Friday, 1 November 2013

Minuscule Beauty — Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition 2013

More than 2,000 photos were submitted from 80 different countries for the recent Nikon Small World Competition. The winner was Wim van Egmond from the Netherlands who photographed a marine diatom ― a colonial plakton organism. Enjoy this stunning collection and the beauty of our microscopic world.

 Nerve in Muscle Section
No, this is not a traditional Japanese arboreal painting. This image of nerves traveling through
the muscles was taken by sectioning at a magnification of 40x. Nerves are what help us move
our muscles, either as a command from the brain, carried down the spinal cord, or as a reaction
to elements sensed in the environment. The different points on the nerve force the muscle tissue
to move, which is the reason we are able to skip, hop, and jump through life.

Image by: David Ward
A Mouse Embryo

At first glance this may look like a regular human embryo, but it is really the embryo of our
far-off cousin, the mouse. Mice begin reproducing when they are only 50 days of age, and
female mice produce on average 10-12 pups per cycle. This mouse has yet to be born, but
after 20 days, it will leave its mother's womb with its brothers and sisters and beings its life
like any other mammal. This image captures the intricacy of the mouse's young nervous
system with a confocal lens that differentiates in contrast according to the density of the
object it captures.

Image by: Zhong Hua

Sugar Transport in Fat Cells
This unique image captures the moment that sugar, or glucose, enters the fat cell. Once the
glucose molecule breaks through the fat cell membrane it seems to explode in
uncontrollable excitement. The image was taken at an amazing magnification of 1,000,000x
inside a living fat cell that blows up (literally) with a sugar burst.

Image by: James Burchfield

Dinosaur Bone Preserved in Agate
These dinosaur bones were preserved in a substance called agate, which is a kind of clear
silica. Scientists are observing the proteins in an attempt to recreate dinosaur DNA and
understand our evolutionary place in relation to theirs. This is a particularly difficult
mission because the bones are millions of years old and in may cases are not entirely

Image by: Ted Kinsman

The Marine Diatom
This colonial plankton organism known scientifically as the Chaetoceros is a two-celled
marine organism. Scientists have long tried to recreate its genetic pattern, which seems
ironic as its shape so resembles a DNA double helix. The image won first place in the
Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition and was taken at a magnification
of 250x.

Image by: Wim van Egmond

A Ladybug's Foot
This microscopic photograph of the foot of a ladybug, or a Coccinellidae in scientific
language, was taken at a 20x microscopic zoom and was fluorescently coloured for stunning
effect. The ladybug is a common beetle that usually has scarlet, orange or yellow wing
covers with black dots on them. The image magnifies the leg of the ladybug to between
understand how these tiny creatures are able to grasp on to things so tightly.

Image by: Jan Michels

Moss and Bacteria
An image of liverwort moss, a common green leafy moss, chasing after a cyanobacteria in
the process of photosynthesis. The image was captured at a 50x magnetic zoom and used
UV light to create the florescent look. Cyanobacteria is similar in its genetic structure to
the chloroplasts which are responsible for making plants green, and reacts in a symbiotic
manner with these other photosynthesizing agents. In short, this piece of moss is eagerly
trying to get his green fix.

Image by: Magdalena Turzanska

The Retina of a Painted Turtle
The retina is the layer of light-sensitive tissue over the eye, and in the case of this
particular image, over the eye of the painted turtle. The painted turtle is native to
North America and is noted for its colourful body parts like yellow bellies and red
arms. The featured photo shows a painted turtle's retina at 400-times magnification.
It was taken using the optical microscopy illumination technique known as
differential interference contrast microscopy. The photo took 2nd prize at the 2013
Nikon's Small World competition.

Image by: Joseph Corbo

Mouse Vertebra Section

Another kaleidoscopic close up image from the world of mice, this stunning photograph
was taken at a magnification of 200x! The nervous system of the mouse is eerily similar
to that of humans, which is one of the reasons why they are used in neurological research.
Many times, scientists create what are called 'knockout' mice, which are genetically
engineered with a particular neurological disease like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, and
examined for the exact changes in their nervous system.

Image by: Michael Paul Nelson and Samantha Smith

The Eye of A Ghost Shrimp
Also known as the glass shrimp, these mostly transparent bottom dwellers are known for
being excellent scavengers. They reach a maximum size of two inches, which is why a
specially strong zoom of 140x was used to take a picture of this creature's eye. The
photograph was also taken using a special microscope called a steromicroscope, which
is able to 'dissect' the object and recreate it in a 3D magnified version. Here, you can
see how the retinal nerves connect to the eye itself , and the ones that are lit are transferring
those images to the shrimps brain.

Image by: Vitoria Tobias

Neuron Receiving Excitatory Contact
Neurons are always waiting to be excited. This happens when they are receiving or
transmitting information from the brain and translating it to the muscle tissues as
physical actions. Neurons carry voltages of information in-between them, and in that
sense, they are our personal electrical current. This image does beautiful justice to the
electrifying powers of the neuron with its bright fluorescent colours.

Image by: Kieran Boyle


Minimalist Photography

B & W Photography

HDR Animal Photography  

Underwater Photography 

Underwater Sculptures, Artificial Reefs

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