Winners of the 2021 Close-up Photographer of the Year – The Atlantic

The third year of the Close-up Photographer of the Year competition has just come to a close, and the winners have been announced. The contest “celebrates close-up, macro, and micro photography,” among seven separate categories. More than 9,000 entries were received from 56 countries this year. The organizers have once again been kind enough to share some of the winners and finalists with us below.
Triplets in Green. Animals Finalist. Salamanders, silhouetted against large leaves.
Snack Time. Insects Finalist. An ant carries part of another insect.
Lachnum niveum. Second Place, Plants. Lachnum niveum, a tiny cuplike fungi, about half a millimeter tall, that captures water droplets in hairs on its stem.
Spiral Beauty. First Place, Micro. Kvarnstrom: “This green algae Spirogyra has one of the most fascinating chloroplast shapes of all algae – a helical shape, or spiral. Spirogyras thrive in almost any freshwater environment and are a common species that is easy to find in shallow ponds, ditches, and lakes. For this photograph I stained some of the Spirogyra strands with a number of fluorescent dyes to highlight the spirally shaped chloroplasts. They were then mixed with natural strands and placed next to each other on a glass slide and photographed in fluorescent light.”
Magic Spores. Third Place, Insects. A bracket fungus releases masses of spores, which caused the refraction of light, while a cockroach is feeding.
Fight. Second Place, Animals. Ivavnenko: “During spring these secret toadhead agamas battle over territory. It is difficult to capture these short and intense conflicts. The temperature in Kalmykia, Russia, doesn’t help either, as it often rises above 30 degrees C (86 degrees Fahrenheit).”
Insect diversity. First Place, Insects. Hermansen: “In the autumn of 2020, I discovered that one of the lamps on my house in Norway had a defect and had acted as a light trap for insects. I emptied the lamp and spread the contents onto a large light table I had left over from my slide days. I used a weak flashlight to light the details from above. I wanted to express the chaos and diversity of this discovery, but also to find some kind of composition. To me, it’s a visual reminder of the important and extreme diversity of animals around us that we take for granted.”
Delusion. Second Place, Manmade. Militelli: “A soap bubble lasts mere seconds before it bursts and returns to its original form. This image seeks not only to portray the ephemeral life of an apparent common physical phenomenon, but to also show the most diverse colors and mesmerizing patterns.”
Dancing in the Dark. First Place, Animals. Ahumada: “This opilione (harvestman or daddy long legs) moves along a dry branch in a small hollow created by a landslip on the hillside of Sierra Blanca, Andalusia. These creatures are blind and use their front legs to guide themselves in the dark. With little space to move, I managed to light the subject from behind and used a 20-second exposure to capture the movement of its long legs.”
Hidden. Third Place, Young. Trexler: “Agricultural areas like this do not seem very lively. The hare, which I almost ran past, is very well camouflaged here. Due to his natural instinct, he will lie down as soon as danger arises. So I discovered him, quite unexpectedly, five meters away from me.”
Golden Rain. Butterflies Finalist. A dragonfly perches on a leaf during a downpour.
Confinement on the Seventh Left. Animals Finalist.
Mudskipper Madness. Animals Finalist. A pair of mudskippers faces the photographer.
Tiny Details. Third Place, Animals. The feet of a bat, seen in an abandoned mine in Hungary’s Börzsöny hills. Sztrehárszki: “The photo shows the smallest horseshoe bat in Europe, the lesser horseshoe bat. Composing the picture in the silent darkness I only used a single flashlight with great care, trying not to disturb the hibernating mammal. I attempted to frame the picture to highlight the delicate feet of the bat as it hung upside down, clinging to the rock with its tiny fingers and claws, using special locking tendons. The backlight emphasizes the veins under the thin skin and the light hair on the tiny feet.”
Take Off. Animals Finalist. A beetle takes off from atop a snake.
Mole Cricket. Insects Finalist.
Rat in Tire Hub. First Place, Young. Boulton: “I noticed this rat peering out of an abandoned car wheel in a farmyard near my home in Cornwall, England. It was framed so pleasingly by the concentric circles of the tire that I came back the next morning with my camera in the hope of capturing the moment.”
Light Bulb. Underwater Finalist. A close view of a larval wonderpus octopus
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