2018 Nikon Small World Microphotography Winners

What is this? You'll never be able to guess. It's a foveola, the central region of the retina, in the back of your eye, magnified to 40 times its size. This amazing image by Hanen Khabou won 6th place in the 44th annual Nikon Small World Microphotography Competition. Photographers, scientists, imaging experts, and amateurs around the world submit their best images of the microscopic world we rarely get to see, and the 2018 winners have been selected. Continue reading to see the top ten.

1st Place
Yousef Al Habshi
Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Caption: Eye of a Metapocyrtus subquadrulifer beetle
Technique: Reflected Light
Objective Lens Magnification 20x

First place was awarded to Emirati photographer Yousef Al Habshi, who sees the eyes as the  windows to stunning insect artwork and research. The 2018 winning image captures part of the compound eyes and surrounding greenish scales of an Asian Red Palm weevil. This type of Metapocyrtus subquadrulifer beetle is typically less than 11mm (0.43 in) in size and is found in the Philippines.

“Because of the variety of coloring and the lines that display in the eyes of insects, I feel like I’m photographing a collection of jewelry,” said Al Habshi.“ Not all people appreciate small species,  particularly insects. Through photomicrography we can find a whole new, beautiful world which hasn’t  been seen before. It’s like discovering what lies under the Ocean’s surface.”

While beautiful to photograph, weevils present infestation problems world-wide and often destroy crops. Al Habshi’s photography has helped advance the work of his  partner, Professor Claude Desplan, of New York University Abu Dhabi. His lab and Al Habshi’s photos have contributed a better  understanding of the Red Palm Weevil and how to better control the population.      

2nd Place
Rogelio Moreno
Location: Panama, Panama
Caption: Fern sorus (structures producing and containing spores)
Technique: Autofluorescence
Objective Lens Magnification: 10x

3rd Place
Saulius Gugis
Location: Naperville, Illinois, USA
Caption: Spittlebug nymph in its bubble house
Technique: Focus Stacking
Objective Lens Magnification: 5x

4th Place
Can Tunçer
Location: İzmir, Turkey
Caption: Peacock feather section
Technique: Focus Stacking
Objective Lens Magnification:    5x

5th Place
Dr. Tessa Montague of Harvard University, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Location:Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Caption: Parasteatoda tepidariorum (spider embryo) stained for embryo surface (pink), nuclei (blue) and microtubules (green)
Technique: Confocal
Objective Lens Magnification: 20x

6th Place
Hanen Khabou of the Vision Institute, Department of Therapeutics
Location: Paris, France
Caption: Primate foveola (central region of the retina)
Technique: Fluorescence
Objective Lens Magnification: 40x

7th Place
Norm Barker of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pathology & Art as Applied to Medicine
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Caption: Human tear drop
Technique: Darkfield
Objective Lens Magnification: 5x
8th Place
Pia Scanlon of the Government of Western Australia, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Location: South Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Caption: Portrait of Sternochetus mangiferae (mango seed weevil)
Technique: Stereomicroscopy, Image Stacking
Objective Lens Magnification: 1x
9th Place
Dr. Haris Antonopoulos    
Location:  Athens, Greece
Caption: Security hologram
Technique: Darkfield Epi-illumination
Objective Lens Magnification: 10x

10th Place
Dr. Csaba Pintér of the University of Pannonia, Georgikon Faculty, Department of Plant Protection

Location: Keszthely, Hungary
Caption: Stalks with pollen grains
Technique: Focus Stacking
Objective Lens Magnification: 3x
All photos are courtesy of Nikon Small World. See the rest of the top 20 images, plus honorable mentions, at the competition website.

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I'm going to share the foveola photo with my students in my Anatomy of the Eye course (with proper credit and citation, of course)!
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