As the world reflects back on 2016, the largest aerial photography contest picked a literal reflection as the best drone image of the year. On January 24, SkyPixel, an aerial photography community run together with DJI, announced Fishermen Close the Net by Ge Zheng as the 2016 Photo of the Year.
With over 27,000 entries from 131 countries, the competition is the largest — in terms of the number of entries — aerial competition in the world, according to SkyPixel. A jury of photojournalists and travel photographers, including representatives from Time and Cone Nast Traveler, selected Zheng for the grand prize, as well as nominating first, second, and third in six different categories.
Zheng’s image was shot in China’s Fujian Province. SkyPixel says that the image’s reflections, colors, and aerial perspective gave the image a startling composition that earned Zheng the top prize. The reflection of the bright yellow nets creates a geometric pattern in the image, interrupted by a single fisherman in a small wooden boat.
For his work, Zheng received both a DJI Inspire 2 and a Mavic Pro drones, along with Espon Moverio BT-300 smart glasses, an Espon SureColor P400 Wide Format Photo Printer and a one-year Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.
Along with the top prize, judges also selected three winners for 360, beauty shots, and images of drones in use. Those three categories were also separated into professional and enthusiast aerial photographers. Prizes were sponsored by DJI, Epson, Adobe, Insta 360 and Ctrip as well as media partners Time, Conde Nast Traveler and FStoppers.
In addition to the juried prizes, the contest also awarded popular vote prizes to the ten images with the most votes.
The contest was open to any aerial image shot in 2016, with submissions closing on December 30.
Founded only in 2014, SkyPixel now has one million users sharing images inside the aerial photography and videography community. Along with serving as a platform for hosting and sharing aerial shots, SkyPixel also shares tips from industry experts.
The full gallery of the winners is available at SkyPixel.