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Hidden Microscopic Wonders Become Art in Nikon Small World Contest



The photographer Yousef Al Habshi says that his work capturing small insects often seems more photographing the beauty of jewelry than a scientific process. This approach earned Al Habshi in first place in the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, announced on October 11th. The competition has recognized three winning images and 92 other entries in an annual competition that mixes science and art.

The capture of Al Habshi's winning images is the surrounding eyes and scales of an Asian red palm awl. The image was created using a stack of over 128 micrographs and reflected light. The image captures both the eye of the insect and the iridescent green scales. Al Habshi works with Claude Desplan, professor of biology and neural science at the New York University in Abu Dhabi, using the images to help expand the understanding of the awl and control the infestation.

"Because of the variety of coloration and the lines it shows to insect eyes, I feel like I'm photographing a jewelry collection," said Al Habshi. "Not all people appreciate small species, especially insects, and through photomicrography we can find a whole new and new world that has never been seen before, it's like finding out what's hidden beneath the surface of the ocean."

The 44th annual competition also awarded the second place to Rogelio Moreno for the image of a Fern sorus. The image is a 1

0x magnification of a structure that produces captured spores by turning on the sorus with ultraviolet light and using image stacking for clear capture.

Another bug took the third place, the work of Saulius Gugis. The picture shows a bug that creates a house of bubbles, which insects use to hide. The image was taken at a 5x magnification.

"The Nikon Small World competition is in its 44th year, and every year we continue to be amazed by the winning images," said Nikon Instruments' communications director Eric Flem. "Imaging technologies and microscopes continue to develop and evolve to allow artists and scientists to capture scientific moments with remarkable clarity." Our first place this year illustrated this fact beautifully. "

The competition has also recently awarded the winners in a related microscopic video contest.

In total, Nikon Small World recognized 95 images out of 2,500 entries. The images included in the competition came from 89 different countries.











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