A new competition to reward excellence in macro, micro and close-up photography has just been launched, with a combined cash and camera equipment prize.
The inaugural Close-up Photographer of the Year competition runs until February 2019, and will be judged by award-winning photographers including Ross Hoddinott, David Maitland and Robert Thompson.
Entrants are invited to make submissions into five categories: Animals, Plants & fungi, Intimate landscape, Manmade and Micro (for images captured with a microscope), as well as Young Close-up Photographer of the Year (for entrants aged 17 and under).
The winner will bag £1,000 in cash, plus a Sigma Art lens and a Sigma camera with a combined value of £1,200.
Five category winners get £300 each, and the winner of Young Close-up Photographer of the Year will be presented with a Sigma Art lens.
There are no restrictions on the subject matter of entries – anything from a cheese grater to the cell of a fruit fly is welcome, and covered by a category.
The judges are looking for visually arresting images that encourage the viewer to see the world in a different way – showing something astonishing, beautiful or challenging, or perhaps something mundane shot in an unusual way.
Close-up Photographer of the Year was co-founded by Tracy Calder, former editor of Outdoor Photography magazine.
It aims to celebrate close-up, macro and micro photography, but Tracy says that its scope isn’t limited to those three strands alone.
The competition aims to encourage photographers to slow down, enjoy their craft, and make connections with others who are passionate about the world up close.
So photographing a grizzled skipper butterfly or trooping funnel mushroom could bag the winner a prize pot worth over £2,000.
“Close-up photography allows us to explore intimate details, and encourages us to see the world anew,” says Tracy.
“When we stop to notice the curved bands of a snail shell or jagged thorns of a rose stem we create a lasting connection with our environment.”
Close-up Photographer of the Year will be supported by a blog and newsletter covering everything from where to find perfect flower specimens to how to light macro subjects, and what to carry in your kit bag. There will also be regular meet-ups and workshops.
Entry fees are £10 for one picture in one category; £20 for five pictures across five categories; £30 for 15 pictures across five categories; and £40 for 30 pictures across five categories.
Entry to Young Close-up Photographer of the Year costs £5 for 15 pictures.
The competition is open to all, and entrants have until 23.59 (GMT) on 10 February 2019 to submit their pictures via the Close-up Photographer of the Year website, where you'll also find full details and T&Cs.
The results will be announced soon after the closing date.