“Photography through the microscope is extremely difficult and it goes beyond just attaching a camera to a microscope,” Tellus Curator Julian Gray said. “There’s issues with the light and getting the colors right and getting a sharp focus.
“A lot of the images that are winning images are images that [are] taken using fluorescent techniques and all kinds of different high contrast techniques that are not used in your normal high school biology lab or something like that. These are much more involved techniques and they involve a higher level of skill just to set up the microscope let alone to take the photograph. So the combination of all those things makes just taking the images very unique and Nikon recognizes that.”
Started in 1975, the Nikon International Small World Competition annually rewards the efforts of photomicrographers. This year’s winners, Drs. Jennifer Peters and Michael Taylor, captured an image of “the blood-brain barrier in a live zebrafish embryo.”
On display through April 17, the exhibit will be located at the beginning of Tellus’ education wing.
“These images are just every bit as unique as things that we see with the Hubble Space Telescope,” Gray said. “We’re just looking at the other end of the universe. We’re looking at the small world, which is the name of the contest, but it’s looking at our world a little closer and things that are all around us — insects and plants and seeds and snowflakes and sand grains. It just changes our perspective. These images are really great art and visually striking too.”
Encompassing 120,000 square feet at 100 Tellus Drive in Cartersville, Tellus is comprised of four main galleries — The Weinman Mineral Gallery, The Fossil Gallery, Science in Motion and The Collins Family My Big Backyard hands-on science gallery — a 120-seat digital planetarium and an observatory. A Smithsonian affiliate, Tellus has attracted more than 770,000 visitors since opening in January 2009.
“It’s pretty mind blowing, that ... four years have gone by. We opened to a lot of excitement,” Tellus Executive Director Jose Santamaria said. “We had a really great first year and we’ve been getting really strong visitation ever since.
“We had our second-best year last year so we’re still getting a lot of interest from the community, [which is] very exciting. Even though we’re turning 4, we have a lot of exciting things coming up,” he said referring to a moon rock specimen on long-term loan from NASA.
With its Vision for the Future capital campaign currently under way, Tellus is trying to raise $1.2 million to extend the museum’s offerings and in doing so provide new experiences for repeat visitors.
“Last month, we met the match from 3M,” Santamaria said. “They offered $100,000 if we would match that and we surpassed that. So we’re close to being halfway in the capital campaign. We’ve had a really successful four years but we wanted to continue being successful by bringing in new things.
“So the campaign is to bring new traveling exhibits and the campaign is also to upgrade the planetarium projector to ... produce some very exciting images. And it also is to bring in just more hands-on exhibits throughout the museum — so essentially new things. We want to continue to be fresh, to be exciting and to give people something new to see.”
The Nikon Small World Exhibit will be included in regular admission to Tellus — $14 for adults, $12 for individuals 65 and older, and $10 for children ages 3 to 17 and students with ID — and it will be free for museum members and active military personnel with ID.
For more information about the museum and its upcoming events and programs, call 770-606-5700 or visit www.tellusmuseum.org. To obtain more details on the capital campaign, contact Tellus Director of Development Adam Wade at 770-606-5700 ext. 414.