The waters of Fakarava (an island in French Polynesia) were a regular home for photographer and biologist Laurent Ballesta and his team. They spent five years coming regularly to dive and, among reefs and corals, attend an event of unique nature: the birth of marine life. It was then that the annual spawning of groupers, which occurs during the first full moon in July, was immortalized through his lens just as a trio of these fish emerged from a cloud of eggs and sperm.
It is a species, that of groupers, threatened by overfishing throughout the world. However, in the depths of Fakarava they are protected by being in a biosphere reserve to harmonize the conservation of the species. For this reason, among other reasons, Ballesta’s photography has been chosen as the best nature photo of the year by the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, a contest organized annually by the Natural History Museum of London.
“Laurent Ballesta’s image is a reminder of what we can lose if we do not address humanity’s impact on our planet. The protection that the biosphere reserve provides to this endangered species highlights the positive difference we can make.” explains Dr. Doug Gurr, director of the Museum of Natural History.
The other big winner, but in the youth photography section, has been Vidyun R Hebbar’s snapshot. The 10-year-old captured a spider attached to a web, between a hole in a wall, while a tuk-tuk (a motorized tricycle) passed behind. The blurring of the lens next to the vehicle as a backdrop resulted in a colorful image, with the tiny black and white bug set against the green and yellow.
The two winning images were selected from 19 categories, among which are ‘Plants’, ‘Birds’ or ‘Invertebrates’. All of them with their respective winners to try, as stated in the contest, to represent the great diversity of the planet as an incentive to conserve it. We review the winners.