See the winning image from Wildlife Photographer of the Year  

A rare image of a grouper mating frenzy won French photographer Laurent Ballesta the contest’s top honour.

Laurent Ballesta became the overall winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 by capturing an explosion of new life deep underwater. Two groupers exit a cloud of eggs and sperm in the Fakarava Atoll, part of French Polynesia. The mating is so rare and so fleeting that it happens only once a year, for about 30 minutes, around the full moon in July. Photographer Laurent Ballesta spent 3,000 hours trying to capture it.

For his photograph of this extraordinary phenomenon, called “Creation,” Ballesta, a frequent National Geographic photographer, won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.

Photo credit: Laurent Ballesta