Nikon’s Small World competition is a wonderful thing to see each year. It’s a fascinating blend of the scientific and the photographic. We get to see tiny worlds that simply aren’t possible with the naked eye. And even if we have seen some of these subjects through a microscope before, the entries usually allow us to see them in a whole new way.
A few years ago, Nikon started adding video to the Small World competition with Small World in Motion. It showcases some incredible footage, that almost defies belief. You’d swear some of these were created completely out of somebody’s mind in After Effects if you didn’t know better.
1st – Dr. Daniel von Wangenheim
Live-tracking of a growing root tip of Arabidopsis thaliana, over a period of 17 hours.
2nd – Tsutomu Tomita & Shun Miyazaki
Perspiration on a human fingertip – We showed you this one back in February, and were immediately struck by it.
3rd – Dr. Satoshi Nishimura
Leukocyte accumulations and platelet aggregations after endothelium injuries, in a living mouse. Magnified 400x.
4th – Bezia Laderman
Purified filamentous microtubules (cyan) and kinesin motor proteins (magneta) forming bundles. It’s crazy to think that this one isn’t CG.
5th – Lisa Tran
Cholesteric liquid crystal shells encapsulating water droplets. This is another one that looks like it came from the CG world, rather than the real one.
Those were just the top five winners, but there are some amazing honourable mentions.
Dr. Bernardo Cesare & Stefano Castelli
There’s something very therapeutic about watching crystals grow in timelapse. These are crystals of lactic and salicylic acid forming during the drying of a drop of medicament used for the removal of common and plantar warts. The growth and change of colour is fascinating.
This one is particularly beautiful and freaky. It’s a nematode (a teeny tiny worm) squeezing a trapped air bubble.
Not all of the entries are biological. Some are tech related. These are pixels on a smartphone screen displaying animated shapes. Interestingly, unlike typical RGB CRT or LCD screens, the pixel arrangement is more like that of a Bayer filter camera sensor rotated 45°.
Well done to all the winners, and the honourable mentions. You can check out the rest on the Nikon Small World in Motion website.
I’d love to be able to shoot some of this stuff, but I think it’s a little outside both my budget and skill set.