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!