Double-vision: shooting 3D with 2 cameras

Double-vision: shooting 3D with 2 cameras

Judging by the presence of 3D camera technology at Photokina this year, 3D is gaining some serious momentum with manufacturers. For professional photographers though, the last year has been a time of experimentation with a brand new "old" technique. Especially if you don’t have a 3D camera, how do you get the 3D effect?

Markus Berger at Red Bull Photofiles gave this video tutorial on how to perfect the photoshop method. Pro photographer Ian Coble used the other logical approach – he used two cameras. Read on to find out about his shoot with pro kayaker Tao Berman.

What brief did you get for the shoot?
What made this shoot so incredible wasn't just the sheer athleticism of Tao in front of the camera, but the amount of creativity I was afforded. When organizing the shoot, Red Bull essentially gave me free reign to shoot it however I wanted.

When did you start getting interested in 3D?
For the last few months I've been dying to try shooting something in 3D. Since I saw the James Cameron movie Avatar, I wanted to test 3D technology and see how it translated from video to still images. When this shoot with Tao came about, I knew this was the shoot to make it happen.

3D photography is still pretty new. What research did you do for the shoot?
I'd come across plenty of other 3D photos, but none of them were action or motion based. Everything I was coming across was static – whether it was a landscape, portrait or still life. Not finding any 3D (also called anaglyph) photos of sports got me really excited. This was going to be something relatively new. Also, it's always fun to be the guinea pig on new things as you never know what you're going to encounter or how it's going to turn out.

What shooting method did you use?
With new versions of Photoshop, it's now easier to create 3D images in post-production with a single camera and manipulate the single resulting image. But that's not what I wanted to do here.

With this shoot, I wanted to achieve a true 3D image, by shooting two cameras offset from one another. The advantage in using two cameras is that the resulting 3D image has more detailed depth and texture as it does not require Photoshop to extrapolate and create new information. Even with two camera method though, you still have to do some post-production editing.

When you have your two images, what post-production work is required?
The basics behind creating a 3D image in Photoshop are to stack images in layers. Once there, you have to determine the focal point of your image and align the two frames. From there, you have to remove the red channel from the right eye‘s image and remove the green and blue channels from the left eye’s image.

You can do this for example in the levels window by selecting the appropriate channel and changing the output level from 255 to 0. Once you have a right eye image (which will look green) and a left eye image (which should appear red) you need to adjust your blending mode from normal to screen. This will leave you with a 3D image that you can make any final density or color corrections to.

What camera settings did you use?
I shot these images with 2 Nikon D3’s. Both cameras were set to manual exposure mode with a shutter speed of 1/500th and an aperture of f/ 5.6. Given the dark nature of the canyon we were shooting in, I had to bump the ISO up to 1600 in order to be able to shoot at a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action.

I set the focus of both cameras by pre-focusing on a rock near the lip of the drop. Once set, I locked the focus off so that it wouldn’t slip during the sequence.

How did you mount the camera?
I mounted one of the cameras on a Manfrotto tripod with a Manfrotto 3265 joystick head. The second camera was mounted on a Manfrotto 244 Magic Arm, which was clamped to one leg of the tripod. This positioned both cameras on a relatively even plane, which would not have been achievable with two tripods, given the rocky terrain of the river bank.

Did you have to experiment to get the right distance between the camera bodies?
Determining the distance between the camera bodies was quite tough to figure out. I had to do a lot of research online, and eventually discovered that the ideal distance apart between the cameras is determined by how far away your subject is.

An easy way to determine the distance between cameras – this isn’t 100% accurate, but it’s pretty close – is to separate the cameras by a factor of 1/30th of the distance to the focal point of your frame. The further away the subject is, the further apart the cameras must be in order to achieve a 3D affect. For this location, I worked out that a distance of about 12 inches (30 centimeters) would provide enough separation to give the resulting image enough depth.

When shooting 3D, the cameras have to be perfectly level – or at least on the same angle “off” of level – or the resulting image will cause the viewer to get a headache as their eyes try to focus on two non-corresponding horizons. To achieve a level frame on each camera, I secured my iPhone to each camera and used the iHandy Level App to zero in on the horizons.

Did the cameras have the same lenses?
Yes, both cameras had the same lenses on them (a Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS lens). Both cameras have to have an identical field of vision for 3D to work, so both lenses need to be the same.

How did you trigger the cameras at the same time?
I triggered my cameras with two Nikon MC-30 remote trigger releases. I sandwiched the two releases together and pressed down on the triggers at the same time. I practiced this at home prior to the shoot in order to make sure that both cameras would fire at exactly the same time.

I experimented with a few other methods, including remote triggering with pocket wizards, but the MC-30 route gave me the most reliable results. Right now, I’m in the process of re-wiring the MC-30’s for future shoots so that one trigger will fork off to each camera and eliminate the need to press two triggers simultaneously.


What challenges did you have on the day?
Given the inherent danger in running waterfalls, and not wanting to subject Tao to any more danger than necessary, we only had a few attempts to make the shoot work. Just to make sure, we used 3 cameras at all times. I had two cameras shooting 3D and one camera shooting an alternative angle to ensure we had maximum coverage and guarantee differing angles and vantage points.

The other challenge was the inability to check our results in the field. Given the remote location, the limited amount of daylight we had to work with and the amount of time it takes to process a 3D image, we weren’t able to review the 3D image on location. All our research had to be done in advance and we had to trust that what we were doing was accurate. In this age of digital, it’s tough to go back to the times when you can’t check your work in the field and make adjustments.

Were you happy with the final results? What could be enhanced or experimented with?
In the end, the shoot turned out great. The 3D image turned out better than I could have hoped.

For future shoots, in addition to re-wiring my MC-30 remote triggers, I’m also trying to fabricate a sliding mounting bracket that allows two cameras to be mounted on the same tripod.  This will allow me to make quick adjustments to the separation distance between the cameras. The method I employed on this shoot worked, but it wasn’t really efficient for making quick changes.

Additionally, I’d love to shoot at a location that has more depth to it. The location of this waterfall didn’t have a lot of separation between the foreground and background. I’d love to experiment more with a location that provided more depth to it, as I think the resulting 3D image would turn out even better.

I'm excited to put this technology to use again on some more shoots in the near future, stay tuned!

www.iancoble.com

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Super stoker Sterling Lorence’s images will energize you!

In Red Bull Illume history, has there been another photographer that captures action in a way that Sterling can? So, what’s the trick? We asked Sterling himself…

Photographer: Sterling Lorence Red Bull Illume 2016 Category: Energy Athlete: Brandon Semenuk Location: Kamloops, Canada

© Sterling Lorence / Red Bull Illume

Sterling Lorence has collected Image Quest finalist honors on multiple occasions. Born, raised and living with his wife and two children in Vancouver, BC - Sterling has been shooting mountain biking and cycling sports for more than 20 years and loves to ride bikes himself.

In Red Bull Illume history, has there been another photographer that captures action in a way that Sterling can? You immediately feel the energy between rider, athlete and photographer with just one glance. So, what’s the trick? We asked Sterling himself…

For a category like Energy you need to be a quick-shooter, how do you ensure you never miss the shot?

Know the sport, understand and relate to what the riders are doing and try to envision what is going to happen. This will help you to visualize what you want to happen in your image before it the shutter button is pressed.  React quickly to what you see in the moments and adjust what you are doing till you and your subjects are stoked.

What tricks do you have to truly capture the energy of the moment?

I simply rely on watching and observing the action closely and decide on where that moment is most likely to happen. This would involve moving around lots too and deciding how focal lengths might affect expressing the action even more.  The positions of the athlete and the bike or object can often make this process easier too.

How do you select the final images that you enter?

I will pool my favorite shots from the past 2-3 years and see what I feel are the most compelling for this particular contest.  It does take something quite special to move into the finalist positions.

So, you’ve been taking pictures all over the world. Where to next?

This season I have been lucky in that lots of my clients want the backdrop of British Columbia, so I have managed to work here a lot. For the filming of Anthill’s ‘Return to Earth’ we worked on an amazing ranch on Oahu and a really cool landscape in Utah and both those shoots have created content I will be entering into the Image Quest 2019.

Would you say your photography style has evolved since the last edition of Red Bull Illume? If so, how?

The pursuit of capturing the most dynamic action in rad compositions in firing light has always been there… but yes, we all try to evolve our game to try express in ways that are seen less often.  This can be through the progressions that the riders make, or through locations and also camera technology advances. Strobe use has been part of my heritage with my work and seems to grab attention with Red Bull Illume, so this time around I have tried some new techniques with drones and strobes to try creating some new looks.

Will you be submitting to the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019?

Yes, stoked to be entering images again this year and ever grateful to Red Bull Illume for hosting such a cool action sports photo contest…I am always so impressed and inspired by the work that comes through this contest.

Feeling invigorated by these images? Don’t sit still! Submit your images to the Energy Category.

Jody MacDonald is living the lifestyle she chose!

Jody tells us how following her dream helped her to become the Lifestyle Category winner of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2016.

© Jody MacDonald / Red Bull Illume

If spending 15 hours slithering through the desert on a three-kilometer long train transporting approximately 84 tons of iron ore across a country sounds like a dream to you, then you’re probably one of two things. Either, you’re ready to be the winner of the Lifestyle Category of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest, or you’re Jody MacDonald.

Thankfully for us, Jody is both! Her iconic and unforgettable image of a surfer on board the Mauritania Railway was the realization of her dream as a youngster of being on adventures like the ones she read in magazines. The image has gone on to define the Lifestyle Category, so we caught up with Jody to find out a bit more about her lifestyle, and how this is reflected in her photography.

Please give a small intro about yourself…

I was born in Ottawa, Canada but grew up in Saudi Arabia. I was fortunate enough to travel a lot when I was young and it really inspired me to travel and explore. I’ve been doing adventure sports for as long as I can remember.

I began my photography career when I started sailing around the world. I ended up living at sea for 10 years and sailing around the world twice visiting over 90 countries in search of having adventures in the most remote corners of the planet.

I’m passionate about stepping off the beaten path in pursuit of documenting issues that blend insightful storytelling, big adventure exploration and social change inspiration. I currently live in a ski town in the US called Sun Valley, Idaho.

In your words, what type of photographer are you?

I call myself and adventure and documentary photographer.

What’s more important in photography, action or emotion?

Tough question but I would say emotion. In my opinion the images that are most powerful evoke some kind of emotion.

How long does it take to capture the perfect ‘Lifestyle’ image of action sports?

I don’t think there is a definitive time frame but I don think it generally requires quite a bit of time. Spending a lot of time with your subjects and the sports they do is key to understanding the lifestyle behind the sport. I think the more time you spend with your subjects, the more likely you are to produce much stronger images.

Do you always have a camera with you?

Not always but when I’m on assignment, definitely!

Do your images display your own lifestyle, as well as the people in them?

Yes, without a doubt. I like to photograph sports that I do myself and am apart of that community so yes, my images definitely represent my own lifestyle.

Will you be submitting to Red Bull Illume 2019?

If I think I have any that are worthy, I will ;)

If Jody’s words resonate with you, or if you want to test your adventure and action sports images against the best, you can submit to this or any of the other 10 categories here!

Follow Jody on Instagram!

Three overall winners tell us how Red Bull Illume changed their life!

Need a little inspiration to sit down and sort through your best work? See how this photo contest impacted the lives of Chris Burkard, Lorenz Holder, and Fred Mortagne.

© Fred Mortagne / Red Bull Illume

How do you know you got a good shot? Recognition – literally. Four previous editions of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest have produced three different winners, and they have been on quite the journey ever since.

Fred Mortagne bucked the trend of vivid colored, fisheye action shots to become heralded as one of the premier skateboard photographers around. Chris Burkard is a household name using natural light to capture humanizing moments, achieving a phenomenal reach. Lorenz Holder is recognized by many as the bench-setter in blurring the lines between adventure and action sports, and fine art photography.

How did Red Bull Illume help them, and what keeps them coming back? It’s best said in their own words.

“In the photography world there are very few instances of validation,” says adventure photographer Chris Burkard. “Bagging a cover shot or a spread in a magazine is about as close as we get.”

To be honest – Chris is better off than most. A good chunk of his 3.4 million Instagram followers validate most things he posts with 50,000 likes, give or take.

But here’s a question: would he be where he is today without Red Bull Illume? According to him… he’s pretty glad he clicked ‘submit’. “It definitely elevated my career to a different level,” he says. “When I look back on some of the more pivotal moments of my career it stands out as one of the most important to me. I was able to gain recognition to an audience larger than just the surf world which proved to be really valuable in the long run.”

For Lorenz Holder, it’s less about the external validation and more about the internal. He admits it’s been a major boost to his career – giving brands the confidence to work with him as a photographer – but for him, it’s all about the art. “I think the greatest thing for myself was to see that the way I work and the way I see action sport works, and people like it. This gave me the inner trust to go on with that way and style. I’m always on the search for something special and I guess the Red Bull Illume competition is a good platform to show the results.“

Original winner of the first contest, Fred Mortagne, surprised everyone, even himself. “I would have never imagined that a black and white image could win such a competition. Especially when I discovered the 50 finalist images just before the award ceremony... I was 100% sure that I didn't stand a chance,” he says. “I was completely going against the stream of what was happening in sports photography. The style I was building was at the opposite of the evolution of action sports images... I needed strong signs like this win to give me confidence in what I was doing and trying to achieve. I built a style and a body of work that is now very strong and rather unique.”

And don’t forget – one of the best parts about it? Getting all the glory at the Winner’s Award Ceremony. Lorenz Holder remembers it clearly. “When I was in Hong Kong for the prize-giving, I just wanted to have a good time with the other photographers, without any expectations,” he says. “When the overall winner was announced, I was speechless and couldn’t understand what was just happening. I was not expecting it at all. Not in my wildest dreams!”

So, if you to feel like joining the 64 finalists of Red Bull Illume in attending the Winner Award Ceremony in November 2019; a gathering of the most influential photography people in the world. Then there’s the immense exposure as their images tour around the globe – and you get featured in the limited-edition Coffee Table Book. And that’s all before we even mention the hardware: more than €100,000 worth of exceptional photography prizes from our global partners.

One thing Holder, Burkard and Mortagne – can say for certain is this: they’re definitely entering the contest again this year.

It could be your image that millions see around the world this time, so take a chance and submit by the July 31 deadline here!

Fred’s website: frenchfred.com
Chris’ website: www.chrisburkard.com
Lorenz’ website: www.lorenzholder.com

Inside the Greenland ice cap, Christian Pondella's smallest piece of gear was a big deal

SanDisk Extreme Team photographer Christian Pondella's most important piece of gear goes everywhere with him and is the size of a coin: It’s his SanDisk Extreme SD card.

© Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool

How would you feel if you spent thousands of dollars, traveled thousands of miles, and came home with… nothing? Christian Pondella and Will Gadd have been wandering over the world for 20 years, and have ticked off a few adventures – but this trip to climb ice in the Greenland Ice Cap was one of the “coolest adventures I’ve ever been on!” – his words, not ours, and he follow up with a quick “no pun intended!”

In the remote, icy wilderness on the Greenland ice cap, a gaping hole marked the spot where climber Gadd and his support crew and film team would descend into the unknown. What they discovered was a sparklingly beautiful, but terrifying 90m-deep cavern, with a roof made of hundreds of tonnes of cracking, creaking and groaning ice.

It took skill, experience and knowledge simply to come back alive. Let alone to get THE shot. And what about their equipment? Well, Pondella told us that what’s pretty funny is that one of the smallest and most lightweight pieces of gear on his adventure is the most important – his camera’s memory cards. Even though they’re tiny, you could say the whole adventure depends on them – if they don’t work, the boys come home with nothing but a memory. Great for them… but not so great for the story they want to tell. 

All of this is why he’s packing SanDisk Extreme memory cards – they’re designed to withstand extreme environments. They’re shockproof, temperature-proof and even waterproof – all things which are real risk when you’re rappelling into a frozen cave somewhere near the Polar Ice Cap.

A moulin is basically a giant hole in a glacier, created when surface water finds its way into a crack in the ice and melts through. And in this dream project, the plan was to climb into one and go deep inside the Greenland ice cap to a place nobody has ever been before.

“My first thought was this thing looks f**king scary,” recalls Pondella. It took all of their skill, expertise and experience to know not only when to go in, but also when to pull back. After a first unsuccessful drop, conditions were in their favor second time around.

Just getting out there was an adventure. It was a half-hour heli flight from Ilulissat with amazing views and then we were dropped off in the middle of this ice desert. Just flat ice, as far as you can see. Totally surreal.” See the full interview here.(link)

Whether he’s in the freezing cold depths of a moving river of ice, or in thin high alpine air, one thing is for sure: his photographic environment and what’s happening in it is always changing. With all that in flux, it’s good to have something one can count on – even if it’s just the size of a quarter. 

Want to show us your own stuff from crazy adventures and dramatic environments? Submit to the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category by tagging your posts with @redbullillume and #rbi19submission – but hurry, there’s just over a week left – the last entry needs to be in by June 14 at midday (CEST) – so get ‘gramming!

May Best of Instagram by SanDisk Winner Revealed!

We’re happy to announce the winner this month is French photographer Jeremy Bernard, for this incredible slack-line shot taken at sunset – or is it sunrise? And… does it matter?

© Jeremy Bernard / Red Bull Illume

So here you have it, monthly winner number 4 out of 5 in the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category looks like this:

Jeremy spent months living on board a sailboat in the South Pacific, working on creating images like these – and they’re absolutely worth checking out. The story is best told in his own words:

“This shot of slackliner Nathan Paulin was taken on Ua Pou, Marquesas Island, during an expedition onboard of Maewan in French Polynesia. Maewan’s captain Erwan Le Lann is always looking for the craziest thing to achieve anywhere his boat brings him. So, when he had the idea to set the first highlines in Marquesas Island, I did everything possible to be onboard.

“The line was set above Sharks Bay in Ua Pou. It was 370m long and 72m high above the ocean. The name says it all, we were able to see the sharks and a few turtles in the bay from the line. It’s funny to think that five minutes prior to this shot it was pouring rain, we thought we just missed the most beautiful sunset ever and we would have to go back to the boat with nothing.”

On how it feels to be guaranteed as a finalist of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019:

“To bring this photo to the final is a great reward for all the team to have our work shown and highlighted in such an amazing competition. Also, I would like to say a big thank you to all the community who voted for me and I’m really looking forward for the ceremony in November!”

Well deserved, especially considering how close the public vote was this month. It literally went down to the last minutes before a winner was clear, and no wonder when you see the level of submissions. Check them all out here!

Next month is June, meaning there’s only one more month left to enter the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category.

But don’t forget, you can submit to the other 10 categories until July 31 by clicking here!

Creativity doesn’t end after you have taken your image

In an imagery contest with tens of thousands of submissions, the editing process is so important to boost your photos and make them stand out in the eyes of the judges. This is true even more so in the Creative by Skylum category, the only category where anything goes in terms of image editing – and here is why Skylum is a perfect partner for Red Bull Illume!

© Fabiano Rodrigues / Red Bull Illume

Any good photographer can tell you – clicking the button is just one part of the process – there is so much work before and after that is necessary to make an image great! Skylum is all about making photo editing easy – their flagship product, Luminar 3, is a robust photo cataloging and editing tool that lets pro photographers spend less time waiting for images to get ingested, and get right to the work that matters the most to them – making gorgeous stuff. 

So – why do we love Luminar 3? Well, it’s just perfect for adventure and action sports imagery. With just a few simple clicks, Luminar 3 can make your athlete pop and your background tones blend to create that perfect result that every photographer craves.

To be even more specific, here’s three of the many features that we love: ultra-fast import, customizable workspaces, and… layers. Getting your photos off the card and into a catalog is super simple, and most importantly super-fast – so if you’ve got a quick-turn-around delivery, you can start sorting out the good from the bad, right away. Customizable workspaces mean you can set up your computer desktop to your liking, letting you see the information and use the tools relevant to you. Finally – and what is perhaps the most important – layers. Alternative photo editors mean you have to take your image out of the program and into another one to use layers. In Luminar 3, you can do it right in your catalog, making it a much more powerful and capable tool. It’s all powered by artificial intelligence, and the premise behind it is simple: automate what can be automated, and leave creative control in the hands of the artist. 

Maybe you have already shot your images for submission, but still need to edit them to make them perfect before uploading. Luckily, you can try Luminar 3 for free and get a $10 discount with the promo code RED-BULL-ILLUME when you purchase it. Open a window to your creativity, by downloading it here!

The best news for Red Bull Illume entrants? Prize packages will certainly include Skylum software – making winning all the more fun, and your future photo editing workflow even better!

To learn more about Skylum and Luminar 3, check out their website – and don’t forget, submissions for Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019 are now open – until July 31, 2019!

First judges confirmed… and they have advice for you!

There’s another secret to what makes Red Bull Illume so great: it’s not just the photographers – it’s also the judges. The first judges for the Image Quest 2019 have been confirmed, and they’ve been kind enough to give us their tips – so listen up, this could help you win!

Red Bull Illume 2013: Dean Barnes, Lifestyle category top 25

© Dean Barnes / Red Bull Illume

Red Bull Illume judges are hand-picked as people who, somehow or someway, made their mark on the photography industry, some as photographers, but more often as photo editors, curators, founders of photography brands or media outlets – these are the people with taste and unrivalled know-how, which they wanted to share with you!

Be original 

Laura Luykenaar, from Salt Magazine, makes it even more clear: “Just don’t take the shot that has already been shot a thousand times before.” Daniel Havlik – founder of Shutterbug – strongly agrees. "Dare to try something different – but don't forget the human element.” Which lead us to another good point… it’s often very much about the person. 

Show a human experience 

It’s not a hard-and-fast rule that images for Red Bull Illume require a person or athlete in them, but the contest is about adventure and action sports. People are the ones that have adventures and do action sports, so it’s a good idea to think about what the humans in your images are doing – and what they’re showing us. Says Hideko Kataoka, Photo Editor for NewsWeek Japan: "I am fascinated about the ability to capture intense moments of the human experience, and beauty of human body and activity.” Another esteemed photographer – Denis Balibous from Reuters – puts it more simply: “A picture has to cause a strong emotion.” 

Don’t be afraid to smash the shutter button 

Laura Luykenaar: "You can take 100 pictures of a scene and have 95 technically good photos, some crappy ones, but just 1 might turn out to be perfect. I think that luck and timing add a great deal to make a great photo.” Your takeaway? Take risks, and get lots of shots! 

Nail your timing 

"The two most important things for me with adventure and actions sports images are timing and composition,” says Daniel Halvik. When there’s high-speed, high-altitude, high-consequence action happening right in front of your lens, there’s no question – you’ve got to nail the timing. So, plan, plan, plan. Evgeny Tchebotarev, 500px founder and VP of Growth Asia, Skylum Software, sees it as almost a science: “The amount of work, precision, and accurate timing that goes into that resembled more a scientific lab experiment rather than an action sport photo shoot.”

… finally, just make it great. 

"I can’t just name one thing,” says Luykenaar. "The composition, the light, the focus should be the best for the subject that you are photographing. A great photo needs to be ‘just right’”.

See more from the judges in the image gallery below, and more judges are set to be announced very soon on our dedicated judges page. 

OK, photographers – armed with this knowledge, we implore you: go out and get your best stuff. And waste no time in getting it submitted – the July 31 deadline is going to be here before you know it! 

In Search of Innovation – with Jaanus Ree!

The Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019 has a new category: Innovation by Sony. Nowadays with so many photography websites and apps available, we see more images each day than ever before. So how can you find something truly ‘innovative’ to submit to this category? We asked Red Bull Illume legend Jaanus Ree!

© Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Illume

Tell us a little about you!

I am Jaanus Ree I am from and based in Estonia. I started my photographic career with shooting windsurfers as I did it myself as well. I enjoyed photography so much that I also started to find challenges with other sports. Today I am known mostly as a rally photographer but I do work with some other athletes as well occasionally. 

Your image of the cat in the Image Quest 2016 was one of the most innovative angles we’ve ever seen. How often do people ask you if it was Photoshopped?

Thanks! Often, too often. But to be honest I was expecting that and this is why we also shot the same shot on a film once we had secured it on digital. It was on black and white film and camera jammed after every exposure. I was pretty sure it did not work. Imagine the surprise when I got it back from development and everything was perfect. However, I submitted the color one as it looked better.

Are you always thinking of what could be the next innovative image, or do you prefer to let it come to you?

Both! With the cat photo my girlfriend had asked me to shoot some photos of our cat. So, I thought up something a little different...!
With skate shot everything was there, it was just a quick thought and realization.

With so many images available on social media sites, is it harder to create a newly innovative image now compared to the last Image Quest?

Actually, I think it’s even easier… you have so much of inspiration so easily reachable!

Are there any photographers out there that you think are truly innovative?

Definitely! Lorenz Holder, Dan Vojtech, Dave Lehl and many more! All of the past finalists of the Red Bull Illume competition have something seriously innovative in their works, that’s what makes the Image Quest so great!

What’s the best piece of advice you could give photographers that want to enter the Innovation category?

Take risks to capture something different! 

Will you be submitting to the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019?

Yep! First shots already uploaded!

You can submit to the Innovation by Sony category right here!

Innovation by Sony

Decades of innovation have made Sony one of the recognizable names in the camera world – here’s why they are the perfect partner for Red Bull Illume!

© William Struntz / Red Bull Illume

Red Bull Illume is more than happy to have Sony on board for the second time in a row as a key partner to the world’s best adventure and action sport imagery contest. The reason they’re back again? Because it’s a perfect partnership – just like us, Sony is all about excellent photography – and innovation.

Sony’s ground-breaking innovation has kept their cameras in the hands of past Red Bull Illume winners like Chris Burkard. Their dedication to bringing mirrorless cameras up to and beyond the capabilities of DSLRs has earned them an incredibly influential position in the content-creation world – one that they’re furthering every day. They know what photographers need to innovate creatively: Inspiration, athletes who can push limits of possibility, a little bit of early morning or late evening light helps – but one thing that can’t be left behind is technically capable tools.

That’s why they are making cameras ideally suited to Red Bull Illume photographers; perfect for capturing the kind of high-speed, faster-than-the-eye-can-see action in board sports, bike sports, aerial or any other adventure and action sports. That’s nowhere more apparent than in the Sony Alpha α9, their full frame mirrorless body that can pop off a stunning 20 frames per second with no buffering, using one of the best autofocus tracking systems in the world that simply doesn’t blink. Sounds like the ideal shooting companion for you? Well, by entering the Image Quest 2019 you might have more chance of owning one than you think!

Of course, there’s another reason Sony makes such a great partner for Red Bull Illume. They’ve long been video experts, and we’ve now introduced the Moving Image category – clips from 5 – 30 seconds are permitted. Since Red Bull Illume is all about quality and innovation, this isn’t just about mounting an action camera– high-quality tools like a proper camera body and lens, and the skills to know how to use could potentially help content creators score points here. 

But, ultimately, it’s that core value – innovation – also makes them an excellent sponsor the Innovation by Sony Category, where judges will look not only for stunning images, but those that approach photography in a new way. Just what that innovation is? Entirely up to the photographer – it can be technical, artistic, thematic – as long as it shows demonstrates intention to innovate. We really can’t wait to see what you submit!

All the phenomenal shots in this story were shot on Sony cameras! Check them out below.

The Playground Category: Where Photographers & Athletes Play

French Photographer and former Playground category finalist Vince Perraud tells Red Bull Illume why seeking new spots to shoot is in the essence of adventure and action sports photography!

© Vince Perraud / Red Bull Illume

Vince Perraud is predominantly a BMX photographer, who shot to fame in the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2013 as a double finalist in the Playground category. His images are a juxtaposition of insane tricks and epic locations perfected through years on the road.

The Playground category is one of eleven categories now open to submission in the Image Quest 2019. It is a dedicated category for epic images showcasing not only the athlete, but the landscapes, locations, platforms, and environments in which they play.

The judges are in a position to elevate each category winner to new heights; with a place at Winner Award Ceremony, and incredible photography equipment included in the prize list (link). It’s vital that your image meets the description of the category perfectly, as each judge will have this in mind when voting!

We caught up with Vince this week and we’re sure that his words below will inspire you to visit, and re-visit many different spots in search of that spectacular Playground shot that could see you crowned as a winner!

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hey! okay I’ve been taking pictures for about 15 years! I was always passionate about BMX but realized early on that I was better behind a camera. I come from Burgundy which is great for wine but nothing much... I studied art for 5 years but needed freedom so I started going on trips with my friends to document the BMX way of life. I was on the road for almost 8 years working for various magazines, that was the good life! Now I live in Biarritz which is an amazing for location for weather, landscape, people... love it!

How does it feel to work in places where people play?

Haha good question! I have never considered myself to be working while I was shooting BMX, just having fun with my friends!

What motivates you to get out there and find new playgrounds?

I think it’s the essence of adventure and action sports to constantly look at new spots! You always want new stuff to ride. I always liked to explore new areas, cities, even countries... and it’s a great way to build the relationship between the riders and the photographers.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give photographers that are looking for a unique location for a shoot?

I would say don’t scared to be explore a lot! And sometimes to re-check places that you already scouted, places are constantly changing - and so are your eyes..!

Will we see entries to the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019 from you?

I hope so!!

Have you got great Playground images that need to be shared with the world? You can submit now to this category!