20 bizarre and beautiful winners from Nikon Small World 2017

Photomicrography picks out details in the world around us that are invisible to the naked eye, and every year NSW picks out the best of a brilliant bunch – check out this year’s winners.

When you look at around you there so is much more to see than just what your eyes can pick out. Just out of sight is a tiny, microscopic world teeming with life, from microbial beings to intricate patterns formed in everyday materials that can both delight and inform, for example Jean-Marc Babalian’s photograph of Volvox algae is reminiscent of Pac Man, or the Netherlands Cancer Institute’s of human skin cells helping us understand how diseases progress. Both of these photos were at the top of the Nikon Small World competition, which rewards those photographers putting their lenses closer than any of us could dream with our regular cameras.

#20 - MicrobialSunrise

20th Place – Tracy Scott

Ithaca, New York, USA

Aspergillus flavus (fungus) and yeast colony from soil 

Transmitted Light, 40x

#19 - Body wall 1.08mm by 0.57mm 544 image stitch

19th Place – Dr. Dylan Burnette

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Embryonic body wall from a developing Mus musculus (mouse)

100x (objective lens magnification)

#18 - Synapta skin x 200 polarized light n° 3

18th Place – Christian Gautier


Le Mans, France

Synapta (sea-cucumber) skin 

Polarised Light, 100x

#17 - NSW_2017-03-24-20.37.42 ZS PMax

17th Place – Harald K. Andersen

Steinberg, Norway

Dyed human hair

Darkfield, 40x

#16 - 1

16th Place – Marek Miś

Marek Miś Photography

Suwalki, Poland

Parus major (titmouse) down feather

Polarised Light, Darkfield, 25x

#15 - AdamsRA_Megaloglossus_woermanni

15th Place – Dr. Rick Adams

University of Northern Colorado, Department of Biological Sciences

Greeley, Colorado, USA

3rd trimester fetus of Megachiroptera (fruit bat) 

Darkfield, Stereomicroscopy, 18x

#14 - NikMestraTwo

14th Place – David Millard

Austin, Texas, USA

Common Mestra butterfly (Mestra amymone) eggs, laid on a leaf of Tragia sp. (Noseburn plant)

Incident Illumination, Image Stacking, 7.5x (objective lens magnification)

#13 - Orchid Cuckoo Bee_Side View

13th Place – Levon Biss

Levon Biss Photography Ltd

Ramsbury, United Kingdom

Exaerete frontalis (orchid cuckoo bee) from the collections of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Reflected Light, 10x (objective lens magnification)

#12 - Krebs_1_NSW2017

12th Place – Charles Krebs

Charles Krebs Photography

Issaquah, Washington, USA

Opiliones (daddy longlegs) eye


Reflected Light, Image Stacking, 20x (objective lens magnification)