11 September 2010

Nikon Small World Contest

I recently heard about the Nikon Small World photography contest, which highlights microscopic photography. They have some absolutely incredible pictures in there. Just from browsing the 2009 winners, I found a ton of pictures that were absolutely phenomenal. I'm not to partial to the first place winner, but the following are amazing and worth checking out:
In vitro image of actin bundles
Fungal infection of a flowering plant root
Image of snail eggs (200x magnification!)

For each of these pictures, Nikon has links to learn more about the different techniques used to generate them. The snail eggs, for example, use a technique called Differential Interference Contrast microscopy. I'm sure that most of these techniques take forever to render a good image, and getting an image this good is a once in a lifetime sort of deal... I've seen people working on atomic force microscopes, and it takes days to get a good sample... Even then, it frequently takes more than a little creative interpretation to understand what you're looking at.

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