Red Bull names world’s best action and adventure shots

By Australian Geographic Adventure 10 October 2016
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Winning photos of the Red Bull Illume 2016 international photography competition showcase some of the best action and adventure sports photography from around the world.

IN ITS FOURTH year, the Red Bull Illume competition showcases some of the best action and adventure sports photography from around the world.

This year, 34,624 images were entered by 5645 photographers from 120 countries. These were narrowed down to 55 finalists from which the 11 category winners and the overall winner were selected.

The winning images were unveiled in Chicago, USA, on 28 September 2016 and the finalists are published in a hard-cover coffee-table book.

The overall winning photo, by Lorenzo Holder (pictured above), shows pro BMX rider Senad Grosic on a bridge in Gablenz, Germany, surrounded by stunning Northern Hemisphere autumn colours. This image was also winner of the ‘Masterpiece by Yodobashi’ category.

“I think a great location is one of the key elements for a great action picture,” says Lorenzo, who grew up in Munich, close to the Bavarian mountains where he got his taste for outdoor adventure. 

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Image: Luke Shadbolt (Australia) Winner: Energy category, Red Bull Illume 2016.  

But the action wasn’t all north of the equator. Among the 11 category winners was Aussie surf photographer Luke Shadbolt, who captured the above epic shot of pro bodyboarder Renan Faccini against huge swell in Rio De Janeiro. 

Luke, who grew up on Australia’s east coast and studied visual communications at the University of Newcastle in NSW, was travelling with a group of Brazilian bodyboarders when he captured this shot at a break called Jaotinga.

“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 in the shot until afterwards,” explains Luke.

Of the resulting powerful black and white image, he says: “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.”

Congratulations to Luke on representing the Aussies in this impressive collection of epic adventure and action photography from around the world – check out the rest of the winners below:

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Winner: Enhance category. Dean Treml (New Zealand) took this photo of cliff diver Jonathan Paredes jumping from the 28m platform on the roof of the Copenhagen Opera House during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, 2013.

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Winner: Wings category. Micky Wiswedel (South Africa) took this shot of climber Jamie Smith mid-fall as he attempted a new route on Table Mountain, Cape Town.

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Winner: close-up category. Climber Rustam Gelmanov shows his chalk-covered hands in Fontainebleu, France in this photo by Denis Klero (Russia).

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Winner: New Creativity category. Ale Di Lullo (Italy) captured this amazing shot of Aaron Chase riding his mountain bike on the windshield of an NYC cab.

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Kiwi photographer Dean Treml won the Spirit category for this image showing kayaker Josh Neilson being supported by fellow paddlers Barnaby Prees, Sam Sutton, Tim Pickering, Ben Brown, Jamie Sutton and Jaren Seiler after a bad landing off Matze’s Drop, Storulfossen, Norway.

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This shot of ‘Flying Bulls’ pilots Miroslav Krejci, Jan Rudzinskyi, Stanislav Cejka and Jan Tvrdic in Jaromêř, Czech Republic won photographer Daniel Vojtêch the competition’s Sequence by Sony category.

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The Mobile category (images captured with a mobile phone or tablet) was a new addition for the competition in 2016, and was taken out by Norwegian photographer Vegard Aasen for his black and white mountaineering image taken in Hakuba, Japan.

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The duo of German photographer Lorenzo Holder and BMX rider Senad Grosic popped up again among the winners with this shot of Senad riding a rusting viewing platform in Senftenberg, Germany which took out the Playground category.

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Winner: Lifestyle category. Jody MacDonald (Canada) took this shot of her brother Ken MacDonald sitting atop a train during their adventure through the Sahara Desert.