These Award-Winning Drone Photos Will Show You the World in New Ways

Stunning aerial footage from the Drone Photography Awards 2021 capture everything from a couple sunbathing on an iceberg to an eerie congregation of sheep. 

06 October 2021, 1:02pm

When in doubt, zoom out. At least that’s what we tend to tell ourselves when we’re in a bind: to step back, glance at the bigger picture and place our problems in a perspective that allows us to understand just how they might be bigger in our heads than in reality. 

It’s this energy that a competition dedicated to aerial shots seems to be charged with. 

An offshoot of the Siena Festival of Visual Arts held in Italy, the Drone Photography Awards takes a bird’s-eye view of our planet that can seem totally different when seen from above.

Gold at the End of the Rainbow. Photo by Phil De Glanville / Drone Photography Awards

The annual awards invite thousands of photographers around the world to use tools, including helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, balloons, blimps, rockets, kites, and parachutes, to achieve aerial images that can shock, stun and inspire. The result is a handful of breathtaking photos that are larger than life. This year’s winning photos, chosen from over 14,000 entries, will be displayed at an exhibition called “Above Us Only” in Italy from October 23 to December 5. 

This year, the overall winner is a photo of a flock of thousands of pink-footed geese hovering over snow-covered ground, a moment frozen in time by Norwegian photographer Terje Kolaas. This photo came out on top among  the thousands of submissions from 104 countries, according to the festival curators. 

Pink-Footed Geese Meeting the Winter. Photo by Terje Kolaas / Drone Photography Awards

Divided into categories like urban, abstract, sports, wildlife, and people, other winners include an old monastery in Russia surrounded by a power plant, an aerial shot of a green turtle returning to sea after laying eggs, a striking rainbow that appears above a surfer on a terrifying wave, and a swimsuit-wearing couple chilling on an iceberg. 

Back to Adventure. Photo by Qasim Al Farsi / Drone Photography Awards

The macro lens with which these images were clicked often inspire striking interpretations, such as a photograph of a congregation of sheep that gets an eerie edge, or a poodle-shaped collection of greenery. 

Sheep in Congress. Photo by Yoel Robert Assiag / Drone Photography Awards

Volcano show. Photo by Oleg Rest / Drone Photography Awards

Poodle in Rapeseed. Photo by Jan Ulicki / Drone Photography Awards

By taking us to an elevated vantage point, the view from the top teaches us the importance of perspective. Also, it makes for some extraordinary photographs.

Collecting Water from Driedout Riverbeds. Photo by Sujon Adhikary / Drone Photography Awards

Cascate del Mulino. Photo by Christian Gatti / Drone Photography Awards

Labyrinth of Time. Photo by Tomáš Neuwirth / Drone Photography Awards

Melting Ice Cap. Photo by Florian Ledoux / Drone Photography Awards

Shark Companion. Photo by Ido Meirovich / Drone Photography Awards

Enjoying Wrestling. Photo by Amitava Chandra / Drone Photography Awards

Cliffhanger. Photo by Ben Connolly / Drone Photography Awards

Flamingos Flying Over Lake Magadi. Photo by Ying Shi / Drone Photography Awards

Wrong Way Buddy! Photo by John Cowpland / Drone Photography Awards

Poisoned River. Photo by Gheorghe Popa / Drone Photography Awards

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DRONE, Photography, award, Drone Photography, Aerial Views

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