In the game: athletes as photographers

Action sports athletes spend their whole careers provoking the camera. Competition shots. Trophy shots. Sponsor shots. Training shots, on- and off-season. Lifestyle shots. And maybe once in a while, they're part of those dream shoots that really define who they are and why they got so passionate about that sport in the first place. Careers are built upon achievements, epic journeys they managed to fund, and the images that tell their story.

The photographers shooting them are normally their buddies, those who competed too but got injured, those who realized that they maybe had more talent behind the camera. But what's really interesting is when a top athlete gets into the photography game. Red Bull Illume got in contact with a selection of inspiring athletes who went out of the spotlight and into the darkroom. Read on to find out about their careers and see a selection of their portfolios.

Explorers

Jimmy Chin is an accomplished climber, mountaineer, skier and photographer. He has organized and participated in numerous climbing, ski-mountaineering and exploratory expeditions to Tibet, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Tanzania, Mali, South Africa and Argentina. His achievements include climbing first ascents of big walls and alpine towers in the Karakoram Mountains of Pakistan; crossing the Chang Tang Plateau in north-western Tibet on foot; and attempting the direct North face of Mount Everest, alpine style. Jimmy has been featured in numerous publications, including National Geographic, Outside and Men's Journal, and has been voted as one of the world’s most eligible bachelors by People magazine.

"There’s no way I could have the career I have as a photographer or filmmaker without going to college" says Chin. "People always ask me what they can do to be a successful photographer. I often say that the education I got, and being able to be a critical thinker and being able to write and communicate clearly, and organize thoughts - all of those things are hugely important".

Thomas Ulrich was born in 1967 in Interlaken, Switzerland, where he lives with his wife, Aasta, and their three daughters. Thomas is a carpenter, mountain guide, filmmaker and self-taught professional photographer who is known for his shots of extreme climbing, BASE jumping, paragliding, kitesailing and freeskiing shots as well as his pictures from mountaineering expeditions in Patagonia, Greenland, California and the North Pole. Thomas's photography was published in issues of "Alpinist" and "Lightning Strikes Last". He works on assignment with clients such as Patagonia and Mammut, and his work has appeared in print for Transworld Snowboarding, Life Magazine, National Geographic Magazine and Black Diamond Equipment. One of his shots was awarded a special mention in the 2003 Banff Mountain Photography Competition. In the future Thomas will be pointing his camera on nature, landscapes and the human element more than on extreme sports. He also has been working more as a cameraman and filmmaker. He also reached the Red Bull Illume Top 50 in 2007.

"I am often asked about my main profession. Well, I think I don't need to decide for just one category" explains Ulrich. "But I learned that many people do have a problem with this, because they can hardly pigeon-hole me. My motto to reach the optimum is simple: everything I do, I do with 100 per cent."

Snowboarders

Andrew Wilz was on the snowboard world cup circuit for 13 years as a Super-G specialist on the PTSA, also including apperance on the Mountain Dew Pro-In-The-Snow tour, the Grundig Invitational and the U.S. Open.

"Getting into the sport from the ground-up when it was banned at every resort in the country, and then watching it slowly gain acceptance and work its way around the planet was interesting," says Wilz.

Turning to photography was a logical step and he has worked with Outside magazine, ESPN, New Balance and Patagonia and had his work published in the Red Bull Illume 2010 Photobook.

"Photo-wise, I point the camera where i'm asked. I shoot commercial running and associated lifestyle with more serious budgets, and mountain bike and ski and some surf with less-serious budgets. I cast, location-scout, produce and direct with my own group, and live for working with amazing clients. The dream-job is actually shooting F1 though!"

Skateboarders

Philipp Schuster was born in 1984 in Vienna, Austria, and has been skating since 1998. He was awarded with "Skateboarder of the Year 2006" and "Rookie of the Year 2006", and has become a successful and regular participant of the X-Games. He is also photographer and editor of the skatemagazine Trottoir.

"I really don’t know where my passion for photography comes from" says Schuster. "I bought myself a professional camera in 2004, and since then I am trying to improve. Today, I am completely mad about photography."

Surfers

Joe Curren is the youngest son of legendary 1950’s surfing pioneer Pat Curren, Joe uses his camera to capture profound yet often-overlooked facets of the surfing journey and beyond. Born in 1973 in Santa Barbara and raised surfing the classic California point breaks of Roncon and The Ranch, Joe spent his younger years earning a reptuation of his own as a world class surfer and far-flung traveller. His older brother Tom, three-time world champion in the 1980’s, not only allowed Joe access to the elite of surfing but also instilled in him an irrevocable sense of style, both understated and moving, which he translated from his surfing into his photography.

"At first I documented my travels with little more than a disposable point and shoot camera" says Curren. "However, after a trip to New Zealand in 1999 – when I was especially pleased with the results – I decided to invest in a basic 35mm rig that I packed alongside my surfboards and wetsuits".

Ryan Cardone is a professional longboarder turned photographer. After traveling to many inspirational places, he decided to pursue a degree in photography. He graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography with a degree in Commercial Photography. Now he works as a freelance photographer and co-owner of Tidal Advertising and Tidalstock.com.

"I wanted to start a stock photography company that captures the intense influence the ocean has had in my life", says Cadone. "TidalStock.com makes available to the public the peace and serenity as well as excitement and exhilaration the World's oceans have brought to me. My love for the ocean and photography has enabled me to capture a unique and different approach to shooting commercial photography. I see every photograph as a work of art that expresses emotions".

MTB

Sven Martin’s father was a professional photographer on the side, so his first experience with a camera was with his manual high end Canon gear. "I like to trail ride and downhill whenever I can squeeze it in. Often impossible on back to back weekends" says Martin. He still likes to push himself to the limit in the odd race too. Be it in DH or Mega style Enduro DH. Then surfing and skateboarding when times and locations and travel logistics allow. Being on the road for long periods with all the camera gear, multiple bikes, surfboards wetsuits and skateboards is a logistical and excess baggage problem. "I have skate and surf boards, wetsuits and riding and camera gear (helmets, shoes, tripods, etc) stashed on 3 different continents. Half the time I still have a pack on the back with a point and shoot, you never know when that shot will present itself" Martin explains.

"Thanks to all the great riders out there that push themselves and the sport in new directions everyday. We as photographers are blessed to doucument our sports metamorphosis for posterity’s sake. And thanks to all the other photographer and filmer friends on the hill that help pass the time in the dreary wet dark cold mountainous race conditions".

Ski jumpers

Born 7 January 1990, the Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer is currently one of the world's top ski jumpers. He began his senior career in 2005-06 with one win and three additional podiums in the Ski Jumping Grand Prix, and made his World Cup debut in 2005-06 World Cup. Despite his young age, Schlierenzauer has 35 World Cup victories, only four people have won more. At the beginning of the 2010-11 World Cup, Schlierenzauer suffered an injury and he missed two of four events at Four Hills Tournament. He was out of form, but he fought back taking two victories at Vikersund ski flying hill and later achieved his career's best result winning three gold medals at FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2011 at Holmenkollen in Oslo. He is also holder of the Austrian Record of 243.5 meters, which means the second longest flight in the world.

Schlierenzauer recently had his first exhibition "Snapshot" in October 2010 at the Studio Kasulke in Vienna.

"I started with photography in 2008. It's absolutely cool, when you're constantly on the run and able to take snapshots whereever you are. This is a great way how to make great emotions last longer" Schlierenzauer explains. "For me it´s like a diary with which I want to show other people, my family and fans what it’s like to live as a professional athlete."

Check out the gallery for a selection of these athletes-turned-photographers and their work. Red Bull Illume has an exclusive interview with the explorer Jimmy Chin coming soon.

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500px Red Bull Photography Global Photo Walk Winners announced

The 500px Red Bull Photography Global Photo Walk is in the books. Photo Walks were organized in over 200 cities across the world, with over 13,000 photographers registering to take part. As part of the Global Photo Walk, a National Mobile Contest also took place. Check out the winners below!

© Rober Garo

Over 200 cities around the globe were a playground for the walks on September 17 and 18th, 2016, with the most remote photo walk taking place in Antarctica!

The hosts were asked to organize a walk in their city accommodating this years theme: Action and Adventure. We saw biking, breakdance, freestyle soccer, light painting, parkour, skateboarding, wakeboarding, and even skydiving in the final images.

All the photo walkers had the possibility to submit images to the 500px Red Bull Photography Global Photo Walk Mobile Photo Contest. 

There were some really great submissions from around the world, with submissions from Malaysia, the UAE, Japan and many other countries, and many different sports and activities were creatively captured by the Global Photo Walk crowd. 

A jury of experts from 500px and Red Bull Photography had a really hard job selecting the winning picture with much debate over the final 3 images, which you can see below. Photographer Robert Garo was finally selected for shooting the best picture with his photo of a b-boy in a parking garage, and as a prize received a return trip for 2 to Chicago for the Red Bull Illume Winner Award Ceremony on September 28th, 2016. 

The Red Bull Illume Winner Award Ceremony Week is here!

After months and months of anticipation for the thousands of photographers from 120 different countries who submitted 34,624 images, the week of the Red Bull Illume Winner Award Ceremony is finally here, and it's jampacked with awesome events!

On September 28, the Overall Winner, 11 Category Winners and Top 55 images will be unveiled at a spectacular ceremony held at The Art Institute of Chicago.

This elite selection of images represents the best from the world of action and adventure sports photography and shines a spotlight on the unsung heroes behind the lens. It’s the culmination of a long wait for the photographers from 120 countries who submitted 34.624 mind-blowing images to Red Bull Illume.

The evening will be hosted by television personality Tina Dixon and snowboarder Louie Vito, and also celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the prestigious contest. Attending guests will include dignitaries and the who’s who of the photography world. VIP guests include a number of Yodobashi, Sony, broncolor and G-Technology special guests, as well as several big name Red Bull Illume judges.

Leading up to the Winner Award Ceremony, the photographers will attend plenty of events hosted by our partners.

On Tuesday, digital imaging leader Sony is hosting an entire day revolving around the art of shooting action sports. On Wednesday, lighting equipment manufacturer broncolor will take photographers to Chicago's famous Lakefront Trail for an action-filled shoot with Dustin Snipes, while storage solution experts G-Technology will be focussing on shooting action portraits with Lucas Gilman. 

The Winner Award Ceremony will be streamed live on the Red Bull Illume Facebook page. The livestream will start between 9:30 and 10:00pm CDT. For behind the scenes event coverage, visit the Red Bull Illume Instagram channel.

While waiting until the winners will be announced - visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for a sneak peek of the Top 275 semifinalist images, with "Wings", the last of 11 Categories revealed today. 

Red Bull Illume announces National Collegiate Winners

What do you get when you combine young talent with three of Red Bull Illume's household names and a group of Red Bull athletes? Three intense days of work, creativity and improvisation.

Following a lengthy submission phase, the three best collegiate photographers were chosen and flown to Chicago, which will be the home of the 2016 Red Bull Illume Winner Award Ceremony to spend three days learning the ins and outs of photography from some of the best action and adventure sports photographers around. 

The three Collegiate Winners spent three days working one-on-one with Red Bull Illume photographers Christian Pondella, Ryan Taylor and Dave Lehl, who were joined by athletes Alex Mason (slacklining), Timmy Theus (BMX) and Ian Jacobson (SUP). 

"It's incredible what I learned from Christian in just one day," says Carlee Hackl, who captured slackliner Alex Mason in the early-morning Chicago sunrise, adding that "the one-on-one mentoring was key."

Dave Lehl mentored the contestants on the importance of using lights, shadows and style to bring the image to life but, according to him, an image is just an image if there is no "emotion, vibrancy of feel." 

The three photos chosen as winners (visible in the gallery below) were selected because they perfectly showcase "the feel of the athlete at the height of his craft, in his peak element."

“Seeing everyone’s individual style and approach was awesome... for someone who doesn’t get to see different styles often, seeing all the unique approaches was refreshing,” says paddleboard mentor Ryan Taylor.

Dolly Nguyen, Dean Crockett and Ben Jackson, the three Collegiate winners, will be able to wow the public with their results as part of the Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour, which kicks off in Chicago on the 28th of September.

Make sure to witness Red Bull Illume history in the making as the winners of Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2016, the National Collegiate Contest as well as the U.S. National Mobile Contest are revealed to the world for the first time as part of the Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour on September 28th. 

The Athlete's Perspective: Travis Rice

Travis Rice is arguably the world’s most famous snowboarder. He’s been around for years and he’s famous for pushing the limits of what is possible when it comes to backcountry riding. Over his extensive career, he’s worked with numerous photographers, making him the perfect subject for our newest Athlete’s Perspective, in which we flip the script and ask athletes about their perspective on photography.

© Scott Serfas / Red Bull Content Pool

Throughout the history of Red Bull Illume, you’ve been featured more times in top images than any other athlete. Why do you think that is?

Well, I’m going to start with – because I am lucky enough to work with some of the best and most visionary photographers in the space. I take pride in the fact that I’m lucy enough to work with guys that go the extra mile. I’ve always been a huge fan of photography - so much so that I’ve started a gallery that supports photographers and artists. I think it’s a combination between being able to work with guys that are willing to go the extra distance to tell a story with a photo and perhaps I’m bit with the wanderlust that takes us maybe just a little further than most. 

Anyone in particular who goes the extra mile?

Recently, I’ve been shooting a lot with Tim Zimmerman. It’s tough, I work with amazing guys whom all have their unique approach. But I think Tim really stands out recently, to me, with what he has been trying to do just with his images, capturing textures and in-camera double exposures. For me, that’s what’s really caught my eye.

What’s the craziest thing a photographer has ever asked you to do?

There’s a photographer who I used to work with, who maybe should remain unnamed, {laughs} who is infamous for always asking people just to do crazy sh*t for the shot. He pushed it too far, you know… There’s a couple of different styles – there are photographers who set up a shot and ask a rider to bring their style of flavour into that image and then there’s the guy whose approach is a little bit more fly-on-the-wall. But this one guy… Usually it involved a really large cliff with a really flat landing. That was generally the theme with him. 

How important has photography been to your career? And how has it changed?

Well it’s really sad to see the photo annuals no longer exist within our core space. I mean, I understand it, just economically, they’re just not possible anymore. I mean, that’s why certain things like Red Bull Illume are a prime example. From the first Red Bull Illume, I remember going there physically for the first one and seeing the displayed images. I think Red Bull Illume is one of the best things going for photography and our world. When one thing disappears, like the photo annual, one door closes and another door opens. Like the new interactive photo stories that have been coming out. With all the amazing ways that you can present a photo story with the internet and online – it seems like it’s the future of what you can do.

Photography was a huge supporting factor in my career. Growing up being a very dedicated consumer of films and magazines, that was kind of my world. I still remember my first photograph I had run in a magazine, and I’ll look back at that image and remember so specifically where I was in my life. I think the first couple years, there were a few pivotal images that photographers captured of me that I think really helped solidify my career and get support from sponsors. It made it possible for me to actually pursue snowboarding in a time when I was still living off construction money I earned in the summer.

How important is a good connection to the person you’re working with?

When you have a relationship with a photographer or cinematographer that supercedes the need for basic communication – that’s when real moments are captured. When you can forge a relationship with a photographer where you can just be in the moment, and you can find that flow state, and can be 100% focused on what’s ahead of you. That’s when the magic happens.

Tell us about your latest project, The Fourth Phase?

It’s primarily a film about water, and our relationship to water. The hydrological cycle – that energetic cycle, following the path of water and energy – that’s the theme of The Fourth Phase. It was a long process in getting to the point of embarking on creating this film. Really the last 10 to 15 years and it really only started to materialize after The Art of Flight.

This film is more personal. It’s an honest look at our process. It took everything we learned through the making of the last films. Everytime we failed at something, we learned. We learn a lot more through our failures than our true successes. We grew as people, snowboarders and filmmakers.

What were some of the challenges of shooting The Fourth Phase?

The first element we had to deal with was the amount of people we were bringing into the backcountry on a daily basis. It’s the biggest production we’ve ever done. Just the sheer scale of logistics needed when you’re going into the backcountry, sometimes 20/30 miles a day, with no helicopter support. It’s a testament to how bad-ass our production crew was. We set off, at the beginning, to shoot the first truly 4k action sports film, and shooting with equipment that’s kind of designed for in-studio use. Filmers say that snowboarding is one of the hardest mediums to shoot. So logistics was one of the biggest challenge we had to work through. The other challenge –we saw a lot of crazy weather during filming. But it’s too easy to put any type of blame on weather, because, man, the weather does what the weather does. But that was the other big challenge.

Best advice you were ever given?

So many! I’d say one of my favorites is – “never leave a good time for a good time.”

Any words of advice / encouragement?

Through so much trial and error, I can speak to how powerful conscious intuition is, conscious visualization. I’m such a strong believer, after so many years of doing this, that by simply visualizing what you want, and believing consciously in it, and putting out in the world what you’re truly after – it comes true. It happens. It’s just about having the faith of asking for help and being the creators of our own reality.

Make sure to catch Travis Rice's latest feature film "The Fourth Phase" as it premieres around the world. The web premiere will take place October 2nd through Red Bull TV

Red Bull Illume Semifinalists to be revealed

The Winner Award Ceremony in Chicago, USA is just over two weeks away. To help you bridge the gap between now and then, we'll be revealing the Top 275 Semifinalist images on our Facebook page!

© Sterling Lorence / Red Bull Illume

The wait is almost over for the 5.645 photographers from 120 countries around the world who entered Red Bull Illume, the world's greatest action and adventure sports photography contest. On September 28, the Overall Winner, 11 Category Winners and Top 55 images will be unveiled at a spectacular ceremony held at The Art Institute of Chicago – one of the hottest venues in the Windy City!

From September 12, 2016 onwards and leading up to the ceremony, Red Bull Illume will reveal the highly anticipated Top 275 Semifinalist images via its Facebook page. Select images (a random selection) will also be featured on Red Bull Illume’s Instagram and Twitter feeds. The Top 275 images will also appear in the Red Bull Illume Photo Book which will be available for purchase following the Winner Award Ceremony.

The images represent action and adventure sports photography at its finest, 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.

Stay tuned to redbullillume.com for the latest info, the reveal of the Top 55 Finalist images, Category Winners and Overall Winner on September 28 and follow us Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a continuous showcase of the greatest action and adventure sports photography you’re ever likely to see.

New Creativity semifinalists: win.gs/New_Creativity

Follow the Winner Award Ceremony as it happens on September 28th on redbullillume.com and our social channels. More details to be announced soon. 

How Jeremiah Watt gets those epic climbing shots

You’ve got to have a head for heights and a willingness to suffer to shoot climbing photography - and don’t forget some skills on the rock. Red Bull Illume photographer Jeremiah Watt is known for getting some awesome climbing shots, here’s what he had to say about the genre.

© Jeremiah Watt

You’re well known for your spectacular climbing images, how did you get into that?
“I came to photography by accident through a misguided academic setting and being a climber first, climbing became a natural setting for developing my photographic skills.” 

What do you find so captivating about this type of photography?
“Everything. Climbing is an amazing means of experiencing the world and the people in it. The moments in-between, the travelling, the rock, the struggle, the desperation, the passion, the people - it all comes together to provide endless photographic inspiration.”  

Do you use any special equipment for shooting climbing?
“Not really. There’s the standard climbing equipment. I shoot Nikon and Fuji with almost entirely natural light. I have a fairly strong documentary style and try to shoot as an active participant in whatever’s happening. Active lighting and prearranged compositions can be necessary and incredible but I find the spontaneous and unexpected far more gratifying.”  

What skills are needed to successfully shoot climbing?
“Being a climber isn’t mandatory but close. Climbing, like any adventure sport, has its own customs and clique’s, being a climber helps one to identify and anticipate the what, when and where of possibility. Strong rope work and solid fitness is key to get in and out of position without being a liability. Humor and a willingness to suffer is pretty key to enjoying the entire process. Shitty situations can create the best images and attitude is often the only difference between having an epic memory of great times with great friends or just a heinous epic.”  

Could you give us some tips for anyone looking to progress in this type of photography?
“Be willing to suffer with a smile. Get up earlier and stay later. Work harder. Relish it! Because if it’s for you, it isn’t work, it’s personal and there’s nothing better.”   

What’s your favourite shoot to date?
“We just pack rafted the Gunnison Gorge in Colorado. That was new and exciting with great people while acquiring an entirely new skill set. Shooting high lining in the California’s Needle’s a few years back is still an all-time high. Eastern Europe, huge bonefish on an undisclosed island, the Bahamas, Zion! There’s so much beauty and awe in the world it’s hard to nail it down to any one experience.” 

What other sports do you enjoy shooting?
“Fly fishing, ice climbing, skiing/snowboarding, travel, high lining, life.”

What are you working on at the moment? 
“I’ve got a week at home and then I’m off to Southern Utah to document a Dystrophaeus (dinosaur) excavation site. It’s a totally different shoot and style for me and I’m looking forward to mixing it up.”

Follow Jeremiah on Instagram and his website.

While waiting for the unveiling of the winners on September 28, 2016, visit the Red Bull Illume social channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a sneak peek of this edition’s entries. These randomly selected shots showcase just-how impressive the 2016 Red Bull Illume submissions really were.

Red Bull Illume winners soon to be unveiled

The winners of the world's greatest action and adventure sports photography contest will be revealed to the world at a spectacular Winner Award Ceremony in Chicago, USA on September 28.

Since March 31, it has been a long wait for the 5.645 photographers from around the world who entered Red Bull Illume. Now, it's almost over. On September 28, the Overall Winner, 11 Category Winners and the Top 55 images will be unveiled at a spectacular ceremony held at The Art Institute of Chicago, USA – one of the hottest venues in the Windy City!

This elite selection of images represents the best from the world of action and adventure sports photography and shines a spotlight on the unsung heroes behind the lens. It’s the culmination of countless hours of hard work for the photographers from 120 countries who submitted 34.624 mind-blowing images to Red Bull Illume.

The evening will be hosted by television personality Tina Dixon and snowboarder Louie Vito, and also celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the prestigious contest. Attending guests will include dignitaries and the who’s who of the photography world. VIP guests include a number of Yodobashi, Sony, broncolor and G-Technology special guests, as well as several big name Red Bull Illume judges.

After the ceremony, guests will make their way to Wrigley Square, where the photographers’ images will be unveiled and illuminated on 2x2m lightboxes. This also marks the first stop of the Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour – the nighttime photo exhibition traveling to cultural hubs and hotspots around the world. The stop in Chicago is free and open to the public every night until October 9, 2016.

While waiting until September 28, 2016 - visit the Red Bull Illume social channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a sneak peek of this edition’s entries. These randomly selected shots showcase just-how impressive the 2016 Red Bull Illume submissions really were.

In the wake: Chris Garrison in Austria

In the action and adventure sport world he’s known as Flash Garrison because his use of light for shooting snowboarding and wakeboarding results in polished, studio-quality images. Chris is constantly traveling the world so we were lucky to catch him for an interview when he visited Red Bull.

© Chris Garrison

What brings you to Austria?
"I'm here to teach at a Red Bull Photography Academy. I will be teaching six other Red Bull photographers how to shoot wakeboarding – the standard style, what’s good practice in the industry, and my style of photography."

What’s your style of photography?
"I’ve got a nickname in the action adventure sports industry: Flash Garrison. Everything I shoot is flash-based. The shots have a studio look."

Who are the other photographers attending?
"Lorenz Holder (Overall Winner, Red Bull Illume 2013), Matthias Heschl, Philipp Schuster, Corey Rich, Tomislav Moze and Vladimir Rys." 

What will they learn?
"The wakeboarding style, the style of the athletes, what the photos need to look like, how the grab should look; basically proper angles for the shots. I’ll be challenging them to push their limits and to become more comfortable in the water." 

Why are these workshops important?
"Because they’re an opportunity to share the inside knowledge you gain from shooting the sport for so long. Plus, there’s also the bonus of learning a different style, in this case my flash-based style of shooting wakeboarding."

What are the greatest challenges of shooting wakeboarding?
"Firstly, you’re working on the water. I don’t know what’s the next hardest environment in the world. Shooting skydiving is obviously super hard because you’re unstable, but water is just as challenging. If you’re trying to set up perfect lighting, trying to get a studio look, everything on the water is moving. And obviously water and electronics don’t like each other much." 

What advice would you give yourself if you were just starting out?
"Stick to your roots and keep your passion there. I've seen a lot of guys go from shooting action sports to commercial and never go back to action. But sticking to your roots keeps it fun, and helps you to take things from one industry and bring it to another. I see a lot of photographers start out working with action sport magazines and then they’ll start working with brands and dump the editorial side because it’s not profitable. But editorial is your free advertising and the fun stuff." 

What was the last workshop or seminar you went to?
"A workshop for car photography. I taught a group of 12 selected guys different styles based around a light painting style that works with a CGI look." 

How do you think things will change in the next five years?
"There are more and more people coming into action sports photography and getting status really quick now. It’s crazy seeing the amount of people coming in, the boundaries that are being pushed and how far people are willing to go to get that extra shot. In five years there’s going to be a lot more people." 

Are photography and videography converging?
"Oh yeah. I can’t think of the last commercial shoot when I haven’t had to work with videography. Budgets are obviously getting cut a little bit here and there, but at the same time they’re trying to do bigger productions and in order to do that you have to put photography and videography together because that saves time and money. More and more clients are saying it’s great when photographers can work with a video crew. It’s the big thing now." 

Thoughts on mobile photography?
"I have a lot of cameras, but I’m always taking photos with my phone because it goes right to Instagram. The mobile cameras are getting better and better. But mobile is more for social, less for advertising. On the editorial side, you barely see GoPro shots, what to speak of mobile." 

Where to from here for you?
"I’ve got months of travel ahead of me. But first I’m shooting Red Bull Flugtag in Louisville. It’s in my top three events of the year."

For more of Chris's work, check out his website or head to Instagram.

While waiting for the unveiling of the winners on September 28, 2016, visit the Red Bull Illume social channels on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for a sneak peek of this edition’s entries. These randomly selected shots showcase just-how impressive the 2016 Red Bull Illume submissions really were.

Markus Berger continues his UV journey

Photographer and broncolor ambassador Markus Berger likes to look at life a little differently than others. For the last few years, he's been working on a project called "Beneath the Surface," in which he takes regular action and adventure sports and shines a UV light on them. His latest subject; Red Bull skateboarder Philipp Schuster.

© Markus Berger

"At the end of last summer I shot another part of my UV project series „Beneath the Surface“. This time it was skateboarding that was at stake and no other than Philipp Schuster from Vienna, Austria joined me to capture skateboarding in a different light."

"Philipp is a photographer himself and an Austrian skateboarding legend. That made it quite easy for me to convince him for this project and his help on finding the location and also to finalize the visual idea of the shot was amazing. Apart from that we also involved streetartist Christian Tanzer who came up with the graphic idea and the execution of it as well."

"A few weeks before the shoot I came to Vienna to check some skate spots together with Philipp – eventually we ended up choosing a DIY spot which is a location that was designed and built by skaters themselves."

"A day before the shoot I went on location to spray paint the whole area in a light grey so we would have a clean canvas for the shooting day and for Christian to place his graphic ideas. On the shoot day we were facing some communicational problems which resulted in all three of us being on different locations in Vienna at the same time. However this incident gave me the opportunity to buy more colors which at the end was crucial for finishing the graphic. We were lucky to have the most beautiful weather and the vibes on site were also chill and relaxed. So we spent a afternoon painting and supporting Christian."

When the sun dropped we started shooting and after a few attempts we got the shot we wanted. Every time when the broncolor UV lights flash for the first time and you see the entire image illuminated for the first time is special. Everybody was stoked and the result got even more depth because of the meaningful graphics that actually tell part of Philipp's personal Story.

The action was a simple but huge Ollie which is supposed to be a basic trick but still it came out simple and impressive at the same time.

We ended our session with some portraits and it was again such a cool experience to see something evolve out of nothing just by three guys working together for a day. It definitely makes you feel alive and satisfied at the end and for sure this is quality time spent you ll never regret.

To learn more about Broncolor's UV light shaper, click here

Want to see more of Markus Berger's work? Head over to his website and make sure to check out his Instagram

Salty snaps from 3,600m above sea level

Daniel Dhers builds and rides the world’s first BMX salt park 3,600m above sea level. Red Bull photographer Camilo Rozo was there to capture the crazy.

© Camilo Roso / Red Bull Content Pool

Bicycle motocross rider Daniel Dhers knows a thing or two about high altitude jumps, but this is something different. He recently built ramps out of salt at the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia – a high altitude desert known as the largest salt pans on the planet.

The “Salar de Uyuni” stand 3,600m above sea level. At this height, the atmospheric pressure decreases and results in a blood oxygen shortage.

 “I would make a line in the Salt Park and would stop for five minutes to catch my breath again,” explains Dhers, a five-time X-Games BMX Park gold medalist. “Plus it was really hot during the day and when the sun was covered by a cloud I was freezing.”



The ramps were designed by John Saxton and built with the help of locals from the Bolivian town of Colchani. “We built the ramp’s structure out of salt bricks, and had to create a secret mix to smooth them out,” says Dhers. “This is the roughest project I’ve done in my life, it’s a beautiful scenery but riding at this height is crazy.”

The flat horizon, hostile weather and high altitude all played a part – meaning Dhers had to push his limits to perform his tricks in a short production time. Luckily, Red Bull photographer Camilo Rozo was on hand to capture every salty jump.

Find out more about Camilo on his website and check out Daniel on Instagram.

While waiting for the unveiling of the winners on September 28, 2016, visit the Red Bull Illume social channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a sneak peek of this edition’s entries. These randomly selected shots showcase just-how impressive the 2016 Red Bull Illume submissions really were.