French Animal Photographer of the Year for his Grouper Fertilization Photo

the essential
The international jury of the 2021 Wildlife Photographer Grand Prize awarded photographer Laurent Ballesta a splendid photo of groupers in French Polynesia.

French photographer Laurent Ballesta has won a prestigious award. The Grand Prize for Wildlife Photographer of the Year has awarded the world’s best wildlife photography every year since 1964. Organized by the Natural History Museum, London, it has received more than 50,000 photographs from professionals and amateurs.

The winning photo shows a strange ballet of male groupers that come to fertilize the eggs laid by a female moments before. The phenomenon occurs in the summer, in July, in the waters of the Fakarava atoll, in French Polynesia. It lasts one hour and occurs during the full moon and low tide.

“The image is striking, energetic, intriguing and has an unearthly beauty. It also captures a magical moment, a truly explosive creation of life, leaving the end of the exodus of the eggs suspended for a moment like a symbolic question mark, “reacted the president of the jury Rosamund Kidman Cox.

To obtain this photo, Laurent Bastella and his team have been immersed in the atoll for five years. “The real secret of this photo is perseverance, it is to continue, every year, trying to be there at the right time,” explained the photographer to Paris party.

On the conditions to perform his shot, Laurent Bastella explains to Paris party : “I took this photo with bursts of ten shots per second to try to capture this moment. I have no light in me. I am in the dark, in the twilight. It was connected by cable to a ramp of six remote flashes intended to maintain this nocturnal atmosphere. “.

Laurent Bastella ranked five of his photos among the 100 most beautiful nature photos of the year.