Nikon Small World is one of those contests that shows us the world around us in a completely different light. The 2020 winners have been announced, and just like always, they reveal a stunning microscopic view of animals, plants, insects, and humans. We bring you the top 20 best photos from this year’s contest, and like every year, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
To fight against our global enemy, coronavirus, it helps immensely if we can see what we’re fighting against. But this virus is so tiny, that it can’t be seen with a standard light microscope. To observe the COVID-19 and take its photos, scientists have used electron microscopes. And in this stunning educative video, Vox explains how the photos of the coronavirus are taken and processed.
Nikon Small World competition was founded in 1974 to recognize excellence in photography through the microscope. The results of the 44th competition have just been announced, and they will take your breath away.
This year, the contest had nearly 2,500 entries from scientists and artists in 89 countries. The judges have chosen the top 20 images, and we’re bringing you the winning photos here on DIYP.
The one certainty in photography is that the closer we get to our subjects, the shallower our depth of field becomes. If we’re shooting with a macro lens, we have the option to stop our lens all the way down to increase the depth of field. Sometimes this can be enough to give us what we need. And sometimes it can’t.
If you’re shooting down a microscope, though, then changing the aperture isn’t really an option. So you have to get a little creative. And this is where focus stacking comes in. After recently switching up to DSLRs for microscope photography, The Thought Emporium YouTube channel decided to put this video together on their microscope photography focus stacking technique.
As technology advances, we get to see some interesting camera-related inventions. Engineers at the University of Michigan have recently presented a prototype of a wireless camera that can power itself indefinitely by light. It’s also less than a millimeter wide, so it can be hidden anywhere.
It’s not that difficult to add computer control to a microscope. Now I realize this is not a huge need for the general photographer, however, some of us use photography in our profession, not weddings or models but in my case, I’m a geologist. We tend to take lots of pictures in the course of our work. We also need to look at samples utilizing a microscope.
Usually, we examine rock samples by slicing them into very thin sections, grinding them down to a few microns, and then passing polarized light through them in our weird geological microscopes. Now sometimes, we need to look at items in three dimensions. Especially with very small fossils. The problem with photographing them is that the depth of field for most microscopes is extremely narrow, so you end up with only a small slice of the fossil in focus. The ability to do focus stacking has revolutionized our visualization of fossils. The problem is that most macro rigs don’t offer the magnification needed without going through a lot of bother.
We’ve recently seen the fascinating micro-worlds in the winning videos of Nikon Small World in Motion competition. Now there are also the results of 2017 Nikon Small World photo contest, and they are simply amazing.
Some photos come from scientific labs and show a colorful world of bacteria, algae or cells. But the others show stuff we see every day in a whole new perspective. Have you ever thought mold on a tomato, a credit card hologram or a daddy longlegs’ eyes can look beautiful? Well, the winners of this photo contest show that they can.
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.
Looking through microscopes was something that always fascinated me as a kid. It attracted me for the same reasons things like timelapse and ultra slow motion do. It let me see things I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to. As I got older, whenever I needed to use a microscope, it was more for practical benefit than curiosity and visual wonder. But the sights they can offer still intrigue a great many people.
We’ve shown some amazing microscope photography and timelapses on here in the past. But, rigs to hook cameras up to microscopes can be expensive. Unless, of course, you make your own. That’s what this video from YouTube channel Hack ‘n Build is all about. How to make your own DSLR mount for use with a trinocular microscope. And all it needs is a cheap set of extension tubes, some PVC pipes, and a couple of optics.