman's Breeches Dwarf Nandina Dwarf Sumac e-Bird e.e.cummings e.e.cummings:i thank You God for most this amazing Earth Day Eastern Bluebird Eastern Comma butterfly Eastern Redbud Eastern Tiger Swallowtail eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly Ebony Jewelwing Echinacea Elderberry Emily Dickinson End of the Line Epimedium Euphorbia Evening Primrose facebook Faith Fall Color Project Feasting on Seeds Feb 2010 GBBD Feb 2010 monster storm Feeling Blue Feeling Blue? Finch Fire Pink First Day of April First Snow First Snowfall Project Fiskars Flame Azalea Flat Tire Basket Flick'r photo large sizes Floral Collages Focal Black and White photo Foliage-Followup Forsythia Fourth of July Foxglove Foxy in November Free Will Friends Fritillaria Frozen Blooms Galanthus Garden Garden Blessings Garden Blogger Bloom Day:November 2008 Garden Blogger Muse Day November 2009 Garden Blogger Muse Day:December 2008 Garden Blogger's Bloom Day:January 2009 Garden Bloggers Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Garden Bloggers Muse Day Garden Bloggers Muse Day (April 2009) Garden Bloggers Operation Christmas Child Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day Garden Bloggers' Muse Day: June 2009 Garden Books Garden Give Away Garden Give Aways Garden Give-Aways Garden Product Give Away Gardening Gone Wild photography contest Gardening Nude Gardening-by-Letter project GardenShoesOnline Garter Snake Ingests Toad GBBD Febrary 2009 GBBD July 2009 GBBD June 2010 GBBD March 09 GBBD:December 2008 GBMD May 2009 GBMD:January 2009 Geese in a Row--and Ducks too Giant Hyssop Give-Away Winner Gladiola Gloves Go Native Goblins and Pumpkins and Snakes oh my God in the Garden Golden Groundsel Goldenglow Goldenrod Goldfinch Goodbye March Graham Rice Gramma's Afghan Grapes Grasshopper Grateful Great Backyard Bird Count Great House Plant Census of 2010 Green and Gold Green Cure fungicide Hairy Woodpecker Happy Father's Day Haven Brand Manure Tea Hawk hawks Heated Birdbath Heather Heliopsis Heliotrope Hellebore Hellebore Collage HelleboreHover Hellebores Hellebores Book Give-Away Helleborus Helleborus niger Help Identify Animal Tracks Henry David Thoreau: Hepatica Heron Heuchera High School Orchestra Concert Highbush Blueberry Hip Mountain Mama Holiday Stress Holiday stress: How Much is Self-Imposed Holly Honored and Humbled Hornworms House Finch Hummingbird Clearwing Hyacinth Hyacinths Hylotelephium I Am Truly Thankful! I'm a bit Bee-hind Iberis Ice on Stream Ice Storm Ilex Impatiens Indentifying Butterflies Iris Iris reticulata It's Here Its Grown On Me Jacob's Ladder January 2010 snow January 2011 January 2013 Japanese Anemone Joe Pye Weed John Keats July garden 2010 Junco June 19th 2009 Just Be Gardens Kerria Kerria-Japanese Rose Keter Dynamic Composter Kombi Ladybird Johnson Lake Anna Lake Anna June 2009 Lake Vacation Lamium Lantana Late to the Party Again lavender Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Leyland Cypress Liatris Life Experiences Light Lilac Bush Limestone Liriope Liverwort Lobelia Lonicera sempervirens Luna the Greyhound Lungwort Lyme Disease Lyme Disease has gone to my Head Macro in a Mason Jar Mallard ducks March Birthday Bloggers March GBBD mention master gardener May 2010 May Apple Meaning Memorial Day 2010 Memories Mertensia Mid Summer's Eve Mid-June Blooms MidMarch Blooms and Foliage Milkweed Miniature Dachshund mishmash wednesday Mistflower Mites Monarchs Monarchs and Milkweed Monarda Monkshood Monthly Garden Bouquet Moon More April Bouquets Morning Light Mountain Laurel Mourning Doves MuhlyGrass Mums Muscari Muscle My Cat Smokie My Daughter My Dog James My Family My FIRST Enlarged Photo My Husband My Mother My Son My Yard Mystery Tracks Nandina Nandina berries National Cherry Blossom Festival Native Ginger Native Honeysuckle native plants Natural Habitat Nepata New York Fern Non-Natives Northern Flicker Not The Best Notecards November 2009 GBBD Now that's an 'ice picture Obedient Plant Oct 2008 GBBD Almost Ready Oct 2009 October 2009GBBD Of Gloves and Shovels Oh Say Can You See Okay so who or what is eating my plants Oliver Herford:I Heard a Bird Sing Operation Christmas Child Pain Management Techniques Pansies Pansy paperwhites Pay It Forward Project Pay-It-Forward gift-giving exchange Peanut Feeder Peonies by Mary Oliver Peony Perennials Perennials in my garden Perovskia Personal Poetry Personal Poetry: Petunia Phlox Phlox paniculata photo contest Photography Contests phytoplasma Pieris Pieris Japonica Pileated Woodpecker Pine Siskin Pink Azalea Pink Peony Planting Natives Plants on Ice Poetry Pollinators Polymonium Pond Critters Poppy Potentilla Potomac River Pretty Pink Peony Has Popped Prize Winners Product Reviews Project FeederWatch Pulmonaria Pumpkin Carving Purple Coneflower Purpose Questionmark butterfly radishes Rain Rain Barrel Rainbarrel Rainbow Project Rainy Days Raspberry and Lemon Sherbet Reasons I Garden red admiral Red Winged Blackbird Red-Bellied Woodpecker Red-Spotted Purple Red-winged Blackbird Redbud Relaxing Remember Renee's Garden Revised GBBD February 15 Richmond VA Robert Frost Robin Robin'sNestingPlace Rock Soapwort Rock Solid RockSoapwort Roly-Poly Squirrel Rose hips Roses Roses with Thorns Rosy Maple Moth Rudbeckia Rudbeckia lanciniata Russian Sage S.A.D. Salvia Salvia greggi Samuel Taylor Coleridge:The Nightengale Sanguinaria Scilla Seagulls Seasonal Affective Disorder Security Blanket Sedum Sedum Autumn Joy Seed Planting Experiment Seed Starter System Seed-Planting Experiment#1 Seed-Planting Experiment#2 Seed-Planting Experiment#2 (cont.) Seeds Sense of Humor September blooms September Blooms:A Series of Surprises September Surprises #3 Serviceberry Shades of Blue Shady Gardener:Gladsome Be? sharing Sharp-shinned Hawk Shawna Coronado Shirl's Garden Watch Siberion Buglose Skink Slaty Skimmer dragonfly Snake Snake skin Snow Snow in Spring Snowdrop Anenome Snowdrops Snowstorm Solomon's Seal Sounds of the Birds Speedwell Spicebush Swallowtail Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly cats spicebush swallowtail caterpillar Spider Webs Spiderwort sprained ankle Spring Buds and Bulbs Spring Has Sprung Spurge Squirrel Squirrels stainless steel water bottle Standard Poodle Starling Steam on Fence Strawberries Succulents Summer Flowers SunRays Sunrise Sustainable Living project Swallowtail Butterflies Sweaters Hoods and Coats Sweet Allysum Sweet William Teacup and Teapot Tete-a-Tete Thank You to Phillip Thanksgiving The Best Christmas Gifts The Complete Idiot's Guide to Composting The Gardener's Guide to Growing Hellebores The GGW photo contest I 'almost' entered on time The Multi-Hued Greens of Spring The Ocean The Seed Keeper Company The Sun Shines at Night The Thrush This Ain't No April Fools Joke This aMayzing Day Thyme Tiarella Titmouse Toad Lily Tools Toulouse goose Tradescantia Tree Sparrow Trees Trillium Trout Lily Tufted Titmouse Tulips Tulips in Spring Tulips on Thursday Turtle Crossing turtle garden Turtlehead TX-Bluebonnet Umbrella VA Gardener Magazine Valentine's Display variegated foliage Verbena Veronica Vinca Violas Virginia Bluebells Virginia Gardener Magazine Wake Robin Walt Whitman:Miracles Washington DC Water Fountain Water Garden Waterfall/Stream WBBS Wednesday Words Weeping Willow West County Gardener What Are You Waiting For What d'ya think Janet What's Happening? What's New in November White Embden geese White Peony White-Breasted Nuthatch Wild Geranium Wild Ginger Wildflower Wednesday Wildflowers Will the Real Turtle Please Come Out William Wordsworth William Wordsworth:The Daffodil's Willow Leaved Sunflower Window; Death; Personal Photography Winter I Am So Over You Winter is for the Birds Winter Light Winter Solstice winter storm slide-show Winter Walk-Off 2014 Winterberry Witch Hazel Woodfern Woodland Pinkroot Woodpecker WORDLESS Friday Wordless Wednesday: Wren X-Rated Yellow but not Mellow Yesterday and Today Zinnia Zinnia Bud (Plan B)