Over 6,500 photo submissions were judged by an esteemed panel of experts for the California Academy of Science’s BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition.
Photographers from 67 countries put forward their most captivating images of wildlife; but in the end, it was Norwegian photographer Audun Rikardsen who took home the grand prize.
The award-winning photographer, who is also a professor of marine biology, won the competition with a stunning photograph of a black grouse perched high above the Norwegian coastline.
The image not only demonstrates Rikardsen’s technical skill, but also his tenacity, as he returned to the area innumerable times in order to capture the perfect shot of the bird on its perch. Taking center stage in the photo, the grouse’s comfort level with Rikardsen makes the work all the more incredible.