Nikon recently announced the winners of it Small World Photomicrography Competition, which recognizes the best photography of the unseen, microscopic world around us.
The first-place image, by Yousef Al Habshi from the United Arab Emirates, is a layered composite of over 100 exposures, showcasing the delicate green scaling around an Asian Red Palm weevil’s eye. As he describes it, it was extremely difficult to properly expose both the bright, luminous green scales while also capturing details of the chiaroscuro across the jet-black eye and and the black background.
“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,” Al Habshi said in a release announcing the results.
All of the winning entries turn the expected on its head and show the beautiful and surreal worlds hidden to the naked eye. That’s also what drew Al Habshi to the meticulous work of looking for pictures at such a small scale. “Through photomicrography we can find a whole new, beautiful world which hasn’t been seen before,” he said. “It’s like discovering what lies under the ocean’s surface.”
Take a look at the other winning images:
A sorus (spore-producing structure) on a fern
A peacock feather
A human tear
A mango seed weevil
A security hologram
Butterfly wing scales
A mite on the back of a honeybee
A drop of venom at the tip of an Asian hornet’s stinger
Disclaimer: Quartz video producer Jacob Templin was a judge for the video portion of this contest.