The best of the Close-Up Photographer of the Year awards

3rd Place – Fungi. Slime Mould (Didymium squamulosum) growing along the edge of a holly leaf in a Hertfordshire woodland.  Andy Sands/  View gallery – 21 images

Founded in 2018 by a pair of UK photographers, the Close-Up Photographer of the Year contest celebrates all kinds of macro and micro photography. In its fourth installment two new categories have been added, making 10 broad areas of entry, from Animals, Insects and Butterflies to Manmade objects, Underwater shots, and Fungi.

Finalist – Insects. A small robber fly (Asilidae) with a small beetle it has claimed as prey.  Rory Wills/

The contest has no strict definition of what a “close-up” shot needs to be, so a variety of shots are celebrated here, from extreme microscopic imagery to more general close-up photos that place animals or insects within broader environments.

The top prize this year went to Canadian photographer Samantha Stevens. Working with researchers at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station, Stevens discovered a Northern Pitcher plant had caught not one but two salamanders.

Overall Winner, 1st Place – Animals. Northern Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia purpurea) are carnivorous and a single plant here managed to capture two juvenile Spotted Salamanders.   Samantha Stephens/

“While following researchers on their daily surveys I saw a pitcher with two salamanders floating at the surface of the pitcher’s fluid, both at the same stage of decay,” said Stevens. “I knew it was a special and fleeting moment. The next day, both salamanders had sunk to the bottom of the pitcher.”

2nd Place – Animals. At this pond hundreds of miniature toads, barely a centimeter in size began to wander around seeking refuge. A pair of them found safety in the huge paw print of a mastiff that was left in the mud when it came to quench its thirst at the water’s edge.  Juan Ahumada/

Other highlights from this year’s impressive batch of winners include the surreal tracks of a sand viper in the Sahara desert, tiny toads hiding out in the paw prints of a mastiff, and a surreal close-up of a knotted rubber band.

A Sand Viper digging itself into the sand

Lucernaria Quadricornis

Bluespotted Klipfish and mussel shells

Pintatomidae Stink Bug eggs

Triangular Spider species

Take a look through our gallery at all the best shots from this year’s contest.

Source: CUPOTY

View gallery – 21 images

Leave a Reply