Aerial awe: These 20 Dronestagram photos take a look at 2016 from the skies

With less than two weeks remaining in the year, one social platform is taking a look at 2016 from the skies. On Monday, Dronestagram, a social network dedicated entirely to aerial photography and videography, released the best photographs published on the platform this year.

The collection of 20 images — some of which also won titles in the International Drone Photography Contest ran in conjunction with National Geographic — was curated throughout the year by an internal jury. The annual contest is designed to showcase the social platform’s best shots from several different categories, including agriculture, sports, tourism, adventure, wildlife, landscapes, cultural heritage, people and the “dronie” or aerial selfie.

Leading the collection is a bird’s-eye view directly overtop Niagara Falls by a new Dronstagram member with a number of different aerial landscapes in his profile. That is followed by a view of an actual bird over French Polynesia by user Actua Drone. Aerial landscapes continue to dominate the contest with a view above the road heading to Transylvania surrounding by a colorful Bogata forest in Romania, a caravan of camels on Cable Beach, an agricultural shot above a lavender harvest and the aerial pattern edging a beach in Rio de Janerio.

“A good drone photo is a picture that you immediately identify as a drone photo: it is taken at low altitude, near the target of the picture and you must see on the picture that it is impossible it has been taken with another device than a drone,” said Guillaume Jarret, Dronestagram’s managing director. “This year, again, we were all amazed by the great quality of the submitted pictures.”

The full gallery of 20 top aerial shots from 2016 spans several countries, including the U.S., Italy, Spain, Poland, India, Russia, New Zealand, Canada, Romania, Fiji, and Japan.

Dronestagram is platform inspired by Instagram and owned by the French company, Bloobox, dedicated solely to aerial shots taken with unmanned quadcopters. Along with sharing the top photos of the year, the platform also partners with National Geographic for an annual contest, along with smaller contests such as the Christmas photo contest accepting submissions through December 31.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Meet Z6, the breakout star in Nikon's new mirrorless lineup

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Photography

Luminar’s new libraries don’t even need you to manually import images

Luminar 3's new libraries feature doesn't require importing -- images are automatically added after clicking on a folder. The long-promised libraries feature gives editors a Lightroom alternative with organization tools as well as syncing…
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Photography

MIT science photographer isn’t an artist, but her work could fill galleries

Felice Frankel is an award-winning photographer, but she doesn't consider herself an artist. As a science photographer, she has been helping researchers better communicate their ideas for nearly three decades with eye-catching imagery.
Photography

Photography News: Startup redesigns tripod heads ‘inside out’ for more flexibility

Well, this doesn't look like the ball heads that we've seen before. Instead of designing a tripod ball head with a small cutout, the Colorado Tripod Company created one with most of the ball exposed, allowing for more possible angles.
Photography

Leica targets street photographers with a pricey camera bundle

Described by the camera company as "your perfect companion in the city," Leica's Street Kit comprises a Leica CL camera body, a 23mm (35mm full-frame equivalent) F2 lens, batteries, a handgrip, and a black leather carrying strap.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.
Social Media

#ThrowbackThursday is only the start: Instagram hashtags for every day of the week

Not getting your hashtag fill with #ThrowbackThursday or #ManCrushMonday? Here's a list of some of the more popular Instagram hashtags, so you can outfit your next post with the proper tag, regardless of what day it is.
Photography

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…
Photography

Photographers can now customize the layout of Lightroom Classic controls

Tired of scrolling past Lightroom tools that you don't use? Adobe Lightroom Classic now allows users to reorganize the Develop panel. The update comes along with new sharing options in Lightroom CC, and updates to the mobile Lightroom app.
Social Media

Instagram could be making a special type of account for influencers

Instagram influencers fall somewhere between a business profile and a typical Instagram, so the company is working on developing a type of account just for creators. The new account type would give creators more access to analytical data.