The shortlist for the 2015 Hilda Canter-Lund competition is now online at http://www.brphycsoc.org/Canter-Lund_2015/index.lasso. We have a particularly fine shortlist this year, encompassing the wide range of algal diversity from microscopic freshwater plankton to submerged seaweed forests. Two of the photographers, Chris Carter and John Huisman, are old friends of the competition, both having won it in the past, but they are facing stiff competition from five new faces.
Publication of our shortlist coincides with the shortlist appearing for the biennial Royal Microscopical Society’s Scientific Imaging Competition and I was pleased to see how well our own shortlist stood up to this competition. Their remit is much wider than ours, and some of the images are quite stunning. However, the images picked out for the BBC website showed a distinct predilection for false-coloured SEM images. It may be a personal bias but I generally find the use of false colour to be brash and distracting. When we are putting together the shortlist for the Hilda Canter-Lund competition we are looking for a basic authenticity and honesty in the way that the natural world is presented to the viewer, and this generally precludes excessive use of PhotoShop. Having said that, this year’s shortlist does include one image (“Viral attack”) where sensitive use of false colour does enhance the image and highlights an important role of viruses in oceanic carbon cycling.
The winner will be announced in mid-August.