Winner: Sergio Marijuán - Spain

Sergio Marijuán (1993) is a photographer from Spain. He currently lives in the province of Valladolid, where summer dyes the landscape a bright yellow, long winters brings life to a halt, and wildlife is elusive.

He only took up photography in 2010, and has continuously learned as an autodidact. Since 2015, he has been working as a professional photographer, which makes him feel very lucky as it allows him to spend even more time outside. Through his images he aims to share his feelings and experiences with others and evoke interest for Nature. At present, he works for different nature conservation projects because he feels a great passion to protect what he loves.

During the early years, Sergio went to explore his closer surroundings with his camera. He witnessed countless sunrises and sunsets and spent many hours in the woods waiting for its secret dwellers in twilight. Today, he also visits other regions of Spain and the world, always inspired by curiosity and a great fascination for the beauty of Nature.

Project: Essences

The magic of an encounter with an animal at dusk, the sound of cranes rising up towards the sky or the secretive silhouette of an ibex at twilight – all this evokes emotions in me that are difficult to describe. This kind of contact with wilderness, the unique experiences and moments never fail to move me deeply.

Every encounter with wildlife is special to me, it makes me feel happy to be presented with such a gift. In this project, I focused on images that reflect the sensations and memories of my heart.

I feel these photographs to be the essence of unique encounters with very different creatures, from the elusive Iberian lynx to the light, fragile butterfly. Different beings and different ways of life, every one of them photographed with the same intention: to capture the spirit of wilderness and depict the beauty of nature and the great fascination we have always felt for her.

Ethereal rest

Fleeting moment
While walking through a pine forest near my house, I noticed numerous small butterflies roused by my feet. I was actually looking for a much bigger animal, but could not resist the elegant charm of this small butterfly. There is so much beauty revealed in only a few centimetres ...

Night fishing

Fishing at night
I often idealize moments in nature that then inspire my photography. For many years, I had watched herons gathering at the river at night, and I imagined what this scene would look like in moon light. One day, the opportunity occurred to put my idea into practice.

Iberian lynx the Iberian essence

Iberian essence
The spirit of Mediterranean forests, a jewel of the Iberian Peninsula. Its mere presence creates interest and excitement. In this image, I tried to highlight its timid, elusive personality: a blurred photograph, depicting its fleetingness while still maintaining a tangible experience through its physical characteristics.

Solitary silhouettes

Solitary silhouettes
When winter draws to a close in the mountains of Sierra de Gredos, the male ibexes separate from the females. It was late afternoon when I came across this male. Impressed by his terrific antlers, I tried to emphasize them in the photograph. I followed this imposing animal late until night; then it was time for me to return, and the lord of the mountains remained on his own in his realm.

Oniric life

Like in a dream
On this particular morning, the lake presented itself like a large white canvas; a dense fog crept into every corner, and the air was saturated with water. The rising sun lifted the white veil, and in the distance I made out a flock of cormorants looking for food. I thought how wonderful it would be to be allowed to spend every day in an atmosphere like this.

Ravens dreams

Raven's dream
I like to use natural elements in creative ways. The bokeh created by the leaves on the branches of the tree makes a perfect backdrop for the sturdy silhouette of the raven.


I wanted to create an image of mystic atmosphere, and so I captured the reflections of several cranes on a frozen lake. The posture of the birds on the photograph's edge looks as if they were paying reverence to the crane in the centre of the image.

Meeting at dawn

A meeting at dawn
That morning I had left early for the mountains; it was dark, and the stars were still out. I noticed a movement in the first light of the day: a young fox full of curiosity, pausing just long enough for me to take this shot. It was a lucky coincidence: usually, foxes are very timid in Spain.

Singing to the sky

Singing to the sky
In winter, thousands of cranes migrate to Spain looking for food on empty fields. As part of their courtship display, the majestic birds stretch their necks towards the sky in a reverberating trumpet-like call.

The kiss

The kiss
Whenever I photograph ravens, I am surprised how similar their behaviour is to ours: their way of communicating, quarrelling and expressing their feelings.