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See Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition Winners

Science By
Four-day-old zebrafish embryo (Dr. Oscar Ruiz)
Four-day-old zebrafish embryo (Dr. Oscar Ruiz)

 

In many instances, nature photography doesn’t require you to think big. Sometimes it means thinking small—very small. Showcasing the beauty and complexity of life, Nikon’s Small World competition is widely recognized today as the leading forum for recognizing the art, proficiency, and photographic excellence involved in the niche world of photomicrography.

Dr. Oscar Ruiz earned first place this year for his photo (above) of a four-day-old zebrafish embryo. Ruiz uses the zebrafish to study genetic mutations at the University of Texas. Stunning images, from brain cells to butterfly proboscis, rounded out the rest of the competition.

Polished slab of Teepee Canyon agate (Douglas L. Moore)
Polished slab of Teepee Canyon agate (Douglas L. Moore)

 

For the 2016 contest, a panel of five judges sorted through over 2,000 entries from 70 different countries to choose 77 winners—comprised of 20 top-ranked images, 14 honorable mentions, and 61 images of distinction. Submissions were judged on their artistic composition as well as their technical proficiency.

Although the Small World contest is in its 42nd rendition, Nikon changed things up this year. For the first time ever, participants can vote for their favorite image among all finalists. The winner of the Small World Popular Vote will be announced on October 26th. Peruse the rest of the top 20 images below, before casting your vote for your favorite photo here. (And yes, you will find out what has those fangs.)

Parts of wing-cover, abdominal segments and hind leg of a broad-shouldered leaf beetle (Pia Scanlon)
Parts of wing-cover, abdominal segments and hind leg of a broad-shouldered leaf beetle (Pia Scanlon)
Mouse retinal ganglion cells (Dr. Keunyoung Kim)
Mouse retinal ganglion cells (Dr. Keunyoung Kim)
Poison fangs of a centipede (Walter Piorkowski)
Poison fangs of a centipede (Walter Piorkowski)
Cannon fungi on Cow dung (Michael Crutchley)
Cannon fungi on Cow dung (Michael Crutchley)
Leaves of Selaginella (Dr. David Maitland)
Leaves of Selaginella (Dr. David Maitland)
65 fossil Radiolarians, or zooplankton, carefully arranged by hand in Victorian style (Stefano Barone)
65 fossil Radiolarians, or zooplankton, carefully arranged by hand in Victorian style (Stefano Barone)
Head section of an orange ladybird (Geir Drange)
Head section of an orange ladybird (Geir Drange)
Human HeLa cell undergoing cell division (Dr. Dylan Burnette)
Human HeLa cell undergoing cell division (Dr. Dylan Burnette)
Air bubbles formed from melted ascorbic acid crystals (Marek Mis)
Air bubbles formed from melted ascorbic acid crystals (Marek Mis)
Scales of a butterfly wing underside (Francis Sneyers)
Scales of a butterfly wing underside (Francis Sneyers)
Frontonia (Rogelio Moreno Gill)
Frontonia (Rogelio Moreno Gill)
Espresso coffee crystals (Vin Kitayama and Sanae Kitayama)
Espresso coffee crystals (Vin Kitayama and Sanae Kitayama)
Wildflower stamens (Samuel Silberman)
Wildflower stamens (Samuel Silberman)
Culture of neurons, stained green, derived from human skin cells, and Schwann cells, a second type of brain cell, stained red (Rebecca Nutbrown)
Culture of neurons derived from human skin cells stained green, and Schwann cells, a second type of brain cell, stained red (Rebecca Nutbrown)
Human neural rosette primordial brain cells, differentiated from embryonic stem cells (Dr. Gist F. Croft, Lauren Pietilla, Stephanie Tse, Dr. Szilvia Galgoczi, Maria Fenner, Dr. Ali H. Brivanlou)
Human neural rosette primordial brain cells, differentiated from embryonic stem cells (Dr. Gist F. Croft, Lauren Pietilla, Stephanie Tse, Dr. Szilvia Galgoczi, Maria Fenner, Dr. Ali H. Brivanlou)
Front foot, or tarsus, of a male diving beetle (Igor Siwanowicz)
Front foot, or tarsus, of a male diving beetle (Igor Siwanowicz)
Butterfly proboscis (Jochen Schroeder )
Butterfly proboscis (Jochen Schroeder )
Slime mold (Jose Almodovar)
Slime mold (Jose Almodovar)