Winners' gallery

Take a look at this year's winning images.


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Hawaiian bobtail squid

Mark R Smith, Macroscopic Solutions

Native to the Pacific Ocean, Hawaiian bobtail squid are nocturnal predators that remain buried under the sand during the day and come out to hunt for shrimp near coral reefs at night. The squid have a light organ on their underside that houses a colony of glowing bacteria called Vibrio fischeri. The squid provide food and shelter for these bacteria in return for their bioluminescence.

The light organ is attached to an ink sac, which the squid uses like a type of shutter, controlling the amount of light released. The squid matches the light the bacteria produce to the moonlight and starlight, masking its silhouette and making it invisible to predators swimming below. This type of camouflage is called counter-illumination.

This image shows a baby Hawaiian bobtail squid. The black ink sac and light organ in the centre of the squid’s mantle cavity are clearly seen.

This image is 1.5 cm wide.

Imaging technique: photomacrography

Close-up photography of small objects using a camera with specialist lenses, together with a method for stitching together multiple images, is known as photomacrography. Multiple photographs of the object are taken at different focus distances and then combined or stitched together. This produces a final image with greater sharpness throughout and with more details preserved.

Location where image was created

Connecticut, USA 

Image creator

Mark became interested in micro/macro photography at the age of 18, when he helped with the development of a focus stacking system for the US Army. He went on to develop and commercialise this system through the company Macroscopic Solutions, which he runs with his wife Annette Evans. Mark’s one true hobby aside from his work is riding mountain and road bikes, and he commutes 20 miles per day to work by bike, weather permitting. Find out More.

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