2013 Red Bull Illume winners unveiled!

2013 Red Bull Illume winners unveiled!

The wait is finally over. The 2013 Red Bull Illume Overall Winner, Top 10 category winners and Top 50 finalists were unveiled at a spectacular ceremony held in Hong Kong on August 29th. German photographer Lorenz Holder was crowned Overall Winner for his remarkable shot of a snowboarder next to a giant satellite dish. As Overall Winner, Holder received a Leica S camera, a broncolor Move Outdoor kit and Sun-Sniper gear — a prize worth over €30,000 in total. He also won the Experimental category.

“The quality of the images in the Top 50 was amazing, so for me it is a great honour to be voted number one. It’s so unreal. It will take a few days for the news to sink in,” said Lorenz Holder, the Overall Winner of the 2013 Red Bull Illume.

“There are talented photographers and then there are gifted photographers,” said Jym Wilson, senior photo editor at USA Today and one of 50 Red Bull Illume judges. “I saw a lot of talent but also saw some truly gifted photographers. These are not just action photographers but people with great technical and artistic skills.”

Other category winners included Scott Serfas (Illumination), Daniel Vojt?ch (New Creativity), Romina Amato (Energy), Chris Burkard (Spirit), Morgan Maassen (Lifestyle by Leica), Jeroen Nieuwhuis (Close Up), Zakary Noyle (Sequence) and Samo Vidic (Wings). All category winners walked away with a Leica X2, a broncolor Para 88 P Kit and an assortment of Sun-Sniper gear. The Athletes’ choice, as voted by Red Bull athletes, went to Morgan Maassen for his underwater shot of surfers chatting in-between sets of waves.

The Winner Award Ceremony was a true celebration of action and adventure sports photography with hundreds of leading photographers and editors attending. Highlights from the evening included performances by BMX flatland athletes Viki Gomez and Matthias Dandois and an illuminated dragon dance.  

Afterwards the 50 images were unveiled on 2m x 2m life-size lightboxes along Hong Kong's famous Avenue of Stars, where they will remain for the next three weeks as a free public exhibtion. Appropriately for a city known for its awesome noctunal lights, the illuminated exhibition will open at night time only, from 8pm to 11pm from August 30th to September 15th.  Red Bull Illume will then go to the US before traveling around the world's capitals and cultural hubs for the next two years as a unique night-time exhibition.

The Top 50 Red Bull Illume Winners:
Overall Winner: Lorenz Holder (GER), Playground
Athletes’ Choice: Morgan Maassen (USA), Lifestyle by Leica
Category winners are in bold below.
(AUS) Stuart Gibson
(IRE) George Karbus    
(NED) Jeroen Nieuwhuis
(SUI) Claudio Casanova    
(USA) Morgan Maassen     

(ARG) Juan Cruz Rabaglia    
 (CAN) Jussi Grznar
(CZE) Daniel Vojt?ch
(EST) Jaanus Ree
(GER) Lorenz Holder

(CAN) Sterling Lorence  
(FIN) Rami Hanafi    
(SUI) Romina Amato
(SUI) David Carlier    
(USA) Christian Pondella    

(CAN) Jussi Grznar
(ESP) Ismael Ibañez Ruiz
(USA) Morgan Maassen
(USA) Theodore Van Orman
(USA) Jimmy Wilson
(CAN) Scott Serfas
(CAN) Jody MacDonald
(SUI) Nicolas Jutzi
(USA) Clark Fyans    
(USA) Ryan Taylor    

(AUS) Stuart Gibson    
(IRE) George Karbus
(POL) Rafal Meszka
(USA) Dave Lehl
(USA) Chris Burkard
(AUS) Martin Lugger
(CAN) Paul Bride    
(GER) Lorenz Holder
(ITA) Olaf Pignataro    
(USA) Scott Dickerson    

(AUT) Rainer Eder
(CAN) Ray Demski    
(GER) Florian Breitenberger
(GER) Lorenz Holder  
(SWE) Elias Kunosson

(CAN) Scott Serfas
(FRA) Vince Perraud    
(GBR) Dan Carr
(USA) Blotto Gray
(USA)  Zakary Noyle

(AUS) Krystle Wright
(GRE) Dimitrios Kontizas
(SLO) Samo Vidic
(USA) Lucas Gilman
(USA) Benjamin Ginsberg

Check out the 2013 Top 50 gallery right here

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Stephan Bednaic: What's in the bag?

Whether shooting digital or film, action sports and lifestyle photographer Stephan Bednaic says his goal is to make images that have adrenaline written all over them with a colourful visual twist. In our latest bag exploration, we look at what Stephan carries with him on assignment.

© Stephan Bednaic

As an action sports photographer, does your gear sometimes take a pounding?
“While I do look after my gear and clean it regularly, I don’t let it get in the way on shoots. Gear shouldn't be a distraction and I’m more focused on what’s happening in front of me. Because of that my equipment does have a few scratches here and there, I like to call them war scars. I did break a 85mm, it flew out of a lens pouch that was on my hip while I was running to catch up with the subject. It didn’t focus ever again, clearly my mistake.”

What’s your go-to body and lens combo?
“It would be the 5D Mark III plus the 50mm. The 5D is a great all-round body and I’m so used to the field of view of the 50 and the picture that it renders. The 50mm is a no brainer.When I pack for a shoot, I take only what I need and try to simplify my gear. As I said, gear to me is only a distraction. That’s why I use modular gear like the F-Stop bags that can be fitted to your needs or the Odin triggers that are compatible with my Speedlites and the strobe. Plus it can be used to trigger a remote camera so I have less stuff to worry about and pack.“

Any special techniques to get your shots?
“I would say it’s more of a style than a technique but I do try to put something in the foreground of the frame to simplify the picture and isolate the subject. Since I mostly use wide apertures it blurs out and adds depth and context to the picture. Also, I do like warm light and lens flares.”

You often carry a can of Red Bull with you?
“If I have free space in the bag I always throw in a can or two. You never know, ether you get thirsty or the athlete needs a little energy boost to refresh. Often I just give them to people I meet while working to represent the brand. It’s a great icebreaker and social tool. Thanks to the Red Bull team and their support I always have a few dozen cans in the fridge ready to go.”

Where do you pick up most your gear? Online?
“Online review don’t really work for me since I like to try out the gear and see if it fits my needs. That’s the main reason I support local shops when buying gear. I especially need to thank Daniel and his team at Prizma-Foto and Zoran and the Canon guys at Anigota! They always help me out and support me. I always like to stop by and chat with them about gear issues. I was lucky enough to meet the team at Sony Mobile and they hooked me up with the latest phones, perfect for that Illume Mobile category that launched this year. My advice would be to support the brands you like to work with and connect with people in the industry, it goes both ways.”

Stephan's full gear list:

Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1V HS
Canon 15mm FE
Canon 16-35mm
Canon 45mm TS
Canon 50mm
Canon 580EXII Speedlites
Phottix Odin II triggers
Phottix Indra500
GoPro Hero 4
Peak Design Capture Pro
Card wallet with Sandisk SD/CF cards
Card reader and a backup hard drive
Sony Z5 Compact
Gaffer tape
Can or two of Redbull
Rain jacket
F-Stop Loka/Kenti with 2L hydration system
Manfrotto carbon tripod with ball head
Manfrotto Nanostands
Manfrotto 1051bac stand

View more of Stephan’s work on his website. For more of on the man himself, head to Facebook or Instagram.

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images. 

You can also get a sneak peek of the Red Bull Illume 2016 submissions on Facebook and Instagram.

In search of the Desert Diamond

Kevin Metallier and his crew find hidden skating gems in a place you’d never expect - the vast desert and tiny towns of Namibia.

© Kevin Metallier / Red Bull Content Pool

Of all the best skateboarding meccas in the world, Namibia certainly wouldn’t be the first destination on anyone’s list. Yet photographer Kevin Metallier and skateboarder Philipp Schuster saw something that most didn’t – a diamond in the rough.

The pair were joined by Olli Ilmonen, Titi Gormit, Antony Lopez and Tjark Thielker on a discovery of Namibia’s wide open spaces and silent towns. They spent two weeks cruising through the Namib desert, in search of improbable skate spots hidden beyond the dunes. They found more than they expected, including a mini-ramp nobody would believe existed.

Check out the gallery below for images of their quest or watch the ‘In Search of the Desert Diamond’ video. For more of Kevin’s work, head to his website or Instagram.

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images. 

You can also get a sneak peek of the Red Bull Illume 2016 submissions on Facebook and Instagram.

The Athlete's Perspective: Cody Townsend

No one appreciates the work of action sports photographers more than the athletes. Below, the freeskier Cody Townsend – ‘the guy who skied that crack your grandma told you to watch’ – gives them some love.

© Blake Jorgenson / Red Bull Content Pool

“The most special thing is that they’re amazing skiers and athletes themselves. They’re having to go where the athletes are having to go but with a 50lb pack on at all times. They’re always putting themselves in really weird and interesting positions, like having to climb up little ridges to find their spot. There are few other disinclines of photography other than action sports where the photographer has to be as athletic as the athlete! 

Photography has been incredibly vital to my career, from traditional media like magazines to new age digital media. Essentially people want to see beautiful images and photographers are there to service that. 

The landscape is changing but photography is still as important as it’s ever been – in many ways more important because there so much photography and so many ways to see good photography that you have to shoot even better stuff to cut through the noise and get the high quality photos out there and in front of people. 

There are a lot of great photographers I’ve worked with including Blake Jorgenson, who’s amazing. Jordan Manley is truly like an artist and Reuben Krabbe is this forward visionary, young and hungry to change the way people see photos.. 

It is important that skiing is portrayed right. I look at the Olympics when a bunch of photographers for stock companies like Getty were shooting skiing. The photos shown on the sports sections in major newspapers were just awful for a skier – terrible position, no style, no context of how big or high in the air they were, just these close up images. It just did nothing for the sport. You could tell the photographers had no idea what they were shooting as well. A skier photographer would know the sports in and out; they know the mountains they’re trying to show and the story of the skier. 

There’s probably one image of me that stands out. It was shot by Blake Jorgenson. It’s incredibly powerful for me. It shows me, cameraman and a guide standing on top of a line. It’s shot looking over the top, looking down. It has a crazy feel of anticipation and emotion and gives the feeling of getting the willies right before you drop in. It’s really powerful!”

For more about the man himself, visit Facebook and Instagram

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images.

For more regular updates, head to Red Bull Illume on Facebook and Instagram.

Abusing the Elements with Jaanus Ree

Windsurfers can rack up some serious speed. Combine that with dark skies and storm-swept water, and a windsurfing shoot suddendly takes on a whole different level. Check out the video to see how Jaanus Ree dealt with the challenging conditions.

Check out how Red Bull Illume photographer Jaanus Ree uses the elements to his advantage with some help from windsurfers Kristjan Kiisk and Ain Härmson, filmed by Magnus Heinmets!Click through the gallery to see the photos in high-res.

Check out more of Jaanus' work on his website, Facebook and Instagram

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images. 

You can also get a sneak peek of the Red Bull Illume 2016 submissions on Facebook and Instagram.



Craig Kolesky: What's in the bag?

Last year, Red Bull photographer Craig Kolesky joined top biker Oliver Munnik and freeski pro Fabio Struder to tackle the barren dunes of the Namib Desert. Here’s what Craig used to capture the action.

© Craig Kolesky / Red Bull Content Pool

What are some of the challenges shooting in a country like Namibia?
“Wind, heat, cold and lots of sand – we had all the elements thrown at us. We thought it would be pretty hot, but instead it was the opposite. It was pretty cold most of the time with lots of wind. After leaving the camp we were pretty much alone out there, and getting around was a huge challenge. Our crew took us around and played a huge part in getting us to good locations and keeping us safe.”

Did all your gear make it out alive?
“The gear was pretty wrecked with sand. I’m actually still taking sand out of my gear and bags from that trip. Iain Weir and Anton Nelson who joined us on the trip often send me pics of sand coming out of random places while they’re packing.”

How often do you use the multi-tool?
“The multi-tool goes all over the world with me. Actually, each bag I own has its own multi-tool. Sounds weird, but I like gadgets – I use them all the time to fix things, cook, etc. Someone on the team will always need one, so I never leave it behind.”

Looking back, what other items do you wish you had with you?
“More snacks and beer! Haha! I think we had all our bases covered in teams of gear. Although… we were limited in terms of power to charge the gear. We only had power for about 6 hours a day, so I think we should have have taken our own generator with.”

Craig’s full gear list:

Fstop Ajna pack, this was the prototype
Nikon D4s
Nikon D800
Nikon D750
Nikon 70-200
Nikon 24-70
Nikon 14-24
Nikon 16mm
Nikon 50mm
Pocket Wizards
Peak Design strap
Lexar Memory Cards
Spare batteries
SeatoSummit DryBag
Salomon windshell
Cadence Gels
Llama Bar snacks
Salomon Hydration bottles
Solar Panel and power bank
Red Bull

View the entire 'Duneriders Namibia' gallery at Red Bull Photography. For more of Craig’s awesome shots, head to his website. And for more on the man himself, visit Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images. 

You can also get a sneak peek of the Red Bull Illume 2016 submissions on Facebook and Instagram.

The Athlete's Perspective: Eero Ettala

Photographers rock. Below, Red Bull snowboarder Eero Ettala gives it up for the guys working behind the lens – and explains why they’re so important for the sport.

© Heikki Sorsa

“I grew up in an era when the biggest thing you could achieve was a featured interview or cover in a magazine. So I always loved shooting photos and working with photographers. It still is important but everything is going to Instagram and Facebook immediately so doesn’t have quite the same impact as it used to.

Photography has definitely been huge to my career. I always filmed video but getting good photos was as important as having good video footage. And there have definitely been a few ground breaking photos that I got over the years working with my local photographer Pasi Salminen. 

I wouldn’t be here without him, without his photos. He’s the guy who has all the gear – the big van, the generator, the lights, the winch. So if you’re coming from the US, you just got to bring yourself and your snowboard and you’ll be fine with Pasi. On top of that his photos are amazing.

There was one that definitely made my name bigger. It was the second day I shot with him and the image was used for an ad for Nitro, in TransWorld photo annual, and it ended up being in five or six different mags. Was a breaking moment for Pasi as well, a really good thing for both of us.

Sometimes you work with photographers who don’t want to help with shovelling, they just look for angles for two hours – anything but help build! But Pasi’s the kind of guy who helps out building first and only ten minutes before does he starts looking for angles. Having a photographer that helps makes the team stronger. 

You really need to understand the sports. You have to shoot at the right time and right angle to show the trick the best. The way you spin and slide down the rail – there’s always that one angle that makes it look the best. There’s a huge advantage to being a boarder from before. A lot of local newspapers’ photos end up being just of a guy in the sky and that doesn’t make any sense.

Red Bull Illume is awesome. A lot of time photographers don’t get enough credit as they deserve. They’re behind, making the magic. So it’s rad that the photographers have a contest. But it’s not easy. There are so many great photographers out there, I’m blown away. It’s a tough battle! But its reputation encourages photographers to submit more of their photos and it makes the whole contest bigger and more respected. It’s the olympics of extreme sports photography!” 

For more about the man himself, visit Facebook and Instagram.

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images.

For more regular updates, head to Red Bull Illume on Facebook and Instagram.

Get a sneak peek of the submissions!

Entries to Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2016 reached a record-breaking level, and the quality of submissions completely blew the judges away. To celebrate these talented photographers, we are offering photography fans and curious entrants the first sneak peek at these images.

Jean-Baptiste Liautard / Red Bull Illume Submission 2016

Red Bull Illume 2016 saw 34.624 images submitted by 5.645 photographers from 120 countries around the world. And from June 1, 2016 we’ll start releasing randomly selected shots out of all entries via our social channels – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The submissions show action and adventure sports photography at its best, and come from an astounding number of disciplines ranging from rock climbing and high-lining to free-diving, skateboarding and snow sports. They show these sports performed in jaw-dropping locations around the world, captured using spectacular angles and innovative and inspiring photographic techniques.

Following the judging process the 55 best shots, including the various winners, will be unveiled and honored at the Red Bull Illume Winner Award Ceremony in Chicago, USA on September 28, 2016

Stay tuned to redbullillume.com for the latest info and follow us Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a glimpse of the greatest action and adventure photography you’re ever likely to see.

Yodobashi Father's Day wish list

With the big day coming up fast, we've compiled a list of Yodobashi products that your old man is sure to enjoy.

Yodobashi Store, Tokyo, Japan

Father’s Day is less than three weeks away! Thankfully, new Red Bull Illume partner Yodobashi stocks just-about everything your photo-loving or tech-savvy dad could ever need. Regardless of whether your dad shoots with a DSLR, point-and-shoot, or mobile  – you’re bound to find something he’ll love when browsing through Yodobashi’s massive selection of products. Check out the selection of products below:


“Extra sensitivity, wide dynamic range, accurate focusing, and unshakeable stability to shoot with solid assurance.”
Read the Yodobashi shooting report >

“Small, simple to use and offering exceptional image quality.”
Read the Yodobashi shooting report >

“The first mirrorless system camera of its kind, offering an impressive range of innovative features – and rugged resilience.”
Read the Yodobashi shooting report >

Canon EOS 5Ds R
“Shattering the status quo with a new 50.6 Megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor and dual DIGIC 6 Image Processors.”
Read the Yodobashi shooting report >


SONY SEL2470GM FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM
“Constant F2.8 24-70mm zoom with an unprecedented union of high resolution and creamy bokeh.”
Read the Yodobashi shooting report >

Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 1.4/35 ZM
“Showing no compromises in image quality, this lens also shines with its high speed and universal angle of view.”
Read the Yodobashi shooting report >

Find out more about Yodobashi and their products on their photography page or website. And if you submitted an image to Red Bull Illume 2016, you could be in line to receive even more gear – a Yodobashi voucher to the value of €40,000, awarded to the Overall Winner.

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images. 

For more regular updates, head to Red Bull Illume on Facebook and Instagram.

Tim Kemple: What's in the bag?

As a child, photographer and film maker Tim Kemple spent his weekends documenting his adventures while climbing, skiing and wandering around the American East Coast. In our latest gear exploration, we look at how his collection of gear has grown since then.

© Tim Kemple

Is a cat is an essential part of any adventure photographer’s gear?
“No, but it’s interesting how the addition of a cat makes the photo a little alive in a sea of non-organic gear isn’t it?”

You’ve got 5 seconds to grab 3 pieces of gear - go!
“My iPhone, a charging cable and an external battery. Because if there’s that much of a hurry, the story is so good that it doesn’t matter what I shoot on. And if I've got my phone I can share it right away.”

Do you carry anything that no one else has? 
“Yeah a jar of special sauce that I sprinkle before I start shooting. It gives my photos that extra punch I think... Seriously though, I think I carry way more primes than most other photographers I know. Like I shoot exclusively on primes. A lot of them.”

If you could add one item to your pack?

“There is never any space left in any of my packs, just ask anyone whoever has assisted me. That said, if there is a bit of room I’ll probably try to squeeze in an extra strobe.”

For more of Tim’s work, head to his website and Instagram

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images. 

For more regular updates, head to Red Bull Illume on Facebook and Instagram.

The Athlete's Perspective: Gavin McClurg

This week Red Bull X-Alps athlete and yachtsman Gavin McClurg explains why he wouldn’t be able to do expeditions without the shots of photographer Jody MacDonald, whose image of him flying above dunes in Mozambique was a category finalist in 2013.

Red Bull Illume 2013: Jody MacDonald, Illumination category finalist

© Jody MacDonald / Red Bull Illume

“I look at Red Bull Illume as being incredibly inspiring to photographers and athletes. As an athlete, imagery is everything to us. That’s how we keep our career going. I wouldn’t be able to do these type of expeditions without sponsorship; sponsors would never sponsor me without images.

Red Bull Illume was huge to Jody’s career, which has directly affected my career as well. It’s probably the hardest adventure photography contest to get an image into and if you do get in, you’re the real deal; the level of professionalism there – there’s nothing else that compares.

I really like the images that draw you, the viewer – the armchair sailor in to that environment; an image that really allows people to imagine what you as the pilot or skipper are experiencing. As pilots we always talk about the aesthetic of flying. Any image that captures that ultimate freedom of flight without a motor – those ones in the air where you’re surfing over insane terrain –  those are my favorites.

Photographers often work harder. Jody doesn’t do anything other than photography. She’s either shooting or she’s on her computer all day, day after day, it’s insane. For an athlete, especially when you participate in something dangerous like paragliding, you only like working with certain people. Jody’s really my favorite as she’s shot so much paragliding, she gets really unique stuff. I really like working with her because she understands how it works and will never ask me to do something that compromises my safety. 

A favorite image of me? Probably the dune shots from Mozambique. Those really stand out. No one had ever flown that dune. It’s massive, 20 miles long! We sailed there from Madagascar and we looked up at this massive island of sand, and we were like ‘holy shit’. To actually fly it and then to get those images? What’s interesting is what happened when we got back. These huge swells broke the dingy off anchor and demolished it. We spent the night wrapped up in one of the tandem gliders. We had no food, no water. We had flown all day so we were super dehydrated. God it was a miserable night. The next morning, I was able to get the engine up, I don’t know how, it was full of sand and shit. I got everyone back to the boat and about two minutes later the engine block literally broke open. Those pictures encapsulate that whole story. Sailing there from Madagascar, finding this incredible place. We got those pictures that one day. That was it. It was a pretty special time.”

More stunning images of Gavin in the air can be found on his website. For more about the man himself, visit Facebook and Instagram. To read about his latest paragliding expedition, head over to Red Bull X-Alps.  

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images.

For more regular updates, head to Red Bull Illume on Facebook and Instagram.