Red Bull’s Epic Photo Contest for Adventure and Action Sports Is Still Open for Submissions

Two Rock Climbers Scaling a Mountain

Hamish Frost. Best of Instagram by SanDisk Finalist. Athlete: Guy Robertson, Greg Boswell. Location: Bidean nam Bian, Scotland.
“On that day, in particular, Guy Robertson and Greg Boswell had invited me along to get some photos of them trying a new winter route on Bidean nam Bian. They’d been casually vague about their objectives for the day – ‘we’ve got some unfinished business on Bidean nam Bian, get you at the Loch Achtriochtan car park at 5.30am!’. It’s normally nice to be able to do a bit of planning before going in to shoot a climb, however, I also enjoy the challenge of having to improvise it all whilst you’re on the hill! We reached the foot of the imposing Church Door Buttress just before first light. Their ‘unfinished business’ was a variation on the summer line ‘Lost Arrow Direct’ – an impossibly steep looking series of cracks and roofs leading up the crag.
The weather that day had been generally terrible for photos, however, I knew that if the clouds were to clear just slightly, then the west face of Stob Coire nan Lochan might come into view in the background. I waited in my position and sure enough, just as Guy was making good progress on the third pitch, the clouds broke momentarily and I was able to get the shot I’d hoped for. Four hours and two pitches later, Guy completed a sequence of tech grade 10 moves (in the dark!), to pull through a final roof section and top out on the route. Seriously impressive climbing from these two.”

If you're passionate about photography and action sports, take note that there's still time to enter the 2019 Red Bull Illume Image Quest. Now in its fifth edition, the international photography contest highlights the best action and adventure sports imagery around the world. Red Bull's photo contest only happens every three years, so you'll want to hurry and get your submissions in before the upcoming deadline.

Both amateur and professional photographers are encouraged to submit their best work across 11 different categories. The photo contest has no entry fee and photographers can submit photos to multiple categories. All that Red Bull Illume asks is that the photographs capture the essence of action and adventure sports culture and lifestyle. The action can take place in the air, sea, mountains, cities, or on rivers and trails, as long as it's captured well.

There are some caveats. For instance, traditional team sports and motor sports, such as Formula 1, stock and sport car racing and MotoGP are not acceptable subjects for the contest. But beyond this limit, there's plenty of creativity to be had with categories like Playground, Wings, Lifestyle, and Energy. For the 2019 contest, there are even several new categories for photographers.

Raw awards photos straight out of the camera, “un-cropped, un-touched, no filter,” while Moving Images allows photographers to play with moving sequences that last between 5 and 30 seconds. In an effort to discover new, young talent, the Emerging category honors photographers between 18 and 25 years old. Lastly, the Best of Instagram by Sandisk category awards the best photos submitted on Instagram.

Aside from the Best of Instagram category, which already has its finalists selected from a pool of monthly winners, the judging is still open. A panel of 50 photo editors and digital experts will select 55 Finalists, 11 Category Winners, and one Overall Winner, to be unveiled at the Winner Award Ceremony in November 2019.

Interested in participating in the 2019 contest and having a chance to earn part of the €100,000 (about $112,000) prize pool? You have until July 31, 2019 to submit your entries, so there's no time to waste.

The submission deadline for the 2019 Red Bull Illume Image Quest is fast approaching.

Red Bull Illume Image Quest

Lorenz Holder. Red Bull Illume 2016. Category: Masterpiece by Yodobashi. Overall Winner. Athlete: Senad Grosic. Location: Gablenz, Germany.
“Senad and I were on the way to a different location early in the morning, when we passed this scenic spot. We saw a sign from the street and I had some pictures in mind that I’d seen from this bridge on the internet. When we got there the sun was just above the trees and it was lighting up the full color-spectrum of the autumn leaves in a very soft way.
One thing that was a little annoying was that the lake was covered with leaves which had fallen from trees, so the reflection of the bridge in the lake was just not there. But sometimes you just need a bit of luck – I had been on a fishing trip some days before and still had my fishing-boots and a net in the car. So got the stuff and tried to clean the lake by hand. It took a while until it was almost perfectly clean – at least where it was relevant for the picture. Luckily the sun was still very soft, so we had good light for the shot.”

Adventure Sports Photography Contest

Markus Berger. Red Bull Illume 2016. Category: Enhance. Top275. Athlete: Viki Gómez. Location: Luxembourg, Luxembourg. 
“For my latest shoot for my personal project series ‘Beneath the surface’ I visited BMX flatland legend Viki Gomez in his hometown of Luxembourg. Two of my friends supported me on this shoot – photographer Rutger Pauw and filmmaker Matty Lambert.
The project started over a year ago and since then I have captured different sports and top athletes with only UV light, using special adapters from Broncolor.
I came up with the concept of having Viki pull a trick on his bike while surrounded by soap bubbles. Soap Bubbles are not fixed in form, color or lifespan and are in a way unpredictable. I thought this went hand in hand with Viki’s general mind-set and approach to his sport and character. “

Photographers are encouraged to submit their best adventure and action sports photos.

Action Sports Photography

Simon Bischoff. Red Bull Illume 2016 Category: Playground. Top275. Athlete: Andrea Hah. Location: Tasman Peninsula, Australia
“A few years back when I was climbing full time I began to try the Ewbank route on the Totem Pole. The route had only had one free ascent and was climbed in three separate pitches all on separate days. I wanted to link all the pitches into one hard and sustained pitch that went the full length of the totem pole. Unfortunately, during my attempts, I developed tendonitis and had to stop climbing.
Since then I have been inspired to photograph somebody climbing the route in one massive pitch. I knew it would make a spectacular photo. Unfortunately, the route is notorious for being hard and quite bold, so I found it difficult to find a keen subject. Earlier this year I invited some of Australia’s best rock climbers, Lee Cossey and Andrea Hah, down to try the route and make a film of the ascent.
Andrea was unsure about the route due to its intimidating nature. She found the courage after a couple of days of consideration. This photo was of her first attempt just before she fell off, after climbing through the crux. She climbed it clean the next day, making her the first female to do so.”

Red Bull Photo Contest

Philip Platzer. Red Bull Illume 2016. Category: Wings. Top275. Athlete: Paul Guschlbauer and Tom de Dorlodot. Location: Berchtesgaden, Germany
“At the end of June 2014, I had the chance to do a pre-shoot with two paragliders-Paul Guschlbauer and Tom de Dorlodot—to announce their next big adventure called the ‘Adriatic Circle’. The project was a hike-and-fly trip starting and ending in Ancona, Italy, crossing six European countries by traveling over 2000km either by foot or paragliding. We met at the beautiful lake Königssee in Berchtesgaden, Germany to do some portraits, lifestyle and action shots.
After shooting the first portraits and some hiking shots in the morning we started with the action shots. Taking photos of aerial-sports can be pretty hard if you are bound to the ground, especially if you want to include the scenery. That is why we also tried to get some nice ‘air to air’ shots.
But how does a photographer get airborne? With a paragliding tandem which allows the photographer to fly together with a pilot. “

Adventure Sports Photography Contest

Justa Jeskova. Red Bull Illume 2016. Category: New Creativity. Top275. Athlete: Steve Storey. Location: Whistler, Canada.
“A stormy, dark fall day in Whistler had us house-bound for most of the morning. The weather started to clear and Steve and myself headed up behind our house to a feature he had built but never shot.
It turned out to be too dark to shoot that feature but while on our way out a bit of cloud cleared allowing just enough light to shoot another spot nearby. We only had one chance to shoot it as the next storm moved in right after I took this. It was all we ended up needing and we rode out in a downpour back to our house.”

In the meantime, the finalists for the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category have already been announced.

Skateboarder on a Halfpipe

Davy Van Laere. Best of Instagram by SanDisk Finalist. Athlete: Szymon Stachon. Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands

Action Sports Photography

Jeremy Bernard. Best of Instagram by SanDisk Finalist. Athlete: Nathan Paulin. Location: Ua Pou, Marquesas Island, French Polynesia
“This shot of slackliner Nathan Paulin was taken on Ua Pou, Marquesas Island, during an expedition on board of Maewan in French Polynesia. Maewan’s captain Erwan Le Lann is always looking for the craziest thing to achieve anywhere his boat brings him. So, when he had the idea to set the first highlines in Marquesas Island, I did everything possible to be onboard.
This line was set above Sharks Bay in Ua Pou. It was 370m long and 72m high above the ocean. The name says it all, we were able to see the sharks and a few turtles in the bay from the line. It’s funny to think that five minutes prior to this shot it was pouring rain, we thought we just missed the most beautiful sunset ever and we would have to go back to the boat with nothing.”

Action Sports Photograph

Dasha Nosova. Best of Instagram by SanDisk Finalist. Athlete: Sebbe De Buck. Location: Folgefonna, Norway
“We traveled to Folgefonna, Norway for some summer snowboarding, which is kind of a tradition for many of us. That summer it was raining a lot. We were there for seven days and it rained for five days straight, so we basically only had the last two days to shoot anything and just one day to make this jump session happen. 
This shot was taken during a short one or two-minute window when some light finally broke through the clouds. It was around 11:30pm which is sunset time at this time of year in Norway, so I set up a flash behind the jump to make the rider really pop. Orange and pink skies are pretty typical when shooting at this location, so in the end, I was pretty excited to get more of a unique look with the dark clouds in the background. I’m thankful for the stormy weather, and to the guys for still wanting to hit the jump!”

Red Bull Illume Finalists

Fabien Maierhofer. Best of Instagram by SanDisk Finalist. Athlete: Mathieu Navillod. Location: Mission to the moon
“They invited me to make a behind the scenes video but the guys in space suits on skis look so ‘out of time’, that I decided to take some pictures too.
We went to the Col de L’Izoard, the perfect place to for this project to come to life. For the making of video, I also tried to ski on rocks… and it’s not as easy as it looks!
Since I was a kid, Mad Max always scared me… and what I love about this particular picture is that I can see a  kind of apocalyptic look of what it could be like skiing without snow in the future, reminiscent of the movies.”

Red Bull Illume Submissions

Baptiste Fauchille. Best of Instagram by SanDisk Finalist. Athlete: Alex Bibollet. Location: Fillinges, Rhone-Alpes, France.
“We were a team of riders, photographers, and videographers, leaving for the very first trip of the new BMX clothing brand linked to the BMX: ‘Unicorn, we are legends’. We traveled for 5 days in the middle of summer, through different spots in different cities; it was a buddies trip with a business goal.
This photo was taken at the bowl of Fillinges. I remember the heat was insane like it rarely had been in the Alps. When I arrived on the spot the first thought I had in mind was to make a top-shot video with the drone: a fixed plan with a rider who makes his line with the intention of creating a loop. Then I realized that the bowl was really clean: no tags, no dust. I was able to have the rider and his shadow to come out well. I asked Alex Bibollet—one of the riders—to do what he did best, and I immortalized this moment!”

Red Bull Illume: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Red Bull Illume.

Related Articles:

11 Awe-Inspiring Feats Captured by Winners of the Red Bull Illume 2016 Photo Competition

20 Most Inspiring Entries in Red Bull’s Epic Photo Contest

Winners of Red Bull’s Heart-Pumping Photo Contest

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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