WPY 2016

Photograph Details

Finalist 2016

Under Water

Audun Rikardsen, Norway

Arctic showtime

Audun wanted to juxtapose the peace above the water with the playfulness below. But he faced a considerable challenge. The light is so low during the polar night that normal underwater housings – waterproof casing for cameras – will not work for split-level pictures. So Audun developed his own. Then, it took patient planning to capture this moment.

Before migrating south, humpback whales begin to play and sing more intensely in the bays around Tromsø. It’s thought the males are serenading the females ahead of the forthcoming mating season. With their wide, powerful tail flukes and long flippers, these 40-tonne animals launch themselves out of the water in a graceful arc.

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D X; 11-24mm f4 lens at 11mm and 1.2 Lee filter; 1/100 sec at f5.6; ISO 1600; custom-made housing.


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

Tromsø, Norway

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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
  • Night blow
  • Splitting the catch