The Best Drone Photos Of 2017

Here are the winners of Dronestagram and National Geographic's fourth annual aerial photography contest.

Dronestagram

Instead of using any old camera, everyone from to is using drones to capture exciting new aerial angles these days. So it's no surprise that the results of and National Geographic's are breathtaking.

“I was blown away by the creativity of the photos in this contest,” said Jeff Heimsath, a photo editor at National Geographic Traveler and contest judge. “The photographers used drones to capture the world from new and unique perspectives. The selection process was far from easy, this contest has certainly surfaced the best drone images from around the world.”

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About 8,000 images were submitted by professional and amateur photographers around the world in three different categories including nature, urban and people.

Here's a look at the 12 finalists.

Nature

jcourtial/Dronestagram 

1st Place, Nature: "Summer Trim" in France by Jerome Courtial

“I went to Valensole hoping to get an original picture rather than the classic view with the sunset in the background. 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.”

Calin Stan/Dronestagram
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2nd Place, Nature: "Infinite Road to Transylvania" in Romania by Calin Stan

“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.”

Florian/Dronestagram
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3rd Place, Nature: "Ice Formation" in Greenland by Florian Ledoux

"This photo were realized during winter in East Greenland, which is one of the most remote places on Earth. During that period it’s really hard to get there depending on the weather conditions."

Urban

bachirm/Dronestagram

1st Place, Urban: "Concrete Jungle" in Dubai by Bachir Moukarzel

"This picture was shot at sunset time 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."

alexeygo/Dronestagram

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2nd Place, Urban: "Dawon on Mercury Tower" in Moscow by Alexey Goncharov

"I was sitting on a bench at the square near Moscow International Business Centre in search of a beautiful reflection in mirror windows of "Mercury" tower. While in 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."

luckydron/Dronestagram

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3rd Place, Urban: "Peace" in Madrid by Luis Saguar Domingo

"I was in Madrid looking for a nice place for flying my drone and add it to my …when I saw my picture it was really cool and symmetrical."

People

Martin Sanches/Dronestagram

1st Place, People: "End of the Line" in New Jersey by Martin Sanchez

“While driving, I noticed an empty tennis court. . . Two people came by to play some tennis on the other 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 holding weird 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.”

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helios1412/Dronestagram

2nd Place, People: "Waterlily" in Vietnam by helios1412

While Dronestagram didn't provide information from the photographer about how they captured the image, we can tell you that this is a woman harvesting water lilies in Vietnam's Mekong Delta.

feelingmovie/Dronestagram

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3rd Place, People: "La Vijanera" in Spain by Javier Bustamante

"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."

Creativity

In addition to the three main categories, Dronestagram also added a special “Creative” category this year to reward their community members who posted drone images to their site in 2017.

macareuxprod/Dronestagram

"Next Level" in France by Thibault Bequet

"This picture was captured on a Normandy beach with my girlfriend Manon. We look forward to a happy event (a baby) and looked 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 and myself creating a baby, represented by an old pram and like a video game."

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Luke Bell/Dronestagram

"Two Moo" in South Africa by Luke Bell

"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."

rga/Dronestagram

"Ugo Le Marin" in France by Romain Gaillard

"I had gone to the beach to take some pictures. After two flights I did not find anything interesting and the weather was rather bad. I was going to leave, but I had one last battery left. 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.”

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