Winter Macro Assignment Winner Jessica Nelson

Congratulations to Jessica Nelson for winning the recent Winter Macro Assignment with the image, “Frozen Bubbles.” See more of Nelson’s photography at

View the winning image and a selection of submissions in the gallery below. And be sure to check out our current photography assignment here and enter your best shots!

Winner: "Frozen Bubbles" By Jessica Nelson


"The polar vortex had hit Maryland and it was about 7 degrees outside at the warmest part of the day," says Nelson. "I had tried shooting frozen macro bubbles before but failed miserably. So this time I decided I'd try harder. I mixed up my liquid, which was a cup filled 1/2 way with warm water, a couple of squeezes of dishwashing soap, a few scoops of sugar for the crystals and some corn syrup to thicken it up a little. Then I put the mixture in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes to get it cold. I used a straw to stir the mixture and blow the bubbles. That seemed to give me more control and the ability to make them smaller. I took it all out onto my front yard where the sun was out because I wanted the bubbles to have some nice natural light and starbursts.

"I had to work carefully and quickly because the bubbles would pop and freeze almost instantly. Therefore, I had my settings all ready to go. I was shooting at ISO 100, f/11, 1/200 sec. I was using my Sony a7III with my Canon 100L macro lens adapted. Some of these were shot in manual focus because it was easier to grab focus, but then I switched to autofocus to see if I could shoot faster, which I did. I also underexposed by just under 1 stop because of the bright sun and I didn't want to blow out the details of the crystals. While I prefer summer shooting, I'm very pleased with myself that I braved the cold and powered through."