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See the Stunning Close-Up Photos That Won This Year’s Competition

Nathan Benstead, “Hemitrichia calyculata,” Young Category Winner. All images © the photographers and Close-Up Photographer of the Year, shared with permission

In the Close-Up Photographer of the Year contest, this year’s winning photos offer a stunning glimpse into the miniature world. This captivating competition attracted more than 9,000 entries from 54 countries, with Samantha Stephens taking home first prize for her image of two tiny amphibians trapped inside a carnivorous plant. From macro photography of insects and other small creatures to images that capture the beauty of microscopic patterns, these photographs reveal a fascinating and often overlooked side of nature.

She highlights, “Generally, these plants feast on tiny invertebrates such as moths and flies. Nevertheless, the researchers at Algonquin Wildlife Research Station made an extraordinary discovery - juvenile Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) have been added to their menu!” It was a lucky chance; by the next day, all of them had vanished into the bottom of pitcher plants.

Look at some of our favorite captures below, and head to the contest’s website for an even bigger treat - the Top 100 photographs of this year!

a close up of a tree
Uday Hegde, “Atlas Moth.” Second Place Dragonflies and Butterflies Category Winner
Samantha Stephens, “Nature’s Pitfall,” Overall Winner and Animals Category Winner
Minghui Yuan, “Little Naughty Draw Circle,” Third Place Insects Category Winner
Andy Sands, “Slime Mould [Didymium Squamulosum] on Holly Leaf,” Third Place Fungi Category Winner
Angelo Richardson, “Sea in Fan,” Third Place Intimate Landscape Category Winner
Marek Miś, “Batrachospermum Red Algae,” First Place Micro Category Winner
Ben Revell, “Gordian Worm Knot,” Second Place Invertebrate Portrait Category Winner
Ben Revell, “Gordian Worm Knot,” Second Place Invertebrate Portrait Category Winner
Kate Jonker, “Beauty and the Beast,” Second Place Underwater Category Winner
a bird sitting on top of a wooden fence
Anton Trexler, “Doner Kebab and Pizza,” Third Place Young Category Winner