Returning for the first time since 2019, the Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition 2023 showcases fascinating photographs that capture 'scientific phenomena happening all around us'.
The competition is made up of 5 categories, Astronomy, Behavior, Earth science and climatology, Ecology and environmental science, and Microimaging. Some seriously impressive images give viewers a glimpse into worlds that are all around us but often go unnoticed. The winning image is just that, capturing a scene that would usually be stepped over.
• See our guide for the best macro lenses
This year's grand prize winner was awarded to Irina Petrova Adamatzky for her image titled Martian Landscape, which presents viewers with a glimpse into a micro world. The photograph was taken using the Laowa 25mm f2.8 2.5-5x Ultra Macro lens on her Sony A7R IV and depicts 'steel-blue iridescence of the plasmodial slime mold, Lamproderma scintillans, populating the surface of a decomposing autumnal leaf'.
Microimaging category and overall prize winner Adamatzky states, “I unintentionally captured this scene while collecting samples of slime molds in a field near my home in Somerset,” Irina said. “I noticed them the evening before and had intended to gather samples to measure their electrical activity for our research. However, my attention was diverted by a simple autumn leaf that, although seemingly ordinary, held something intriguing within. I gathered it, along with my samples, and the following day I was amazed to discover what appeared to be another world within the confines of that unassuming leaf.”
The runner-up for microimaging goes to Shyam Ulhas for their image titled Beacon of Crystals in a Wild Forest.
The Astronomy category was dominated by photographer Imran Sultan, who was awarded both category winner and runner-up. The winning image titled The Western Veil Nebula is the result of "four hours of total imaging time and is a stack of 52 individual 300-second sub-exposures"
Dr. Tom Shlesinger wins the Behavior category for his image Nightly Elevator, which shows a small fish hitching a ride on a jellyfish as it returns to the surface of the ocean for food after sundown. Shlesinger also won the category, Ecology and Environmental Science, for an equally impressive underwater scene titled, Star of the Night.
The Earth Science and Climatology category was won by Dr. Chia-Hsin (Wendy) Tsai, for her image A Crack in Time, which depicts 'showcasing normal faults within extensional tectonics setting'. The image shows a vast scene and the layers of earth, recently excavated representing millennia - check out the surveyor for scale!
The Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition was launched in 2015 by the Royal Society’s journals to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the oldest continual scientific journal in the world. The full list of this year's winners can be found on the official webpage, along with insights from the judges and winners.