Can you spot the human?helios1412/Dronestagram

The INSIDER Summary:

  • The 2017 International Drone Photography Contest announced its winners.
  • Categories include People, Nature, and Urban.
  • There’s also a new “Creativity” category that isn’t ranked.

It’s no mystery why photographers around the world rely on drones to capture incredible shots of people, cities, and sweeping landscapes.

Drones take mind-bending photos from perspectives that would be impossible for humans to reach. They show broad, stunning patterns without sacrificing minute details. And they’re super fun to play around with.

Dronestagram, a drone photography sharing website and community, teamed up with National Geographic to pick the 12 best pictures out of thousands of entries.

Here are the best drone photographs of 2017.

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1st place, People: “End of the line” by Martin Sanchez

“Had the idea of shooting this particular performance a while back, but never found the time or place. This was perfect. After a few takes things got a little weird. Two people came by to play some tennis on the other court. Which no one can disagree, normal thing to do on a tennis court. As they got closer they had no idea what was happening on my end. They seemed very confused watching me just lay on the ground and make weird holding positions. They didn’t know whether to play or call for help. When I was all done, I showed them the somewhat final result and both of them said Ohhhh! I get it.” — Martin Sanchez

2nd place, People: “Waterlily” by helios1412

2nd place, People:

Location: Vietnam.helios1412/Dronestagram

“A woman harvests water lilies in a pond in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.” — helios1412

3rd place, People: “La Vijanera” by feelingmovie

“La Vijanera is a winter carnival that takes place in the town of Silió, in Cantabria (Spain), the first Sunday of each year. This party consists of a group of hunters who want to capture a bear. […] This photo is the end of the party in which the bear is captured.” — feelingmovie

1st place, Nature: “Provence, summer trim” by jcourtial

1st place, Nature:

Location: France.jcourtial/Dronestagram

“I knew this was the beginning of the harvest season so I hunted down tractors and waited patiently until some started to harvest in a pattern that would create a pleasing composition from above.” — jcourtial

2nd place, Nature: “Infinite road to Transylvania” by Calin Stan

2nd place, Nature:

Location: Romania.Calin Stan/Dronestagram

“This is the image of Cheia DN1A road that takes you to Transylvania, here in Romania. Yes, THAT Transylvania. Or, as the legend says, this is the view that Count Dracula himself saw on his nocturnal flight.”— Calin Stan

3rd place, Nature: “Ice formation” by Florian

3rd place, Nature:

Location: GreenlandFlorian/Dronestagram

“This photo [was] realized during winter in East Greenland, which is one of the most remote place[s] on Earth.” — Florian

1st place, Urban: “Concrete jungle” by Bachirm

1st place, Urban:

Location: United Arab Emirates.Bachirm/Dronestagram

“This picture [was] shot at sunset in Dubai at 6pm, trying to capture an area which was literally a desert 10 years back, and now became a concrete jungle with the highest buildings in Dubai.” — Bachirm

2nd place, Urban: “Dawn on mercury tower” by Alexeygo

2nd place, Urban:

Location: Russia.Alexeygo/Dronestagram

“I was sitting on a bench at the square near Moscow International Business Centre in search of a beautiful reflection in the mirror windows of Mercury Tower. While on the flight, I saw industrial climbers. I liked the way their work looked from that perspective: they seemed to wash the city itself, not just the building’s windows.” — Alexeygo

3rd place, Urban: “Peace” by luckydron

3rd place, Urban:

Location: Spainluckydron/Dronestagram

“I was in Madrid looking for a nice place for flying my drone and add it to my Instagram account (@luckydron). I found a good place for taking a picture, and when I saw my picture it was really cool and symmetrical.” — luckydron

The contest also recognized three photos in a new “Creativity” category.

The contest also recognized three photos in a new

“Two Moo” by LukeMaximoBell. Location: South AfricaLuke Bell/Dronestagram

“It was a cold early morning in South Africa on a farm near Stellenbosch. Two cows drinking from a nearby dam caught my eye when I saw their long shadows. I launched my drone to capture the scene in a way impossible with any other type of camera.” — LukeMaximoBell

The photos in this category aren’t ranked.

The photos in this category aren't ranked.

“Ugo le marin” by rga. Location: Francerga/Dronestagram

“As I watched my children playing on the beach and drawing in the sand I had the idea of using the sand as a large sheet of paper. So my two sons and myself drew a scene related to the sea, on the image you can see my oldest son.” — rga

The organizers just wanted “to reward the amazing creativity of our talented community.”

The organizers just wanted

“Next Level” by macareuxprod. Location: Francemacareuxprod/Dronestagram

“We look forward to a happy event (a baby) and look[ed] for a fun, original and unusual way to announce it to our loved ones, family and friends. So I had the idea of this picture: Manon & myself creating a baby, represented by an old pram and like a video game.” — macareuxprod

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