Capturing motion in a still image is a tough job, but the winners of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2016 have done just that with their breathtaking images of action and adventure sports.
The contest, which saw over 5,000 photographers from 120 countries submit a whopping 34,624 images, has been running for almost 10 years.
Below are the winners in various categories.
Lorenz Holder, Germany
Athlete Senad Grosic rides his bike over a scenic bridge around autumnal trees in Gablenz, Germany. Explaining the image, Holder said, “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 colour-spectrum of the autumn leaves in a very soft way. I’d chosen a very low camera position to get an almost perfect mirrored scene on the water surface. The bridge looked like a perfect circle and the light was still very good. When Senad was on the bridge, it took us two or three tries to get the shot. There was also no more time for another try because the wind came up and the perfect reflection on the water was gone.”
Photograph: Lorenz Holder/Red Bull Illume
Denis Klero, Russia
In 2014, I got the brief to update the profile of Rustam Gelmanov. We decided to do the shoot in Fontainebleau, France, a well-known bouldering venue. The main instruments in rock climbing are your hands and arms. It was a deal -- we’d shoot a close-up of his hands. Curiously, the frame was shot in the lobby of the hotel where we were staying.
Photograph: Denis Klero/Red Bull Illume
Luke Shadbolt, Australia
The swell seemed to line up directly into this small crevice in the southern cliff and plumes of spray would catapult out at varying angles. Shooting from down the beach trying to capture some of these abstract formations I didn’t even notice Renan (pictured) in the shot until afterwards. It’s got a kind of duality to the meaning; it could be seen as a salute to the power and randomness of the ocean, or it could be seen as a mocking attempt at some kind of manipulated sorcery, showing man’s unending quest to control nature.
Photograph: Luke Shadbolt/Red Bull Illume
Jody MacDonald, Canada
“When I was young I used to look through National Geographic magazines and dream of adventures like this: train-hopping through the Sahara on one of the world’s longest trains. I had dreamt of the oceans of sand, the loud noises of the train, the cold, the wind, the scorching sun, the unknown smells and sounds of the desert, and the discomfort that goes with it. So when I was asked to dream up and photograph a trip in harsh conditions, a 700-kilometre journey through the Sahara desert in Mauritania came to mind.
After weeks of planning, our journey began in the capital of Nouakchott. From there my brother and I moved north through the interior to board the Mauritania Railway. Our risky rail journey started from the iron-mining center of Zouérat in the Sahara, and snaked through the barren desert toward the port of Nouadhibou on the Atlantic. We wanted to get to the coast to try to find some unexplored surf breaks and capture the spirit of adventure and exploration through this incredible landscape. Having only a few minutes to hop on the train in the middle of the night, we spent 15 long hours slithering through the desert on the three-kilometre train that transports approximately 84 tons of iron ore across a country crippled by terrorism, slavery, and poverty.
Photograph: Jody MacDonald/Red Bull Illume
Vegard Aasen, Norway
This winter some friends and I went to Hakuba in Japan to ski some deep powder and big mountains. We hiked for a while, and discovered a group hiking across the ridge above us. The wind and the clouds looked amazing, so my friend took out his camera and started shooting. I hated myself for not bringing my camera. Luckily I had my mobile phone in my pocket. I could not see anything on the screen, but obviously managed to aim pretty well.
Photograph: Vegard Aasen/Red Bull Illume
Ale Di Lullo, Italy
Nobody had done an extreme sport shot from inside the car having the rider riding on the windshield. I understood that a shot like this had to be made in an iconic spot and the spot had to be in a city so it was clear that New York City with all its bridges was the place.
Choosing Aaron Chase as the rider was natural. He has been a friend for a long time and happened to be a pioneer of street riding in our sport and is almost a local in New York. It took us one year of preparation, one full day of work, involved a few people and a bit of money.
Photograph: Ale Di Lullo/Red Bull Illume
Lorenz Holder, Germany
BMXer Senad Grosic rides a rusted viewing platform in Senftenberg, Germany. “I shot this unique location a couple months before this action shoot as a landscape picture because I just liked the whole structure and the way it was integrated into the landscape. It’s a viewing platform made of steel that has rusted over the years. You can walk up the stairs to enjoy the view over the lakes that surround the area.”
Photograph: Lorenz Holder/Red Bull Illume
Daniel Vojtěch, Czech Republic
Flying Bulls pilots from the pilots POV.
Photograph: Daniel Vojtěch/Red Bull Illume
Dean Treml, New Zealand
In this image Josh Neilson of New Zealand is supported by fellow paddlers (L-R) Barnaby Prees, Sam Sutton, Tim Pickering, Ben Brown, Jamie Sutton and Jared Seiler as he waits for a helicopter evacuation after a bad landing off Matze's Drop, Storulfossen, Norway. It left him with a broken L1 vertebrae.
Photograph: Dean Treml/Red Bull Illume
Micky Wiswedel, South Africa
My buddy Jimbo (Jamie Smith) had been opening new hard routes in the area and we wanted to try and capture some of the climbs. The angle of this image happened by chance. We were setting up for another shot but when I looked back I knew we had to change plans and grab the shot with the sea and horizon in the background, framed by this huge rock roof.
The route is one of the hardest on TableMountain. The last ‘crux’ section is near the top -- you have a few pieces of protection below but there’s a final jump, or ‘dyno' for the last hold. The image captures what happens if you don't manage to stick that hold!
There was always a chance that Jimbo would fall, so I was ready for it. For the couple of seconds leading up to the big move I was holding my breath and ready to fire. I could definitely feel the adrenaline pumping! It’s a pretty big and impressive fall, but luckily far from the ground – that doesn't make it any less terrifying.
Photograph: Micky Wiswedel/Red Bull Illume