Destination: Hong Kong

Destination: Hong Kong

© Swkit Tang

It’s official – the 2013 Red Bull Illume Winner Award Ceremony will take place at the famous ‘Avenue of Stars’ in Hong Kong on August 29. The promenade is one of the hotspots of the pulsating city and, similar to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, celebrates 100 years of Hong Kong’s film industry. Such actors honored with statues on the promenade are Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Bruce Lee. It is definitely fitting for the 2013 Red Bull Illume exhibition to add light amongst the stars!

At the Winner Award Ceremony, a flatland BMX display by international athletes Viki Gomez and Matthias Dandois will take place and the stars will perform alongside an illuminated traditional dragon dance. The Top 50 images, on 2 x 2m lightboxes, will then be unveiled. The free public exhibition will run from 8-11pm every night from August 30 – September 15.

The evening will be hosted by local celebrity duo Alyson Hau and Cyrus Chow, and attending guests include local dignitaries and a who’s who of the photography world. VIP guests include a number of Leica, broncolor and Sun-Sniper special guests. Throughout the week there will be workshops and activities to engage photographers and the public, so stay tuned for more updates!

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In A Flash: Heart Racing, Adrenaline Gushing

Jesper Gronnemark is known for pushing the boundaries of traditional adventure and action sports photography, if you can call it traditional, that is...Check out how he went around planning and executing his latest shoot and how he incorporated some classic studio photography techniques. Make sure to check out the video and read the story behind the shoot in Jesper's own words...

The rush

His heart is racing, adrenaline is gushing into his veins as the door of the airplane opens. 10.000 ft. (4 km) under him the ground stares back. This is it, one chance, one shot. His grip on the Sony A7R II tightens as they move out the side of the plane, 45 seconds of free fall awaits, 3, 2, 1…

The boundaries

The eternal strive to push the boundaries of what people believe is possible in sports photography, has put Jesper Grønnemark in a position he did not imagine himself in again. After his first skydiving experience, some years ago, it wasn´t an immediate love story. Now, here he is again on account of his own creative thinking. Why would he do it again you might ask. Well, the answer is, he needs to. In order to push those boundaries, he is more than willing to put himself in extreme situations.

The plan, and then a change of plans

How do you make it happen then? In short, you need a man with a plan, and that man was Michael Boe Laigaard, head of the project in terms of finding the right people, and those people came in the form of the Danish national team in free fly - FLUX. They are the best when it comes to jumping out of planes and falling controlled through air. The original plan was that they would all have their parachutes out, Jesper with the camera and Benjamiin with the Profoto B1X flash. Like this, it would be easier to track the skydiver, or Mr. Bill as the “model” is called in skydiving, through the air. However, shortly before the jump, it was deemed too dangerous due to wind and the plan changed to free fall. This new challenge was going to put an even greater demand on Jespers skills as a sports photographer, since they only had one jump and now had to nail the shot in a fall going 200 km/h.

The fall

GO! As Jesper is falling through the air, he sees the skydiver approaching from above, he gets his camera in place and suddenly he is cool, calm and collected. The work flow is such an integrated part of him, that even in a time like this, it overthrows the adrenaline rush. Furthermore, he only has one shot, so he better make it count! The skydiver is head down, shots are fired and not long after it´s parachutes out and touchdown. Fingers are crossed on all parts. How did it turn out?

The result

Once again Jesper proves that hard work and quite a bit of sacrifice, pays off. A lot of planning went into this shoot and even so they changed. However, it was for the best. Jesper got the image he originally envisioned; a man hanging in the air above the clouds, head down. It feels as if it would be safer if his head was up, but when trying to capture the emotions of a skydiving experience, safe is not part of the vocabulary.

Shot in the Dark: Alessandro Belluscio

Skiing is too often associated with sunny blue skies and awesome white snow, says adventure and action sports photographer Alessandro Belluscio, who chose to take a radically different approach to doing a brand shoot in the snow. Time to check in on how he made magic happen!

© Alesandro Belluscio

The location was Prato Nevoso, a nice resort by the sea in the South Piedmont Region. And I had the honor to work with big names that made the history of Ski Racing like Giorgio Rocca, Kristian Ghedina, Daniela Ceccarelli and Paolo Dechiesa.

What setup and lighting did you use during the shoot?

To light the set, I opted for the Siros 800 L Outdoor Kit, one RFS 2.2, one Para 88 and a standard reflector. A very basic and simple setup. To make the shoot spicy, we were gifted a snowstorm and some real cold powder at -8°C. And I have to say I was able to complete the shooting with a single Siros battery.

After deciding the track and the angle of the turn, I placed two lights, one on the back right and one on the back left. The para 88 was on my left, inside the turn while I used the Siros with a normal reflector on the right as a backlight. Shooting on the snow is like shooting in a “white room.” The snow can reflect light better than a panel. The difficult aspect of this shooting was to keep the bounce under check to avoid drops in intensity.

During the shooting

The decision to work with a backlight was taken because the outfit were perfect for this light. A dark blue jacket at night on the snow can really be valorized by a backlight flash. If I'd only use one front flash, there would probably be a lot of uneven light, which would result in an overexposed area in the front (on the ground), right light on the subject (even if a little bit flat) and a dark – but not too much – background. Plus the white room of the spray of snow.

The skiers had to ski through the “Bron gate” like a racing track, and the first laps were perfect to take the right line. The HS mode was essential for this shooting. Modern skiers achieve a big acceleration during their turn, and the speed was at least 60km/h at the point where I was shooting. On icy slopes, the acceleration was even higher than on fresh snow, so I was probably lucky!

The slopes had the added effect of illuminating the night sky, but to be clear and safe, I also used the continuous LED light of the SIROS and I have to say it was a very useful plus to the shoot.

The effect of the snowflakes lit with a backlight was amazing, basically it was something like magic, and the skiers were super professional. They didn’t make mistakes during their runs, which meant a 100% focus on the shoots in a very "safe mode." Within a few runs, I was able to say “GOT IT!”.

Then after a few portraits, we finally celebrated the shoot with some beers at the White House.

I hope you enjoy the backstage, cheers!

Follow Alo on Facebook and check out more of his work on his website.

This article was originally published on broncolor.com

7 Snow Photographers You Need To Know About

The holidays are fast approaching in the northern hemisphere, and that really only means one thing: it's shred o'clock! To get you stoked for the rad times that are ahead, we've compiled a list of seven snow photographers you need to know about!

© Tim Kemple / Red Bull Illume

Scott Serfas

Chasing the boys. #BackcountrySnowboarding #AlaskaSnowboardGuides #ValdezAK

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Tim Kemple

Elliott Bernhagen

Gabe Rogel

Never stop snowing (or exploring). Japan. #sonyalpha #skiing #winter #pillowmania

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Lorenz Holder

Soon...

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Clark Fyans

Grant Gunderson

Got some snowshots we need to see? Use #redbullillume and tag us on Instagram!

The Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour Is Coming To Baku, Azerbaijan

The world’s greatest adventure and action sports photographs visit Baku for the first time ever.

© Red Bull Content Pool

The Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour continues its world tour and will be making a stop in Baku. True to the theme of illumination, the 55 finalist images of the Image Quest 2016 will be exhibited on incredible 2x2 meter lightboxes. Alongside the world’s greatest adventure and action sports photography will be an additional 5 photos from the local National Mobile Contest. The winners of this category will be unveiled at the official Opening Night on December 19, 2017.

The exhibition will take place at the stunning Heydar Aliyev Center in the heart of Baku. Its elegant architecture is both a symbol of innovation, and a testament to the fascinating history and rich cultural heritage of the nation. Surrounded by towering skyscrapers, contemporary landmarks and the original medieval walls of the old city, the Heydar Aliyev Center is a truly unique venue.

The Baku tour stop promises to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. The exhibition runs from December 19, 2017 to January 15, 2018 and will be open daily from 17.00 to 23.00. Admission is free to the public, so don’t miss out!

Shoot. Fail. Repeat. Succeed

Snowboarding beats office life, right? That's what Marc Gasch thought as well, making a quite drastic change from life as a lawyer to becoming adventure and action sports photographer, starting out with an analog reflex camera back in 1998 with a little help from his snowboarding friends. Nowadays, he shoots a lot of bikepacking adventures, so we decided to pick his brain on the topic.

© Marc Gasch

How did you get started in shooting adventure and action sports?

Well, it all happened around 1998, when I was working as a lawyer (yep) after finishing university, but it quickly bcame clear that I was not going to be sitting in an office for a long time. I was snowboarding all the time with my friends back then, and I had a reflex camera. My grandad was a photographer...so all the pieces just kind of came together and I decided that I had to make a change…

When it comes to bike packing adventures, what’s the biggest challenge when it comes to shooting?

I still shoot some snowboarding, but my focus has somehow shifted to bikes and more specifically gravel and bike packing. As the photographer for the XPDTN3 project, the main challenge is that those trips, even if some of them are short, are fully self-supported and self-documented. There are no support cars and no photographers on vans. I have to carry both my bike packing gear and also my photography gear, so the goal is to have a kit that is as light as possible.

3. How about challenges when it comes to packing?

I carry a lot of stuff to the destination, just in case, but once we set up “basecamp” in our first hotel,  before starting the bike trip, I choose only the gear necessary for the next 3 days on the bike.

This usually means I'll bring 1 pro camera (the Sony A7RII) + 1 extra backup P&S (Sony RX100IV) and a couple of lenses. The ones I use most are a wide angle and a 85 1.8mm.

Of course I also need to carry all chargers, batteries, cards, mics and accessories in my pack. Sometimes I move those to the bike packs to get some weight off of my back. A good backpack is key for this, and I normally try to get the smallest one possible. Right now, I'm using the GURU UL from the guys at F -Stop Gear.

What’s the coolest bike packing assignment you’ve been on, and why?

Hard to say, but Iceland and Israel have probably been two of my favorites. Everything just comes together in those places and you travel through some amazing landscapes and very remote areas. It's just pure nature!

You can check out Iceland here: xpdtn3.club
The trip through Israel can be experienced here: xpdtn3.club

What makes shooting bike packing different from other adventure sports?

I think it all comes down to the compromises you have to make when it comes to gear selection. With only one body and two lenses (for photo and video!), you definitely need to get more creative when it comes to composition and really work on the angles.

On some trips, one of the other riders help me carry the a drone for some aerial footage, but to be honest, video makes everything much more complicated! (hahaha).

You can check out a video I did in Galicia, Spain on YouTube.

What is one piece of gear you never leave home without?

A dust blower and the “Capture" clip from Peak Design, which lets me have my camera strapped to my backpack strap, so I don't have to stop all the time and get off from my bike to get photos. This makes for a smoother workflow and allows shooting on the go instead of having to stop the action and the crew every 10 minutes to take my backpack off my back in order to get some shots.

Any cool projects coming up?

All XPDTN3 trips are cool (can you tell I’m in charge of choosing the destinations? :-) and we are already working on a couple of trips in Asia for next spring, in 2 countries where I have never been before, so that’s always cool!

Any tips for starting photographers?

Shoot. Fail. Shoot. Fail. Shoot. Succeed. Non stop.

Check out more of Marc's work here.

Cabin Life: Behind the Shot

It's not your typical Red Bull Illume shot, but it just oozes with character and gives off some major good times vibes. While Harookz is known for his BIG action shots, he likes to take a step back from time to time and capture the moments off the bike.

© Harookz / Red Bull Illume

"As an action sports photographer, I’m naturally drawn to capturing ‘peak-action’ moments. It took some time during the early years of my career before realizing that my passion for mountain biking was more than just the action. The intricate little moments that took place before and after the actual riding played an equally important role in why I devoted my life to bikes."

"It was a classic summer day where we took full advantage of extended daylight hours. A lengthy grind to the peak followed by a ‘soul-shred’ descent with the boys helped us re-visit all of the reasons why we started mountain biking in the first place. As darkness approached, we reminisced the day’s highlights over ice cold beers in a cabin nestled on the coast of British Columbia."

"I stepped away from the cabin to take in the full scene and what I saw struck me immediately. There it was: best friends, bikes, and good times with no obligations, an organic moment and a feeling I strive to fill my life with."

To check out more of Harookz' work, head over to his website and make sure to follow him on Instagram!

From Snow to Sea: Catching up with Vernon Deck

Vernon Deck is the definition of a season-chaser. As much at home in the snow as he is on the open seas, he spends the summer months sailing around the world, while fulfilling his "regular" job as a photographer in the winter. We caught up with him to talk about what's been going on lately.

© Vernon Deck / Red Bull Illume

First off, it’s been a while since we last spoke. How have you been?

Life is good, 2017 has been another interesting year. The European winter was the worst that I've ever seen, almost no snow and much too warm but I still managed to shoot some great moments and keep my clients happy. Then in May I flew back to Australia to continue my mission to sail around the world in my 37ft sailboat “Lets Live”.

There's a popular saying “you cant change the weather”, well this is proving to be wrong. We have managed to change the weather and its having a pretty massive impact. I see it on both sides of the world, in the mountains and in the ocean.

I try to keep my footprint light and hope that my images will inspire at least a few people to go out and see our beautiful planet and think about their own impact on the world.

Right now I'm recovering from surgery. Last week I was on a photoshoot at Kitzsteinhorn in Austria and ended up breaking my collarbone badly. Back in Zurich they screwed me back together and I'll be fine in a few weeks.

How has Red Bull Illume influenced your career or life as a photographer?

Getting the invite to Chicago as a Red Bull Illume finalist was huge! Just being surrounded by all that talent, I mean the 55 best action sport photographers in the world, that's something! That alone gave me a confidence boost. Generally we fly under the radar, we go from shoot to shoot, images get used widely and the public see a great image but have no idea of who made it.

Red Bull Illume celebrates the photographers. I saw some very inspirational work in Chicago and had the opportunity to speak with some of the photographers and gain an insight into their work ethic and motivations. Obviously it doesn't hurt to be able to tell clients about this success.

What’s it like shooting for a brand with a special mission in mind versus what you would normally shoot? How different is the approach?

I am fortunate enough to have worked closely with Volcom for over a decade now. They give me a very loose brief and leave me pretty much total freedom creatively. This is amazing and I cant thank them enough for trusting me. It also means that I have to continually come up with ideas which in turn keeps everything fresh. I just trust my instincts on this.

I have other clients though that provide pretty exact storyboards for each shoot. They still want my input and personal style but need for example a very specific shot of a girl hiking through the snow at a 40 degree angle to me while looking past my left shoulder in order to portray the jacket well. Working to strict guidelines is very easy in a way as you can tick off images as you get them and be very efficient with your time.

How does your daily life influence your photography? We know you spend summers sailing around the world, so how does this impact your work?

Photography is my passion and I do it all the time, wether I'm getting paid or not. I shoot more photos in summer and dont sell any of them. For me life is all about balance. If I chase every job, compete for every contract and really make “success” my goal then I think I would very soon not enjoy photography anymore.

I feel if I can combine photography with my other passions then I will never tire of it. Sailing during summer, getting away from all the social media and hi-speed lifestyles really calms me down and at the same time regenerates within me the passion and energy needed to stay at the top of my game in winter. I find myself sailing along, its 35 degrees in the tropics and I'm thinking about this icefall drop I want to shoot next winter. Its a perfect balance for me.

What would you say is the coolest project you’ve worked on this year? Either personal or professional?

In early September I flew to southern Australia to join a large crew of Volcom riders at a ski resort called Falls Creek. A lot of prep work was done in advance and when we arrived there was a very cool feature waiting for us. I cant say too much more as Volcom will be rolling out the images internationally in an upcoming campaign. We were a crew of 16 and it was a pretty epic week! Such a mix of individuals, so talented, not just snowboarding, they were also making art, playing all sort of instruments and singing. We just had a blast! On top of all the fun though we created some amazing content that people the whole world over will see in the coming months. These are the jobs that I live and breath for!

What’s your current go-to setup for photography?

I have been using Canon products since 1997. Currently I use a 5D lll with prime and zoom lenses from 15mm through to 400mm. I have a bunch of Elinchrom flash gear that I haven't used in about 4 years.

Canon and Nikon, the two major brands for the last 20 years have in my opinion been left in the dust though. I feel like for 80% of my work now I could literally have a couple of Go-Pros, a DJI Mavic and my new iPhone and that would be fine.

This of course also has to do with the fact that a good proportion of my work these days is really for online use only. The actual quality of the image is slowly taking a backseat to the ability to shoot anytime, anywhere and at the drop of a hat. I don't think the big prime lenses will go away but I just might be carrying them a bit less which my knees will appreciate.

What’s one piece of gear you won’t leave your house without?

These days its my iPhone! I did a trip to Brazil last year and took all my normal 30kgs of equipment. Right before I left I brought an iPhone 7+, it has 2 camera/lenses, shoots 10 frames per second, films 4k and super slomo. During the whole trip I hardly used my Canon gear. Obviously in some situations, bad/low light for example the iPhone cant compare to the Canon but in other situations the iphone was way better.

In Rio, where crime is very high, I felt much safer shooting with a iPhone rather than a huge Canon with that white lens that everyone know costs many thousands of dollars.

GoPro and DJI both make it possible to shoot RAW/DNG format now and I'm sure the next iPhone will have that capability too.

Any tips for aspiring photographers?

If you're read this far you will realize that the entry into this profession is much easier than back when I started. A reasonable setup will cost you about the same as 1 decent Canon prime lens. So the best tip I can give is to go and use that cheap amazing equipment as much as you can. When everyone has access then it comes down to how you use it. Most people are not prepared to lie in the mud or climb a tree to get a different angle. Be that person! Get dirty, the gear is all waterproof now anyway.

And last but not least, will we see you at the next Red Bull Illume?

I really hope so! One of the things I noticed in Chicago was that many photographers there had shot their images specifically for the Illume competition. It's such a huge event that it makes sense to devote part of your year to coming up with a concept and spending time and money to create those images.

This is a strategy that I choose not to take. Its like anything, when everyone starts doing it the results will all start to look the same. In Chicago there were quite a few images that were totally amazing but in reality completely posed. The photographers would find amazing locations and then figure out what element of sport they could add to change it from a great landscape image into an image that would qualify it as Action Sport.

I'll keep shooting real action and submit my best images and hope that Red Bull appreciates that. It would really be an honor for me to be chosen as a finalist in the next edition of the Red Bull Illume!

To see more of Vernon's work, check out his website, follow him on Instagram and watch him travel around the world on his YouTube channel!

In A Flash: How to Shoot a Hike & Fly Adventure

For our newest In A Flash installment, we caught up with Czech paragliding photographer Vitek Ludvik, who shows you some tips on how to get the most out of your next adventure shoot. While the tips focus on hike&fly, they're usable for a lot of adventure photography missions!

While hike & fly photographers like Vitek Ludvik conquer hundreds of metres of altitude just to get the shot, both on the ground and in the air, these tips carry over to just about any type of adventure sports photography, whether trail running, bike trekking, climbing and more.

To see some epic results and to get some cool behind the scenes, make sure to check out the gallery below.

Got some epic adventure shots? Use #InAFlash and make sure to tag us on Instagram to show us your best work.

 

 

National Mobile Contest Launches in Azerbaijan

Want your photo exhibited side by side with some of the greatest adventure and action sports photographers in the world? If you're in Azerbaijan, here's your chance!

With the world's greatest adventure and action sports exhibition opening in Baku, Azerbaijan later this year, the National Mobile Contest has kicked off.

Focusing on mobile submissions ONLY, the contest aims to bring the talent of the best smartphone photographer forward. Mobile snappers are given the opportunity to showcase their talent by entering their best mobile phone images for a chance to see their photos join the Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour in Azerbaijan, printed on a 2x2m display and displayed in the middle of Baku, at the Heydar Aliyev Center.

The Azerbaijani National Mobile Contest will run until November 22nd, after which the winners will be chosen by a panel of esteemed judges, including Russian Red Bull Illume Category Winner Denis Klero.

For all of the information about the National Mobile Contest, head over here!

Do that D.A.N.C.E!

Thinh "Little Shao" Souvannarath isn't exactly a photographer you would associate with adventure sports. He doesn't chase the eternal sunlight of the Nordics or travel to Iceland to nail a surf shot. His playground is the street, no matter whether London, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo or New York; if there's a break scene in the city, Little Shao is less than two steps away! And we've gotta say: if we're talking action, he definitely shows it in his photos!

© Little Shao

It’s been a while since we last spoke. How are you doing?

I'm doing well, still traveling a lot, working on so many different and various project but having mad fun doing it...

We can attest to this. Just follow Little Shao's Instagram and you can travel the world with him!

Let’s go back to Chicago for a second. How was it seeing your photo on the lightboxes as part of the Top 55?

It was awesome! Just when I think about these 3 days where we were all together there in Chicago, sharing this amazing experience in this amazing city...that brings me some serious goosebumps. That feeling when you get picked out of 40000 pictures is really dope, especially being there with some of the best photographers in the world, just having fun..

You guys did amazing! The whole organization and all of the activities were on point...One of the best experiences of my life as a photographer...Even better than having your own exhibition actually!!

What have you been working on since the Winner Award Ceremony in Chicago?

I've been doing lots of advertising campaigns for sports brands, been traveling to lots of worlwide dance events, music events, following artists on a tour, lifestyle and fashion photoshoots for sports brands, fashion shows, portraits etc...I'm keeping busy!

Has Red Bull Illume changed your perspective on photography in any way? Has anything changed?

Yes... getting closer to the nature...

Check out some of the shots below and you'll see what he means!

Already planning anything for the next edition of Red Bull Illume?

I'm still thinking of it, but for sure I will dedicate some time for it. I really wanna be part of it again, lol. If I don't, I will quit photography ahahah.

Any tips for aspiring photographers?

Just keep trying to be creative, keep pushing the limits of what has been done before and you might come up with something that actually hasn't been done before.

Will we see you again for the next Red Bull Illume?

YESSSSSSS!

Who should we catch up with next? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram!