The adventure of urban ski shoots - Felix Rioux

"One of the maintenance guys saw us and instead of kicking us out, he was super stoked! He was a big X-Games fan and even offered to turn on the lights."

© Felix Rioux

What have you been up to lately?

I’ve been busy focusing on my photography career. Ever since I started photography, I always had other businesses that would take most of my time. In the 90’s it was a clothing brand and an events company, and then in the early 2000’s I co-founded D-Structure Proshop, which was the first 100% freeski shop at the time. After that it was iF3 (International Freeski Film Festival), which I sold about a year ago. All these projects would take 80% of my time and I never really got to properly develop my photography business. I also have a family now, and after spending the past 20 years mostly on the road, I’m happy to stay home and see them grow up. 

Have you been working on any adventure and action sports projects?

Last season I spent 10 days on an urban shoot in Quebec with skiers JF Houle, Emile Bergeron and Jules Bonnaire. They were shooting a mini film for the french clothing brand Picture Organic.

What were the best moments from the trip?

I think for me it was the session we did at the Chateau Frontenac slides. The set up was amazing and took place at dawn at a historical landmark. The guys had already done most of the set up days ahead working on the take off and landing. One of the maintenance guys saw us and instead of kicking us out, he was super stoked! He was a big X-Games fan and even offered to turn on the lights under the slide’s arches.

What are the most challenging aspects of these kind of shoots?

Definitely the cold, when it’s -20c celsius without the wind factor, it’s really hard to be focused and creative. You’re just trying to keep warm and your gear is not always working properly, especially lighting strobes. Then snow can get really hard and icy, which makes it difficult when shovelling.

Do you think your background as an architecture student influences the way you photograph urban environments?

Absolutely. I learned about composition and vanishing points when I studied architecture. It’s also where I got my style. I like symmetrical lines and making sure everything is nice and level. A few years ago I started shooting action with landscape/architecture panorama techniques. It consists of using a special panorama tripod head and shooting really tight on your subject, then shoot your overall composition before stitching the images in post. This gives you unique perspectives that your usual lenses can’t offer, you can shoot very high ISO without all the noise downfall and the final file can be printed in a super large format.

What do you prefer? Shooting in the city or shooting in the mountains?

I have to say both. The city gives you so much diverse material to shoot, while the mountains are such a peaceful and majestic environment. However, a lot more work, planning and energy goes into shooting in the great outdoors.

Does your camera set up change depending on whether it’s an urban or mountain shoot?

Since that shoot was in Quebec, I was able to load up my car with as much gear possible. I prefer having it easily available, instead of needing something specific and not having it with me. However, it’s quite different when going on a long distance trip. Weight and space is a big factor. I’ll bring mainly zoom lenses instead of all my prime lenses and more speedlights instead of bigger strobes. 

You do a lot of commercial work too, what kind of projects are you doing?

Yes, that is my main occupation now. I’m super lucky to be working in-house for m0851, a high-end lifestyle and fashion brand based in Montreal. I cover all their photo and video needs from studio work and social media to ad campaigns. It’s a part-time gig that has allowed me to open up a whole new style in my portfolio.  I still do sports work with brands like lululemon, TNF, Picture Organic plus national retail chains MEC and Sports Experts. I’ve also been doing quite a bit of architecture/design photography. 

How big of a role does commercial work play in your photography?

Pretty big, probably 90% of my time. Since I don’t spend half the year on the road anymore, I don’t get to shoot action sports and make a living from it like I used to. When I do, it’s more for my own pleasure than anything else and a chance to hang out with my friends.

What is an important lesson that photography has taught you?

To be a citizen of the world.

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

Find work as photo assistant. Learn from senior photographers about how they run their business. Then find your style. That’s something I wish I had done when I started out.

Like what you see? Check out the video from the urban shoot here, or find more of Felix’s work on his website and Instagram.

Images © Felix Rioux

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Submit now for the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021

Submissions for the world’s greatest adventure and action sports imagery contest are now open!

© Jan Kasl / Red Bull Illume

© Jan Kasl / Red Bull Illume

Red Bull Illume Image Quest is back for even more of the world’s greatest adventure and action sports imagery. We’re ready to shine a light on all of your hard work and creativity in capturing the passion, lifestyle, and culture within the sports scene. The contest returns for its sixth edition after a record-breaking 2019 one with 59,551 entries. The Image Quest is here again and has 10 categories for you to enter on redbullillume.com and on Instagram from March 1 to July 31, 2021. We can guarantee that this edition is going to be full of breath-taking imagery and fresh perspectives.

There are 9 categories returning for the 2021 edition, which are: Masterpiece by SanDisk, Emerging, Energy by Red Bull Photography, Creative, Innovation by EyeEm, Playground, Lifestyle by COOPH, and RAW by Leica. Best of Instagram, which is now sponsored by Lenovo, is also back and has a few updates. The first is that content creators can submit still or moving image, which will be judged separately resulting in 2 Category Winners. One thing stays the same, and that’s that the people get the final say through community voting on our website.

This edition also introduces a brand-new category for people to enter called Photo Story. Sometimes there’s more to a scene than a single image can convey, so Red Bull Illume is giving creators the opportunity share their stories using a slideshow format, from 30 seconds up to 3 minutes. We’re excited to see the submissions, because this category opens up the contest to a whole new level of creativity.

There’s a category for every kind of adventure and action sports imagery creator and a bunch of reasons to take a shot at it and enter your work. The Category Winners and Overall Winner will each receive a beautiful trophy, as well as incredible prize packages from our partners worth more than €100,000! Some of the prizes include the latest products from global computing leader Lenovo, to empower even more creative self-expression; storage solutions from SanDisk to ensure you never lose a shot; as well as high-quality cameras from Leica and stylish photography apparel and accessories from COOPH.

Every Finalist earns their spot at the Winner Award Ceremony, taking place in November 2021. It’s the event that everyone gets excited about because they gain immense exposure and their work is shared with the world. It is also the release of the esteemed Red Bull Illume Limited Edition Photobook, a prize possession even during the digital age.

Want to know more about the categories for the Image Quest 2021? Head this way!

BRAND NEW: Photo Story, the multi-image category

The final category to be announced for 2021 is new to the Red Bull Illume Image Quest, giving people the opportunity to share a story that needs more than a single image. The submissions phase opens from March 01 to July 31, 2021.

© Lorenz Holder / Red Bull Illume

© Lorenz Holder / Red Bull Illume

Red Bull Illume is constantly evolving and setting the benchmark in the adventure and action photography scene, which is why we’ve introduced a completely new category for the 2021 edition. Photo Story is the opportunity for you to tell the whole story, because sometimes one image just isn’t enough.

The Photo Story category is for your best adventure and action sports images displayed as a slideshow that is anywhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes in length. It’s about sharing the full picture with more than one image. The only requirement is that, like any story, the images all have to do with the chosen topic, for example: “The beauty of blue hour biking”. Of course, you can present your slideshow in an artistic way, because overlays, texts, video and transition effects are allowed. Same goes for music, as long as you own all rights, we want to hear the soundtrack to your Photo Story!

Have you already got a story in your head, a full day of adventure with a bunch of pictures to show for it? The Photo Story category is a whole new way for you to share your experiences in the adventure and action sports scene. Don’t wait, start shooting all those ideas buzzing around your mind and enter Red Bull Illume Image Quest! Submissions are open from March 01 to July 31, 2021, but be sure to stay tuned to redbullillume.com and our social media to stay up to date.

Red Bull Illume proudly announces partnership with Lenovo™

Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021 teams up with global computing leader Lenovo to bring you the
 Best of Instagram by Lenovo category.

© Dasha Nosova / Red Bull Illume

© Dasha Nosova / Red Bull Illume

A new edition of Red Bull Illume Image Quest means another round of the world’s greatest adventure and action sports imagery. It is also the perfect opportunity for new partnerships, like the latest one with global computing leader Lenovo. The company is an industry leader in innovative and smarter computing technology that enables a more inclusive and inspired world, so it’s fitting that they are presenting this year’s Best of Instagram category; the only one that opens up the competition to everyone through public voting.

The Best of Instagram by Lenovo category is expected to receive thousands upon thousands of entries from all around the world. Entrants can submit their content using their public Instagram profile and tagging @redbullillume and #rbi21submission. Creators will be able to enter still or moving images up to 60 seconds, which will be judged separately. The submissions will be judged every month, first by an internal Red Bull Illume jury who will select the top 5 still and 5 moving images. These will be put to a community vote on redbullillume.com resulting in 1 monthly winner for still and 1 for moving image. The monthly winners will automatically become official Red Bull Illume Finalists. In total there will be 5 still and 5 moving image finalists and out of these, the public will choose their favorites, who will be crowned as Best of Instagram by Lenovo Category Winners.

Lenovo’s shared dedication to transformative experiences and pushing boundaries with state-of-the-art technology is what makes them the ideal partner for Red Bull Illume. This kind of meaningful innovation is what allows creators to develop and enhance their concepts, evolving with new ideas that inspire, influence, and simply put, leave us speechless.

Lenovo is proud to support the sixth edition of Red Bull Illume Image Quest that brings together photographers and content creators whose bold work continually inspires us,” said Matt Bereda, Vice President of Global Consumer Marketing, PCs and Smart Devices, Lenovo. “We see many of our consumer PC, smart home, and tablet customers are passionate hobbyists. They enjoy photography and digital storytelling, and not all of them are paid professionals—they just love capturing and enhancing imagery to share with others and hang on their walls. If this new normal has taught us anything about our world and ourselves, it’s that we’re resilient, our technology is adaptable, and that making meaningful connections with others through shared creative pursuits are the bright spots in life that really matter.”

Over and above the grand title of being an official Red Bull Illume winner, they are also awarded with prize packages that include trophies and the latest Lenovo products to power even more creative self-expression. Their work will be included in the official Red Bull Illume photobook, be showcased during the Winner Award Ceremony planned for November 2021 and will gain worldwide exposure.

Another edition of Red Bull Illume is here and full of exciting new developments, so be sure to keep a look out for important dates and news on redbullillume.com and start shooting because submissions are open from March 01 to July 31, 2021.

 

Get inventive for the Innovation by EyeEm category!

The next category to be announced calls for your most out-the-box imagery with EyeEm’s Innovation, open for submissions from March 01 to July 31, 2021.

© Daniel Bernstål / Red Bull Illume

© Daniel Bernstål / Red Bull Illume

Red Bull Illume is all about celebrating those who aren’t afraid to think a little differently and boldly step away from the norm to find new ways of portray adventure and action sports. We’re proud to say that the Innovation category is back and is brought to you by EyeEm. It’s only fitting the platform that’s home to the most powerful creative imagery in the world empowers photographers with this one-of-a-kind Red Bull Illume category. EyeEm is a global marketplace for premium stock photography and professional photo & video productions. Their worldwide creative community allows any company to book high-quality photo and video productions anywhere in the world.

Innovation by EyeEm is specifically for images that reveal a totally new angle, a visual idea, a different format, or unconventional ways of using lighting, lenses, and, well, that’s really up to you! Show us a new perspective of adventure and actions sports imagery that reflects the spirit of innovation.

If you want to win this category you need to rethink how you shoot. We’re looking for techniques and visual ideas we’ve never seen before. This is innovation at its finest! The judges will select the images that are not only stunning, but approach adventure and action sports imagery in a new way.

So, start brainstorming and start shooting because submissions open from March 01 to July 31, 2021. Stay tuned to redbullillume.com and our social media channels for all the latest updates and category reveals.

The category for RAW images and pure perspectives is back in 2021!

The RAW category returns to showcase adventure and action sports straight out of the camera, calling for imagery that is not enhanced in any way for submission from March 01 to July 31, 2021.

© Noah Wetzel / Red Bull Illume

© Noah Wetzel / Red Bull Illume

Introduced in 2019, the RAW category is all about taking it back to the fundamentals of photography, where planning the composition, lighting, and exposure are the basis of a good image. The greatest challenge with this category is ensuring that all of this has to be perfect before the shot. It’s for the purists at heart, for those who love the process.

RAW is for shots that are straight out of your camera, showing the real and original image. Everything is done in front of the lens, not on the screen. It is for imagery that doesn’t rely on editing or enhancements, it’s for the uncropped, untouched, and unchanged shots.

The images that are pure and untouched are the most difficult to achieve and therefore are the most rewarding. Perhaps you’re already a master of the unedited, or you’re ready to try a more difficult style with your adventure and action sports photography; the RAW category is the one for you.

Is this the category calling out to you? Remember to start shooting because submissions open soon, from March 01 to July 31, 2021. And even if this isn’t the one you’re feeling, stay tuned to redbullillume.com and follow us on social media because there are 10 categories in total for you to choose from, with more being announced soon!

Playground is for the environments inspiring every move

The category dedicated to the places you capture the action returns for Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021. Submit your awe-inspiring imagery from March 01 to July 31, 2021.

© Chris Tedesco / Red Bull Illume

© Chris Tedesco / Red Bull Illume

Where do you go when you’re looking for an unforgettable experience? The Playground category is back for another edition of crazy landscapes, grungy back alleys, and secret spots; because the biggest part of any adventure is where all the action takes place.

Playground is for imagery that showcases the landscapes, locations, platforms in which athletes play. It’s specifically for the epic imagery that showcases the setting which influences the athletes’ every move.

“In my photos I aim to share the beauty and vastness of nature. I seek a lot of inspiration from the landscape and terrain I am in and am always searching for ways and compositions to combine the human element.” – Guy Fattal, Semi-finalist 2019

The world is full of stunning scenery and every edition this category illuminates a whole range of never-seen-before imagery. This can be anything from an unbelievable place hidden between the hills to just finding a new way to look at the same place you visit every day. Playground category is about the athlete and their environment.

“I love to capture an athlete's interaction with the landscape.  These incredible landscapes are what drew me to photography as a medium, and continue to inspire me for new adventures.” – Steve Shannon, Semi-finalist 2019

Share your perspective and show us where you play. The very essence of adventure and action sports creation is looking for new places to perform, capture, and explore. We want to see your spectacular imagery, so make sure you enter as submissions for Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021 are open from March 01 to July 31, 2021.

 Playground is only one of the 10 categories and definitely not the last to be revealed before submissions open. So, keep your eyes open for all of the updates and announcements on redbullillume.com and on our social channels.

The pinnacle of expression returns in the Masterpiece by SanDisk category

Masterpiece by SanDisk is back for Red Bull Illume Image Quest, inviting content creators to submit their unique styles from March 01 to July 31, 2021.

© Nils Ohlendorf / Red Bull Illume

© Nils Ohlendorf / Red Bull Illume

One of the most amazing things about Red Bull Illume Image Quest is that it allows people to truly express their ideas, giving creators the opportunity to share their works of art with a global audience. Creating imagery using outstanding artistry and skill is what the Masterpiece by SanDisk category is all about. It is truly the height of self-expression.

Joining as a partner for yet another edition is the digital storage specialist, SanDisk. A name recognized by content creators everywhere for setting the gold standard, both on the set and out on the field. Their products help make creating possible, which is why we’re excited to have them on board for another edition.

The Masterpiece by SanDisk category is for imagery that illuminates your artistic skill, your personal best, your unique style. We are looking for your best shot. The category blurs the line between fine art and photography. It calls for an image that represents the creativity of adventure and action sports. This isn’t just about the trick, but rather how the moment is transformed into a work of art.

Multi-time winner, Lorenz Holder, has become king of the Masterpiece category, winning in both 2016 and 2019. He’s perfected the skill of making images that stand out and gives us a little piece of advice on what to enter for the category:

“The Red Bull Illume Image Quest is undoubtedly the biggest action sports photography competition in the world. As an action sports photographer it’s such a good opportunity to see where I stand and what kind of images really catch people… For me, the Masterpiece category is a bit like the holy grail within Red Bull Illume. The images need to have a certain ‘WOW-factor’ and just blow you away when you see them. Anything goes there, but it just has to be stunning.” - Lorenz Holder

Show the world your unique skill by entering the Masterpiece by SanDisk category. Submissions open from March 01 to July 31, 2021, so don’t wait! Keep an eye out because the next category will be announced in a couple of days on redbullillume.com.

The Emerging category is ready for the next generation

Solely reserved for rising talent, the Emerging category is once again open for submissions from March 01 to July 31, 2021.

© Mathis Dumas / Red Bull Illume

© Mathis Dumas / Red Bull Illume

Three categories have already been announced, bringing us to the fourth one for the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021 edition. This one is reserved for the youngsters, for the newbies, for the fresh talent, basically for anyone 25 years or younger. This is the Emerging category and it's back for its second edition!

The Emerging category is about finding new angles from those with a fresh approach to adventure and action sports imagery. It is for the up-and-coming rising talents, giving you the opportunity to get a foot up and compete at the same level as the pros. Anyone from the age of 25 and under can enter, so go on, show us your greatest capture!

Show the world your creativity and it could change the way you create. All Red Bull Illume Finalists will have their work on display around the globe, and along with great prizes, you get to become part of Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021. Submissions are open from March 01 to July 31, 2021.

Start shooting now and don’t forget to check out the other categories we’re announcing over the next few days. Make a big red circle to start submitting from March 01 to July 2021, and stay tuned to redbullillume.com and our social media channels for all the latest news and announcements!

 

Don't hold back! Anything is possible with the Creative category

The next category to return for Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021 is Creative, the only one where anything goes. Submit from March 01 to July 31, 2021, to show us your best imagery.

© Denis Klero / Red Bull Illume

© Denis Klero / Red Bull Illume

The only category with no limits is back and ready for even more mind-blowing creativity, are you? The Creative category makes a comeback for the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021, giving creators the opportunity to push the boundaries with beautiful edits.

This is for images that have been enhanced, either digitally or in the darkroom, through alterations made during the production or editing process. The category is open and that means anything goes, Creative celebrates the most inventive, extraordinary, and surreal image edits in adventure and action sports imagery in the world.

Previous creations have included photo manipulation, illustration, and even merging various images together. Check out some of the work from previous editions for more inspiration, like this one from semi-finalist, David Jaramillo Ramírez, who said: “Mixing both the photo and the illustration, we were able to give life to the concept and transmit aesthetic with strength, all coexisting in one shot.”

Have you got ideas waiting to come to life? Make sure you start shooting because submissions open from March 01 to July 31, 2021. There are more categories to be announced soon, so stay tuned for all the latest news and announcements.

Get ready for the next category - Energy by Red Bull Photography

The second category reappearing for the world’s best adventure and action sports imagery contest in 2021 is Energy by Red Bull Photography. The second of ten categories to be announced before submissions open on March 01 till July 31, 2021.

© Ben Thouard / Red Bull Illume

© Ben Thouard / Red Bull Illume

It’s official, the second category returning for another edition of Red Bull Illume Image Quest is the Energy by Red Bull Photography category. This category is for imagery that demonstrates the real power behind every action; the energy, speed, and strength required for the athlete to perform. It’s about showing us the driving force of the athlete and their environment. These are images that you can feel. The category is sponsored by Red Bull Photography, who stand for authentic imagery that captures the lifestyle, culture, and landscapes the athletes put all their energy into.

 

When you capture the real energy of a moment, whether it’s the second before the move or the ecstatic jump for joy, it evokes something in the viewer. The Category Winner from 2019, Ben Thouard took a photo that was so powerful it also claimed the title of Overall Winner. He also submitted another, very strong image that captures the spirit of this category perfectly. Explaining how, "The leash being under tension, the position of the surfer, the explosion of the wave behind, this is something I’ve been looking for a long time while shooting underwater these last years and I’m happy to have captured it for the Energy Category!"

 

“I love to challenge or shoot images no one would even think about. The feeling, when all my energy and power focuses to ONE shot and connecting with the athlete is just beyond words.” - Satoshi Saijo, Semi-Finalist 2019

 

There are now 2 categories to get your creativity going: Lifestyle by COOPH and Energy by Red Bull Photography. The next category is going to be announced soon, on February 09, 2021, so make sure you remember to check it out! Submissions for the contest are free and open from March 01 to July 31, 2021.