Explore from above in these incredible Dronestagram photography contest shots

Camera drones offer perspectives that cannot be shot from the ground and the latest photography contest dedicated just to the genre shows just how the increasing availability of quadcopters is helping creativity soar. Dronsetagram, a social media platform dedicated entirely to sharing aerial content, today announced the winners of the fourth annual Dronestagram photography contest, held in partnership with National Geographic.

The contest collected around 8,000 photos — enough to prompt the judges to add a fourth category just for creativity. The top three photographers in the Nature, Urban, People and Creativity categories will receive prizes from the contest’s sponsors, which includes Europ Assistance, Kodak Pixpro, StudioSport, Lowepro, Zeinberg, and Homido, along with publication in National Geographic.

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

In the nature category, Dronestagram user Jcourtial earned the first place prize for his shot of a lavender field harvest. The machinery makes one green streak through the purple-filled image from the aerial perspective. The photograph was also among Dronestagram’s best photos of 2016.  “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,” he said.

The second place winner went to Calin Stan for an aerial image of the road to Transylvania, Romania, while third went to Dronestagram user Florian for a look at an ice formation.

In the urban category, the top title went to user Bachirm for a look at an area in Dubai that, just 10 years ago, was only desert. Second place went to Alexeygo for a shot of workers on Mercury City Tower at dawn. An aerial shot over Madrid, Spain, took third place for user Luckydron.

Martin Sanchez took first place in the people category for a shot that takes advantage of the aerial perspective to create an optical illusion of a what, at first glance, appears to be a man falling off a building.

In the new Creativity category, Luke Maximo Bell took first for an aerial shot that took advantage of a low sun to catch striking shadows of two cows. The second place shot was actually a pregnancy announcement by user Macareuxprod, creating a vintage video game-inspired pattern in the sand and shooting from above. A drawing in sand also took third place for user Rga.

The Dronestagram photography contest is held every year.