20 Winning Photos From The 2017 Nikon Small World Contest.


The micro world is ten times cooler than the macro world! Now you've probably heard of the Annual Sony World Photography contest. But that's better suited for the world we can see. The Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition is for the seemingly invisible microscopic world that we simply can't see. Using a light microscope, the images that are captured are simply out of this world. This year's 2017 competition has gotten as many as 2,000 entries from as many as 88 countries from around the world, and after 42 years, the photomicrography competition continues to wow us in ways we never thought possible!

Some of the best photomicrography literally comes from within ourselves!

This is a photo of a single HaCaT keratinocyte, or in layman’s terms, a human skin cell with fluorescent keratin. Taken by Dr. Bram van den Broek, Andriy Vollov, Dr. Kees Jalink, Dr. Reinhard Windoffer, and Dr. Nicole Schwarz, this photo won first place without a doubt.

Have you ever wondered what the seed head of a flowering plant looks like?

This is a microscopic in-depth look of a senecio vulgaris taken by Dr. Havi Sarfaty. The photo won 2nd place for its creepy looking tentacles, which made it look more like an insectoid and less like plant life.

This isn't an updated version of the oh-so popular Pac-Man game you grew up playing.

The photo, taken by Jean-Marc Babalian, won 3rd place, and is actually a living volvox algae, and those yellow balls are actually daughter colonies it’s releasing, not eating.

It came from outer space and settled in your tummy, or did it come from animal meat?

This is a Taenia solium everted scolex taken by Teresa Zgoda. It won 4th place, and in case you were wondering what a Taenia solium was, it’s known as a tapeworm. Creepy looking, isn’t it?

Aw, what is that tribble doing on top of that sweaty red surface?

It’s actually not a tribble, but a mold spore on a tomato and was taken by Dean Lerman, who won 5th place for it. Who would have thought that mold would have looked cute enough to pet.

Those of you suffering from trypophobia beware of this hole-y photo!

Even if you don’t have an irrational fear of holes, this photo that came in 6th place will likely cause your eyes to water and your nose to run. But that’s because this is a Lily pollen taken by Dr. David A. Johnston.

It looks like a bouquet of fruity pebbles or some awesome street art.

This was taken by Dr. Ryo Egawa and won 7th place. Those colors are actually individually labeled axons in the embryonic chick ciliary ganglion located just behind the eye in the posterior orbit.

Has Dr. Michael Perny taken a photo of one of his random screensaver images?

Actually, this is a newborn rat’s cochlea, which the auditory portion of the inner ear, complete with sensory hair cells, which appear as green. The red portions are the spiral ganglion neurons. This photo was too cool to be 8th place.

Christmas time is finally here with this image which came in 9th place.

The photo taken by Catarina Moura, Dr. Sumseet Mahajan, Dr. Richard Oreffo and Dr. Rahul Tare is not a painting or perfectly arranged ornaments. It’s actually cartilage tissue grown in a lab using bone stem cells. The red are fat deposits, while the green are collagen fibers. Ho, ho, ho!

This 10th place photo taken by Dr. Csaba Pinter is the embodiment of true weevil!

These two are actually called Phyllobius roboretanus, also known as weevils, or in simpler terms, a form of beetles, who aren’t shy about someone watching them doing the nasty.

Not every photo in the microscopic contest involves all things organic.

This photo, taken by Steven Simon, won 11th place. But how he did this was simpler than you think. It was taken by fracturing the plastic on the hologram of a credit card. How outrageous!

If you weren't arachnophobic before you certainly will be with this 12th place winning photo.

Taken by Charles B. Krebs, this is the photo of one of an Opiliones’ eyes. Not sure what an Opiliones is? Recognize the spider species known as a daddy longlegs? Now you get to see one eye to eye.

The orchid cuckoo bee looks ten times more breathtaking under a microscope!

Rarely, do we get a close up look at something this beautiful. It’s like the wings of the Exaerete frontalix were made of gold and the body was made of emeralds. This photo is part of a collection from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and was taken by Levon Biss, who won 13th place.

It might seem like a tropical fruit on an exotic island but you might want to hold off eating one.

These are actually common Mestra butterfly eggs, which were laid on a leap of Noseburn plant. The photo was taken by David Millard and won 14th place. Suddenly, we’ve lost our appetite.

There aren't too many of us that get a glimpse into what a 3rd trimester fetus looks like.

Dr. Rick Adams took a photo of this megachiroptera, aka fruit bat, that will make you go batty. The 15th place photo gives us an unusually beautiful insight into what a bat’s insides look like before its born.

This 16th place photo taken by Marek Mis is totally for the birds.

This isn’t a shot of a tree branch taken on an alien world, but rather microscopic feather of a Parus major, aka a titmouse, which is a small songbird from North America.

Do you ever feel like your hair is all tied up in knots after a dye job?

According to 17th place winner, Harald K. Andersen, that’s exactly, what you get. But tell us this doesn’t look cute. It’s like a nice pink knot that makes up a part of this dyed human hair.

Make sure you don't cross your 'Ts' with this 18th place microscopic winning photo.

This isn’t some form of digital artwork of a bunch of anchors. It’s actually the skin of a Synapta, or sea-cucumber taken by Christian Gautier.

The building blocks of what we call life can often look like the strata or layers of the Earth's surface.

This might give you flashbacks to geology class when you were learning about the history of the Earth’s geology, but this 19th place image taken by Dr. Dylan Burnette is actually the embryonic body wall from a developing mouse.

You can have a lot of "fun" studying this 20th place microscopic image by Tracy Scott.

It’s not the painting of a sunset on an alien world, but rather a microscopic look at the aspergillus flavus, aka fungus, and yeast colony found in some soils.

See more of the awarded entries at Nikon Small World.

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