The slogan for the Nikon Small World competition is “Recognizing Excellence in Photography through the Microscope.” Feast your eyes on these images that record a different world so small that it fits into a drop of water!
The first Nikon Small World competition was in 1974. Since then, Nikon has recognized the efforts of those who turn microscope photography into art. 2011 is the 37th year for the competition, and around 2,000 photographs were entered.  
Nikon was generous enough to give Neatorama readers a special close-up view of some of the entries in this year’s competition. This particular collection is called “Lives Within a Drop of Water.” It’s a chance to marvel at the world of microscopic life we would never be able to see with the naked eye. Other collections will follow in the days ahead.
Michael Shribak/ Dr. Irina Arkhipova
Marine Biological Laboratory
Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Philodina roseola (bdelloid rotifer), live specimen
Video-enhanced polychromatic polarized light

Frank Fox
Fachhochschule Trier
Trier, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Melosira moniliformis, living specimen (320X)
Differential Interference Contrast
Dr. Jan Michels
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Kiel, Germany
Temora longicornis (marine copepod), ventral view (10X)
Confocal, Autofluorescence and Congo Red Fluorescence
Joan Röhl
Institute for Biochemistry and Biology
Potsdam, Germany
Daphnia magna (freshwater water flea) (100X)
Differential Interference Contrast
Gerd A. Guenther
Duesseldorf, Germany
Nassula ornata (freshwater ciliate), conjugation, living specimens (630X)
Differential Interference Contrast
Charles Krebs
Charles Krebs Photography
Issaquah, Washington, USA
Hydra sp. capturing water flea (40X)
Dr. Andrew Gillis
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, UK
Chiloscyllium plagiosum (Whitespotted bamboo shark), embryonic pectoral fin
Stereomicroscopy with fiber optic lighting
Dr. John H. Brackenbury
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, UK
Water droplet containing a pair of mosquito larvae
Laser-triggered high-speed macrophotography
Wim van Egmond
Micropolitan Museum
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Leptodora kindtii (giant waterflea) eye; living specimen
Differential Interference Contrast
Dr. Ralf Wagner
Düsseldorf, Germany
Daphnia sp. (water flea) and Volvox sp. (green algae)
Darkfield, flash
Jonathan Franks
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Algae biofilm
Confocal, autofluorescence
Wolfgang Bettighofer
Kiel, Germany
Closterium lunula (green alga), living specimen from a bog pond
Differential Interference Contrast
Dr. Carlos Alberto Muñoz
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Alona sp. (crustacean) mounted in Canada Balsam with crystals and other artifacts
Nomarski Differential Interference Contrast