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Photographer: Lorenz Holder, Athlete: Xaver Hoffmann, Location: Raisting, Germany

2013 Red Bull Illume winners unveiled!

The wait is finally over. The 2013 Red Bull Illume Overall Winner, Top 10 category winners and Top 50 finalists were unveiled at a spectacular ceremony held in Hong Kong on August 29th. German photographer Lorenz Holder was crowned Overall Winner for his remarkable shot of a snowboarder next to a giant satellite dish. As Overall Winner, Holder received a Leica S camera, a broncolor Move Outdoor kit and Sun-Sniper gear — a prize worth over €30,000 in total. He also won the Experimental category.

“The quality of the images in the Top 50 was amazing, so for me it is a great honour to be voted number one. It’s so unreal. It will take a few days for the news to sink in,” said Lorenz Holder, the Overall Winner of the 2013 Red Bull Illume.

“There are talented photographers and then there are gifted photographers,” said Jym Wilson, senior photo editor at USA Today and one of 50 Red Bull Illume judges. “I saw a lot of talent but also saw some truly gifted photographers. These are not just action photographers but people with great technical and artistic skills.”

Other category winners included Scott Serfas (Illumination), Daniel Vojtěch (New Creativity), Romina Amato (Energy), Chris Burkard (Spirit), Morgan Maassen (Lifestyle by Leica), Jeroen Nieuwhuis (Close Up), Zakary Noyle (Sequence) and Samo Vidic (Wings). All category winners walked away with a Leica X2, a broncolor Para 88 P Kit and an assortment of Sun-Sniper gear. The Athletes’ choice, as voted by Red Bull athletes, went to Morgan Maassen for his underwater shot of surfers chatting in-between sets of waves.

The Winner Award Ceremony was a true celebration of action and adventure sports photography with hundreds of leading photographers and editors attending. Highlights from the evening included performances by BMX flatland athletes Viki Gomez and Matthias Dandois and an illuminated dragon dance.  

Afterwards the 50 images were unveiled on 2m x 2m life-size lightboxes along Hong Kong's famous Avenue of Stars, where they will remain for the next three weeks as a free public exhibtion. Appropriately for a city known for its awesome noctunal lights, the illuminated exhibition will open at night time only, from 8pm to 11pm from August 30th to September 15th.  Red Bull Illume will then go to the US before traveling around the world's capitals and cultural hubs for the next two years as a unique night-time exhibition.

The Top 50 Red Bull Illume Winners:
Overall Winner: Lorenz Holder (GER), Playground
Athletes’ Choice: Morgan Maassen (USA), Lifestyle by Leica
Category winners are in bold below.
 
CLOSE UP
(AUS) Stuart Gibson
(IRE) George Karbus    
(NED) Jeroen Nieuwhuis
(SUI) Claudio Casanova    
(USA) Morgan Maassen     

NEW CREATIVITY
(ARG) Juan Cruz Rabaglia    
 (CAN) Jussi Grznar
(CZE) Daniel Vojtěch
(EST) Jaanus Ree
(GER) Lorenz Holder

ENERGY
(CAN) Sterling Lorence  
(FIN) Rami Hanafi    
(SUI) Romina Amato
(SUI) David Carlier    
(USA) Christian Pondella    

LIFESTYLE BY LEICA
(CAN) Jussi Grznar
(ESP) Ismael Ibañez Ruiz
(USA) Morgan Maassen
(USA) Theodore Van Orman
(USA) Jimmy Wilson
    
ILLUMINATION
(CAN) Scott Serfas
(CAN) Jody MacDonald
(SUI) Nicolas Jutzi
(USA) Clark Fyans    
(USA) Ryan Taylor    

SPIRIT    
(AUS) Stuart Gibson    
(IRE) George Karbus
(POL) Rafal Meszka
(USA) Dave Lehl
(USA) Chris Burkard
        
PLAYGROUND
(AUS) Martin Lugger
(CAN) Paul Bride    
(GER) Lorenz Holder
(ITA) Olaf Pignataro    
(USA) Scott Dickerson    

EXPERIMENTAL
(AUT) Rainer Eder
(CAN) Ray Demski    
(GER) Florian Breitenberger
(GER) Lorenz Holder  
(SWE) Elias Kunosson

SEQUENCE
(CAN) Scott Serfas
(FRA) Vince Perraud    
(GBR) Dan Carr
(USA) Blotto Gray
(USA)  Zakary Noyle

WINGS
(AUS) Krystle Wright
(GRE) Dimitrios Kontizas
(SLO) Samo Vidic
(USA) Lucas Gilman
(USA) Benjamin Ginsberg


Check out the 2013 Top 50 gallery right here

© Red Bull Content Pool / Markus Berger
© Red Bull Content Pool / Markus Berger
© Red Bull Content Pool / Markus Berger

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© David Carlier

Matterhorn madness: A cool freeskiing gallery

Red Bull Illume photographer David Carlier recently attended the fifth edition of the Skiers Cup which took place on February 21-27 in Zermatt, Switzerland. In this unique freeskiing event, a team captain selects eight of the best riders from each region. In a face-off format during two days of competition, the teams compete in both Big Mountain (freeride) and Backcountry Slopestyle (freestyle) events. 

The conditions for the event were really good: “This year for the first time, the competition could literally happen on the Matterhorn, just below the gigantic North face, with huge glaciers in the background,” says David.

The result? Spectacular images – enjoy a gallery of David’s shots below!

Visit David’s website here and check out a video of the freeskiing action here!

© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool

How to survive a freezing snowkiting shoot

Photographer Dale Tidy recently shot Red Bull Kite Farm, a ski and snowboard kiting endurance race, and the first of it's kind to be held in North America. We caught up with Dale to find out how it was to shoot the event in super harsh conditions…

How was it?

On the first day we had 70km/h winds and minus 39 degree temperatures including the wind-chill. Great conditions for the riders but not so joyful for the photographers! At those temps your camera starts to do funny things, auto-focus motors freeze in your lens, the mirror can seize up, my ISO was randomly switching from 200 to 1600 and back again without any notification, and accidentally breathing on the LCD screen would ice it over.

Having a second body stuffed down your jacket allows you to alternate between a frozen camera and slightly less frozen camera.Batteries at those temperatures drain rapidly too, I would keep one battery in my camera body and two in my pants pockets that had hand warmers stuffed in them. Once the body battery cooled down and died I would switch it out with a warm one that would be back up at full power.

A blizzard came through and started dumping snow creating “white-out” conditions that forced the event to be postponed until the next day. This made my frozen fingertips very happy! The second day was a relatively balmy minus 6 degrees and the winds had dropped significantly, making it an absolute pleasure to work in. 

How did you shoot your aerial shots?

When I decided that my key shots would need the advantage of height I looked around at various options. Helicopters, cranes, boom lifts, planes and of course, drones. I didn’t go with a drone for 3 reasons. 1) Drones, much like cameras, don’t like extremely cold conditions and they can freeze up. 2) There would be a good chance that it would be impossible to fly a drone in the high speed wind conditions required for the sport of Snowkiting. And 3) I am not a drone expert and the last thing you want to be doing when working in extreme conditions is using gear that you are not completely 100% comfortable with!

The two options I chose instead was one safe option, and one riskier option. The risky option was to rent a 4 seater Cessna airplane typically used for aerial photography, this would allow me to get the exact images I had conceptualized and proposed to the client. The rental price was reasonable but once again the cost of this option was putting yourself at the mercy of the weather. If the clouds were too low there would be no possibility of the plane being allowed to leave the tarmac let alone capture any usable photos, but the chance of this was smaller than that of relying on a drone. The safe option incase that failed was to get creative and strap a GoPro to one of the competitors kites, I used a specific mount which I had purchased online before the event. No matter what the conditions were this option would not fail. 

What's the hardest part about shooting an event like this?

Basically being prepared for anything. When you are out in the field you cannot ask for help, because there is no help available. You are the expert, it’s what you have been paid to do. Like our green friend Yoda says "Do... or do not. There is no try”. Pressing the shutter and “nailing the shot” is the easy part. The hard part is everything before and after that, all the planning that goes into it, and all the work you have to do after to make sure the image makes it out on time for the press release later that day. 

Check out Dale’s site and be sure to follow him on Facebook


© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool

The Art of Shooting Underwater Portraits

Photographer Jean Luis De Heeckeren visits Austria and tries something new – an underwater photo shoot with Red Bull kayaker Viktoria Wolffhardt.  Supported by Red Bull photographers, De Heeckeren steps outside his photographic comfort zone and tests out some new concepts.  Watch the BTS from the shoot and see how he handles it! 

© Jean Luis De Heeckeren
© Jean Luis De Heeckeren
© Jean Luis De Heeckeren
© Jean Luis De Heeckeren
© Jean Luis De Heeckeren

Shooting the Seven Seas Expedition

Last year photographer Kelvin Trautman joined swimmer and ocean advocate Lewis Pugh as he attempted to become the first person to do a long-distance swim in each of the Seven Seas: the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian and North Sea. This aim of the Seven Seas Expedition was to highlight the need for and importance of Marine Protected Areas. We caught up with Kelvin to discuss how the shoots went…


How did you prepare?
For this expedition, I spent a couple months doing long ocean swims to build up endurance and breath hold exercises so as to improve the time I could spend shooting underwater - in terms of the latter I had decided going into the expedition that, when shooting underwater I wanted to free dive rather than use any scuba equipment because of the flexibility it would give me.


What are some of the challenges you faced on this project?
As with most expeditions, a lack of time was our biggest challenge. Our travel schedule was really tight, leaving only two or three days in each location. This meant our shoot days were jam-packed but which also meant we had no contingency weather or logistic days to play with - we all needed a holiday after three weeks of this back-to-back schedule!


Any close shaves?
Capturing Lewis swimming between big oil tankers in the Bosphorus - the narrow stretch of water that runs through Istanbul and which joins the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara -  was a little hair-raising. On this particular shoot day we had gale force winds, cold water temps, strong currents and irate shipping owners to deal with!


How important was your participatory approach to telling the story?
Very important. I looked to swim with Lewis, my underwater housing in tow, for as long as possible during each of the 7 swims for two reasons. One, if any of you have swum before you'll know how lonely and detached this form of exercise is and so I wanted to try get the layman at home to relate to this swimmer perspective. And two, coupled with the obvious fact that the world beneath the surface looks and feels vastly different to that above, the purpose of the expedition was to raise awareness to as much beauty as well as destruction in each of the 7 Seas marine environs.   


What gear did you use?
In the water I mostly shot with Nikon D800 and a 16mm fisheye in an SPL housing.
Any tips on how to shoot with a waterproof housing?
Two things. One, remember saliva and saltwater are your two best ingredients in making a solution that prevents water droplets from sticking to your lens port. And two, remember your underwater housing is very buoyant and so if you plan on shooting below the surface then you likely to need a weight belt to keep you down.


What’s next?

Let's just say I have started to do some cold swim water training!

Check out Kelvin Trautman's Website and Instagram account!

Shooting sports events with Jesper Grønnemark

Thinking of becoming an event photographer? Join Jesper Grønnemark as he heads off to shoot a sports event – from location-scouting to gear, to positioning and final selection, find out what it takes to shoot an event and get a good idea of what you can expect! 

Visit Jesper's website or find him on Facebook.

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