The Winners of The World’s Best Photo Contest
The Red Bull Illume photo contest, now in its 10th year, highlights the best images and photographers in the outdoor adventure world. Fifty-three premier photo editors whittle down almost 35,000 images into 55 finalists. Those images are separated into 11 categories, with a winner in each, plus a grand prize winner. Tens of thousands of dollars in gear await the winners, in addition to bragging rights from one of the most prestigious photo contests on earth. Here a preview of some of the incredible work.
Photo: The grand prize was awarded—for the second time—to the German photographer Lorenz Holder for this shot of Senad Grosic in Gablenz, Germany. “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,” Holder says. “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.”
Enhance category winner by Dean Treml
Jonathan Paredes of Mexico dives from the 92-foot platform on the roof of the Copenhagen Opera House during the first practice session of the second stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Copenhagen, Denmark on June 20, 2013.
Mobile category winner by Vegard Aasen
Aasen went to Hakuba, Japan, with friends to ski some deep powder and big mountains last winter. On a windy day in the backcountry, the friends spotted a group of people hiking across the ridge above them. “ I hated myself for not bringing my camera,” Aasen said. “Luckily I had my mobile phone in my pocket. I could not see anything on the screen, but obviously managed to aim pretty well.”
New Creativity category winner by Ale Di Lullo
Di Lullo: “I’d been working on shots through transparent surfaces for a few years but it was during a long drive across Europe that I had this idea. I was forcing myself to think of new angles and nothing really came to mind. But when I said to myself that the best ideas are the simplest ones, that usually you have the answer in front of you, I realized the shot was actually in front of me.”
Sequence category winner by Daniel Vojtěch
Vojtěch stitched together this image of the Flying Bulls, Red Bull’s team of pilots. “We had an air to air photoshoot and I knew it would be great for a sequence,” Vojtěch says. “An airplane is the only place from where you can see something like this.”
Spirit category winner by Dean Treml
Josh Neilson (center) of New Zealand is supported by fellow paddlers as he waits for a helicopter evacuation after a bad landing off Matze’s Drop, Storulfossen, Norway on July 7, 2014. It left him with a broken L1 vertebrae.”
Wings category winner by Micky Wiswedel
Wiswedel and climber Jamie Smith (pictured) had been setting routes in the area. “With climbing photography it’s not often you can just walk somewhere to get a good angle—most good shots require some form of rigging,” Wiswedel says. “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.”
Wings category finalist by Jan Kasl
This image shows wakeskater Andrew Pastura at the Red Bull Winch Sessions in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in summer 2015.
“This was the last day of the photo shoot and I was already pretty happy with all the photos I had taken so far, but we decided to check one more location and that was this amazing gap on a remote lake in Slovakia,” Kasl says. “The guys were setting the winch and I jumped into the hole, where I buried myself ankle-deep in the mud and found the most impressive angle I could imagine.”
Spirit category finalist by Corey Wilson
Surfer Mick Fanning competes on the final day of the Pipeline Masters on the north shore of Oahu in 2015. “Early that morning Mick got the terrible news that his brother had passed away,” Wilson says. “This is the last thing I had ever expected because Mick had already had the worst year ever—shark attack, divorce, and now this.”
Wings category finalist by Vernon Deck
Deck: “I spent eight days in the Engadin Valley in the Swiss Alps with two different crews. One crew was after night time powder shots and the other just wanted to go riding and maybe shoot something. This shot was obviously with the second crew!”