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250 Eye-Popping Drone Photos Come Alive in Art Book 'Dronescapes'

Renowned photography editor Ayperi Karabuda Ecer selected some of the best drone photographs from Dronestagram.

by DJ Pangburn
Mar 3 2017, 3:30pm

Lead image: Oskarström, Sweden. By anders@andersa.com. Latitude 56.7947 Longitude 12.9759. Altitude 12m (40 ft.) © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram

The authority on global drone photography, Dronestagram, is set to release a collection of UAV photographs on April 25th. Titled Dronescrapes: The New Aerial Photography, the book is a collaboration with renowned photography editor Ayperi Karabuda Ecer, featuring over 250 of what Ecer believes are the best photographs taken from quadcopters—and more—around the globe. Included in the Thames & Hudson book are bird's-eye views of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and Mexico's Tamul Waterfalls, as well as a photograph taken beside an eagle in flight, amongst other aerial images.

Ecer, who served as vice president of pictures at Reuters and Editor-in-Chief at Magnum Photos Paris, tells Creators that her involvement in Dronescapes began when Andrew Sanigar, Editor at Thames & Hudson, approached her to edit a book on popular drone photography. With tens of thousands of uploaded images, Ecer's task was to find the very best, most of which had never before been printed. The Dronestagram team worked with the photographers to get image permissions, but also to ensure that there was sufficient high resolution file quality for book printing. 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. By Alexandre Salem. Latitude -22.9068. Longitude -43.1729. Altitude 900m (2,952 ft.) © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram

"Having been involved in photojournalism for over 30 years I have always kept an eye on the evolution of photography and how it ends up in the hands of the public," Ecer says. "The starting point is often the needs of the news media. Coverage of the Olympics is often a good indicator of new doors being opened by technology."

"Drones excelled in covering sports and one could start wondering when they would enter our lives," she says. "It has been very fast. Every new angle offers new possibilities."

Edinburgh, Scotland. By Francesco Gernone Photo. Latitude 55.9494. Longitude -3.1911. Altitude 30.8m (103 ft.) © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram

Ecer's thinking on photography takes into consideration the long view. She's constantly reimagining how our times will be viewed in 50 to 100 years. For her, drones give viewers the literal sense of the "big picture" of our environment, cities and currently unreachable places. Drones also, in her opinion, put humans on a different scale—one that isn't dominated by narcissistic selfies where the setting is a mere background. Instead, drone photography focuses on what surrounds humans in order to fashion, as she says, "the broad setting of our lives."

Ecer had carte blanche to select images from the some 100,000 on the Dronestagram site, and to create a structure for the book. She believes a good drone photograph is one shot at a distance that only aerial vehicles can manage. It should be a picture that combines closeup shots and broad vantages, while also being able to play with verticality and can, eventually, include the shooter.

Lake Guerlédan, France. By Nicolas Charles. Latitude 48.2097. Longitude -3.0844. Altitude 30m (98 ft.) © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram

"I was looking at finding imagery which would not point to 'seen from the sky' but more at drones as 'companions' in our daily life, through innovative angles," says Ecer. "Eagles chasing drones, nude photography shot by a drone, never seen shadows and patterns, breathtaking closeness to monuments, reporting on climate, and also a selection of 'dronies,' the drone version of a selfie."

As Ecer poured over the tens of thousands of images, she noticed a number of drone photography trends. Many photos used drones to report on the environment, natural disasters, climate change, and so on. She also saw a lot of drones being used to capture animals in their natural habitat.

San Francisco, USA. By GotShots. Latitude 37.8255. Longitude -122.4791. Altitude 27m (88 1/2 ft.) © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram

"[Others] photograph our urban settings as never before, tracking movement and reinventing patterns," says Ecer. "I also particularly enjoyed seeing the quantity of wedding pictures shot by drones."

"Drones, like the web, carry a great contradiction," Ecer adds. "They can be as much tools of control as means of liberty. Often used to report on destruction they also open up to a whole new world of visual empowerment of our surroundings. This book, Dronescapes, is a tribute to embracing new technology and playing with new angles. I hope the book will give a sense of joy, a feeling of space and a great reason to look up."

Mérida, Mexico. By jelipegomez. Latitude 20.9911. Longitude -89.6013. Altitude 15m (50 ft.) © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram

Dubai, UAE. By Shoayb Khattab. Latitude 25.1528. Longitude 56.3576. Altitude 9m (30 ft.) © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram

Mazatlán, Mexico. By w00tsor. Latitude 23.2469. Longitude -106.4922. Altitude 5.5m (18 ft.) © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram

Click here to see more of the images at Dronestagram.

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