A close-up macro photograph of an ant’s face that was showcased at the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition seems to come straight from a horror movie.
The eerie image of an ant captured by Lithuanian photographer Eugenijus Kavaliauskas resembles a face, and, according to a Redditor, the photo gives the impression that the antenna’s base is actually the eyes, thanks to clever cropping which gives the ant a diabolical and more menacing appearance.
A series of incredibly detailed pictures of insects captured by another photographer, Joshua Coogler, shows that ants can appear nightmarishly terrifying without being cut in half in a macro photograph. This series was covered in July with PetaPixel.
Coogler mentions using focus stacking, a technique wherein he stacked all the photographs so that the area in focus can be seen as a thin slice. He took up to three hundred pictures to create the final image. However, as interesting as the image might be to look at, it is, nonetheless, useless to researchers.
Humans perceive anger as a result of the phenomenon known as pareidolia, which is the propensity to detect patterns where none exist, according to another Redditor. In this image, this is done by omitting the eyes and mandibles, which is not how somebody trying to identify the ant would picture it in the first place.
Showcasing the most beautiful images of the tiny world that exists under a microscope, the winners of the 48th annual Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition 2022 have just been announced. Almost 1,300 entries from seventy-two countries were submitted, and four judges evaluated them based on originality, informational content, technical proficiency, and visual impact.
Grigorii Timin won this year’s top prize for his stunning detailed image of the hand of an embryonic Madagascar giant day gecko. Grigorii was supervised by Dr. Michel Milinkovitch at the University of Geneva.
Its vibrant colors and simple composition are proof of technical prowess which requires high-resolution microscopy and image-stitching to capture. The result shows just how complex these tiny structures are with the hand’s bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin shown in cyan and its blood cells highlighted in the orangey colors.
“This embryonic hand is about 3 mm (0.12 in) in length, which is a huge sample for high-resolution microscopy,” Timin explained in a statement. “The scan consists of 300 tiles, each containing about 250 optical sections, resulting in more than two days of acquisition and approximately 200 GB of data.”
“This particular image is beautiful and informative, as an overview and also when you magnify it in a certain region, shedding light on how the structures are organized on a cellular level,” he added.
Other close-up photos win second and third place
A photograph taken by Dr. Caleb Dawson of breast tissue showed contractile myoepithelial cells wrapped around milk-producing alveoli. This photograph was awarded second place. Third place was taken by Satu Paavonsalo and Dr. Sinem Karaman for their image of blood vessel networks in the guts of a mouse.
“At the intersection of art and science, this year’s competition highlights stunning imagery from scientists, artists, and photomicrographers of all experience levels and backgrounds from across the globe,” revealed Nikon Instruments Communications and CRM Manager Eric Flem.