Stunning Photo of Glowing Jellyfish Wins 2021 European Wildlife Photography Awards

Glowing Jellyfish in Mar Menor

“Medusa Ballet” by Angel Fitor. Winner, European Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

After six years, Spanish photographer Angel Fitor was finally able to get the photograph of jellyfish in Spain's Mar Menor that he'd been envisioning. His patience was not only rewarded with the stunning photo, but also with a win at the 2021 European Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards. He beat out over 1,000 photographers from 36 countries to nab the top spot.

Though it appears that there are eleven jellyfish in the photo, Fitor actually photographed two. By following their movements with multiple flash releases, we're able to see them bob across the frame. While the photo is beautiful, it also holds an important message. Fitor's photo was taken in 2014 prior to the destruction of the lagoon's ecosystem. The photographer blames poor agricultural planning and overbuilding for the tourism sector for the slow decline of the water's aquatic life. In fact, he calls the photo an “ode to the unique natural heritage the lagoon Mar Menor once was.”

“Through the illusion of a swarm of jellyfish, [the photo] evokes associations with a trend we can observe everywhere in heavily overexploited seas. Marine ecosystems that are no longer unimpaired and the warming seas as a result of climate change are promoting the increase of individual species,” says the patron of the competition and president of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BFN) Dr. Beate Jessel.

Other winning images from the contest show unique aspects of the natural world. This includes interesting underwater encounters between different species and a flock of birds coming to roost in Norway. Young photographers also have an important place in the contest, with delightful images of birds winning both the 15- to 17-year-old and under 14-year-old categories.

With over 19,000 images entered in this year's competition, the judges had a lot to evaluate. As always, the contest is sponsored by the German Society for Nature Photographers as a way to celebrate modern nature photography. The winning photos will now embark on a traveling exhibit around Germany and other parts of Europe. If you can't make it over to see the exhibition, or just wish to browse the photos at home, there is also a printed catalog of this year's winners available for purchase.

See more incredible winning images from the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 awards.

Moose Shaking Off Rain

“After the Rain” by Danny Green. Winner, Mammals.

Seal Underwater Swimming Toward School of Fish

“Water Ballet” by Fabrice Guerin. Winner, The Underwater World.

Emerald Dragon on Branches

“Emerald dragon” by Jan Pedersen. Winner, Other Animals.

Nsenene Trapped on a Oil Drum

“Nsenene 9” by Jasper Doest. Winner, Fritz Pölking Prize

Pink-footed Geese Roosting in Norway

“Bird Migration” by Terje Kolaas. Winner, Birds.

Seal Sitting in Hot Springs

“A Quiet Evening” by Marco Gaiotti. Highly Commended, Mammals.

Italian Dolomites

“Thunderstorm Mood” by Sonja Jordan. Highly Commended, Landscapes.

Underwater Photographers Surrounding a Shark

“Diving and species conservation” by Magnus Lundgren. Winner, Men and Nature.

Artistic Photo of White Birds

“The Boss” by Francis De Andrés. Winner, Nature's Studio.

Bird Perched on Sunflower

“Spring Singer” by Andrés Luis Domínguez Blanco. Winner, Young Photographers (Up to 14)

Tree Bursting Through Fog

“In the Mist” by Helmut Elzenbaumer. Highly Commended, Plants and Mushrooms.

White Birds Landing on a Tree Branch in the Water

“Winged stars” by Davide Biagi. Highly Commended, Birds

Arctic Fox Surrounded by Mosquitoes

“Arctic fox in a Swarm of Mosquitoes” by Arnfinn Johansen. Highly Commended, Mammals.

Spanish moon moths

“Spanish moon moths” by Pedro Javier Pascual Hernandez. Runner-Up, Other Animals.

Swirling Cloud of Bait Fish

“Baitball” by Henley Spiers. Highly Commended, The Underwater World

Jay Flying Through the Forest

“Forest of the Siberian Jay” by Lasse Kurkela. Winner, Young Photographers (15-17 Years).

Male Alpine Ibex in the French Alps

“The King” by Emile Séchaud. Winner, Fritz Pölking Junior Prize.

European Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Website 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by the German Society for Nature Photographers.

Related Articles:

Wildlife Photographer Captures Nature’s Magical Little Moments

Top Underwater Photographers Celebrate the Unseen Beauty of the Sea

See the Soaring Finalists of the Bird Photographer of the Year 2021 Contest

British Wildlife Photography Awards Celebrates 10 Years of Amazing Animal Photos

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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