As a brand Red Bull has always promoted a wild, extreme and adventurous lifestyle and it also promotes a photography contest based on this lifestyle. Red Bull Illume is the world’s greatest adventure and action sports photographic contest. It promotes the most creative and captivating images on the planet, while highlighting the passion, lifestyle and culture of the photographers.
Red Bull Illume presents the fifth edition of The Image Quest 2019 and it has added two exciting new categories: Best of Instagram promoted by SanDisk and the Moving Image category. The submissions for Best of Instagram by SanDisk are open from the 1st to the 14th of every month from February to June with five monthly winners selected by a community vote. Entries for the main contest are open from the 1st of May to the 31st of July. Only a few days left!
The images will be judged by a judging panel of fifty photo editors and digital experts and they will select 55 finalists, 11 category winners and 1 overall winner, who will be unveiled at the Winner Award Ceremony in November.
In 2020 all finalist images will travel to capitals and cultural hubs on three continents in parallel as part of the Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour, providing an unprecedented level of exposure.
Official partners for this 2019 Image Quest are: the Japanese brand for consumer electronics Sony, the storage specialist brand SanDisk, the software developer brand Skylum, the makers of the artificial-intelligence powered Luminar 3 photo editing suite and COOPH, photography lovers and enthusiast apparel and accessories brand.
In 2016, 34,624 images were submitted by 5,646 photographers from 120 countries, with Lorenz Holder crowned for the second consecutive time as the overall winner.
Here are two photographers who won in 2016.
Red Bull Illume 2016 Category:
I am an Austrian-based action sports and commercial photographer. Since a very early age visual art and freestyle sports have been a big part of my life. School and my studies were related to those interests, yet it took me quite a while to discover the perfect profession.
I am working internationally for commercial clients and magazines and I am also proud to be an ambassador for Broncolor and COOPH. In my photography I try to be creative and catch the essence of things. I am continuing my quest for learning and embracing the little things every day.
In my photography I try to be creative and catch the essence of things. I am continuing my quest for learning and embracing the little things every day.
For my latest shoot for my personal project series ‘Beneath the surface’ I visited BMX flatland legend Viki Gomez in his hometown of Luxembourg. Two of my friends supported me on this shoot – photographer Rutger Pauw and filmmaker Matty Lambert. The project started over a year ago and since then I have captured different sports and top athletes with only UV light, using special adapters from Broncolor.
I came up with the concept of having Viki pull a trick on his bike while surrounded by soap bubbles. Soap Bubbles are not fixed in form, color or lifespan and are in a way unpredictable. I thought this went hand in hand with Viki’s general mind-set and approach to his sport and character. Viki organized a really cool, industrial looking location and thanks to the people there we had total freedom. A challenge was the darkness that is required when you are shooting only UV light. We setup a Broncolor HMI light with a Para 88 to have a really soft ambient light, giving Viki just enough sight to perform one of his most difficult tricks, and for me to pre-set my focus accordingly.
To overpower this light we had to use the UV lights at almost full power but with still enough flash duration so the action could be nicely frozen. Timing was also crucial because as the bubbles started to vanish they created an exploding cloud of soap particles in the air and those covered Viki completely so he was not visible anymore. Finally after two days of setting up, testing, shooting, bubbling and spinning we were able to capture the shot and the result exceeded our expectations by far.
Red Bull Illume 2016 Category:
My name is Philip Platzer and I am a 37-year-old sports photographer based in the Graz, Austria. I have always been active in sports such as surfing, rock climbing, and snowboarding but I always knew something was missing. I wanted to capture the dynamic and emotion of a single moment. I’ve always been interested in both photography and sports, so for me it made perfect sense to capture all these great moments and adventures.
I started to shoot friends, and became addicted to photography pretty quickly. I don’t have any classical education or training – I am an autodidact. I’ve also done lots of assisting, and still do, because it’s a great way to learn new things and improve my skills. In 2009, I started working as a pro photographer, and I’m happy it worked out for me that way. What I love most about my job is creating unique and never-before-seen images.
What I love most about my job is creating unique and never-before-seen images.
At the end of June 2014 I had the chance to do a pre-shoot with two paragliders – Paul Guschlbauer and Tom de Dorlodot – to announce their next big adventure called the ‘Adriatic Circle’. The project was a hike-and-fly trip starting and ending in Ancona, Italy, crossing six European countries by travelling over 2000km either by foot or paragliding. We met at the beautiful lake Königssee in Berchtesgaden, Germany to do some portraits, lifestyle and action shots. After shooting the first portraits and some hiking shots in the morning we started with the action shots. Taking photos of aerial-sports can be pretty hard if you are bound to the ground, especially if you want to include the scenery. That is why we also tried to get some nice ‘air to air’ shots.
But how does a photographer get airborne? With a paragliding tandem which allows the photographer to fly together with a pilot.
Shot after shot the light got better and the sky became more dramatic over lake Königssee. After almost two hours of flying my stomach felt a bit queasy. Usually I don’t get sick easily while flying, but constantly looking through the viewfinder makes it quite challenging. This shot was one of the last we did and after landing we were pretty happy with the outcome. Even though my face was a little green after the shoot it was an awesome experience!
The camera I used for this shot was a Nikon D4 with a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 zoom lens to be flexible with the focal length. Because I know flying can be a little bit shaky I decided to go with a fast shutter speed of 1/1600 and an F-stop of 5.6.