Lucas Gilman: What's in the bag?

Red Bull Illume’s exploration into the bags of action and adventure sports photographers continue, as we take a look at what Lucas Gilman has stashed away. Turns out, there's a lot.

© Lucas Gilman

Impressive collection you have there! How long has it taken to build it up?

“I’ve been shooting professionally for almost 18 years. My first camera was a Nikon FM2 with a NIKKOR 50mm lens back in the film days and I’ve continued with Nikon through my journey as a photographer and now filmmaker. There’s something about being comfortable with your gear. It becomes an extension of you. When that happens you can really focus on being creative and not on the technology. There’s a camera and lens for every job. I use the Nikon D5, D500, D810 & D4s along with a grocery list of NIKKOR lenses. The Nikon D5 is so fast. It seems like you can never fill the buffer. The only bummer is I come back with like 16,000 images from an afternoon of shooting at 12 frames-per-second.”

What’s your go-to body and lens combo?

“My go-to camera and lens has to be the Nikon D810 and the Nikkor 24-70mm VR f/2.8 lens. I’m always looking to squeeze as much quality out of each frame as possible and the 36+ MP and super fast 24-70mm allows me to do that. If I’m going to take one lens the 24-70mm is it. It’s wide enough to shoot landscapes and at 70mm it’s a great short telephoto. Recently I’ve been using the Nikon D500 more for shooting surfing as it shoots 10 fps and the autofocus points cover almost the entire frame. Plus the D500 is a crop sensor so I get an apparent 1.5 crop from my full-frame lenses. So my 300mm f/2.8 becomes a 450mm f/2.8, which is rad.”

What’s up with the machete?

“I’ve been shooting kayaking for years in some of the deepest darkest jungles in the world. It pays to have a solid machete when bushwhacking your way through snakes, spiders and God knows what.”

Got anything else no one else has?

“A Gerber tactical pen. It could help you out of a sticky situation if you get cornered by a mugger/kidnapper or break a car window if you are trapped inside. I’ve almost been kidnapped by Zapatista’s in Mexico and held up by knifepoint in the past. I also carry a first aid kit decked out like it could be in a war zone. You can never be too prepared.”

Any items you wish you could add to your bag? 

“The kitchen sink! Jokes aside, I travel with a lot of gear. This gear list doesn’t even take into account the video production gear. The last thing I want to have happen is to get to a location and be like, “Man if I only had X, Y and Z.” My dream piece of gear would be a 100+ MP camera with a global shutter that would sync at any flash speed. That would be epic. Oh and it would shoot 6K, 8K, 10K or whatever the video K is on the horizon.”

What keeps you excited and fresh?

“When you shoot professionally it’s easy to get into a creative rut. I like to do things that I don’t get paid for and try out new techniques and technology. Recently I’ve started shooting motion control time lapses with the Kessler Second Shooter Plus and the Elysia Visuals RamperPro. I’ve been working on the Holy Grail: day-to-night and night-to-day time lapses. The RamperPro allows for auto bulb ramping, which is a huge advancement. On the stills side, I’m working on using more battery powered portable strobes in the field like the Profoto B1’s or now the new broncolor Siros L’s to make my images more dynamic and visually impactful. I like to try out new techniques and then implement them into the paid gigs once I’ve got them down.”

Any tips for aspiring photographers?
"Yeah for sure. I do as much research as possible on the location I'm heading to. The important things to me are:

What time is sunrise/sunset and where does the sun rise and set (I use an iPhone app called Sun Surveyor on location for this as well)

Create a daily shoot plan to maximize your shooting and focus on being at the prime locations at the golden hours.

What's the projected weather - You want to be warm and dry and also keep your gear safe. So you can focus on being creative.

Are there any interesting landmarks I should put on my shoot list? Google Earth has millions of images geotagged with different locations use it to your advantage.

Figure out how much memory you’ll need for the project. I shoot with the D810 which is 36+ megapixels so I bring plenty of SanDisk CF & SD cards. Remember, you will probably shoot more than you think and the last thing you want to be doing as the light is getting perfect is deleting images. Also, plan on backing up your images onto multiple drives. The G-Technology G-DRIVE ev ATC is my go-to in the field because it’s waterproof and shockproof. The reason I backup in the field is you never know when your gear will get nabbed so keeping backup copies geographically separated is key. For instance I’ll have one of the athletes on the expedition hold on to a drive in case my gear is stolen. There is no second chance to make a Red Bull Illume winning image. You’d hate to lose it."

 

The Full Gear List:

Top Left Tile:Nikon D5Nikon D4sNikon D810Nikon D500Nikon 1 AW1 + NIKKOR 10mm f/2.8 AWAF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2 VRAF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8AF-S NIKKOR 800-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VRAF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 VRIIAF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4 PF VRAF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8 VRAF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8 Micro VRMF NIKKOR 500mm Reflex f/8 (mirror)AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4 VRAF NIKKOR 105mm F/2 DCAF-S NIKKOR 60mm f2.8 Micro AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4AF NIKKOR 16mm f/2.8 FisheyeNikon R1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight SystemTC-14e III TeleconverterTC-20e III TeleconverterNikon Extension Bellow PB-6eNikon SB5000 SpeedlightsFenix 1000 Lumen FlashlightGiottos Rocket Air BlasterWR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter MINDSHIFT Hive Mini Filter Case x 2Formatt-Hitech 3 Stops Firecrest ND or ProStop IRNDFormatt-Hitech 6 Stops Firecrest ND or ProStop IRNDFormatt-Hitech 10 Stops Firecrest ND or ProStop IRNDFirecrest ND 1.8Formatt-Hitech ND Soft Edge Grad 0.6Formatt-Hitech  ND Reverse Grad 0.6Formatt-Hitech  Aluminum Filter Holder Pelican CF Card WalletPelican SD Card WalletSanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB & 256GB CF CardsSanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB SD CardsHonl Photo Black/White Speed GoboHonl Photo Black/Zebra Speed GoboHonl Photo 1/8 Speed GridEneloop Rechargeable Batteries

Top Right Tile:

Pelican 1535 Air Case + TrekPak inserts
TetherTools USB3 Tether Cable + TetherTools Jerkstopper
TetherTools USB3 TetherBoost
Profoto standard Reflector
Profoto Zoom2 Reflector
Profoto Magnum Reflector
Profoto TeleZoom Reflector
Profoto RFi 1,3x2 Softbox
Leatherman Skeletal CX Multitool
Benchmade Griptilian Drop-point AXIS Knife
Profoto Air Remote
Profoto Air TTL Remote N
Profoto B1 500W/s AirTTL Battery Powered Flash x 3
Avenger Turtle Base C-Stand Grip Arm Kit
Quick-Grip 58300 Spring Clamps 

Middle Left Tile:

Fiber Optic Light Painting Brush + Coast HP7 Flashlight
F-Stop Gear Tilopa Backpack
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm Sleeping Pad
Orca Tactical MOLLE Rip-Away EMT Medical First Aid Kit
FUGOO Tough Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Nikon Aculon 10 x 50 Binoculars
Climbing Harness + Petzl Slings + Petzl Locking Carabiners
Black Diamond ATC
Petzl Climbing Helmet
Gerber Gator Machete
Supernova Halo 180 Extreme Rechargeable LED Lamp
Arc’teryx Theta Gore-Tex Jacket
Persol Di Siena Wayfarer Sunglasses Polarised Lenses
Arc’teryx ACRUX² FL Approach Shoes
Light My Fire Original BPA-Free Tritan Spork
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Sterling Ultraline Water Rescue Rope
Manfrotto Mini Tripod
Snake Bite Kit
Sea To Summit Talus TS I 23 degree Sleeping Bag
Lucas Gilman Productions Custom Team Hat
Nemo OBI LS 2 Person Tent
GOALZERO VENTURE 30 Recharger
GOALZERO NOMAD 20 Solar Panel
Sterling 200FT SuperStatic2 Rope
Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Platypus Softbottle Water Bottle

Middle Right Tile:

Avenger Turtle Base C-Stand Grip Arm Kit
Pelican 1535 Air Case + TrekPak inserts
G-Technology G-DRIVE ev ATC with Thunderbolt + 1TB SSD
G-Technology  G-DRIVE ev RaW 1TB SSD
X-Rite ColorChecker Passport
Jetboil Flash Cooking System
SPL A-SERIES D810 Waterhousing + Port
Churchill Makapuu Swimfins

Bottom Left Tile: 

Elysia Visuals Ramper Pro v3 Kit
Kessler Crane Stealth Pro Slider
Kessler Crane Second Shooter Plus
Petzl TIKKINA Headlamp
Kessler Crane Pocket Dolly Motor Mount
Kessler Crane DC0 Camera Cable Nikon
Kessler Crane Kwik SHORT Camera Plate
Manfrotto Midi-36 Hybrid LED Panel
ROR Optical Lens Cleaning Solution
Kessler Crane MagPak Battery x 3
Write in the Rain Field Notebook
Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen
Nikon Micro Fiber Cleaning Cloth
Kessler Crane DC0 Camera Cable Nikon
Kessler Crane Pocket Jib Traveler
Kessler Crane Kwik Release Receiver x 3
Kessler Crane Kwik MINI Plate
Gitzo Series 2 6X Systematic Tripod
GOALZERO Sherpa 100 Power Pack Battery
Kessler Crane Stealth Crank Handle
Motorola Waterproof Walkabout Radios
Gitzo Series 5 6X TRAVELER MONOPOD
Apple iPad Mini + TetherTools Wallee Mountable Case
Sandisk iXpand 128BG Lightning/USB Flash Drive
Apple 13.3" MacBook Pro Laptop
SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD 480GB 

Bottom Right Tile:

Manfrotto Spectra 1 x 1' Bi-Color LED Light (Flood) x2
Really Right Stuff Fluid Gimbal
Arca-Swiss C1 Cube Geared Head
Really Right Stuff Macro Focusing Rail
Avenger Triple Header Bar
Light and Motion Stella Pro Video Light
Gitzo Systematic Ball Head Series 5
Gitzo Series 2 6X Systematic 4S Tripod
Gitzo Series 5 6X Systematic 4S Tripod
Gitzo Series 2 6X Systematic 4S G-L Tripod
Manfrotto NanoPole Light Stand x 3
Manfrotto Super Clamp X 3


For more of Lucas’s work, visit his website, Facebook 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.

Read the latest stories

Jan Kozak proves that anything is possible!

How does a self-taught, ‘hobby’ photographer make it to the Top 260 of the world’s greatest action and adventure sports imagery contest? Read our interview with Creative by Skylum category semi-finalist Jan Kozak to find out!

© Jan Kozak / Red Bull Illume

Everybody loves an overnight success story, and this one definitely falls into that category. The purchase of a new camera just over a year ago was the catalyst for Jan Kozak to start taking his photography more seriously. Days watching YouTube tutorials, and nights out shooting with friends paid off big time as his image will now be seen across the world as part of the Image Quest 2019.

To call his success ‘overnight’ should not take away from the perseverance, courage and willingness to take risks that landed him this shot. The only person that can tell the full story properly is Jan, so check out the interview below!

How does it feel to be a semi-finalist of the ‘Creative by Skylum’ category?

It’s absolutely amazing, if somebody had told me I would get this far when I first started considering entering the competition, I would have thought they are crazy. I’m happy to be a semi-finalist in the Creative by Skylum category. This alone is a huge success!

Did you have this composition in mind before shooting? Or did you see the frames and think of the idea afterwards?

I had the composition in my mind before shooting and I wanted to make a sequence photo but a little differently. When I saw this place for the first time I knew it was the right spot. The only time-consuming part was to set up the lights and flashes, everything else was relatively easy thanks to my friends’ help.

Did you climb the tree yourself to set up the camera?

Yes, I used a big ladder, and fixed the camera at about 7-meters high. When I went up the first time I couldn’t believe what I got myself into, but at the end of the shoot and after multiple trips up and down the ladder, it had become routine.

It was really tricky to fix the camera, I had to use a ratchet strap and attached a monopod to the tree. Once the camera was mounted on the monopod, I could no longer move it. In the end it was worth it, I got a nice view of all the jumps and the photo has a nice perspective.

I couldn't use the camera viewfinder, but from this high vantage point it wasn’t really needed. It was very easy to catch the right moment and some tricks we even shot on the first attempt. Out of 20 photos from the shoot I really only used 6 of them, which is nice for post-production.

How long does the editing process take for a shot like this?

Haha, it takes about half a day in the parking lot at Fort William! After a morning riding in the bike park I started editing. Why did I edit in a car-park? The photoshoot took place shortly before my vacation, so short on time I used the only location available… retrospectively it is a funny memory that only adds more to the photo. 

Are you trained in post-production, or did you teach yourself?

Absolutely not. Everything I know about post production is self-taught, mostly from YouTube videos. Using editing software is nice but for me it's more important to do as much in-camera as possible during the shoot; nailing the lighting, using only necessary flash and hitting the right spots… without a good base there is no point in post-production.

How did you discover Red Bull Illume?

The first time I came across Red Bull Illume was on Instagram, I don’t know exactly when but it was a couple of years ago. I loved the photos I saw, but that’s about it. I never imagined being a part of that. Last year I bought my first camera – a Sony a7 III - and began shooting more. That autumn me and my friend Dan, a rider, made our first night photo shoot. When I read that the Image Quest 2019 was starting, I knew I wanted to participate. 

You made it into the Top 25 of the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category, did this give you confidence to enter the main contest?

The Best of Instagram by SanDisk nomination happened unexpectedly, it was both surprising and very exciting! However, I knew long before that I wanted to enter the main contest. 

What’s next for you, and where can we find more of your work?

I want to make some more night projects, find new locations give the photos a new perspective. For a long time now, I have been thinking about trying winter project but so far, I haven’t found the right opportunity. I’d like to travel more, especially with my camera.

To see more of Jan's work, check out his website and follow him on Instagram!

Introducing the first ever semi-finalists of the new Moving Image category!

Images are no longer only standing still. That’s why we introduced the Moving Image category for the Image Quest 2019. These creators had just one take to produce a video sequence between 5 and 30 seconds, and the results are spectacular!

© Pierre Henni / Red Bull Illume

Here are the 20 semi-finalists of the new Moving Image category. These creators mastered the challenge and created sequences that are action-packed, evocative and at times gripping. To save your clicks, we have combined all 20 clips into one amazing video. So, take a seat because the Moving Image semi-finalists may have you on the edge of it by the time you’re done!

Here is the full list of Moving Image semi-finalists for 2019:

Steve Storey
Philipp Reinhard
Seppi Schollerbr
Aleksander Osmalek
Matteo Mocellin
Pierre Henni
Laurence Crossman-Emms
Vit Hasek
Markus Anders
Fabian Lentsch
Leo Cittadella
Ondra Eliasek
Rupert Walker
Phil Pham
Darren McCullough

On November 20, 2019 the 60 finalists, 11 category winners and 1 overall winner will be announced at the Winner Award Ceremony. See all the action live from wherever you are by hitting the links below!

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, TwitterPinterest and YouTube!

The category where anything goes! Here are the Creative by Skylum semi-finalists

A blank canvas for photographers and content creators everywhere. This is the category where we celebrate the most inventive, extraordinary and surreal image edits in the adventure and action sports photography world!

© Evgeny Pavlov / Red Bull Illume

The 20 semi-finalists in the category without boundaries have been revealed. That’s right, it’s the Creative by Skylum Category. In Skylum, we found the perfect partner for the category where image editing rules are set aside and digital enhancements or darkroom alterations are encouraged. We removed the boundaries, so that photographers can push them and create edits that are both mind-blowing and beautiful!

Huge congratulations go out to these photographers! Their images made it to the Top 260 out of nearly 60,000 submissions and will be in the limited-edition coffee table book and on the website.

Here is the full list of Creative by Skylum Category semi-finalists for 2019:

Brendon Fidek
Eric Yip
Leo Zhukov
Markus Berger
Evgeny Pavlov
David Jaramillo
Ivaylo Donchev
Alexey Shabanov
Alex Buisse
Jonathan Ferreira
Stef Candé
Daniel Vojtech
Petr Polách
Denis Klero
Dan Krauss
Leo Francis
Jan Pelikán
Jan Kozak
Hannes Mautner
Michał Gałczyński

On November 20, 2019 the 60 finalists, 11 category winners and 1 overall winner will be announced at the Winner Award Ceremony. For those not in attendance, we have a seat for you! Follow all the action live from wherever you are by hitting the links below!

Stay up-to-date with the biggest news and best images, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, TwitterPinterest and YouTube!

Winter climbing in Scotland – with Frost!

Hamish Frost takes us to a place where the best weather to shoot in is - bad weather. Winter climbing in Scotland is a total sensory experience, a place that offers immense history but also the opportunity to send new routes in challenging conditions. What’s it like to shoot there? We asked Hamish!

© Hamish Frost / Red Bull Illume

Hamish Frost credits the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2016 as having a huge influence on his decision to take photography more seriously. Three years on, his shot of Guy Robertson and Greg Boswell trying a new winter route on Bidean nam Bian, Scotland, was voted as June winner of the Best of Instagram by SanDisk Category, securing his place as a finalist of the Image Quest 2019.

We knew a little bit about winter climbing in Scotland, and we had heard it was special, but we thought who better to take us deeper into the subject than Hamish himself! So, check out our interview below, with introductory quotes from Hamish and Greg.

-

Hamish Frost:

“There’s something about the ephemeral nature of the winter conditions in Scotland which makes it all quite exciting. Our winters are often quite marginal, with temperatures generally hovering just above or just below freezing. The freeze-thaw cycles that we get can result in some brilliant mixed climbing conditions, but it can be a bit of a hit and miss game trying to work out where the best conditions are.

“You’ll spend most of the winter pouring over weather forecasts in different parts of the Highlands, trying to work out a picture of what’s going on and building your climbing plans around that. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you can get it spectacularly wrong!

“I think this ultimately makes it all the more rewarding when you do get a good day though, particularly if you’ve gambled slightly and gone somewhere a bit more out there, that others might not have considered.”

Greg Boswell:

“If you’re looking for adventure and a challenge, Scotland is the place to be during the winter months, especially in regards to the climbing. You have to battle the fickle conditions, the long approaches and when you eventually get to the route and find it in condition, they are usually hard won and take a long time to unveil the secrets needed to ascend.

“I suppose there is a lot of uncertainty and challenge involved in Scottish winter climbing, but with the amazing landscapes and abundance of world class cliffs, the rewards are made so much sweeter and are usually well worth the effort.”

-

What makes winter ascents in Scotland attractive for a photographer?

Although our mountains aren’t the biggest, they more than make up for it in character! The scenery we have is stunning, with remote, rolling glens and big, gnarly cliff faces. There’s also an attitude in Scottish winter climbing that you go out even on the bad weather days (otherwise you probably wouldn’t get much done!).

I’ve actually taken some of my favorite winter climbing photos on days where the weather hasn’t been amazing. All the wind and snow blowing around can add a lot of drama to a photo and make it look like quite an unpleasant place to be, which I guess it is, but it’s that type two fun which anyone who does stuff in the mountains can probably relate to.

Where does your personal motivation for extreme undertakings like these come from?

Initially I started taking photos in the mountains to try show off how good the mountains were in Scotland and hopefully inspire friends and others to get out and explore them. It was only around 5 or 6 years ago that I actually made the effort to get out of the city and started to explore the Scottish Highlands myself and my mind was blown by how good the local hills were. I wanted to try and encourage others to get out and have the same sort of experiences I was having. My way of doing that was to take photos of my days out and post them online, and it worked!

As I’ve started climbing and skiing more, I’d say my motivations have evolved slightly. It’s now the buzz you get from challenging yourself, pushing your limits and scaring yourself a little in mountainous environments. My favorite shoots to do nowadays are the ones where I get to actually ski or climb some objective whilst trying to take decent photos. I love the challenge of trying to be creative whilst you’re dealing with a whole load of other factors, like staying warm and dry, making sound mountain decisions and trying to get yourself up a route.

How does the snow, ice and sheer coldness affect your photography?

My Sony cameras are pretty hardy and will keep firing even when it gets really cold and wet. There are simple tricks that help like keeping spare batteries in pockets close to your body so they keep warm, having a drybag to hand in case it gets really wet and you want to keep your camera out of the worst of it, and also bringing a spare compact camera on a shoot (if you can afford the weight), in case something does happen!

How heavy is the photography gear you’re carrying up the mountain?

I try and keep the kit I’m using relatively light. I’m already carrying a load of climbing kit and extra clothing to keep warm and if you weigh yourself down with lots of kit during the walk-in then you won’t have much energy to run around taking photos.

I tend to use one full frame Sony mirrorless body with a wide-angle zoom lens on it (I reckon I use this lens for about 80-90% of my shots) and then maybe a Sony APS-C mirrorless body with a telephoto lens as well if I reckon I can afford the weight. This gives me a bit of redundancy and avoids having to change lenses if the weather’s bad (which is a quick route to getting a tonne of snow in your camera).

Do you have to be a decent (mixed) climber yourself to shoot in these conditions or do you consider abseiling from the top?

It certainly helps, as it opens up options to shoot bigger routes where you can climb as two pairs and photograph the second pair on the route as they climb behind you. Most of the time I’ll just work independently though and either photograph the climb from a distance with a long lens, or set up a static rope at the top of the cliff and rappel into a position to shoot from. If you’re doing this then it definitely pays to be good with the cold!

Bad or even no views due to weather puts more focus on the climber and the wall right in front of you. What are the challenges and techniques to overcome this and get good shots?

For sure, the bad weather days can make it a bit more challenging and you have to be a bit more creative about getting a shot. If the visibility is bad, then you need to think about getting close to the action, otherwise your photos aren’t gonna have much in them! Sometimes you just need to have a little patience too. Even on the total white-out days, you will get patches where the visibility improves, and you might be able to get something from further away, you just need to be very aware of what’s going on, even checking updated forecasts out on the hill, and then reacting quickly when the weather does change.

I would say that some of the most challenging weather conditions to work in are actually the sunny days. This is because the routes being climbed are often on north faces, which don’t catch much sun during the winter. As such you can end up with your subject climbing in the shade against a brightly lit up background, which is a hard shot to edit well as it’s got far too much contrast in it. My favorite days are the slightly overcast days, where the clouds almost act like a giant softbox and you get this really nice soft, diffused light coming through.

Check out more of Hamish on Instagram!

Sofia Sjöberg dances with light

Sofia Sjöberg is a photographer from Stockholm, Sweden. For as long as she can remember she has had a camera in her hand, but felt that making a living from her passion was out of reach. Now, she is an Image Quest 2019 semi-finalist in the Lifestyle Category and thriving on opportunities that come her way!

Red Bull Illume Lifestyle submission

© Sofia Sjöberg / Red Bull Illume

Back in 2013, an image of skier Jacob Wester spraying powder at sunset lit up the Image Quest – that image was shot by Daniel Rönnbäck. They return to the Image Quest 2019, but this time both are in front of the lens! The image, captured by Lifestyle semi-finalist Sofia Sjöberg takes us behind the scenes of the things we love – adventure and action sports, and photography!

Sofia has been on our radar for most of the year, as she also made the Top 25 of the Best of Instagram by SanDisk Category back in February. We wanted to know more, check out the interview below!

Now you’re a semi-finalist, describe what the ‘Lifestyle’ Category means to you…

I find that athletes in the action sport community tend to let their sports define their entire lives in a way that seems unique to them. It provides them an identity as well as a social context. The Lifestyle category for me is not only about portraying the way of life of the athletes, photographers and cinematographers by capturing the moments around the action and the moments that show their dedication and level of commitment but also the relationship between the individuals in the community. 

How would you describe your Lifestyle?

Unlike the athletes, I have not chosen a specific sport to live my life through. I have rather chosen my lifestyle around being outdoors and experiencing nature through my camera. Due to this, my lifestyle is pretty much based on the seasons. During winter it is very focused on skiing and being out in the mountains, spring is all about camping and ski touring, summer time is computer time and, in the autumn, I focus on documenting surfing somewhere in the world.

Is your lifestyle visible in your photography?

I sure hope it is. I try to capture as many moments as possible of my life. I find that the most difficult part of capturing the lifestyle is that during the less good times it is hard to see the beauty in what you are doing. It is so much more work behind the action than just the performance of the athletes. I have spent weeks in a campervan in Iceland, looking for a decent wave, only to have found stormy oceans with pouring rain. I've spent days in my campervan in Northern Norway, not being able to be outside because of winds and snow, waiting for a potentially sunny window so we can show that specific line or jump. How do you show that in an interesting way and how do you find the inspiration to pick up your camera, when the dream of capturing that specific shot is slowly fading away due to difficult weather?

In your words, what type of photographer are you?

I'm a lifestyle action sport photographer with a passion for camping and raw scenery.

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

It is all about the light if you ask me, haha, but if I have to choose I pick action. If you have a powerful action shot it will most likely bring forth emotions in the viewer.  

Do you always have your camera with you?

Yes, I always have a camera with me. I have different cameras for different situations. I use a DSLR and a drone for work. I don't really use my phone to take photos since I have noticed that I never look at them and they don't bring me any joy. Therefore, I got a small analog point and shoot camera from the late 90s for everyday situations like parties and lifestyle. Since I have to spend a bit of money on each frame, I just tend to plan the shot more, as well as treasure them more when they are developed. And it is always fun to see what got captured a month later or so.

How did you discover Red Bull Illume?

It was all over my social media feeds in 2016 ;) 

You made it into the Top 25 of the Best of Instagram by SanDisk Category, did this give you confidence to enter the main contest?

It sure did. I have not worked that long as a photographer so when I entered the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category I wasn't sure if I had what it takes to compete with all the amazing photographers out there. When I made the top 25 I decided it was worth giving a shot and I'm so honored to have made the semi-finals with not one but two photos!

What’s next for you, and where can we find more of your work?

Winter is just around the corner so Chamonix, France is first up. Then ski touring in Iceland and Northern Norway. I put up some of my work on Instagram, other than that you can find them in ski magazines, so go pick one up and support this amazing community that works so hard to show what action sports is all about!

Follow Sofia on Instagram!

Before, between, after - these are the Lifestyle Category semi-finalists!

It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle as the saying goes and this category is a testament to that. The 20 Lifestyle Category semi-finalist images highlight the passion of photography away from the action. With some big names behind the camera, and some even bigger guests in front of it!

© Manuel Miguelez / Red Bull Illume

When you think of a great photograph, often it’s one that takes you away to a memory, a far away location or a certain feeling. The Lifestyle Category does just that, with images ideal for those who understand that the moments before, during and after the action are what fills the soul and make each adventure complete. The 20 semi-finalists take you behind the curtain to see the previously unseen, with some big names and some even bigger guests!

Here is the full list of Lifestyle category semi-finalists in 2019:

Jimmy Chin
Brian Nevins
Bryce Piwek
Will McKay
Jason Halayko
Marc Daviet
Luis Gallo
Sofia Sjöberg
Ale Di Lullo
Bruno Long
Jara Sijka
Alex Buisse
Christoph Oberschneider
Tal Roberts
Tom McNally
Paris Gore
Andy Parant
Manuel Miguelez
Reuben Krabbe

Huge congratulations go out to these photographers! Their images will grace the limited-edition coffee table book and be on the website gallery for years to come.

Tune in next week for a new category and don’t forget, the only way to follow all the action live from the Winner Award Ceremony night on November 20, 2019 is to hit the links below!

Don’t miss a minute, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, TwitterPinterest and YouTube!

Climbing photography with natural ingredients - Armin Walcher

Back in the Image Quest 2016, Armin Walcher was a semi-finalist in the Spirit category with an image that featured an incredible ray of light beaming through a bike. He tells us about his latest project, entitled SKRIK, in which he endeavoured to take images of climbing using only natural light and no manipulation.

SKRIK

© Armin Walcher

© Armin Walcher

Inspired by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch and his artwork "Der Schrei" a series came to life with natural ingredients and no manipulation.

The photographs were taken with natural light from the counter ridge of the wall. It was a perfect place to get the right angle without any help or additional gear. The only thing was not to be afraid of height!

The final shots were taken waiting for the perfect light, when the sun sets with limited time to get the last rays of sun on the climber. The blue wall created by the setting sun. With natural light from the counter ridge of the wall.

For more from Armin, follow him on Instagram!

A fresh view, a new approach

What did you do before you turned 25? Mathis Dumas is a photographer, filmmaker, IFMGA Mountain Guide and mountain sports athlete – and he is now a semi-finalist in the Emerging by Red Bull Photography category!

© Mathis Dumas / Red Bull Illume

Based out of Chamonix in the French Alps, Mathis Dumas came to the attention of the judges in the Emerging by Red Bull Photography category with this epic image shot on one of the most famous ridges in the Mont Blanc range.

Known for his ability to capture extraordinary imagery while climbing and skiing in extremely high-risk environments, Mathis is one of a new breed of content creators. He scouted the pillar route, guided the athlete Mathilde Becerra on one of the world’s hardest 8a+ routes at 3800m, and captured the shot!

We wanted to find out a bit more about him…

How does it feel to be a semi-finalist in the new Emerging by Red Bull Photography category?

I’m super excited and proud to represent the new generation of outdoor photographers. It’s an honor for me to be a semi-finalist of the new Emerging by Red Bull Photography category of the Image Quest 2019.

What came first - then mountain guide or the photographer?

I’ve been in the mountain for a while now, but actually the photography came first. Photography is what transported me further into the mountains…

What are your biggest influences in adventure and action sports photography?

There is a lot of very talented photographers out there, just take a look at Red Bull Illume! But for me Jimmy Chin, Tim Kemple, Seb Montaz and Ben Thouard are the masters - and I take a lot of inspiration from them. 

How did you discover Red Bull Illume and what made you want to submit?

I had heard a lot about this prestigious contest, and this year for the first time I took the step of submitting my photos. It wasn’t as smooth as it sounds, everything was a bit last minute, which makes me even more stoked to be a semi-finalist! 

Winter or summer?

Winter is more my environment - I really love skiing and ice climbing! 

What are your main goals in photography?

My main goals are to work with the best athletes in the world, going on serious expeditions to explore, document the world and the effect of global warming in the mountains. 

Do you have some big adventures planned? Where can we find you in the near future?

I’m about to go on my first expedition in Népal for a project with athletes for a month. After that, I’m going in Banff to do some ice climbing in November.

You can find me on Instagram!

The kids are alright! Meet the Emerging by Red Bull Photography semi-finalists

The future of adventure and action sports photography is in safe hands! Marvel at the skill and passion of the under-25s with these 20 semi-finalist images, seen for the first time right here!

© Satchel Cronk / Red Bull Illume

We are proud to present the rising stars of the Emerging by Red Bull Photography category. These photographers offer a fresh approach and a different angle, while showing knowledge and imagination that is sure to excite you for many years to come. When we had the idea of creating a category specifically for under-25s, we couldn't have foreseen the incredible level of images that it would produce.  

So, enough talking! Check out the semi-finalist images for yourself, and see the full list of the Emerging by Red Bull Photography category semi-finalists below:

Kyle Lieberman
Noam Keydar
Grégoire Sigaud
Jan Pelikan
Elias Lundh
Pierre Beurier
Brynjar Tvedt
Brodie Hood
Theo Burette
Joseph Roby
Aarón Sio
Julien Blanc
Florent Barberet
Joseph Eaton
Will Saunders
Manojit Mitra
Nathan Starzynski
Mathis Dumas
Satchel Cronk
Lukas Kahn

Huge congratulations go out to them - making it into the Top 260 images out of a whopping 59,551 submissions is an outstanding achievement! Their images will forever be a part of Red Bull Illume history as part of the limited-edition coffee table book and on the website.

Don't forget, we will be announcing the semi-finalists to another category next week! And put a huge red mark around November 20, 2019 in your calendar so you remember to tune in live to the Winner Award Ceremony night - to see the finalists and winners unveiled!

The only way to catch all the action is to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, TwitterPinterest and YouTube!

Biking in BC with Blake Jorgensen

Blake shares with us some epic images from his trip to Retallack, BC and lets us in on what it's like to be an action and adventure sports photographer on a trip such as this!

© Blake Jorgensen

Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Blake Jorgensen found the ideal outlet for his creative instincts and love of the outdoors in the mountains of British Columbia. Read our interview with Blake below and check out his sensational images!

How did you get started as an adventure and action sport photographer? 

My start in action sport photography started when I decided to move to Whistler BC from Toronto. Whistler seem to draw me in with its adventurous community and atmosphere. I became passionate about documenting all the exciting adventures and outdoor experiences I was having. I loved showing people the photos (even though they were on slides back then) of what me and my friends were experiencing. 

The ski and snowboard scene was growing at that point and being a part of that growth was exciting and started to work with athletes that were trying to build a career and identity out of those sports and lifestyle. Year by year at a slow base I slowly build a carrier and relationships that ultimately allowed me to do it full time. I moved to Whistler at age 18 and was shooting full time by the time I was 23. During that time, I worked for Blackcomb tuning skis at night and skiing/biking and shooting photos in the day. 

Please provide us a little background to this trip… 

I have been to Retallack many times over the years for so many photo shoots. It has been like my home away from home. I have also worked with Richie Schley and Cam Zink for many years and been on many grand adventures in the past so when they asked me about going on this trip with them I was easily sold. 

Any excuse to go to Retallack and hang with these boys and talk about past adventures while being on a new one was something to look forward to. Richie was one of the first people to ever believe in my photography from the beginning and I remember shooting with Cam when he was a teenager just getting going so it’s really awesome to shooting new images with them after all these years in the awesome majesty of Retallack. 

What are the main challenges for a photographer on a trip like this? 

I think the only real challenge is stopping to take photos instead of having too much fun haha! I look as this trip as a fun trip, but at the end of the day everybody still expects images of a certain quality so there is both the pressure to ride and have fun but also create some amazing content. Keeping that in balance is really the only challenge. 

Have you shot at high profile events, how does this compare to shooting on other projects? 

Events are their own beast as that ship sails with or without you. Its straight up journalism where you have to be tuning into what’s happening and make sure you capture the moments to help describe the event in recap. Shooting with the riders at Retallack has a much more creative approach and freedom because you get to communicate and work with the athletes directly and create something together. 

Do you have a dream trip in mind? Which spot & location? 

SO many places I have not been but to put something down here I think I would like to go to Antarctica. 

Follow Blake on Instagram!