Barnard Awards for Photomicrographs – 2021

Mike Gibson co-ordinated the entries before passing them on to the judge. This year, 29 people submitted a total of 78 images. Alan Edwards LRPS judged the photomicrographs before they were shown at the Annual Exhibition of Microscopy at Potters Bar on Sunday 3rd October 2021, and had the difficult job of deciding which of the excellent images from members of the Quekett, the Iceni Microscopy Study Group and the Postal Microscopical Society were of a sufficiently high standard to deserve a certificate.

You can see all of the submitted photomicrographs in these image galleries:

Galleries of 2021 Barnard entriesGalleries of 2021 Barnard entries

Steve Gill announced the entries that deserved certificates during the gossip meeting on Friday 8th October. Certificates were awarded to Kevin Smith (Railway glass slag), Harry Taylor (Tern mite composite), Willem Cramer (Honeybee head and eyes), Michael Gibson (Urea crystals), John Tolliday (Sundew leaf), Graham Kingham (Honeybee proventriculus), Jan van IJken (Colonial Cyanobacteria), Carel Sartory (Minstrel bug and Sucker pad of Great Diving Beetle), Anne Algar (Mosquito larva), Mike Asquith (Crocus anther), Robert Ratford (Spear thistle), Gordon Pollock (Amino acid flower on lace), Jeremy Poole (Spider tarsus), Ian Jones (Diatoms two ways), Deborah Kapell (Mosquito larva) and Sandie Pearce (Spring flowers).

The 2020 and 2021 entries that received certificates were displayed at the Annual Exhibition of Microscopy in Potters Bar:

Barnard photomicrographs displayBarnard photomicrographs display

Mike Gibson prepared this PowerPoint presentation containing most of the photomicrographs and the notes provided by the photographers:

Click the arrows to move through the slides. Click the symbol at bottom right for a larger version.

The judge, Alan Edwards, provided these notes that he made on the winning photomicrographs:

With so many excellent images submitted to this year’s competition it has been difficult to select images for awards. Entrants have shown both technical and artistic skills to produce images that excite and inform.

Click any of the images below to see a larger version. (Click outside the image or click Image gallery Close icon at top right to return to this page.)

Railway glass slag by Kevin Smith. There is an abstract quality to this image. It takes advantage of the swirls of blue and mauve hues to contrast with the bright gold sphere and its surrounding detail.

Railway glass slag
Railway glass slag – Barnard Certificate

Tern mite composite by Harry Taylor. The variety in form and colour of mite has been artfully used to assemble a ‘dance group’ with the star of the show front and centre in a vibrant blue spotlight.

Tern mite composite
Tern mite composite – Barnard Certificate

Honeybee head and eyes by Willem Cramer. This image has amazing detail that is shown so well against the white ground. The pale blues and yellows are just sufficient to help make clear the internal structures.

Honeybee head and eyes
Honeybee head and eyes – Barnard Certificate

Urea crystals by Michael Gibson. Bright plates of colour overlay more muted areas to give a great sense of depth to this image.

Urea crystals
Urea crystals – Barnard Certificate

Sundew leaf by John Tolliday. The raspberry colour of the sundew set against the ceramic cream background is suggestive of an exotic fruit, served as a delicacy. The quality of lighting and the fine detail put it firmly in the award list.

Sundew leaf
Sundew leaf – Barnard Certificate

Honeybee proventriculus by Graham Kingham. Could it be the moon behind scudding clouds, or perhaps waves seen from above crashing on a dark shore? An intriguing image that challenges the viewer.

Honeybee proventriculus
Honeybee proventriculus – Barnard Certificate

Colonial Cyanobacteria by Jan van IJken. An image with immediate impact. The bright yellow bursts out from the dark field. The gradation of yellow tones creates a strong impression of 3D roundness in the 2D space.

Colonial Cyanobacteria
Colonial Cyanobacteria – Barnard Certificate

Minstrel bug by Carel Sartory. The bright red and black livery of the minstrel bug is enhanced by the blue ground. Clever lighting has brought out the texture and detail.

Minstrel bug
Minstrel bug – Barnard Certificate

Sucker pad of Great Diving Beetle by Carel Sartory. As humans our brain seeks out a face-like pattern, even in inanimate objects [pareidolia]. So a first impression of this image is of an owl with a quizzical tilt of the head. Having caught our attention there is a wealth of detail to show how the suckers function.

Sucker pad of Great Diving Beetle
Sucker pad of Great Diving Beetle – Barnard Certificate

Mosquito larva by Anne Algar. Superb detail, attractive colour and dynamic shape all add up to an award-worthy image.

Mosquito larva
Mosquito larva – Barnard Certificate

Crocus anther by Mike Asquith. A beautifully lit image that has a gelatinous glowing quality.

Crocus anther
Crocus anther – Barnard Certificate

Spear thistle by Robert Ratford. A swirling mosaic of pinks on a cream ground. The main complete cell is nicely balanced with the three partial groups.

Spear thistle flower
Spear thistle flower – Barnard Certificate

Amino acid flower on lace by Gordon Pollock. A well composed image with instant visual appeal. The petal-like swirls lead the eye to the centre of the ‘flower’, positioned at a visually strong thirds grid point.

Amino acid flower on lace
Amino acid flower on lace – Barnard Certificate

Spider tarsus by Jeremy Poole FRPS. All the SEMs submitted to the competition show fantastic detail in their subject matter. Of those I am most drawn to this one. There are so many different structures and textures the image holds my attention far longer than others.

Spider tarsus
Spider tarsus – Barnard Certificate

Diatoms two ways by Ian Jones. The symmetry of the diatom is echoed in this simple but attractive arrangement. The sea blue/green colour is an inspired choice and adds just the right amount of lift against the monochrome fields.

Diatoms two ways
Diatoms two ways – Barnard Certificate

Mosquito larva by Deborah Kapell. The success of this image lies in the lighting arrangement. The body is given the appearance of cut glass. The detail of the internal organs is preserved and there is a pleasing glow to the extremities.

Mosquito larva
Mosquito larva – Barnard Certificate

Spring flowers by Sandie Pearce. Amino acid crystals have been photographed to great effect in Sandie’s image. The image is very painterly with bold strokes that flow across the frame.

Spring flowers
Spring flowers – Barnard Certificate

Click any of the images above to see a larger version. (Click outside the image or click Image gallery Close icon at top right to return to this page.)

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