Silhouette of bear and raven wins Finnish nature photo prize

Ville Heikkinen became the fourth wildlife photographer in the competition's history to have received the award twice.

The 2019 Nature Photo of the Year in Finland Image: Ville Heikkinen

A silhouette of a bear and raven captured the grand prize at Finland's 39th annual Nature Photo of the Year competition, held on Saturday, 19 October at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki.

Ville Heikkinen's "Bear and Raven" was praised by the competition's jury for its epic atmosphere.

"The photo has a strong story that you want to revisit. It calls to mind the fables of our youth. Just what has the raven fooled the bear into this time?" the panel enthused.

The jury also pointed out the subjects' careful placement in the shot.

"A setting like this, where all of the elements are in perfect alignment, is not born in a moment. It demands patience. This is nature photography at its best: bringing these kinds of experiences to others who can't get to places like this for various reasons," it said.

Over 14,000 photos from 844 different photographers were entered in this year's competition, competing in eight different categories plus a youth category. The main prize in the competition is 10,000 euros.

The 90 photos that were selected for the final competition were also put out to an audience vote, via Facebook groups and other channels. The 2019 Audience Favourite was "Looking for the Future", from photographer Markku Pihlajaniemi.

The 2019 Audience Favorite Image: Markku Pihlajaniemi

All of the winners of the competition will be assembled into a Nature Photo of the Year exhibition that will tour Finland for the next year. The annual competition is organized by the Finnish Nature Photographers Association, with 2,800 professional and amateur nature photographers as members. It is the largest competition of its kind in the Nordics.