May

dye drops

Dye Drops, Mateusz Dyla, DANDRITE (overall winner)

"To create the image, I filled up a small transparent container with water and I used a macro lens to capture the dye drops. The main challenge with this picture was that in order to create sharp and crisp drops, I had to use a fast shutter speed to minimize motion blur, a small aperture to maximize depth of field, and a low ISO to minimize noise. It all required a powerful light source to ensure a proper exposure. Thus, a white background of the image is actually a light bulb located behind the container, backlighting the drops in water.

"An inspiration to create this image came from my PhD project, in which I investigated a calcium ATPase using single-molecule FRET. In this method, one has to label a protein molecule with two fluorescent dyes, and using TIRF or confocal microscope in combination with powerful lasers, FRET efficiency dependent on the distance between the two dyes can be determined in real time.

"The fluorescent dyes that I used in my project are Cy3 and Cy5, characterized by a beautiful, intense pink and blue color, respectively. When creating this image, I mixed them with glycerol in order to obtain better-defined drops. The picture is flipped vertically for an artistic effect – this way one can better see mushrooms, flowers, jellyfish, a head wearing a hat, and whatever else you can imagine!"