Into The Dirt: Freeride MTB out in the wild

The concept of Into The Dirt was first brought up by bike team inFocus, who wanted to take freeride mountain biking to dramatic new places around the world and explore different types of terrain, capturing everything along the way. Photographer Toby Cowley was asked to shoot stills and document the journey of riders Kyle Jameson and brothers Andi and Michi Tillmann, Florian Berghammer, Vincent Tupin, Martin Söderström and Markus Reiser.

© Toby Cowley / Red Bull Content Pool

“It’s kind of hard to talk about all of the trips together because each was so different,” Toby says. “From the volcanic eruptions on Mt Etna in Sicily, Italy to the extreme weather in Iceland, there was always a different challenge to overcome. But this is what excites me the most about being a photographer – you just don’t really know how incredible each trip is going to be until you’re actually shooting there.”

Toby and the team visited four locations in all: Sicily, Africa, Iceland and Alaska.

“Iceland turned out to be the hardest of all to shoot in,” he says. “Even before I got on the plane I’d set myself some pretty high expectations of the shots I aimed to get on the trip. I’d seen photos of the locations before and it looked unreal, and seeing it in person when we were there just blew me away.”

But what Toby hadn’t accounted for was the extent to which the landscape in Iceland is protected by conservation law, which meant the areas that the team could ride on were restricted.

“We had to give up on a couple of perfect locations because of this, and settle for something else instead. On top of that it poured with rain for 7 of the 10 days, which left us with a pretty small window in which to shoot,” he recalls.

Nevertheless, the team brought home some pretty amazing images of the trip. 

Thinking back to Namibia; “That trip stands out above the rest for me. Especially the day that we went to shoot in the towering dunes at Sandwich Harbour,” Toby says.

“There was a lot of risk involved. We had to drive along a long narrow stretch of beach to get to our location and if we’d have got stuck or timed the tides badly then we’d have lost everything. Plus we didn’t even know if the dunes would be ridable, but such an unreal location right on the coast meant that is was a gamble worth taking."

"It turned out the dunes were relatively hard packed thanks to the moisture in the air from the ocean, so the boys wasted no time unpacking their gear and hiking to the top. We had two amazing hours shooting there, with this stunning ocean backdrop before an approaching weather front meant we had to head inland, to Dune 7. We finished in high spirits after an incredible sunset shoot – golden hour in the desert is really something else.”

Using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and a small collection of lenses, Toby aimed to capture both the action and the environment: “I really wanted to show the beauty of the landscape while still making the rider, and their style, the focal point of the images.”“Photographing biking in these incredible conditions is often not an easy task. There are so many factors that need to come together in order to produce a good shot, and often the rider will only do a line once before moving on to the next one. You have to make every shot count!"

“There were so many amazing moments, and I feel like we really only scratched the surface at some of those locations. There are a few I’m hoping to revisit in the future for sure.”

Make sure to check out the gallery below for some spectacular shots and follow Toby on Facebook and Instagram

See more photos on Red Bull Photography. Check out the full Into The Dirt series here:

Into the Dirt: Battling the elements in Iceland 

Into the Dirt of Mount Etna 

Into the Dirt: Explore the wilds of Africa 

Carving freeride lines in the Alaskan wilderness

Read the latest stories

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, Carlee Hackl 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 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:

Follow the Winner Award Ceremony as it happens on September 28th on 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.

Follow these 5 action sport photographers on Instagram

Scrolling our Instagram feed should be a daily source of inspiration. Following these five photographers – handpicked by Red Bull Illume – will guarantee to keep you amped for the action-adventure lifestyle.

Red Bull Illume 2013: Fred Mortagne, Playground category top 25

© Fred Mortagne / Red Bull Illume

Jimmy Chin
Pro climber, photographer and director Jimmy Chin lives for big mountains. Not only epic mountain shots, but powder, travel, cityscape and other images will keep you locked to his feed.

A photo posted by Jimmy Chin (@jimmy_chin) on

Jody MacDonald 

In the sky, under the sea or on the wall – explorer and adventure photographer Jody MacDonald captures a variety of action sports.  Check her unreal images of paragliders flying above the desert dunes of Mozambique.

Fred Mortagne
Director and photographer “French Fred” is the master of black and white skateboarding images. His use of lines and geometric shapes has given him a captivating signature style.

A photo posted by Fred Mortagne (@frenchfred) on

Lorenz Holder
Snowboarder, photographer and Overall Winner of Red Bull Illume 2013, Lorenz Holder’s use of space, light and energy make his images something to scroll for on our morning Instagram scan.

Stuart Gibson
No Instagram following list is complete without at least one surf-photography master in it. Let that one be Tazmanian Stu Gibson – cruising through his wave images will leave you burning to hit the ocean. 

A photo posted by stu gibson (@stugibson) on

While waiting for the unveiling of the winners on September 28, 2016, visit the Red Bull Illume on Instagram too 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.

Catching up with Jussi Grznar

Whether on snow, in the water or on concrete, Jussi Grznar is a master of arresting stillness in moments that are hectic by design. We caught up with the action sports photographer and talked about the process of putting together a slideshow of his best work.

© Jussi Grznar

What kind of images did you feel you were missing from your body of work coming into this winter?
“I was definitely good on the snowboard side of things. I had done a few surfing trips and one or two BASE jumping trips previously, and I wanted to have these sports included in the show, but I didn’t have enough. I pretty much decided just to shoot portraits, landscapes, surfing – I needed some big wave surfing photos – and a lot of BASE jumping.”

How difficult was it paring all that work into an eight minute slideshow? 
“I had a lot of photos to choose from, but at the same time, you want to just use your best work. The photos needed to be the right fit with the order, other photos, with the music, the motion and the mood of the final piece. I just created a bunch of folders on my phone and on my iPad, I created a playlist and I just played those songs over and over looking at the photos. I would constantly change the order and constantly change the photos that were in it. I did that for so long that everything just fell into place.”

Is there a set of photos or a photo in that slideshow that you’re most proud of? 
“That’s something that I had to deal with myself when I was editing the piece. You’re emotionally attached to certain photos because you know the amount of time and money and the crazy acts behind the scenes and the stories that happened, but you don’t even know if the photo is that good. You really want to have that photo in it because it took so much effort to get it, but at the same time you don’t really know if it’s that good.

There are certain photos that I’m really proud of. I flew to Bulgaria for one photograph: Vancouver to Montreal, from Montreal to Paris, from Paris to Munich, from Munich to Sofia. I flew there for 48 hours and ended up getting the shot and an extra photo the next day. And pretty much after 48 hours, I flew back the exact same way.”

Which locations is photography going to take you next? 
“There are lots of places that I’d like to return to. Whistler backcountry has a special place in my heart. Tahiti and Alaska. But it just doesn’t stop. I went to Nepal to shoot one portrait photo and when I was flying out of there and I saw the Himalayas from the airplane, it just broke my heart. I was like, “I need to come back here.” I was in China and I didn’t get the chance to go to Tibet, so I really want to go there. I want to travel pretty much for the rest of my life.”

View Jussi’s slideshow here. For more of the man’s work, visit his website or 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.