Nikon have just announced the winners of their annual Small World Photomicrography competition and not only are the standards as high as ever, they also offer a fascinating perspective of a world that you never see.
This years competition marks the 42nd of its kind and with over 2000 entries from 70 different countries it's no wonder that the standards were so high. Photomicrography is the practice of taking a photograph through a magnifying device or microscope and whilst some lenses allow photographers to get up close to their subjects, such as Macro lenses, many of the shots in this competition are taken using high end microscopes.
From animal embryos to droplets of caffeine seeing all of these things up close is fascinating. You can see more commended entries to this years competition over on the official website.
1st Place: Four-day-old zebrafish embryo.
2nd Place: Polished slab of Teepee Canyon agate.
3rd Place: Brain cells from skin cells.
4th Place: Butterfly proboscis.
5th Place: Front foot (tarsus) of a male diving beetle.
6th Place: Air bubbles formed from melted ascorbic acid (vitamin C) crystals.
7th Place: Leaves of Selaginella (lesser club moss).
8th Place: Wildflower stamens.
9th Place: Espresso coffee crystals.
10th Place: Frontonia (showing ingested food, cilia, mouth and trichocysts).
11th Place: Scales of a butterfly wing underside (Vanessa atalanta).
12th Place: Human HeLa cell undergoing cell division (cytokinesis). DNA (yellow), myosin II (blue) and actin filaments (red).
13th Place: Poison fangs of a centipede (Lithobius erythrocephalus).
14th Place: Mouse retinal ganglion cells.
15th Place: Head section of an orange ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata).
16th Place: 65 fossil Radiolarians (zooplankton) carefully arranged by hand in Victorian style.
17th Place: Slime mold.
18th Place: Parts of wing-cover (elytron), abdominal segments and hind leg of a broad-shouldered leaf beetle (Oreina cacaliae).
19th Place: Human neural rosette primordial brain cells, differentiated from embryonic stem cells in the culture dish.
20th Place: Cow dung.