WPY 2016

Photograph Details

Finalist 2016


Audun Rikardsen, Norway

Night blow

Spotting killer whales in the misty polar water, Audun grabbed his equipment and hurried to his boat. Without a light to set the focus – in the rush, he’d forgotten his torch – and with ice crystals freezing to his beard, Audun followed the sound of the whales’ blows for six freezing hours before capturing this ethereal moment.

Thought to be the most widespread mammal after humans, killer whale populations vary significantly in appearance, behaviour, prey choice and communication. Differences are so clear that distinct groups in the same region do not even interact with each other. These different populations may soon be split into several new species or subspecies.

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D X; 24-70mm lens at 42mm; 1/40 sec at f5.6; ISO 4000; two Canon 600 flashes.

Tromsø, Norway: latitude 69.67904, longitude 18.91571 Tromsø, Norway: latitude 69.67904, longitude 18.91571

Tromsø, Norway

Intellectual property rights to all WPY images are retained by the photographers. Reproduction without prior written consent constitutes an actionable infringement. For usage enquiries please contact us.

Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Audun Rikardsen

Audun Rikardsen, Norway

Audun grew up in northern Norway, and has always been fascinated by the Arctic coast. He is a professor of fish biology at the University of Tromsø, and most of his images are taken locally or on field work. He has won several awards, including Arctic Photographer of the Year in 2014 and the WPY Portfolio Award in 2015. Audun hopes his images will help inspire nature conservation.

  • By the light of the moon
  • Dark dive
  • The last rays
  • Splash-time with Buddy
  • Deep sleeper
  • Sea eagle snatch
  • Splitting the catch
  • Arctic showtime