The world's greatest action and adventure sport photography contest is back.

Now in its third edition, The Red Bull Illume Image Quest attracts the top names in action and adventure sports photography as well as drawing great new talent.

By the time entries close on 30 April, tens of thousands of photographs will have been submitted from all over the world.

What makes the competition unique is how it showcases not only jaw-dropping action shots but also looks at the lifestyle behind the sports. It shines the spotlight on action sport photographers who often go to just as extreme lengths to get a shot as the athletes they are shooting.

"Red Bull Illume is one of the best photo competitions in the world. The standard of photography and talent is amazing, the imagination of the photographers is incredible. I find looking at the images breathtaking," said Paul Sanders, former picture editor of The Times, and Red Bull Illume judge 2007 & 2010.

red bull illume sports photography

The contest consists of 10 categories: lifestyle, playground, energy, spirit, close up, wings, sequence, new creativity, experimental and illumination. From a shortlist of 250 images, a team of judges — photo editors from prominent international publications — will select 50 finalist images, including 10 category winners and an overall winner. These 50 images then travel around the world's capitals and cultural hubs as a unique and stand-alone night-time photo exhibition. The host cities will be announced on redbullillume.com.

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    © Nathan Smith, Photographer: Nathan Smith, Athlete: Andrew Mooney, Location: Wamberal, New South Wales, Australia

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    © Maiko Mou, Photographer: Maiko Mou, Athlete: Maiko Mou, Location: Papenoo, Tahiti

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    © Dean Treml, Photographer: Dean Treml, Athlete: Steve Black, Location: Hamburg, Germany

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    © Christoph Schöch, Photographer: Christoph Schöch, Athlete: Daniel Schiessl, Location: Hintertux, Austria

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    © Ricky Adam, Photographer: Ricky Adam, Athlete: Alex Kennedy, Location: Berlin, Germany

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    Category Finalist 2010: Energy Photographer: Rami Hanafi Athletes: Scotty Lago Location: Truckee, CA, USA

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    Category Finalist 2010: New Creativity Photographer: Flo Hagena Athlete: Eigo Sato Location: Mexico City, Mexico

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    © Alessio Barbanti, Photographer: Alessio Barbanti, Athlete: Taddy Blazusiak, Location: Città di Castello, Perugia, Italy

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    Category Finalist 2010: Culture Photographer: Toby Caughron Athlete: Duane Peters Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA

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    Category Winner 2010: Culture Photographer: Vincent Perraud Athletes: Alex Baret and friends Location: Tallinn, Estonia

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    © Roberto Alegría, Photographer: Roberto Alegría, Athlete: Inigo Igarza, Location: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava, Spain

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    Category Finalist 2010: New Creativity Photographer: Thomas Stöckli Athlete: Markus Keller Location: Davos, Switzerland

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    Category Finalist 2010: Culture Photographer: Tim Kemple Athletes: Tommy Caldwell, Kevin Jorgeson Location: Yosemite National Park, CA, USA

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    Category Winner 2010: New Creativity Photographer: Eric Berger Athlete: Dan Treadway Location: Whistler, BC, Canada

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    Category Finalist 2010: Culture Photographer: Matthieu Georges Athlete: Teo Konttinen Location: Sölden, Austria

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    Category Finalist 2010: New Creativity Photographer: Lorenz Holder Athlete: Marco Smolla Location: Ruka, Finland

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    Category Finalist 2010: Culture Photographer: Ryan Fudger Athletes: DK Team (Nina Buitrago, Quinn Semling, Zack Yankush, Brian Hunt, Brett Walker, Brian Kachinsky, and filmer Shad Johnson) Location: Paris, France

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    © Stéphane Candé, Photographer: Stéphane Candé, Athlete: Tony Rocci, Location: Lyon, France

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    Category Finalist 2010: Illumination Photographer: Sterling Lorence Athletes: Matt Hunter Location: Kamloops, BC, Canada

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    Category Finalist 2010: Playground Photographer: Ricky Adam Athlete: Owain Clegg

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    Category Finalist 2010: Illumination Photographer: Oskar Enander Athlete: Sverre Liliequist Location: Engelberg, Switzerland

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    © Jed Weingarten, Photographer: Jed Weingarten, Athletes: Luke Spencer, Location: Outlet Falls, WA, USA

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    Category Finalist 2010: Playground Photographer: Will Wissman Athlete: Reggie Crist Location: Haines, AK, USA

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    Category Finalist 2010: Playground Photographer: Rainer Eder Athletes: Walter Hungerbühler Location: Wolfenschiessen, Switzerland

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    Category Winner 2010: Playground Photographer: Tim Korbmacher Athlete: Stefan Lantschner Location: Krefeld, Germany

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    © Sébastien Anex, Photographer: Sébastien Anex, Athlete: Nicolas Vaudroz Location: Tanigawadake Tenjindaira, Gunma, Japan

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    © Stuart Gibson, Photographer: Stuart Gibson, Athlete: Ryan Hipwood, Location: Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania, Australia

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    © Éric Antoine, Photographer: Éric Antoine, Athlete: Eniz Fazliov, Location: Tenerife, Spain

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    © Marcelo Maragni, Photographer: Marcelo Maragni, Athlete: Bruno Dias, Location: São Tomé das Letras, Brazil

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    Category Finalist 2010: Wings Photographer: Erik Boomer Athlete: Tyler Bradt Location: Palouse Falls State Park, WA, USA

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    Category Finalist 2010: Wings Photographer: Camilla Stoddart Athlete: Josie Symons Location: Rob Roy Glacier, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

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    Category Finalist 2010: Wings Photographer: Christophe Margot Athlete: Reine Barkered Location: Squaw Valley, CA, USA

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    Category Winner 2010: Wings Photographer: Marcel Lämmerhirt Athlete: José Eber Pava Ordoñez Location: Hamburg, Germany

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    Category Finalist 2010: Spirit Photographer: Mike Smolowe Athlete: CJ Hobgood Location: Mundaka, Basque Country, Spain

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    Category Finalist 2010: Spirit Photographer: Mike Killion Athlete: Brad Tunis Location: Hammond, IN, USA

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    Category Finalist 2010: Spirit Photographer: Fred Mortagne Athlete: Alex Gavin Location: Montréal, QC, Canada

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    Category Finalist 2010: Spirit Photographer: Brian Bielmann Athlete: Andy Irons Location: Teahupoo, French Polynesia

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    Category Winner 2010: Spirit Photographer: Adam Kokot Athlete: Michal Krol Location: Spisske Tomasovce, Slovakia

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    Category Finalist 2010: Sequence Photographer: Thomas Stöckli Athlete: Steve Gruber Location: Hoch-Ybrig, Switzerland

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    Category Finalist 2010: Sequence Photographer: Agustin Munoz Athletes: Orlando Duque Location: Negril, Jamaica

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    Category Finalist 2010: Playground Photographer: Derek Frankowski Athlete: Mike Hopkins Location: Big Water, UT, USA

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    Category Finalist 2010: Sequence Photographer: Riccardo Monti Athlete: Vanni Oddera Location: Dorno, Pavia, Italy

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    Category Finalist 2010: Sequence Photographer: Jeremy Koreski Athlete: Peter Devries Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

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    Category Winner 2010: Sequence Photographer: Miguel López Virgen Athlete: Alfredo Salcido Location: Guadalajara, Mexico

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    Category Finalist 2010: New Creativity Photographer: Lorenz Holder Athlete: Marco Smolla Location: Ruka, Finland

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    Category Finalist 2010: New Creativity Photographer: Silvano Zeiter Athlete: Martin Seiler Location: Simplon, Switzerland

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    Category Finalist 2010: Illumination Photographer: Josh Letchworth Athlete: Ben Horan Location: Nahunta, GA, USA

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    Category Finalist 2010: Illumination Photographer: Dominic Zimmermann Athlete: David Bertschinger Location: Einsiedeln, Switzerland

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    Category Winner 2010: Experimental Photographer: Daniel Grund Athletes: Alex Maclean, Nicolas Ivanoff Location: Monument Valley, UT, USA

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    Category Finalist 2010: Wings Photographer: Rutger Pauw Athletes: Daniel Ilabaca Location: Mumbai, India


Last Competitions Final Top 50 Images


Chris Burkard’s ‘Perfect Day’ shot of surfer Peter Mendia riding the waves off Chile's west coast was the overall winner in 2010.

"Red Bull Illume put my work on the map," he says.

perfect day

2010 overall winner Chris Burkard’s picture, ‘Perfect Day’

The line-up of confirmed judges for 2013 includes Manfred Zollner, director of photography at Foto Magazin, Jym Wilson, senior photo editor at USA Today, Steve Fine, photography director at Sports Illustrated and James Mullinger, photo director of GQ (UK).

A total of 50 top photo editors will sit on the judging panel. They will look for overall photographic excellence and in particular at technical superiority, creativity, artistic flair and as one judge put it: "the wow factor".

Find out how to impress the judges by reading their profiles on redbullillume.com.

The overall winner will receive a new Leica S camera, while category winners will each receive a Leica X2. Other prizes will include broncolor's new Move, their portable flash, and the latest strap system from Sun-Sniper.

Photographers can enter their images online at redbullillume.com. Submissions close on 30 April 2013.

Take a look at some of the other stunning shots from the last competition

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    Category Finalist 2010: New Creativity Photographer: Thomas Stöckli Athlete: Markus Keller Location: Davos, Switzerland

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