Nikon Instruments recently announced the winners and finalists for its 47th annual Small World Photomicrography competition. Thousands of images were submitted from around the world. A panel of judges including Hank Green, Dr. Nsikan Akpan of New York Public Radio, and Dr. Hesper Rego from Yale School of Medicine selected the pool of 100 winners and honorable mentions.
The First Place prize was awarded to Jason Kirk. Kirk captured around 200 images of a southern live oak leaf’s trichromes using a custom-made microscope system that combines color filtered transmitted light with diffused reflected light. He then stacked them to produce the final result.
‘The lighting side of it was complicated,’ he reveals. ‘Microscope objectives are small and have a very shallow depth of focus. I couldn’t just stick a giant light next to the microscope and have the lighting be directional. It would be like trying to light the head of a pin with a light source that’s the size of your head. Nearly impossible.’ Jason admits he edited the color temperature and hue in post-production to help illustrate the different elements in the image.
Nikon Small World was created to show how the world of art and science unite under a microscope. All winning and honorable mentions can be viewed in the competition’s website.