Sliding Scale: A Tour of More Extraordinary Micro-Vistas [Slide Show] Scientific American presents a supplemental selection of outstanding images entered in the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Contest by the great masters of the microscope Credits: Mike Samworth
Beautiful Parasite Spike Walker of Penkridge, England, received an honorable mention for this image of
Prosthogonimus macrorchis, a poultry flatworm parasite. Walker used Rheinberg illumination, a variant of dark-field microscopy in which the subject is shot against a blue screen. Spike Walker
Caught in the Act This differential interference microscopy (at 100x magnification) image shows the surface of a paramecium protozoan, with three water vacuoles in the process of contracting. The BioScapes jury gave its creator, Norman Shedlo of Hyattsville, Md., a special award for technical merit.
Wounded Wonderland Mike Samworth of Catterick Garrison, U.K., received an honorable mention for this image of the inside of a sterile wound dressing, captured using polarized light. The dressing consists of a highly absorbent pad of cotton and polyester fiber with a hydrophobic backing layer, which is attached to a very thin perforated polyester film. Samworth became familiar with this type of dressing when he injured his chin during a canoeing trip and his wound became infected, requiring daily dressings.
True Colors Gerhard Rohringer of Santa Barbara, Calif., photographed a live, unstained
Epistylis plicatilis protozoan (with its stalk) using differential interference contrast, earning an honorable mention. Gerhard Rohringer Advertisement
Embryonic Shrub This flower cluster bud belongs to an
Astragalus compactus. Somayeh Naghiloo, of the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Tabriz in Iran, assembled this image from 80 shots he took with epi-illumination. He received an honorable mention. Somayeh Naghiloo
Environmental Sensitivity The mouth of this living lancelet (not a vertebrate, but a close relative) is protected by a sieve of buccal cirri, filaments that sense the environment and capture food particles. Alvaro Migotto of the University of São Paulo in Brazil captured the image using stereomicroscopy with dark-field illumination and took home an honorable mention.
Glassy Shell Robert Lavigne of Montréal was awarded an honorable mention for this image of a polycystine radiolarian (a protozoan that produces a mineral skeleton), which he created using oblique illumination with deconvolution.
Lace Bug This azalea lace bug (
Stephanitis pyrioides) was photographed by Charles Krebs of Issaquah, Wash., using reflected illumination and 120 shots with different focal planes. Krebs received an honorable mention. Charles Krebs Advertisement
Weedy Flower M. Reza Dadpour of the Department of Horticultural Sciences at the University of Tabriz, Iran, placed fifth in the competition with this image of a weedy flower's bud (genus
Tribulus). Dadpour captured more than 100 shots on different focal planes and composed them into one image, which shows the bud at its final stages of development. M. Reza Dadpour
Mushrooming Out This portrait of dung fungi growing on a cow pile won Mike Crutchley, of Pembrokeshire, Wales, an honorable mention in this year's Olympus BioScapes International Digital Imaging Competition. He composed the image from 20 shots captured with epi-illumination.
Mike Crutchley Advertisement