Enter the Microscopic World of Bugs With These Award-Winning Garden Photos

By Yessenia Funes on at

Who doesn’t love to spend time in the garden? Some people love it so much, though, that they stake out for hours, camera in hand, waiting for an insect to land on a flower petal to capture the perfect shot.

These are the kind of people who submit their photography to the annual International Garden Photographer of the Year competition. This year’s winners for macro art hail from Germany, the United States, China, and many other countries. However, Lizzy Petereit from Bremen, Germany, takes home the first-place prize for her lovely lavender anemone flower photo, below. Captured in thrilling detail, the photo makes it look as if the flowers are moving.

“Everything flows,” Petereit said in her description of the image. “The wonderful anemone flowers from my garden are apparently in motion. They constantly change their shape and structure.”

The competition has run for 13 years now, awarding photographers for their stunning portrayals of seemingly common gardens. Winners have frozen in time the sights of snout beetles and dragonflies. The work isn’t just about capturing insects; it’s about showing the beauty in our backyards, the hidden detail of a leaf, the poetry encoded in a berry skeleton.

All the winners have something to share. Behold, this year’s Macro Art winners.

“Panta Rhei” won first place in this award category, displaying a stunning close-up shot of anemone flowers. (Photo: Lizzy Petereit)

In second place, “Big Nose,” which features a snout beetle in Slovakia. (Photo: Richard Kubica)

“Vitrail,” the third-place winner from Croatia, captures a female dragonfly. (Photo: Petar Sabol)

“Glamourpillar” seemingly places the caterpillar of a swallowtail butterfly on a stage without digital manipulation. This was a finalist, taken in Italy. (Photo: Henrik Spranz)

Another finalist, “Lotus Lamps” is a portrait of two lotus seedheads in an indoor studio in Denmark. (Photo: Lotte Grønkjær)

This finalist, “Blue Eyes, Green Eyes,” hails from China. The dragonfly is sitting on a lotus head. (Photo: Minghui Yuan)

The romantic display of colours was highly commended in the competition. “Sunset Serenity” shows a twin-spot frillitary butterfly before a Croatian sunset. (Photo: Henrik Spranz)

“Deutzia & Clematis” was taken using a microscope in the UK. Leaf hairs of the Deutzia flower can be seen here. (Photo: Steve Lowry)

“Red Dot” received praises for its artistic display of golden cherries whose shells remained. Taken in Bierbeek, Belgium. (Photo: Christl Deckx)

“Woven” details the wings of a swallowtail butterfly. The photo was taken in Nicosia, Cyprus. (Photo: Hasan Baglar)

Featured image: Petar Sabol