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Red Bull Illume is a major international photography competition dedicated to action and adventure sports. Tens of thousands of amateur and professional photographers enter the contest each year but only a select handful get chosen by the competition’s 53 judges. 34,624 photographs were entered this year from 5,646 photographers across 120 countries, and the stunning winners from the 11 different categories can be found in the list below.

The main prize went to Lorenz Holder for his beautiful shot of BMX rider Senad Grosic crossing a bridge in Germany. Other eye-catching entries include Daniel Vojtech’s hypnotic picture of fighter planes for the sequence category and Victor Sukhorukov’s mesmerizing picture of a paraglider swirling around a wintry lighthouse. Scroll through the list and vote for your favorites.


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#1 Masterpiece Category Finalist, Gablenz, Germany

“Senad and I were on the way to a different location early in the morning, when we passed this scenic spot. 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. I then tried to clean the lake by hand. 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.”

Masterpiece Category Finalist, Gablenz, Germany

#2 New Creativity Category Finalist, Tallinn, Estonia

“After seeing a portrait in a bookstore where I was able to see the photographer’s silhouette against the reflection of an eye, I got the idea to make something similar. We decided to use my cat. We used a 6×9 meter white sheet meant for shooting cars as a softbox. In front of that Erik Orgo and Kristo Õismets started to perform. We made several good shots, even a few in black and white but color worked out the best.”

New Creativity Category Finalist, Tallinn, Estonia

#3 Masterpiece Category Finalist, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

“One frozen foggy morning we decided to shoot BASE jumpers parachuting from the 40m high lighthouse that sits in the waterways of the Gulf of Finland. A magical fog was all around us but it was so thick that we were afraid we would not find the lighthouse. However, soon the lighthouse tower appeared on the horizon.Four BASE jumpers climbed onto an open platform outside the lantern room. I took only a quadrocopter drone from my equipment. Then the BASE jumpers started to parachute from the top of the lighthouse and I began to shoot in burst mode. Only one photo from the huge number of images was in high quality. It shows Semen Lazarev making his jump”

Masterpiece Category Finalist, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

#4 Sequence Category Finalist, Budapest, Hungary

“I always wanted to photograph the Red Bull Air Race and I finally had the chance when in 2015 it was organized in Hungary. I decided to shoot a sequence which could show the rapid change of direction of the airplanes. I was curious also to see how an image could demonstrate height and speed. I took this photo with a Nikon D3 camera with a fixed 50 mm/ f.1.8 lens. I used f.11 F-stop to reach the right focal depth and a shutter speed of 1/1000 to freeze the motion.”

 Sequence Category Finalist, Budapest, Hungary

#5 Enhance Category Finalist, Kitzsteinhorn, Austria

“Nitro Snowboards came up with the idea to let a group of riders jump through a cloud of helium balloons. Besides organizing enough balloons, helium and covering material for storing the filled balloons, we also had to find the right location. After some brainstorming we came up with Kitzsteinhorn, where they built us a special gap-kicker. A bowl in the middle allowed us to hide the balloons and the crew who had to lift them. After a couple of tries and analyzing the timing and perspectives, we were able to get the right moment and all the effort we put in paid off.”

Enhance Category Finalist, Kitzsteinhorn, Austria

#6 Masterpiece Category Finalist, Murnauer Moos, Germany

“I was taking a walk to scout spots for a landscape picture and as I was walking through the swamp area around Murnauer Moos, I found this unique spring-bowl with crystal clear water and awesome colors. I decided that a bird’s-eye view must look incredible and I wanted to get an action sport picture here. However, the closer I got the less snow was on the fields. When I finally got there, it was a big shock: no snow, just wet grass. I talked to the snowboarder Max Horn and we discussed what we could do and he just made the call, trying it out without snow. I think we had like three tries before the grass got dry and it became impossible to get enough speed. The image came out differently to what I expected, but with no snow around I think it makes the photo even more special.”

Masterpiece Category Finalist, Murnauer Moos, Germany

#7 Enhance Category Finalist, Vail Pass, CO, United States

“I had an idea for a series of photographs incorporating light trails coming off snowboarders’ boards a while back. When we met with Sage Kotsenberg, we were shocked to find there was no snow to be seen. Sage is a pro though, and wasn’t fazed. After a couple warm up hits, he started blasting over it. It was almost too dark to see and Sage wasn’t sure how many more attempts he had left in him. Luckily as the sky was showing its last signs of life, Sage launched a perfect one and I caught the moment.”

Enhance Category Finalist, Vail Pass, CO, United States

#8 Sequence Category Finalist, Jaromer, Czech Republic

“Red Bull asked me to do some portraits and action photos of the Flying Bulls. It was cloudy so the final image looks very dramatic. The pilot also turned on the smoke so you can see the trail behind. The camera I used for this photo was Nikon D5 and Nikkor 16/2.8 fisheye because there was almost no space and I wanted to show inside the part of the airplane I was sitting to show the pilot’s POV.”

Sequence Category Finalist, Jaromer, Czech Republic

#9 New Creativity Category Finalist, Brooklyn, New York

“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. And what could have been better than a NYC cab to shoot from? 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. But I kept shooting and 12 attempts later I nailed this shot.”

New Creativity Category Finalist, Brooklyn, New York

#10 Playground Category Finalist, Grampians, Australia

“The Taipan Wall of Grampians National Park in Australia is a massive wave of overhanging sandstone with bullet hard rock and nails hard rock climbing. We had been shooting at the wall on and off for a week or two. Wiz Fineron was looking to take another lap on one of the finest routes in the world. I jugged up my fixed line and had someone pull the other end way out from the base so I could capture the immenseness of the wall and the position Wiz would be in while climbing. On the lower half of the route, he flipped around and was facing out to catch a rest. I grabbed the frame and knew I had captured something unique in the world of rock climbing.”

Playground Category Finalist, Grampians, Australia