Wee Wonders: Top 20 Nikon Small World Contest Photos
1st Place, Dr. Oscar Ruiz
Credit: Dr. Oscar Ruiz
Mention the words “nature photography,” and many people think of sweeping skies, expansive mountain vistas, or a seemingly endless stretch of open ocean.
Big views are certainly impressive. But sometimes, when it comes to capturing the unique and remarkable beauty that nature has to offer, you have to think small.
For Nikon’s annual “Small World” photo competition, thinking small is the name of the game. Photographers peered closely at animals, plants and fungi; they pinpointed details too small to be seen with the naked eye, using microscopes’ and cameras’ magnifying lenses to reveal astonishingly delicate and unusual structures. The best of the Nikon Small World bunch were announced today (Oct. 19) — here are the top winners. [Read the full story about the 2016 Nikon Small World contest]
Garnering 1st place in the Nikon Small World 2016 contest, Dr. Oscar Ruiz from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, captured this four-day-old zebra fish with a confocal lens at 10x magnification.
2nd Place, Douglas L. Moore
Credit: Douglas L. Moore
Douglas L. Moore from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and the Museum of Natural History in Wisconsin, reaped 2nd place in the Nikon Small World 2016 competition with this close-up image of a polished slab of Teepee Canyon agate, captured with stereomicroscopy at 90x magnification.
3rd Place, Rebecca Nutbrown
Credit: Rebecca Nutbrown
From the University of Oxford, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Oxford, UK, Rebecca Nutbrown used multiple methods — a confocal lens, immunofluorescence and iPSCs — at 20x magnification resulting in this photo of a culture of neurons (stained green) derived from human skin cells, and Schwann cells, with a second type of brain cell (stained red) and received 3rd place in the Nikon Small World 2016 Photomicrography Competition.
4th Place, Jochen Schroeder
Credit: Jochen Schroeder
This intriguing image from Jochen Schoeder in Chiang Mai, Thailand, used image stacking at 6.3x magnification captures tiny butterfly proboscis, and 4th place in the Nikon Small World 2016 contest.
5th Place, Dr. Igor Siwanowicz
Credit: Dr. Igor Siwanowicz
Winning 5th place in the Nikon Small World 2016 competition, Dr. Igor Siwanowicz from the Janelia Research Campus of Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn, Virginia, submitted this photo of the front foot (tarsus) of a male diving beetle captured with a confocal lens at 100x magnification.
6th Place, Marek Mis
Credit: Marek Mis
Marek Mis of Suwalki, Podlaskie in Poland, garnered 6th place in the photomicrography competition for imaging these air bubbles formed from melted ascorbic acid crystals using polarized light at 50x magnification.
7th Place, Dr. David Maitland
Credit: Dr. David Maitland
From Feltwell, UK, photographer Dr. David Matiland submitted leaves of Selaginella(lesser club moss) collected using differential interference contrast at 40x magnification and received 7th place in the Nikon Small World competition.
8th Place, Samuel Silberman
Credit: Samuel Silberman
An intimate image of wild flower stamens, snapped using fiber optic illumination at 40x magnification, offered by Samuel Silberman of Monoson Yahud, Israel, garnered 8th place in the contest.
9th Place, Vin Kitayama and Sanae Kitayama
Credit: Vin Kitayama and Sanae Kitayama
Taking 9th place in the photomicrography contest by Nikon, Vin Kitayama and Sanae Kitayama from the Vinsanchi Art Museum Azumino in Azumino, Nagano, Japan, presented the stunning image of expresso coffee crystals taken in polarized light.
10th Place, Rogelio Moreno Gill
Credit: Rogelio Moreno Gill
With an image of Frontonia (showing ingested food, cilia, mouth and trichosysts) taken using differential interference contrast at 200x magnification, Rogelio Moreno Gill of Panama, Panama, recieved 10th place in the Nikon Small World 2016 competition.
11th Place, Francis Sneyers
Credit: Francis Sneyers
Scales of a butterfly wing underside (Vanessa atlanta) collected using macroscopy at 10x magnification, garnered Francis Sneyers of Brecht, Belgium 11th place in the contest.
12th Place, Dr. Dylan Burnette
Credit: Dr. Dylan Burnette
Dr. Dylan Burnette of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, used structured illumination at 9x magnification to offer this image of a human HeLa cell undergoing cell division (cytokinesis) — DNA in yellow, myosin II in blue and actin filaments in red — and received 12th place in Nikon Small World 2016.
13th Place, Walter Piorkowski
Credit: Walter Piorkowski
From South Beloit, Illinois, Walter Piorkowski used fiber optic illumination and image stacking at 16x magnification to present the poison fangs of a centipede (Lithobius erythrocephalus) and take home 13th place in the photomicrography contest.
14th Place, Dr. Keunyoung Kim
Credit: Dr. Keunyoung Kim
Garnering 14th place in the Nikon Small World 2016 contest, Dr. Keunyoung Kim from the University of California, San Diego, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR) in La Jolla, California submitted this image of mouse retinal ganglion cells at 40x magnification using both fluorescence and a confocal lens.
15th Place, Geir Drange
Credit: Geir Drange
Geir Drange from Asker, Norway, took 15th place in Nikon Small World 2016 with the head section of an orange ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata) taken with reflected light and focus stacking at 10x magnification.
16th Place, Stefano Barone
Credit: Stefano Barone
Using darkfield imaging at 100x magnification, Stefano Barone from the Diatom Shop in Palazzo Pignano, Italy, offered this image of 65 fossil Radiolarians (zooplankton) carefully arrange by hand in Victorian style, winning 16th place in the photomicrography contest.
17th Place, Jose Almodovar
Credit: Jose Almodovar
From the Biology Department of the Mayaguez Campus at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Jose Almodovar took 17th place with this slime mold (Mixomicete) image captured with image stacking and reflected light at 5x magnification.
18th Place, Pia Scanlon
Credit: Pia Scanlon
Using stereomicroscopy and image stacking at 40x magnification, Pia Scanlon with the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Biosecurity and Regulation – Pest Diagnostics in South Perth, Western Australia, took home 18th place in the Nikon Small World 2016 contest with this image of parts of wing-cover (elytron), abdominal segments and the hind leg of a broad-shouldered leaf beetle (Oreina cacaliae).
19th Place, Dr. Gist F. Croft, Lauren Pietilla, Stephanie Tse, Dr. Szilvia Galgoczi, Maria Fenner, Dr. Ali H. Brivanlou
Credit: Dr. Gist F. Croft, Lauren Pietilla, Stephanie Tse, Dr. Szilvia Galgoczi, Maria Fenner, Dr. Ali H. Brivanlou
From the Brivanlou Laboratory at Rockefeller University in New York, New York, Dr. Gist F. Croft, Lauren Pietilla, Stephanie Tse, Dr. Szilvia Galgoczi, Maria Fenner and Dr. Ali H. Brivanlou captured 19th place in the Nikon Small World 2016 competition with an image of human neural rosette primordial brain cells, differentiated from embryonic stem cells taken with a confocal lens at 10x magnification.
20th Place, Michael Crutchley
Credit: Michael Crutchley
Michael Crutchley of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, UK, offered this interesting image of cow dung using the darkfield method at 30x magnification and captured 20th place in the Nikon Small World 2016 photomicrography competition.