13 marvellous images from the Royal Society of Biology’s amateur photography competition

The shortlists for the Royal Society of Biology’s (RSB) amateur photography competition have been announced.

Over 600 entries to the annual competition have been narrowed down to 11 contesting for the top prize, and two for the Young Photographer of the Year award.

This year’s theme is “The Hidden World”, with photographers capturing those moments not usually visible to the human eye – from the microscopic detail of developing frogspawn, to an Indian Lake viewed from 30,000 feet in the air.

Photographer of the Year

1. Two big eyes by Miao Yong

(Miao Yong)

Yong’s exquisitely green piece, taken in China, stars two bulbous-eyed damselflies peaking over a leaf.

2. A world just under our skin by James Patterson

(James Patterson)

It’s not a planet. Taken in a lab in London, Patterson’s shot is a light micrograph taken through a section of cat skin – showing a hair follicle developing beneath the surface.

3. Ghost crab by Javier Herranz Casellas

(Javier Herranz Casellas)

Casellas’ image shows the Ocypode Pallidula, or Ghost Crab, in Madagascar. The little goose-eyed crabs can move at speeds of 20kph, but their excellent camouflage allows them to disappear instantly on a sandy beach merely by standing still.

4. The Emerald Lake by Partha Saha

(Partha Saha)

Taken from 30,000ft in the Jammu and Kashmir region of India, Saha’s aerial view shows an emerald green glacial lake in the Zanskar mountain range.

5. Out of the darkness by Peter Burkill

(Peter Burkill)

Blakiston’s Fish Owls are incredibly rare, with few people ever seeing them. Burkill’s shot, from Hokkaido, Japan uncovers the hidden world of the bird, not only out of obscurity but also their nocturnal existence.

6. Hooks and anchors by Steve Lowry

(Steve Lowry)

Another light micrograph, this time of the skin of the sea cucumber, Synapta. It is though the spikes seen on the anchors may deter predators from eating the slow-moving marine animals.

7. Life in a drop by Anup Deodhar

(Anup Deodhar)

This tiny egg is just four to five millimetres across. Taken in the Western Ghats, India, the photo shows the little froglet inside its transparent home fully developed and ready to meet the outside world.

8. Spawn Development by Amy Bateman

(Amy Bateman)

More fascinating frogs. Taken at Croft Foot farm, in Cumbria, Bateman’s macro photography reveals the neuro system in common frogspawn.

9. Springtail by Marc Brouwer

(Marc Brouwer)

Springtails are just a millimetre or two in size, but Brouwer was lucky enough to track one of the elusive creatures down in a field in Genemuiden, The Netherlands.

10. Chara antheridia by Chris Carter

(Chris Carter)

This entry from Cornwall shows a microscopic view of algae, the stonewort Chara fragifera. The red spheres are surrounded by a closely-knit collection of shield cells.

11. Welcome to my humble abode by Duncan McNaught

(Duncan McNaught)

McNaught lives in South Scotland, and this shot taken in Galloway shows an insect peering out from its fungi home.

Young Photographer of the Year

1. Coleman on Fire by Dheeraj Nanda

(Dheeraj Nanda)

Taken in Maluku, Indonesia, 17-year-old Nanda’s photo captures a male and female Coleman shrimp sat in a fire urchin – an organism with which they have a symbiotic relationship.

2. Compact Complexity by Alannah Harding

(Alannah Harding)

Harding, also 17, gives a microscopic view of the heart of a mouse embryo, surrounded by other organs. The image was taken at Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College in North Shields, England.

The Photographer of the Year competition winners will be announced at a ceremony on October 12 at The Hatton in London – with the top prize winning £1,000 and the young winner an award of £500.

To learn more about the competition, visit the RSB’s website here.


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