By the light of the moon

Audun Rikardsen's Image

Audun knew exactly when in autumn the brown trout congregate to spawn in this Arctic river.

Struggling with the ice forming on his equipment and his skin, he used flashes beneath the surface and his camera positioned just above to capture this fish hanging in shallow water, bathed in moonlight and the northern lights. After years at sea, this brown trout will have returned to the same river it hatched in order to spawn. Gathering in the shallows in late summer, the trout create nests in the gravel to release their sperm and eggs. They spawn at night, to avoid predators such as eagles, which gather along the river bank at this time.

Behind the lens

Audun Rikardsen

Audun Rikardsen


Audun is a photographer and full-time professor of biology at the Arctic University of Norway. Growing up in a small fishing community in northern Norway, he developed a lifelong fascination with the Arctic's rough landscape, culture and wildlife, both above and below the ocean's surface. He uses his fieldwork photography to inspire his students and to draw attention to the science.

Image details

  • Canon EOS-1D X
  • Samyang 14mm f2.8 lens
  • 35 sec at f22 and at f5.6  •   ISO 640  •   x2 Canon 600 strobes
  • Tromsø, Norway
Copyright in WPY competition photographs remains the property of the respective photographers. You may not copy, share, reproduce or republish the photographs except as expressly permitted by copyright law. For media image usage enquiries, please contact us.

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