RPS “Hidden World” Winners 2017

This year's photography competition theme was The Hidden World. The Society would like to congratulate the winners and shortlisted photographers, who were celebrated at the Biology Week annual award ceremony.

Winner: Photographer of the Year 2017

Welcome to my humble abode by Duncan McNaught

Taken: Galloway, South Scotland

Fungi and insect. Living in rural Dumfries and Galloway I have access to some amazing landscapes, flora and fauna but it’s the smaller often overlooked plants and insects that really spark the creative photographer in me.


Runner up: Photographer of the Year 2017

Springtail by Marc Brouwer

Taken: Genemuiden, The Netherlands

Springtails are incredibly small creatures, just a millimetre or two in size, and extremely hard to find. Looking for a springtail is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but then in a field of grass! If you are lucky enough to find one then the chance is high that there are many more nearby. Many people will have never seen a springtail before or even know that they exist, therefore, they fit in perfectly with the theme ‘the hidden world’.

Highly commended: Photographer of the Year 2017

Hooks and anchors by Steve Lowry

Taken: Portstewart, Co. Londonderry

Polarised light micrograph of the skin of the sea cucumber, Synapta, (Echinodermata, Holothuroida), showing paired spicules referred to as ‘plates and anchors’. The sharp spikes of the anchors may act as a deterrent to potential predators. This theory is borne out by the fact that the ‘anchors’ in the edible sea cucumber have a similar appearance to the ‘plates’ and do not have sharp points.

Winner: Young Photographer of the Year 2017

Coleman on Fire by Dheeraj Nanda (Aged 17)

Taken: Ambon, Maluku, Indonesia

The coleman shrimp and fire urchin here share a symbiotic relationship where the coleman shrimp seeks refuge among the spines of the urchin and here the female is the larger one with the male being smaller just like in the case of spiders and a few other insects.

Runner up: Young Photographer of the Year 2017

Compact Complexity by Alannah Harding (Aged 17)

Taken: Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College, North Shields, England

The heart of a mouse embryo, perfectly formed and surrounded by other organs. A perfectly formed, miniature powerhouse maintaining balance before life has begun, sustaining a fascinating ecosystem - its own little world - on the scale that only a microscope can see, is truly worthy to fit the theme of Hidden World.

Special mentions: Photographer of the Year 2017

Two big eyes by Miao Yong

Taken: Zejiang province, China

Damselflies look at the environment from behind the leaves.

A world just under our skin by James Patterson

Taken: Biology teaching lab, London

A light micrograph of a section through cat skin showing a developing hair follicle. The specimen dates from the ~1950s, yet the vibrancy of the stain used is still breathtaking.


The Emerald Lake by Partha Saha

Taken: Jammu and Kashmir region near Ladakh of India

An emerald green glacial lake is captured in the frame from a flight (height of 30,000 ft MSL). This is the top view of the topography of the Zanskar range near Jammu and Kashmir region of India. This view is really hidden to the general people, because no one can witness this type of scenic beauty from any point on the earth.

Spawn Development by Amy Bateman

Taken: Croft Foot farm, Kendal, Cumbria

Pictured is the development of the neuro system in common frogspawn. Macro photography and the lighting style I have created allows imagery of details not normally evident to the human eye.

Out of the Darkness by Peter Burkill

Taken: Shiretoko Peninsular, Hokkaido, Japan

Owls are typically birds of the night and so owls are from the dark 'hidden world'. As Blakiston's Fish Owls are so rare, they are particularly ‘hidden’ from us - few people have ever see them.

Life in a drop by Anup Deodhar

Taken: Amboli Maharashtra state, India (Western Ghats)

This is an egg of a Bombay bush frog sized four to five millimetres. In this image a fully developed froglet can be seen in the transparent egg shell. These eggs are so tiny that one can easily miss them in the dense forest of the western Ghats. It was unbelievable to see tiny froglets move in the egg shell, changing positions constantly.

Ghost Crab by Javier Herranz Casellas

Taken: Nosy Be, Madagascar

This curious goose-eyed crab is a specimen of Ocypode Pallidula and is one of the most widespread species in Ocypode. They are called ghosts crabs because of their ability to disappear from view instantly at speeds of over 20 km/h. But when they feel danger is near they remain immobile to try to get rid of predators, blending perfectly with the grains of the sandy beach. But it seems that this method is not effective to prevent the photographer from taking a photo!

Chara antheridia by Chris Carter

Taken: The Lizard, Cornwall UK. Collected by a colleague, Paul Gainey

This is a line of antheridia on a male branch of the stonewort 'Chara fragifera', one of the algae. Each sphere has a closely-knit set of 'shield cells' with a black outline that give a dramatic setting to the red colouration.


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