Red Bull Illume Opens in 10 days

Red Bull Illume Opens in 10 days

 

Just 10 days remain until submissions open for the 2013 edition of Red Bull Illume Image Quest, the world's greatest action and adventure sport photography contest. From December 1st, photographers will be able to enter their images online at www.redbullillume.com in a bid to compete for the honor of winning the prestigious competition.

Already the first judges have been confirmed. These include Kim Scott-Clark, former picture editor of the London Daily Telegraph and now a picture editor at the Daily Mail – one of the world's most popular online newspapers. Other judges include Jym Wilson, senior photo editor at USA Today and Richard Brooks, deputy photo director for Asia-Pacific with AFP.

A number of editors from top sports publications will also sit on the judging panel. These include Steve Fine, photography director at Sports Illustrated, Hannah McCaughey, Creative Director at Outside magazine, Simon Caney, editor-in-chief of Sport (UK) and Naima Mancini, photo editor of Italy's Sportweek.  

And because Red Bull Illume also looks at the culture and lifestyle behind action sports, a number of judges come from the world's coolest urban and lifestyle magazines. These include Gina Batlle, photo editor of Complex, Sebastien Zanella, editor of France's Desillusion and James Mullinger, photo director of GQ (UK).

In all, 50 judges will be selected from around the world. They will have the difficult task of selecting the 50 best images in 10 categories and an overall winner.

For a list of the confirmed judges, please visit this link.

Dimitris Karathanos is typical of the judges who have come on board. The senior editor of SOUL magazine says he's looking forward to the competition. "I  love sports photography for its charisma to portray humanity during extreme conditions. I love the effort, courage and determination in those pictures. It's a great honor to be a Red Bull Illume judge."

With Leica, broncolor and Sun-Sniper Red Bull Illume has found the perfect partners. The overall winner will receive the new Leica S camera, while category winners will each receive a Leica X2. Other prizes will include broncolor's new Move, their portable flash and the latest strap system from Sun-Sniper.

Read the latest stories

Category Spotlight: New Creativity

The Red Bull Illume New Creativity category is exactly what it says on the label – a category tailor-made for unique, creative action and adventure sport images.

Red Bull Illume 2013: Erwin Polanc, New Creativity category top 25

© Erwin Polanc

New Creativity is dedicated to images that reveal a unique angle, a striking visual idea or innovative light and flash effects. In a nutshell, these images push creative boundaries to showcase something never seen before.

The New Creativity category is all about getting creative with the shot, not with post-production. That’s why Dan Vojtech’s crazy image of four-cross rider Tomas Slavik doing an impossible trick took home the coveted prize in 2013. The shoot took place in a studio with wires suspending the bike from the ceiling. The unique concept, surprising ‘behind-the-scenes’ aesthetic and perfect framing all but guaranteed that Dan win the category.

“If you've developed a specific new, creative technique that hasn't been done before – that's perfect for this category,” says one Red Bull Illume judge. “There's nothing stopping you from entering something that has been done before, but it's going to have to be insanely good to win New Creativity.”

Check out the gallery below for some more creative examples of former Red Bull Illume New Creativity category submissions. You can also head to the Red Bull Illume Instagram account for more photographic inspiration or find out more about the categories here.

Once you have your images ready to go, simply register your account right here on redbullillume.com and submit your images. Remember that submissions close on March 31, 2016.

Visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for regular updates.

The Illume Effect: Christian Pondella

Continuing our series talking to previous finalists of Red Bull Illume, we chat to veteran action photographer Christian Pondella and hear why he loves being a part of the contest.

Red Bull Illume 2013: Christian Pondella, Illumination category top 25

© Christian Pondella / Red Bull Illume

You’ve been an established pro for many years, but has Red Bull Illume helped? 
“It’s definitely a great thing to be a finalist. Personally, I’ve been a pro almost 20 years now. If you’re a young photographer it will open up a lot of doors. If you win the whole thing it will help tremendously. I know for sure I got a few clients off [the 2013 Red Bull Illume] because people saw my work there. The previous contests in 2007 and 2010 I didn’t have a finalist image so it didn’t have an impact like that last one did.”

The best part?
“The coolest experience was going out to Hong Kong for the Winner Award Ceremony and being a part of that exhibit with all the other photographers whose work I’d admired over the years. That was really what was most exciting. Ultimately, I want to be a part of the top 50 again in 2016. So I can be a part of that again.”

Do you already have an image in mind? 
“I got a few for sure. I had the most amazing job last year; I went to Kilimanjaro with Will Gadd for a Red Bull shoot. It was an amazing trip and has the potential to make the top 50. But it’s funny what I think is a great shot isn’t necessarily what gets selected. My image [from 2013] wasn’t one of the strongest from my perspective. Everyone has his or her own interpretation.”

What must an image have to do well?
“It’s got to be an outstanding image, but a bit luck that the judges like that particular image helps also. That’s the way with a lot of competitions. I’ve been a judge and it’s not easy. There are so many amazing photos… Ultimately it has to be something unique and dramatic.”

Anything else aspiring finalists should know? 
“There are a lot of conceptual photos and they tend to do well, as they might be different. I shoot a lot of mountain sports. There are so many photos submitted in that genre, so for one of those images to go through to the top 50…? It has to be really unique and different to set it apart. Maybe a bit of luck has to go into it – some magical moment with the weather and light and you’re there and you happen to catch it.” 

Plans for this winter? 
“I try to get to Chamonix every year. In 2014 I went to Russia, potentially I might go back to Japan –it’s just a matter of talking to the athletes and clients I work with like Patagonia and scheming up ideas. Then when the snow starts falling, I commit.”

Check out the gallery below and Christian’s Facebook and Instagram feed for more of his work.

The world's greatest action and adventure sports photography contest is back and better than before with the addition of a new mobile category. Download the Ultimate Guide to Red Bull Illume here and mark March 31, 2016 on your calendars! That's when submissions close.

Visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for regular updates and check out Instagram for more visual action.

Kelvin Trautman freezes the action on Mobile

South African action and adventure sports photographer Kelvin Trautman talks about the advantages of shooting on mobile and why social media has become so important for photographers.

© Kelvin Trautman

Talk us through that shot on Table Mountain…
“I think, like the Table Mountain shot, if the conditions are right – light-wise, scenery-wise – it doesn’t really matter what camera you have. For that shot, it was super convenient to have a mobile phone. I think that having something that’s super lightweight and easy to use is always handy. That was an opportunity, the mist was rising, it was only like 5 minutes of light with the mist lining up like that – and it was gone.“

No DSLR?
“I didn’t want to take a heavy camera to run around with. That’s the beauty of mobile.“

When else do you shoot on mobile? 
“One, when I’m scouting. Mobile phones store a whole lot of metadata on the image – location, time of day – it’s super nice to get references. And two, when I don’t have the option to lug heavy equipment around like when running or hiking.“

Any other advantages?

“I also think, because it’s so inconspicuous, it often becomes a great way to photograph people, especially when travelling. Because mobile phones are so discreet, you’re not shoving a big camera in people’s faces. It’s a convenient way to convey as situation where people are not put off by the camera. So often you get more authentic content.“

Social media also plays an important role, no?“
It’s obviously become hugely important. The ability to upload your images immediately and share them with people is important. We’re so bombarded with really good content though – the challenge is to try and produce something different. More and more there’s a need for personal content – sharing who I am as a photographer, rather than just these amazing images. That’s were a mobile phone becomes really useful. You end up capturing these little behind-the-scenes pics and little videos. And then through sharing that content your audience starts to relate to you as a person.”

Do you own a selfie stick?

“Cringe, no. Selfie sticks can be useful. Getting closer to action you can’t reach can be useful. But I’ve got long arms – I don’t need a selfie stick. [Laughs]”

Any advice to take better mobile pics?

“The conditions have to be pretty good. You’re limited in terms of light. With mobile photography, the tradeoff is image quality, but you have something that’s really simple and easy to use. In terms of the principles of mobile photography, it’s pretty much the same as using a DSLR. They use all of the same rules.”

Any exciting projects coming up?
“I’m leaving for this expedition following a lady who’s planning on running 40 marathons in 7 weeks. That equates to 6 marathons a week. She’ll spend one week in the desert on 7 continents. It’s a pretty ambitious schedule. I’m sure I will be using my phone a lot. Especially pushing out little 15-second video clips.”

Check out the gallery below for Kelvin’s mobile shots and head to Facebook and Instagram for more of his work.

The world's greatest action and adventure sports photography contest is back and better than before with the addition of a new mobile category. Submissions close March 31, 2016.

Visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for regular updates and check out Instagram for more visual action.

Agustin Muñoz: What's in the Bag?

Get to grips with professional action and adventure photographers’ gear with another installment of ‘What’s in the Bag?’ This time we look at what Agustin Muñoz carries with him.

© Agustin Muñoz

Tell us a bit about the advantages of using fewer pieces of equipment?
“I always try to go and shoot with a preconceived idea - so I just take the gear I need for that particular idea. I used to carry much more just in case, but sometimes doing this I realized I was stepping outside the idea path. Since magical sunset moments here in Costa Rica are very, very short, I choose to just do what I set out to do!”

What are some of the challenges of shooting in water?
“The challenge of shooting in a beach brake is that the waves aren’t always are the same. They don’t always brake on the same spot, and there is movement in the current too. Also, when the sun goes down we change settings and distances with the strobe set on manual - and when it’s dark, it’s pretty sketchy to be swimming around a flying jetski!”

Agustin’s full gear list:

Canon eos 5dmk3
Canon lens 16-35 f2.8
Two PocketWizard Plus II’s
Canon strobe 600ex-rt

Check out more of Agustin’s work by following him on Facebook and Instagram.

The world's greatest action and adventure sports photography contest is back and better than before with the addition of a new mobile category. Download the Ultimate Guide to Red Bull Illume here and mark March 31, 2016 on your calendars! That's when submissions close. 

Visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for regular updates and check out Instagram for more visual action.

A Guide to Action & Adventure Sports Photography

From how award-winning shots changed their lives to how to brave the elements, the brand new ‘Guide to Action and Adventure Sports Photography’ brings together some of the biggest Red Bull Illume names to talk about their experiences, their rise to fame within their field and what Red Bull Illume has meant for them.

© Chris Burkard / Red Bull Illume

Chris Burkard, Morgan Maassen, Clark Fyans and Krystle Wright are all part of elite group of action and adventure sports photographers that have joined the ranks of Red Bull Illume winners. 

If you’re looking to get valuable insights into the life of these photographers, how Red Bull Illume has impacted their careers and how they approach the art of storytelling, make sure to check out the ‘Guide to Action and Adventure Sports Photography’ brought to you by PhotoShelter

For the gear heads – photographers talk about what gear they carry with them, but also how to tackle the elements, from freezing temperatures in the Arctic to the scorching heat of the Sahara. 

Download A Guide to Action & Adventure Sports Photography here.

PhotoShelter helps people and organizations passionate about their photos do more with them. Since 2005, enthusiasts, freelancers, established pros and people who simply love creating and sharing photography have all turned to PhotoShelter to showcase, share, store and sell their images.

Once you’re done reading and have your images ready to go, simply register your account right here on redbullillume.com and submit your images. Remember that submissions close on March 31, 2016.

Visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for regular updates and check out our Instagram for more visual action. 

Category Spotlight: Enhance

The Red Bull Illume Enhance category is a real opportunity for skilled retouchers to make their mark in the world’s greatest action and adventure sports contest.

Red Bull Illume 2013: Lorenz Holder, Experimental category winner

© Lorenz Holder

Formerly known as the Experimental category, Enhance is dedicated to the art of post-processing – an activity that allows photographers to put their final spin on an image, creating a photograph that’s equally as breathtaking as the original scene.

The Enhance category is completely open, with the only requisite being – the image should showcase truly groundbreaking digital editing. Though basic retouching like color, contrast and brightness adjustments are allowed for all categories, the Enhance category focuses on pushing the boundaries of post-production and submitting something truly unique.

“Really go for it, you can just break the rules here and do anything you like,” says one Red Bull Illume judge. “We’re looking for something that’s obviously a good image – a great action and adventure sport shot – but done with an interesting new enhancement in post production.

In 2013, Lorenz Holder’s digitally edited shot of Jordan Mendenhall took the prize. What made his image stand out was its unique composition, perfect execution and fresh take on what’s possible after the shot has been taken.

Check out the gallery below for some more striking examples of former Red Bull Illume Enhance category submissions. You can also head to the Red Bull Illume Instagram account for more photographic inspiration or find out more about the categories here.

Once you have your images ready to go, simply register your account right here on redbullillume.com and submit your images. Remember that submissions close on March 31, 2016.

Visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for regular updates.

The Illume Effect: Krystle Wright

If there’s one Red Bull Illume photographer who lives the adventure life, it’s Krystle Wright. Here she tells us about the Illume Effect – and why female action sports photographers should be celebrated more.

Red Bull Illume 2013: Krystle Wright, Wings category top 25

© Krystle Wright

So after Illume, you’re living the highlife right?
"That’s right…! No… I’m still playing dirty in the bush – I’m still an adventure photographer. Since 2013 I’ve been on a kayaking trip to Mongolia and twice to Alaska for a ski project and I’m going back next year. Right now I’m about to go on a climbing trip to Tasmania. It will be awesome."

What effect did Illume have on your career? 
"One of the first things I got was sponsorship. It started a chain reaction which was great. As for work, it probably did open up some opportunities. I can’t give specific examples but I remember a guy telling me years ago: you should never shoot for contests but you should enter them. If you win or are a finalist it does boost your career."

So what are you shooting these days? 
"Everything… I think people pin hole me into BASE jumping but I’ve always shot everything, I go through phases. Last year I shot a lot of highlining. This year I’ll be shooting everything from surfing and freediving to skiing. This year could be big."

How was the winner award ceremony? 

"It was definitely awesome. How many competitions fly in all the finalists? Red Bull Illume is an incredible platform – it’s a great celebration of adventure photography. No other contest gives us the recognition. There’s no way adventure photography is going to get into the World Press Photo."

But…
"I did get a little pissed off with other photographer finalists who didn’t know me, who would say, ‘oh, you’re a spectator?’ and I’m like, ‘no, I’m a photographer and finalist too’!"

Ouch!
"Certain people made those assumptions that you weren’t a finalist because you’re female and that gets a little frustrating. I think there will be a few more female entries from younger female photographers and I’d love to see a couple more but it’s simply the numbers, there’s only a handful of us for sure."

Why aren’t there more women photographers? 
"I hate it when people bring up, ‘where are the females?’ This comment makes me feel that this is a problem but there are female photographers and we may as well celebrate who is there so others who want to get into the industry can perceive there are successful role models out there."

So looking forward to entering this time around? 
"I do have a lot of images up my sleeve but who knows. It all depends on the judges. I may be there or I may not!"

What about the mobile category? Something for you? 
"I’m temped to take a couple of shots with my phone. You can’t ignore it and the technology has advanced so much and you don’t always have your 5d in your back pocket. It doesn’t match a pro camera but it’s a bit of fun, so why not?"

Check out Krystle’s Facebook and Instagram feed for more of her work.


The world's greatest action and adventure sports photography contest is back and better than before with the addition of a new mobile category. Download the Ultimate Guide to Red Bull Illume here and mark March 31, 2016 on your calendars! That's when submissions close.

Visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for regular updates and check out Instagram for more visual action.

Shooting on iPhone with Craig Kolesky

Real photographers don’t use smartphones for their work, right? Wrong. Here’s why Red Bull photographer Craig Kolesky’s a big fan of his.

© Craig Kolesky

So you use your smartphone camera often? 
“Yes I do! I spend a lot of time mountain biking and it’s always a mission to carry a proper camera. I’ve actually had photos published in Men’s Health Magazine using the iPhone, it printed perfectly. If you know how to use it, you can get good images.”

Really? 
“You have to get your angles right and shoot at the right time of day. If you’re shooting with an iPhone the secret is to know what the limits are, such as the shutter speed and if you’re shooting into sun you’re going to struggle. But with burst mode it’s pretty quick, about 11fps, which is good enough to pick out the exact shot you want to use. And you can get precise action shots in good light. I have a lot of action photos I’ve done with my iPhone.”

How has the technology evolved? 
“As soon as the first iPhone came out I got my hands on one. The sensor and lens quality have seen huge improvements. Every time a new iPhone comes out we do detailed shots of jewellery to see the quality and every time you can see the difference. The iPhone is pretty much the perfect camera to have in your pocket all the time.”

When else would you use it? 
“If I’m doing location scouting I use my phone to get the metadata to know where I was, what time I took the photo and I may even geotag the spot. Besides photography, the phone is really useful for apps like Sungazer that shows you exactly when the sun will set and from what angle and direction.”

But your DSLR is still king? 
“There’s no comparison to a good DSLR with good lenses. On Instagram, you can tell if someone’s shot with his or her phone or a DSLR. Depth of field is not something you have on a smartphone. If you know how to use a DSLR you can make a pro photograph. To have a DSLR with Wi-Fi that you can shoot straight to your phone and social media? That’s where the big push is coming now. Everybody wants to share their photo immediately.”

Lastly, any tips for taking better images with your phone? 
“Don’t be too scared to experiment. Shoot as much as possible, shoot into the sun, shoot from every angle. Get creative and that’s the way you learn. You’re not shooting film so it’s not costing any money.”

Craig is a Red Bull photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa. Check out his website and Instagram feed for more of his work.

The world's greatest action and adventure sports photography contest is back and better than before with the addition of a new mobile category. Download the Ultimate Guide to Red Bull Illume here and mark March 31, 2016 on your calendars! That's when submissions close.



Visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for regular updates and check out Instagram for more visual action.

Newly confirmed judges announced!

More top names have officially joined the Red Bull Illume judging panel. Among our list of 6 new judges are Jürgen Rink of c't Digitale Fotografie, Maohua Fei of Xinhua News Agency and Krishna Madhavan Pillai of Better Photography magazine.

Red Bull Illume is pleased to announce the addition of more official judges to this year’s contest. These professional photo editor judges will use their years of combined experience to search and select only the world’s greatest action and adventure sports images.

The panel of 55 judges will scrutinize thousands of entries and eventually pick the finalists, category finalists as well as the various winners. Their backgrounds are as diverse as the countries they hail from. Chief editor of India’s 19-year-old Better Photography magazine and new Red Bull Illume judge, Krishna Pillai, is especially excited to see what the new Mobile category brings. “For sports lovers, it changes the way sports photography is seen, perceived and consumed. It lets a new breed of image-makers actively participate in the process of recording and sharing moments.”

Maohua Fei of the Xinhua News Agency, China agrees, adding that “the work should touch the viewer – I’d like to see the courage to explore the unknown.” Fei joins other heavy-hitting judges Wang Jie (China), Alexander Grek (Russia) and José Luis Castillo (Mexico) on the judging panel. For Castillo, a great photo has the best possible lighting, excellent composition and captures a special moment. “A good photo reveals the passion of the photographer too. When there’s no passion, the image reflects it,” he says.

The judges will make their decisions based on a mix of technical skills, composition, creativity, impact and artistic flair. Images will also need to adhere to relevant category criteria for a chance to win. Visit the full list of judges here and browse through their profiles to pick up some invaluable tips.

Full list of newly confirmed judges:

Krishna Madhavan Pillai – Better Photography magazine
Jürgen Rink – c't Digitale Fotografie
Maohua Fei – Xinhua News Agency
Wang Jie – Shanghai Morning Post
Alexander Grek – National Geographic Russia
José Luis Castillo – Grupo Expansión

Submissions for Red Bull Illume are currently open, so get those images in! Head to the handy FAQs page if you have any questions or download the Ultimate Guide to Red Bull Illume here.

Visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for regular updates and check out Instagram for more visual action.

Scott Serfas: What's in the Bag?

We continue our exploration of the world’s coolest photography gear by taking a peek at what Red Bull Illume finalist Scott Serfas likes to carry with him while out shooting.

© Scott Serfas

Your favourite two items?
“One would have to be the 1DX body and a lens to go with it. Probably the 70-200 f2.8.”

Do you carry anything special in there that no-one else has?
“I doubt it. Mostly standard stuff for me. I try and keep things simple.”

What about the Ozzy Osbourne snowboard?!
"Well yeah, that. I need the board to get where I'm going when shooting snowboarding.”

Have you dropped or damaged anything recently?
"No, not in a long time actually.”

You entering Red Bull Illume 2016? 
"Of course! I have been looking forward to this since the last one ended.”

Scott’s full gear list:

Limited Edition Ozzy Osbourne snowboard by Endeavor Snowboards
Canon 1DX
Leica M9 and 35mm f1.2 lens
Canon 5D and 50mm f1.2 lens
Canon 300mm f4.0 lens
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens
Canon 85mm f1.2 lens
Canon 24-70mm f2.8 lens
Zeiss 21mm f2.8 lens
Canon 15mm f2.8 fisheye lens
Profoto 7b and 2 heads
Arcteryx Lithic Mitts
Air Hole Balaclava
RopeProbe and Shovel
2 Way Radio
Can of Red Bull
Avalanche Transceiver
Handheld GPS
F Stop Sukha backpack
F Stop Navin chest pack

Check out more of Scott’s work here and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

The world's greatest action and adventure sports photography contest is back and better than before with the addition of a new mobile category. Download the Ultimate Guide to Red Bull Illume here and mark March 31, 2016 on your calendars! That's when submissions close. 

Visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for regular updates and check out Instagram for more visual action.