See the Winning Images From the Close-Up Photographer of the Year Competition #amazing


Sweeping aerial views of Earth’s natural wonders and spectacular shots of outer space are all well and good. But beauty captured on a much smaller scale can be just as breathtaking.

To prove the point, look no further than the Close-up Photographer of the Year competition. It was launched in 2018 by UK-based couple Tracy and Daniel Calder, who both have years of experience in the photography industry. The fourth annual iteration drew more than 9000 submissions across 54 countries, and a winner was chosen in each of 11 categories.

Most of those categories celebrate nature. Insects, plants, fungi, animals, and intimate landscapes each have their own; and there’s even a separate one for butterflies and dragonflies. But photographers who see the art in peeling paint or something in the urban landscape aren’t excluded: There’s also a “manmade” group.

Feast your eyes on this year’s first-place photos below, and check out all the finalists here.

'nature's pitfall' photo by samantha stephens

‘Nature’s Pitfall’ / © Samantha Stephens | cupoty.com

No, not aliens—two dead spotted salamanders floating in the fluid of a carnivorous northern pitcher plant at Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada.

'intruder' photo by anirban dutta

‘Intruder’ / © Anirban Dutta | cupoty.com

A black drongo feasts on termites swarming around a light in Cooch Behar, India.

'Next To My Tree' photo by Sébastien Blomme

‘Next To My Tree’ / © Sébastien Blomme | cupoty.com

A solitary snake’s head fritillary in Toulouse, France.

'Ice Encrusted Comatricha' by Barry Webb

‘Ice Encrusted Comatricha’ / © Barry Webb | cupoty.com

Ice encircling slime mold in the UK during a bout of cold weather and freezing fog. This is less frightening when you find out the tallest specimen tops out at 3 millimeters.

'Little Predator' by Viktor Lyagushkin

‘Little Predator’ / © Viktor Lyagushkin | cupoty.com

A stalked jellyfish (the white thing) awaits passing prey beneath the icy surface of Russia’s White Sea.

Veiled by Wim Vooijs

‘Veiled’ / © Wim Vooijs | cupoty.com

A dew-speckled banded demoiselle in the Dutch town of Ede, in the Netherlands.

Mayan Derriere by Jamie Hall

‘Mayan Derriere’ / © Jamie Hall | cupoty.com

A triangular spider shows off its Mayan-like markings while it waits for its next meal in a conservation park in Brisbane, Australia.

'Frequency' by Mike Curry

‘Frequency’ / © Mike Curry | cupoty.com

A building at London’s Canary Wharf casts a reflection over the water; it took photographer Mike Curry a good two hours to capture the prize-winning shot.

'Oil & Water 44' by Matt Vacca

‘Oil & Water 44’ / © Matt Vacca | cupoty.com

A snapshot of the moment when two drops of oil begin to connect, while water droplets steadfastly remain aloof.

'Batrachospermum Red Algae' by Marek Miś

‘Batrachospermum Red Algae’ / © Marek Miś | cupoty.com

This panoramic image was created by combining multiple shots of red algae—collected from a river in Poland’s Wigry National Park—as seen through a microscope.

'Hemitrichia Calyculata' by Nathan Benstead

‘Hemitrichia Calyculata’ / © Nathan Benstead | cupoty.com

The “young” category is reserved for submissions from photographers who are under the age of 18. This year’s winner shows the fruiting bodies of slime mold (sporangia) thriving atop a rotten log in the UK.

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