photo competition

Nikon’s New Photo Competition Shows You What an Ant’s Face Looks Like Up Close

Eugenijus Kavaliauskas won an “Image of Distinction” prize for his picture of an ant’s close-up face.

  • Eugenijus Kavaliauskas won a Nikon prize for his photo of an ant. The detail-oriented photo shows the minute features of the ant’s face, including its beady eyes and orc-like jaw. However, the competition’s grand prize was given to a magnified photo of a Madagascar gecko’s hand.

These aren’t orcs out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth books — they’re just ants seen up close.

The snapshot of an ant’s face, magnified five times under a microscope, was submitted to the 2022 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition by Lithuanian wildlife photographer Eugenijus Kavaliauskas.

The competition shines a spotlight on microscope photography, which allows for the capture of minute details too small to be seen by the naked eye.

Of the 57 submissions, Kavaliauskas’ was selected as an “Image of Distinction.” However, this isn’t his first time winning a photography award. In fact, he has many other titles in the past for pictures of birds of prey that are now in his portfolio. Kavaliauskas told Insider he lives near a forest where it’s easy to catch an ant–but they’re not interesting to take pictures of running around banally on the ground. Instead, he put the ant under a microscope and took snapshots.

“I love finding new details, shadows, and corners that have never been seen before,” Kavaliauskas said. “In my opinion, the main goal of photography is to be a discoverer.” He continued on to say how he finds God in His creations. When asked about how an ant looked monstrous under the microscope, Kavaliauskus stated that there are no horrors found in nature.

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Photo Competition

“When I first started with microphotography, I also believed that all beetles appeared as monsters,” he said. “But now, after getting used to it, I see how many unknown risks are delightful and gorgeous.” Although the image was petrifying, it did not earn him the top prize in the contest. For his photo of an ant, Kavaliauskas won one Nikon item worth $35 from retail.

The top honor and cash prize of $3,000 went to Grigorii Timin and Michel Milinkovitch from the University of Geneva’s department of genetics and evolution. The pair captured a brilliant, fluorescent image of a Madagascar giant day gecko’s front paw.

“This image is both aesthetically pleasing and informative,” Timin said in a Nikon news release. “Not only does it provide an overview, but if you zoom in on certain areas you can see how the structures are arranged at a cellular level.”

Photo Competition

The 48th annual photomicrography contest is open to anyone with an interest in microscopy and photography, as per Nikon. This year’s winning snaps were selected from 1,300 entries and announced on October 11.

The 2023 Refresh competition is currently open for submissions and will close on April 30, 2023.

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