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How They Were Captured: Red Bull Illume's Semi Finalists Tell Us About Their Images

By EyeEm Team - 3 min read

The semi-finalists have been announced for The Masterpiece; our category in the Red Bull Illume's Image Quest! Take a look at the collection of unbelievable submissions!

We’ve been amazed by the breath-taking submissions selected as semi-finalists for our category - ‘The Masterpiece’ in Red Bull Illume’s Image Quest 2019. Although the Finalist and Winners won’t be announced until the awards ceremony on November 20th, we’re thrilled to release the final list of semi-finalists!

We continue to see incredible talent around the world capture unbelievable shots of the earth‘s natural wonders and unique individuals taking on new challenges. Want to get inspired? See more images of architecture, mountains, and oceans.

Peter Cirilli

Location: Burlington, VT

Camera: Canon 1dx Mark II

Lens: Canon 24-70 f/2.8

ISO: 1250

F-Stop: f/2.8

Shutter Speed: 1/200

The Shot: “I took a similar photo the year before but with no action, just as a landscape, and couldn’t help but think how much better it would look with someone on a snowboard or a skateboard. I really wanted a skateboard because I felt the contrast from season to sport would really help catch the viewers eye. For the lighting I used two Profoto B1x’s behind the rider off to the sides.”

Florian Ledoux

Location: Antarctica

Camera: Phantom 4 Pro

Lens: 24mm

ISO: 100

F-Stop: 5.6

Shutter Speed: 1/500

The Shot:

“Kayaking in those wild and prestine landscapes of Antarctica was an experience beyond the real. Those huge icebergs and glacier behind made the moment one of the best in my life! It was also for me a best way to approach the wildlife”

Jean-Baptiste Liautard

Location: Lyon, France

Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mk II

Lens: EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

ISO: 1250

F-Stop: 7.1

Shutter Speed: 1/200

The Shot:

“When I found this forest not too far from my place, I immediately wanted to take a riding picture in there, but I also wanted to preserve it as it’s not an usual landscape in France. That’s why Jeremy built a special wooden kicker for this shot, so we didn’t have to dig in the forest. It was really hard to find the perfect run in for the jump and the timing was tight as a barspin is such a fast action. We waited for the fog maybe an hour and a half before it barely came in and stayed for maybe 10 minutes. I used a wide angle lens to show the whole location and put a strobe backlighting the scene, which helped me to give more contrast and texture to the whole photo, and make the rider stands out.”

Ken Etzel

Location: Squamish British Columbia, Canada

Camera: Nikon D810 Lens: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED ISO: 800 F-Stop: f2 Shutter Speed: 1/800

The Shot: “Alexander Megos made the first one day (and fourth overall) ascent of Dream Catcher 9a/5.14d on the Cacodemon boulder in Squamish BC. Inspired by the filtered light from the forest and the cave like features surrounding the route, I decided to play with shadows and the geometric shapes of the landscape which provided a lot of depth in this scene. Climbing is like a dance and the rock is one’s stage or canvas to perform and create, my goal was to tell that story.”

Jeremiah Watt

Location: Arch Canyon, Bears Ears National Monument, UT, USA

Camera: Nikon D810

Lens: Nikon 24-70

ISO: 250

F-Stop: 2.8

Shutter Speed: 1/800

The Shot:

“Pat Kingsbury and Jackson Marvell are true desert choss wranglers. On this occasion they were attempting to free “Hellbitch” - an old aid line ascending 800 feet of freestanding sandstone through everything ranging from bullet proof stone to absolute choss. This was my second visit and I desperately wanted shots of Pat redpointing the crux off-width on the third pitch. We’d shot on the pitch repeatedly and we’d created incredible photos but they weren’t the send. As a photographer bent on capturing authentic experience, being there and capturing the actual moment it all comes together, beginning to end, is priceless. This trip we had five days to make it happen, however, it was getting late in the season, temps beyond noon were unbearable, and time was limited. The day before this, we’d ran from the heat, and sought refuge swimming in sand filled water with margarita’s in hand. The next morning found Pat barely able to stand, dry heaving in his sleeping bag. Being our last day to work and shoot we couldn’t rest and left him alone to recover. Hours later, as we began to rappel and clean the tower, Pat showed up in flip flops and shorts, feeling better, but not much. Realizing this was his last opportunity to climb his pitch until after the long desert summer, he borrowed pants (a small women’s were all that was available), tied in, and proceeded to send the 30 feet of nearly horizontal off-width using everything from leading with his feet to jamming with his head. The fact that he went from prostrate and dry heaving to sending one of the hardest off-width pitches in the desert still defies comprehension. This photo is from that send and will be an all-time favorite memory and capture for years to come.”

Stu gibson

Location: Shipstern Bluff Tasmania

Camera: Nikon d4

Lens: 16mm Fidshsye

ISO: 320

F-Stop: 10

Shutter Speed: 1250

The Shot:

“At the bottom of Tasmania lies Shipstern bluff, im still not sure if this wave is amazing or just plain silly, but we all love it either way.

We were shooting video with a drone that day, it was kind of grey and all of a sudden the sun came out so I quickly jumped in the water with my stills camera, about thirty minutes later it went really cold and ugly again, but I managed to get this bomb set of Mikey!

Tassie is pretty known for its overcast gloomy days especially when we have a large swell underneath us, so if its ever sunny like that im always swimming.”

Leo Cittadella

Location: Preikestolen, Norway

Camera: Sony A7Sii

Lens: 67mm

ISO: 2000

F-Stop: 4

Shutter Speed: 1/8000

The Shot:

“We went up to film a Skate video sequence on the edge of Preikestolen (2000ft cliff). We got the whole spot to ourselves and wrapped up just in time to snap a photo before all the selfie tourists arrived. First time trying the camera, so the settings were all messed up!”

Nils Ohlendorf

Location: Fruit Bowl, Moab, Utah, USA

Camera: Nikon D600

Lens: 35mm 1,4

ISO: 640

F-Stop: 7.1

Shutter Speed: 1/800

The Shot:

“During a two month climbing trip in the USA, I stayed in Indian Creek when I heard about the GGBY Highline Festival happening outside of Moab. I went to check it out and was totally impressed by the place, the community and the aesthetics of people expressing themselves by moving through space. Next to the highline area, I had the chance to witness Andy Lewis going for a basejump right into the setting sun above the green river. It was a one-shot kind of opportunity, but everything aligned perfectly.”

Matteo Pavana

Location: Castelmezzano, Italy

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Lens: Canon 24 - 70, f/2.8L II USM

ISO: 160

F-Stop: f/2.8

Shutter Speed: 1/1000sec

The Shot:

“In the general noise, even if distant, I was able to clearly distinguish the individual comments coming from the crowd, gathered, as in a procession, in Piazza Emilio Caizzo. There were those who said “Do you see those up there? They are wirewalkers” while some others “Look at them, they are walking into the void”.

Then there was a lady, right on the edge of that cantilevered square, a true balcony of the town, which in a moment of identification had let herself go in a “Oh my God, I can’t watch those crazy freaks”. “Crazy Freaks” is the name of the highline Benjamin did in Castelmezzano that day.”

Lorenz Holder

Location: Tollymore Forest Park - Northern Ireland

Camera: Phase One

Lens: Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm

ISO: 400

F-Stop: f5,0

Shutter Speed: 1/400

The Shot:

“Whoever watched Game of Thrones knows this location, just with a little bit more snow in the scene. In the very first Episode of the HBO series, the night watch is checking out the area “north of the wall”. I shot this image at the original filming location of the scene, because I was fascinated by the tall trees with their green, moss-covered “shoes” as I called them. To highlight Senad and to make him pop in the picture, I used two spot-flashed that only light him up, without getting any light on the surrounding trees. We also built a small wooden ramp that we have hidden with moss behind the trees, so Senad could get some airtime and perform with his timeless style. What actually looks like a pretty easy shot in the forest was actually a very long and nerve breaking, bureaucratic act. The simple reason for that was that getting a permit at an original Game of Thrones location was way more difficult as I thought. Just one day before the scheduled shooting day, we got the go to actually shoot there.”

Fred Murray

Location: Dubai, UAE

Camera: Nikon D4

Lens: Sigma Art 50mm

ISO: 250

F-Stop: 5.6

Shutter Speed: 1/400

The Shot:

“This was shot as part of Kriss Kyle’s DUBAI Red Bull video, and unexpectedly it was located in the hotel we were staying in! It was a quick setup as we didn’t want to disrupt the hotel and after a few hits we were done. Kriss has one of the best tabletops out there - combine that with an unusually large and transitioned seat, and you’re in for a treat. Thanks again to the hotel for letting us have our fun on some very expensive garden furniture!”

Filip Zuan

Location: Ticino

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Lens: EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L

ISO: 1250

F-Stop: f/4.0

Shutter Speed: 1/800 sec.

The Shot:

“A beautiful frontside flip close to the edge.”

Ydwer van der Heide

Location: Camps Bay / South Africa

Camera: DJI Mavic Pro 2

Lens: Hasselblad L1D-20C

ISO: 100

F-Stop: 6.3

Shutter Speed: 1/400

The Shot:

“During summer season many kitesurfers travel to Cape Town to enjoy the wind and the waves. For me as a photographer specialized in kitesurfing it’s the highlight of the season. I’m able to capture the biggest moments in kiteboarding history with the worlds best riders. These riders have become good friends throughout the years. One of them is Kevin Langeree, an athlete that pushes the sport in his own way. Most of the people have seen photos from Cape Town and most of the time you’ll see Table Mountain in the background. This year I decided with Kevin to approach it from a different side. We started looking for other spots and angles. We found this tidal rock pool close to the city of Cape Town. It’s such a beautiful place where nature and city merge together seamlessly. I found this angle from above, where the clean pool was so nicely divided from the rough ocean by the typical bolder rocks that you find around Cape Town.”

Kamil Sustiak

Location: Crag X, Grampians National Park, Australia

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III

Lens: Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8L II

ISO: 1250

F-Stop: f/4.0

Shutter Speed: 1/350

The Shot:

“This shot of Doug McConnell was taken in the Grampians National Park in Australia just before a huge storm came from the west. From the photography perspective most of the day was rather uninspiring. It was one of those flat cloudy days with not much sun or contrast which would do this amazing place justice. Towards the end of the day I could not wait any more and decided to jumar up the fixed line. I took a few shots and found the desired frame which showed the always psyched Doug McConnell, who was attempting the first ascent of the line called Orbital Drift, as well as the vast Victorian farmlands in the background which are so typical for this part of the world. It turn out, getting up on the rope was a lucky choice as for a brief few moments the clouds opened up a bit and let a few sun rays through which illuminated the spectacular scenery in a quite surprising fashion.”

Filip Zuan

Location: Bernina, Engadin

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Lens: EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L

ISO: 400

F-Stop: f/7.1

Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec.

The Shot:

Quick Ollie on the frozen lake of Lago Bianco, Engadin.

Erik Boomer

Location: Greenland Icecap

Camera: FUJIFILM XT1

Lens: FUJINION 56MM. 1.2

ISO: 200

F-Stop: 1.8

Shutter Speed: 1/1,000

The Shot:

Day 25 of 49 Crossing the Greenland icecap in search of a wild whitewater river. It was a windless day so no kiting.

Sterling Lorence

Location: Big Water, Utah

Camera: Canon 5DS

Lens: Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II

ISO: 320

F-Stop: 2.8

Shutter Speed: 400

The Shot:

“I was working in Utah with Brett Rheeder and Anthill Films as he built his segment for the film ‘Return to Earth’. Brett had built this amazing quarter pipe onto a rock sitting out on the desert floor. After witnessing and shooting this in various natural lighting scenarios and compositions, I started to envision an opportunity to light it from above with the strobe on a drone. I really liked the simplicity of this composition with the three rocks together and thought we could help truly give it an otherworldly feel and help bring shape to the scene with some cascading lightfall from above. At twilight one evening, with help from drone pilot Colin Jones, we slowly feathered the drone into the right position till the light was just right and Brett was maxing out off this rock.”

Daniel Bernstål

Location: Gävle

Camera: Dji Phantom 4 Pro

Lens: 24mm f/2.8

ISO: 200

F-Stop: f/4

Shutter Speed: 1/2500

The Shot:

“Before I became a full-time photographer I used to work as a distributor, and I distrubuted plumbing gear. Every day I had a route to drive and on that route there was a long section of the road that was completely straight. And at one point of the day the sun was perfectly centered over the road which made the road superbright, especially late in the season. I figured it must look sick from a drone perspective with such a long road and that light. So as always I called my buddy Alfred Björebo to see if he could throw some ollies in the middle of nowhere. And as always he said yes. There was some struggle with getting a completely cloud free day that late in the season but after a a few weeks it finally happened. We went there like an hour before the light was right and prepared with coffee and hip-hop music. When the sun finally was over the middle of the road it was go time and we nailed the shot in just a couple of tries.”

Wayne Reiche

Jan Kasl

Location: Iceland

Camera: DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ Obsidian Edition Lens: 24 mm ISO: 100 F-Stop: f/10.0 Shutter Speed: 1/60

The Shot:

“Iceland is such an incredible place, with the biggest concentration of breathtaking locations. It feels like you appear in the middle of the gallery of natural diversity. You can go any direction and you will find a totally different piece of environmental art. That’s for sure one of the reasons why you can hear the sound of a shutter pretty much everywhere and in all seasons. On the other hand there is still a lot undercovered until you get to explore the island from the bird perspective. When you stand right next to the river, it seems to be a pretty ordinary stream with a flat surface, which totally changes when you get some elevation and discover the real masterpiece made by different depths of a river bottom. I got immediately obsessed by all of these stunning rivers and I knew that the only thing missing in this surreal painting is my awesome friend Vavra Hradilek with his creek boat.”

Find out more about Red Bull Illume’s Image Quest 2019 and the amazing stories behind the other categories here.

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