Brent and I love closeup or macro photography, but we’ve not taken the time to really get close. You have a chance to see the award winning photographs of those who did take the time to get even closer – photographing nature through a microscope in the annual Nikon Small World Photography through the Microscope Contest.
It was even a bigger delight to see the award winner was a friend of mine, Charles Krebs, whose closeup of a fly’s face and eyes is incredible. In an interview for Wired, Mama Don’t Take My Microscope, the story of the house fly is explained:
That’s just the sense of awe that Charles Krebs gets from his fly. Krebs stands out from the other competitors as the only professional photographer among university-based scientists. Krebs scrounged equipment on eBay and still managed to claim top prize with the help of a 6-megapixel digital camera and sophisticated image-processing software that let him combine a stack of photos into a picture of one perfectly focused hairy little fly with velvety eyes.
“For the past 25 to 30 years, I did a lot of travel and nature photography. I won’t say you get jaded, but it’s hard to find something new and better. If I were to shoot a cityscape of New York (and it wasn’t) different from 99 percent of what I’ve done before, it’s kind of a downer,” says Krebs. “Now I can go down to the pond like a little kid and get a jar of water and see things I’ve never seen in my life. It’s always fun to see and photograph new things, and this is all new to me.”
Last year, Charlie came in sixth place with a microscope closeup of the thorax, head and eye section of Chrysochroa fulminans (a metallic beetle). Ken Vernon wrote and showcased part of the technique Charlie used in an article called Adapting a Canon 300D (Digital Rebel) Camera for Photomicrography Through a LOMO Multiscope Microscope, and you can see more of Charlie’s closeup microphotography in an online exhibit at Macrophotos.
The news of this contest, especially of the common house fly photographed by Charles Krebs, has spread all over the net, and I want to personally say, great work, Charlie. You continue to set the trend and push the limits for nature photography. Oh, and Charlie, when are you ever going to get your own web page? ;-)
There is also an accompanying article that goes into great length about the process of using a microscope for photography, and check out Microscopy Microscape if you are interested in learning more.