Philip Platzer’s Rowing Shoot

Philip Platzer’s Rowing Shoot

© Philip Platzer /Red Bull Content Pool

© Philip Platzer /Red Bull Content Pool

Austrian photographer Philip Platzer recently tackled a tough assignment, shooting a relatively un-photographed sport: rowing. Platzer was tasked with shooting the Lightweight Double team of brothers Paul and Bernhard Sieber as they trained for their next big goal – the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Due to his experience in shooting motorsports, Platzer decided to take a different approach by using a rig-shot and triggering the camera remotely even though the conditions were not ideal: “Through the longer exposure time one can get great movement photos with the subject crystal clear in the centre of pure movement. Sounds great, only here, there was no car, and the oars would add to the rocking of the boat creating a parallel movement which makes the photos unfocused,” says Platzer.

After discussing this problem with the Sieber brothers, they agreed to try a movement shot with the oars still: “I secured the camera with suction cups and a tripod to the boat, secured the whole thing with leashes, with the hope that should it fall into the water, it wouldn’t detach itself from its moorings and sink. I employed an ND-Filter to enable me to use daylight to achieve an exposure time of 1/10 to work with. I took the shots with a Pocket Wizard from a secondary boat, travelling slightly behind the main boat.”

However things were a bit rocky: “As we began, it became apparent that we had a problem – in order to capture both athletes, the camera had to be positioned at least 50cm from the middle of the boat to one side. This, however, along with a tripod, camera and rig. This created a balance problem for the boat, which had become side heavy, making it extremely strenuous for the brothers to travel at full speed, whilst shifting their balance to compensate for the weight – however, the brothers maintained this long enough for me to get some shots.”

Platzer was happy with the final results: “As I was unsure of the results of the shots, we then did a second take with the camera in a more central position, to ensure we got our action shot. As it turned out, all of the shots came out perfectly, achieving exactly what we had been hoping for, a credit to the brothers and their balance!”

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Ray Demski kicks up the heat

Ray Demski drops his latest personal project, 'Fireball', combining freestyle football, parkour and beat boxing. Check out the fiery shoot below.

© Ray Demski

No stranger to pushing the limits to get the shots he wants, Ray Demski went one step further for his latest passion project entitled ‘Fireball’. The short action film features athletes Lucas Wilson and Christian Kerschdorfer combine parkour and freestyle football in a fiery high-speed battle of acrobatic skill with a burning ball.

The battle is set off by beatboxer Madox, who keeps the beat rolling using only his voice right to the last fiery kick.

The flames in the video are completely real, leading to a few burnt hairs during the making of the film. “Why not a fireball, you know? How can we bring it up to the next level and just kick up the heat a little?,” said Demski during the shoot.

Check out the fiery images and behind-the-scenes video in the gallery below. For more on Ray and his work, head to 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.

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.

Red Bull Illume announces National Mobile Contest!

The very first National Mobile Contest kicks off in the U.S. – giving mobile phone users the opportunity to get their action and adventure images noticed one more time.

© Toby Caughron

Red Bull Illume, the world’s greatest action and adventure sports photography contest, is set to introduce something completely fresh for mobile phone users across the world – a series of National Mobile Photo Contests. 

This new development follows on from the successful addition of a mobile category to Red Bull Illume 2016. These contests aim to give mobile snappers the opportunity to enter their best mobile phone images and a chance to see their photos join the Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour in their respective country.

The very first incarnation of the National Mobile Contests kicks off in the U.S. today, and will close in a month’s time on August 14, 2016. After submissions close, a panel of esteemed judges will select the best photos. The image of the Overall Winner will then not only be displayed on a stunning light box and travel to cultural hubs and hotspots in the U.S. alongside the exceptional images of the global contest, but will also be invited to the Red Bull Illume Winner Award Ceremony in Chicago.

The Ceremony will take place on September 28, 2016 and the victor of the U.S. Mobile Contest will have the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in the action and adventure sports photography scene. For contest rules and details, visit the Red Bull Illume U.S. Mobile Contest page. 

Keep an eye on redbullillume.com, as more countries are set to host their own National Mobile Contests too – details to follow very soon.

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.

Florian Breitenberger’s winter wrap-up

Snow, ice, and the crispness that comes with freezing temperatures all add new dimensions to Florian Breitenberger’s striking images. We caught up with the former Red Bull Illume People’s Choice Award Winner to find out what he’s been doing these last couple of months.

© Florian Breitenberger

What have you been up?
“I’ve been shooting a lot, trying to get the best out of the last few days of winter. I managed to shoot with the German Freeski Team, joined-up with freeskiers and snowboarders at Prime Park Sessions at Stubai Zoo, visited wakeboarder at the new Area47 wakeboard lift, and completed a Holi colors shoot in Switzerland. I also managed to organize a photo exhibition in Innsbruck that featured one of the most influential action sports photographers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Visitors where able to purchase every image, and we ended up donating € 2.000 to non-profit Alpine Initiatives. I basically tried to travel and stay on the mountains as much as I could.”

How much of your photography is instinctual versus planned?
“It depends on weather it’s a commercial shoot, a project I planned for months or years, or a spontaneous trip into the backcountry to have fun with my friends. I think the most successful and creative shoots are the unplanned ones – with a friend just having a great time out in nature.”

What motivates you?
“I love the variety in sports photography, and going to your physical limit to capture a single moment. That motivates me to keep going. My camera and my passion for photography opened so many doors for me and led to so many new friendships. In a nutshell – I’ve had an unforgettable time so far, but there are still so many goals I want to achieve in photography. That also motivates me to continue taking photos.”

Where do you find inspiration?
“Nature in all its forms. From the highest mountains to the deepest seas and widest countrysides. I love being out there and enjoying good times with the right people. I always try to capture those sometimes unreal and magic moments. Photography gives me plenty of opportunity to travel and discover these outstanding places.”

What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
“That’s a tough one, because there are so many moments. But being at Nine Queens years ago for the first time and being as a Red Bull Illume finalist definitely stand out as the most unforgettable moments in my photography career so far.”

Your dream destination assignment?
“One of my dream destinations during winter is Alaska. It would be super cool to shoot Alaska big lines and ski at least one or two fresh powder lines myself. The Alaskan countryside is full of adventures and free from boundaries in my eyes. I have never been to this mystical place. Hopefully I’ll get there someday.”

What’s next for you?
“After a tough winter season, packed with shoots and powder adventures, I’m off to Asia for some climbing and surfing. I’ll spend my whole summer there and try to find new inspiration for the next winter skiing season. I haven’t travelled to Asia much, so I’m really looking forward to all the new adventures that await me.”

For more of Flo’s work, check out the gallery below and visit his website or Instagram.

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images.



For more regular updates, head to Red Bull Illume on Facebook and Instagram.

Putting Sony to the test

Red Bull Illume partner Sony recently sent us two of their cameras – the A7R Mark II and RX10 Mark II – and asked us to put them to the test. So we set out to do just that.

From studio shoots and an indoor BMX contest to snowboarding action sequences high up in the mountains, we sent the A7R Mark II and RX10 Mark II into a bunch of different conditions. Here’s how they performed:

Sony A7R Mark II
Sony’s flagship stills photography camera

This mirrorless camera’s greatest asset is its full-frame sensor with 42MP and almost 400AF points. It also happens to be splash and dust-proof, so it holds its own in rougher conditions. While this isn’t the camera you’ll pack for an Arctic expedition, it will survive a thunderstorm. 

Thanks to 5-axis stabilization, even handheld shots with slower shutter speeds look as if they could have been shot using a tripod. When shooting at slow speeds, this is a feature that comes in real handy.  

Pros: 
- 42MPs! 
- 399 Auto Focus points
- Very good image quality
- Dynamic Range
- Super fast autofocus with native lenses
- Light, compact camera

Cons:
- When using a lens adapter, focus points drop to 15
- High-capacity, high-speed storage card required
- Menu could be more user-friendly
- Battery life could be better (carry extra packs)

Sony RX10 Mark II
The Sony A7R M II’s little brother

This feature-packed and compact point-and-shoot camera is an excellent option, because of its ability to shoot 4K as well as slow motion. The built-in 24-200mm lens is a very capable all-round lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture. It’s a quick shooter too, offering 14fps during continuous shooting and up to 960fps when in video mode. In short then: 

Pros:
- Great all-rounder
- Very good image quality 
- Bright constant 2.8 max aperture
- Light, compact body

Cons: 
- Battery life could be better
- Menu could be more user-friendly
- Requires high-capacity, high-speed storage card to use 4K and slow motion 

The image quality of both cameras are excellent, making them ideal companions for technical / artistic photographers. Just remember to carry those extra battery packs and speedy storage cards.

Find out more about the Sony A7R Mark II and RX10 Mark II on their website.

Keep visiting redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images.
 

You can also get a sneak peek of the Red Bull Illume 2016 submissions on Facebook and Instagram.

Michael Clark: 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 outdoor photographer and former physicist Michael Clark has stashed in his bag.

© Michael Clark

Do you have a go-to body and lens combo?
“I’m not sure – I tailor the cameras I take to each assignment and shoot a wide variety of adventure sports. If I’m shooting fast-moving action, then I go for the Nikon D4 and a 24-70mm or 70-200mm Nikkor. If it’s a slower adventure sport like rock climbing or ice climbing then I would take the Nikon D810 and the 24-70mm or the 14-24mm Nikkor. 

For portraits, lifestyle and predictable adventure sports I will also add the Hasselblad kit and a few lenses. If I’m shooting portraits, the Hasselblad is my main camera with the ridiculously sharp Hasselblad HC 100mm f/2.2 lens, which is the equivalent to an 80mm f/1.0 lens in 35mm terms. The Nikons are still my go-to kits for 70% of what I shoot. At a bare minimum, I’ll take a Nikon camera body and the big three zoom lenses – the 14-24mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm.”

Tell us about more about that Hasselblad…
“I purchased the Hasselblad H5D 50c WiFi and four lenses in December last year. In the film days I shot a fair bit with medium format cameras and loved the look and feel of the images. These days it’s getting tougher and tougher to set your work apart from the pack. To that end, I opted to get a digital medium format camera for several reasons, including the high shutter speed flash syncs, the shallow depth of field and the insanely amazing 50 MP 16-bit image files. 

Making the decision to buy a camera system that costs way more than my car was a tough decision and there were many factors that went into this purchase. The image quality out of the Hasselblad is stunning. No 35mm DSLR can touch it and the 16-bit files allow me to really work over the image files if I need to with no banding or degradation. 

As for lenses, I have the 24mm, 100mm 150mm and 50-110mm Hasselblad lenses. These lenses are wicked sharp from corner to corner. As far as sharpness goes, these lenses are very nearly just as sharp in the corners as they are in the center. I work with the Hasselblad for everything from portraits to lifestyle images and even action photography – if I can accurately predict the movement of the athlete. 

The Hasselblad certainly isn’t as versatile as my Nikon DSLRs, especially when it comes to adventure sports, but when it works it is a phenomenal tool. It also really slows you down and forces you to get creative in a way that I have not found with DSLRs, so the images end up looking more crafted. For a full explanation of why I added such an expensive camera system to my already extensive DSLR kit, check out this post on my blog.”

Any other items you wish you could add to your bag?
“For still photography I have more gear than I can deal with. The gear images here are only a fraction of all the photo equipment that I own and use. You can see my complete gear list on my blog. I have a ton of lighting gear and work with strobes on just about every shoot. I suppose it would be awesome to add a Red Digital Cinema camera (like an Epic or the Scarlet) and flush out my video gear a bit more.”

Do you carry anything that no one else has? 
“I almost always carry a Lastolite EzyBalance White Balance disc and a Sekonic L-478DR light meter. These may not be super unique but I rarely ever see my peers carrying a light meter or a white balance disc. I learned long ago that setting in-camera custom white balance settings results in better color out of my Nikons and also speeds up my workflow considerably. Using the white balance disc assures that I am capturing accurate ski tones when shooting portraits. 

When using Strobes, I always use a light meter to dial in the lighting perfectly. The Sekonic also has quite a few advanced functions that allow you to control all of your lighting and even tells you if the lighting falls within the dynamic range of your camera. Another item I always take with me is the Sensor Gel Stick to clean my camera sensors. I clean my sensors before (and sometimes during) each and every assignment to avoid dust spots and especially when shooting video.” 

Where was the most challenging location you had to shoot?

“Oddly enough, the most challenging location I have ever had to work in was not on an adventure sports assignment but in the Vale do Javari in the Amazon while documenting indigenous tribes in an extremely remote area of Brazil. I do well in the cold, and even in extreme cold, but heat and humidity are really hard for me. In the Amazon, it was 113°F (45°C) and very nearly 100% humidity. That put us all on the edge of heat stroke. Then add in the mosquitos and no-see-ums eating you alive — it was pretty miserable. 

There were also way more objective hazards including: jaguars, anacondas, pit vipers, giant spiders, caimans, uncontacted indigenous tribes, malaria, diseases etc. With skiing, climbing or most other adventure sports there are objective hazards but at least you can predict them to some degree and make decisions about when and where to go. In the Amazon there were 50 ways to die and you hadn’t even gotten out of your hammock yet. There are still 60ft (18m) long Anacondas in that region of the Amazon that can swallow an adult human in the blink of an eye. 

I don’t really feel the need to ever go back to the Amazon. It was a beautiful and amazing place to see, especially such a remote area, but it was really tough. It took me a month or so to recover and at least six weeks before all of the bug bites went away. I also brought home a parasite on the last trip and it took six months to get rid of that.”

Check out a selection of Michael’s images in the gallery below and find out more about the man on his website, Facebook and Instagram.

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images. 




You can also get a sneak peek of the Red Bull Illume 2016 submissions on Facebook and Instagram.

Rutger Pauw and Ben Lewis light up Liverpool

In May, Red Bull Illume partner broncolor introduced a range of new mobile monolights - the Siros L. Not one to sit around, Rutger Pauw grabbed BMXer Ben Lewis and set out to test the Siros 800 L Outdoor Kit.

In early June, Dutch Red Bull photographer Rutger Pauw packed his gear, grabbed a broncolor Siros 800 L Outdoor Kit and headed to Liverpool. One of Rutger’s specialties is capturing BMX riders, so he called up Ben Lewis and persuaded him to tag along on his inspiring outdoor shoot.

The versatility, mobility, compactness and lightness of the Siros 800 L proved to be just what Rutger needed to get his shots, and the awesome images in the gallery proves it. 

Rutger’s outing was also captured by videographer Matty Lambert in a short inspirational video. The video gives an excellent glimpse at the sort of lighting positioning and modifiers needed to get the stunning results Rutger achieves. No boring tech talk here either, just Rutger, Ben, the Siros L and plenty of BMX action.

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

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images.

For more regular updates, head to Red Bull Illume on Facebook and Instagram.

The Athlete’s Perspective: Viki Gómez

To celebrate action sports photographers and their work, we talk to the biggest admirers of their work – the athletes. Below, the BMX flatlands rider Viki Gómez gives some love to the photographers he’s worked with.

© Lorenz Richard / Red Bull Content Pool

“Photography is really important for BMX flatland because when we do tricks that even the human eye cannot see, it can really show how difficult and extreme our sport is. Photography is the way to make one trick last forever. That’s why it’s so important – to show flatland in a beautiful way. 

Having good photographs of myself has also lifted my career to the next level because when I went to sponsors and showed my photos everybody was blown away. Particular photographers I’ve worked with? I’ve made two projects with Rutger Pauw. One was in 2007. I’m covered in white dust flour and wearing a mask. The photo is amazing – it looks like I’m riding on the moon! Not only was it a hard trick but all the effort he put into making it look like I was somewhere else made it special. He’s a pioneer; this photo has since been copied by many other photographers. 

The second creative photo I did with Rutger, I had this long two-meter suit made from parachute material. The idea was to do a trick in front of a fan with a lot of air. It’s a very Asian style. It was a category finalist in the experimental category in 2013 and was printed so big in Hong Kong where Rutger had a workshop at the Winner Award Ceremony. That was crazy to see my photo printed 15m long.

With Predrag Vučković we did a shoot at the Red Bull Air Race last year where I’m doing a trick with no hands with an airplane in the background. There’s a connection between the airplane and the flatland trick I’m doing since my arms look a bit like an airplane. It was a great shot.

With Markus Berger we did this UV project with bubbles where I was painted in invisible paint only visible to the UV and did a trick. That’s pretty sick also as it looks like I’m somewhere else, another planet again!To be selected by Red Bull Illume is huge for photographers. I think it’s not about winning but about being nominated. I know for some it’s changed their lives and that’s pretty cool.”

For more about Viki, visit his website, Facebook or Instagram

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images.

For more regular updates, head to Red Bull Illume on Facebook and Instagram.

Stephan Bednaic: What's in the bag?

Whether shooting digital or film, action sports and lifestyle photographer Stephan Bednaic says his goal is to make images that have adrenaline written all over them with a colourful visual twist. In our latest bag exploration, we look at what Stephan carries with him on assignment.

© Stephan Bednaic

As an action sports photographer, does your gear sometimes take a pounding?
“While I do look after my gear and clean it regularly, I don’t let it get in the way on shoots. Gear shouldn't be a distraction and I’m more focused on what’s happening in front of me. Because of that my equipment does have a few scratches here and there, I like to call them war scars. I did break a 85mm, it flew out of a lens pouch that was on my hip while I was running to catch up with the subject. It didn’t focus ever again, clearly my mistake.”

What’s your go-to body and lens combo?
“It would be the 5D Mark III plus the 50mm. The 5D is a great all-round body and I’m so used to the field of view of the 50 and the picture that it renders. The 50mm is a no brainer.When I pack for a shoot, I take only what I need and try to simplify my gear. As I said, gear to me is only a distraction. That’s why I use modular gear like the F-Stop bags that can be fitted to your needs or the Odin triggers that are compatible with my Speedlites and the strobe. Plus it can be used to trigger a remote camera so I have less stuff to worry about and pack.“

Any special techniques to get your shots?
“I would say it’s more of a style than a technique but I do try to put something in the foreground of the frame to simplify the picture and isolate the subject. Since I mostly use wide apertures it blurs out and adds depth and context to the picture. Also, I do like warm light and lens flares.”

You often carry a can of Red Bull with you?
“If I have free space in the bag I always throw in a can or two. You never know, ether you get thirsty or the athlete needs a little energy boost to refresh. Often I just give them to people I meet while working to represent the brand. It’s a great icebreaker and social tool. Thanks to the Red Bull team and their support I always have a few dozen cans in the fridge ready to go.”

Where do you pick up most your gear? Online?
“Online review don’t really work for me since I like to try out the gear and see if it fits my needs. That’s the main reason I support local shops when buying gear. I especially need to thank Daniel and his team at Prizma-Foto and Zoran and the Canon guys at Anigota! They always help me out and support me. I always like to stop by and chat with them about gear issues. I was lucky enough to meet the team at Sony Mobile and they hooked me up with the latest phones, perfect for that Illume Mobile category that launched this year. My advice would be to support the brands you like to work with and connect with people in the industry, it goes both ways.”

Stephan's full gear list:

Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1V HS
Canon 15mm FE
Canon 16-35mm
Canon 45mm TS
Canon 50mm
Canon 580EXII Speedlites
Phottix Odin II triggers
Phottix Indra500
GoPro Hero 4
Peak Design Capture Pro
Card wallet with Sandisk SD/CF cards
Card reader and a backup hard drive
Sony Z5 Compact
Gaffer tape
Can or two of Redbull
Rain jacket
F-Stop Loka/Kenti with 2L hydration system
Manfrotto carbon tripod with ball head
Manfrotto Nanostands
Manfrotto 1051bac stand

View more of Stephan’s work on his website. For more of on the man himself, head to Facebook or Instagram.

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images. 


You can also get a sneak peek of the Red Bull Illume 2016 submissions on Facebook and Instagram.

In search of the Desert Diamond

Kevin Metallier and his crew find hidden skating gems in a place you’d never expect - the vast desert and tiny towns of Namibia.

© Kevin Metallier / Red Bull Content Pool

Of all the best skateboarding meccas in the world, Namibia certainly wouldn’t be the first destination on anyone’s list. Yet photographer Kevin Metallier and skateboarder Philipp Schuster saw something that most didn’t – a diamond in the rough.

The pair were joined by Olli Ilmonen, Titi Gormit, Antony Lopez and Tjark Thielker on a discovery of Namibia’s wide open spaces and silent towns. They spent two weeks cruising through the Namib desert, in search of improbable skate spots hidden beyond the dunes. They found more than they expected, including a mini-ramp nobody would believe existed.

Check out the gallery below for images of their quest or watch the ‘In Search of the Desert Diamond’ video. For more of Kevin’s work, head to his website or Instagram.

Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images. 

You can also get a sneak peek of the Red Bull Illume 2016 submissions on Facebook and Instagram.