In a ceremony this week, Rikardsen’s photo was given the prize for the Behaviour: Birds category in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, run by the Natural History Museum in London and now in its 55th year.
“Norway's Audun Rikardsen has won Behaviour: Birds with this powerful frame of a magnificent eagle coming in to land, talons outstretched, poised for a commanding view of its coastal realm. Creating this shot required exceptional planning and patience,” the Natural History Museum wrote on Twitter.
Norway's Audun Rikardsen has won Behaviour: Birds with this powerful frame of a magnificent eagle coming in to land, talons outstretched, poised for a commanding view of its coastal realm. Creating this shot required exceptional planning and patience. #WPY55 pic.twitter.com/riabSfO7pQ— Wildlife Photographer of the Year (@NHM_WPY) October 15, 2019
Rikardsen, 51, has previously won the award on 12 different occasions, Norway’s national broadcaster NRK writes.
The prize is often described as an ‘Oscars’ for wildlife photography.
“This is the greatest thing you can achieve in wildlife photography, and just as great each time. It’s a fantastic ceremony. You feel like a superstar,” Rikardsen told NRK.
The photographer works as a professor in Arctic and Marine Biology at the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø.
But he had to use endless amounts of patience to score the stunning image that earned him his latest prize.
It took three years of waiting before the moment was captured of the eagle swooping over Kvaløya in Tromsø, where Rikardsen lives with his family.
An NRK documentary from 2015 told the story of the beginning of the photographer’s hunt for the spectacular image.
It shows him making an eagle’s nest in the mountains behind his house, before mounting an SLR camera with a motion sensor.
It took time to get the eagle where he wanted, and for the bird to get used to the photographer, he said.
“The sensor let me know when the eagle landed. Then I just had to get on my feet and and run up the mountain to adjust the camera and flash,” he told NRK.
After several thousand attempts, the winning photo of the landing golden eagle was taken in March last year.
Open to photographers of all ages and abilities, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opens for entries every October.
You can see some of Rikardsen’s awarding-winning work on his website.