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Australian photographer crowned winner of sports imagery contest with this electrifying shot of a climber in Long Canyon

By Ben Morse and Sam Joseph, CNN

(CNN) — Australian photographer Krystle Wright made history as she was named winner of the Red Bull Illume contest – the world’s largest adventure and action sports imagery contest – becoming the first female photographer its 17-year history to take home the grand prize.

Her picture shows climber Angela VanWiemeersch illuminated in a crack, deep within Long Canyon, Utah, in the United States. “This is incredible. I wanted to earn my place in this industry and my work to get recognized. Red Bull Illume is the only platform that truly recognizes what we do,” Wright said.

She explained “that the idea hit [her] like a lightning bolt” and only came about once she had “embraced boredom” in her life.

“What a spectacular feeling it was to witness the crack come alive as the darkness enveloped around us,” Wright added.

The power of nature

There were several other spectacular shots that were recognized in various different categories at the contest.

The below image – taken by Ted Grambeau – of surfer and “local legend” Jimmy McKean, took home first place in the Energy Category.

Grambeau describes his experience capturing the shot as “one of the most extreme days at the incredibly challenging Shipstern Bluff on a remote stretch of coast in Tasmania, Australia.”

A plethora of pastels

A colorful image of BMX rider Senad Grosic on the La Muralla Roja apartment complex in Calp (near Alicante), Spain, was named the winner of the Sölden Category.

“This building is just a miracle itself – there are stairs, small corridors, platforms and concrete walls everywhere and it’s very easy to lose orientation,” said photographer Lorenz Holder. “Just walking through this masterpiece is breathtaking and you feel instantly transferred into a different world.

“For Senad and I, this was just an playground with almost unlimited spots and opportunities, where we both could live out our creativity.”

Sandy stairs

The winner of the Playground by Radiant Photo Category was this shot of freerider Kilian Bron taking on one of the highest sand dunes in the world, located in Peru.

“We had to have good weather and all conditions come together,” said Jean-Baptiste Liautard, who captured the breathtaking image. “I was suffering from a knee injury and had to climb up the 500m (roughly 1,640 feet) high dune with almost just one leg.

“[The pattern] was so perfect it almost looked fake.”

Waterfall wonders

Gonzalo Robert Parraguez won the Emerging with Canon Category with this striking image from Chile.

Parraguez explained the commitment it took to obtain this shot.

“To get to the waterfall, you had to drive two hours, walk 10 minutes and then to take this photo I had to do a 15-meter (roughly 49.2-foot) rappel as the waterfall is in a deep canyon,” he said.

“I think this is one of my favorite photos as it included a bit of everything.”

Red Bull Illume says it showcases the most creative and captivating adventure and action sports imagery, while illuminating the passion, lifestyle and culture behind the photographers that shoot them.

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