You need to see these shots taken on a smartphone

Incredible images captured by a mobile phone camera by travel and adventure photographers.
By Alison Mann

Mobile phone cameras have given everyone the chance to capture images whenever they please. But it takes talent and expertise to capture truly amazing images – whether you use a smartphone or top of the range DSLR.

Action and adventure sports photogrpahy contest Red Bull Illume has kicked off with a new mobile category. So take a look at these top mobile shots, from kayaking in Canada, to ice-climbing in Norway, it’s hard to believe they were shot on a mobile. Here, the experts tell the story behind the images.

More: Meet the adventure doctor who takes amazing photos

Ice-climbing expertise

Climbing at the Arctic Circle shot by Ray Demski during a project for Nokia Lumia
Climbing at the Arctic Circle © 2012 Nokia Corporation/Ray Demski

Who: Ray Demski
Equipment: Nokia Lumia 1020
The photo: Ray Demski dreamt of shooting the Aurora Borealis and enlisted his friend, and climber, Alex Luger to join the project. The pair headed to Lyngen, Norway inside the Arctic Circle. During the two-week trip they waited several nights for the aurora in -35C temperatures. He used the Lumia to take pictures during daylight and sundown. He said about the project: “I’m stoked with the final images, and very grateful to the awesome team that realised the adventure.”

The atmospheric hike

Hiking to Trolltunga, Norway is the image taken by Atle Ronningen on iphone 6
Hiking to Trolltunga, Norway © Atle Rønningen

Who: Atle Rønningen
Equipment: iPhone 6 and VSCO Cam
The photo: Atle says: “Hiking to Trolltunga (translated Troll's Tongue) in Norway has been on my list for a while. After 11km, five hours and about 30,000 steps I stacked myself out on the tip to enjoy the view. I like the picture because it is a good memory, and for myself a prize for demanding effort. The landscape is incredibly beautiful and gives a sense of scale.”

Reaching Everest

John Burcham views Pomori Base Camp from the summit of Kala Patthar, Nepal.
Pomori Base Camp from the summit of Kala Patthar © Stephen Alvarez

Who: Stephen Alvarez
Equipment: Nokia Lumia 1520
The photo: National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez embarked on a mission to photograph the Natural Wonders of the World – on a mobile. This shot was taken from the summit of Kala Patthar, Nepal. Stephen says of the day the photograph was taken: "This was a long, cold, miserable day punctuated with brief moments of intense beauty. It all started well at about 06:30 as we left for Kala Patthar under a clear sky, following large groups of people." A tip from Stephen: “A person in your landscape gives a sense of scale, and gives the viewer someone to identify with.”

Spot the paraglider

A mountain with paraglider taken on iphone by Austin Mann
Always keep your phone battery charged © Austin Mann Photography

Who: Austin Mann
Equipment: iPhone 6S
The photo: This photo was taken in Switzerland, Austin Mann says of the shot: “After spending weeks trekking around the Lauterbrunnen Valley you begin to feel you know it – but paragliding brings a whole new perspective and appreciation for this very special pocket in the Swiss Alps. Home to some of the world's top paragliders and basejumpers, it was an honour to brush shoulders with this rich culture of extreme adventurers.” Austin also shot a video during the trip. Check out some more about Austin.

Catching kayaks

Tony Hoare and Joe Nodeland sea kayaking in the White Cliff Islands in the Queen Charlotte Sound near Telegraph Cove, Canada.
Sea kayaking in the White Cliff Islands, Canada © Michael Clark/Red Bull Photography

Who: Michael Clark
Equipment: Nokia Lumia 930
The photo: Michael Clark captured this image during a sea kayaking voyage to Vancouver Island. He says of the image: “While shooting for Red Bull Photography and Nokia on an assignment last year, I had the chance to shoot with the Nokia 930 mobile phone, which can shoot 20MP raw image files and also 4K video. For this shot of Joe Nodel and Tony Hoare, we had them sea kayaking between two small islands right at sunset to create a warm/cool effect with the colours. Focusing the camera was as simple as touching the screen and we shot several passes with them going away from the camera and towards the camera. Having the ability to process the raw image file afterwards was a huge bonus for the final image. I don’t shoot seriously with a mobile phone that often but I have to say that this is the best image I have ever shot with a mobile.”

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