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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.

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