A drone is no longer seen as an exotic and expensive piece of technology like it was 10 or so years ago. In fact, nowadays you can probably snag one for as little as $100. And as they become more and more financially available to photographers worldwide, we’re seeing more and more impressive drone footage every year. And if you’re not convinced, just take a look at the winning submissions from this year’s Drone Photo Awards!
The photographers competed in 9 different photo categories – Urban, Wildlife, Sport, People, Nature, Abstract, Life Under COVID-19, Wedding, and Series – as well as two video categories. This year the Photo of the Year winner was Australian photographer Jim Picôt with his photo titled “Love Heart of Nature”, depicting a shark inside a school of salmon shaped like a heart. Check out Jim’s winning photo as well as the winners of other categories in the gallery below!
#1 Photo Of The Year: Love Heart Of Nature
Image source: Jim Picôt
In winter, a shark is inside a salmon school when, chasing the baitfish, the shape becomes a heart shape.
#2 Nature Category Winner: Gray Whale Plays Pushing Tourists
Image source: Joseph Cheires
At the end of the gray whale season, I was told about a gray whale that, for the last 3 years, used to play with the boats, pushing them gently. So we went back the year after and, incredibly, the gray whale appeared and this shot is the result.
#3 People Category Highly Commended: Cross The Field
Image source: Khanh Phan
A girl, her mother, and their herd of cows walking across the pasture return home after a day of labor.
#4 Nature Category Runner-Up: Flamingos At Lake Logipi
Image source: Martin Harvey
The early morning sun lights a scene of flamingos gathered at the edge of Lake Logipi, next to an interesting fan-like geological formation.
#5 Wildlife Category Winner: Where Herons Live
Image source: Dmitrii Viliunov
Many think that herons make nests in reeds or in a swamp. In fact, they nest in the tops of huge trees and with a drone, it is sometimes possible to see them.
#6 “Life Under COVID-19” Winner: Black Flag
Image source: Tomer Appelbaum
Thousands of Israelis maintain social distancing due to Covid-19 restrictions while protesting against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rabin Square on 19 April 2020.
#7 Urban Category Highly Commended: Sunrise On The Top
Image source: droneawards.photo
At 4:30 in the morning, mysteriously shrouded in clouds, this is what the second-tallest building in Shanghai looks like.
#8 “Life Under COVID-19” Highly Commended: The Lockdown
Image source: Bachir Moukarzel
The busiest highway in Dubai, shot with no cars present during the lockdown for the disinfection of the municipality. A moment to remember.
#9 Urban Category Winner: Alien Structure On Earth
Image source: Tomasz Kowalski
Sometimes we need to change the perspective to feel the strength of the structure more strongly than we’ve ever thought. The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers, are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur.
#10 People Category Winner: Frozen Land
Image source: Alessandra Meniconzi
With temperatures of minus 30°C, winters in the Eurasian steppe can be brutal. But life doesn’t stop, and local people move from one village to another with a sledge, crossing icy rivers and lakes.
#11 Wildlife Category Highly Commended: Homecoming
Image source: Mehmet Aslan
A buffalo herd is passing a lake before moving to its shelter where the herd will retreat to rest.
#12 Abstract Category Winner: Phoenix Rising
Image source: Paul Hoelen
The phoenix rising is a symbol of re-emergence from the ashes of fire. This is symbolized through the beginnings of an actual regeneration process at the industrial mining site of Lake Owens. After a destructive past and the creation of the most toxic dustbowl in America, migratory birds are returning, and life is beginning anew…
#13 Nature Category Highly Commended: Crater Row
Image source: James Rushforth
A spectacular crater row in Iceland’s vast interior. The intense red on the rims is caused by the scoria being colored by the oxidation of the iron minerals in the lava, in contrast with the surrounding basalt. A white four-wheel-drive vehicle can be seen driving along the road beneath the craters.
#14 Nature Category Highly Commended: Lonely Road
Image source: Hong Jen Chiang
Driving along Ring Route 1, in a magical and enchanted landscape, I was ready to embrace whatever may lie ahead.
#15 Wildlife Category Runner-Up: Munk’s Mobula Rays Schooling
Image source: Mark Carwardine
Though from a boat, it was hard to appreciate just how enormous this shoal was, the drone revealed a mass of thousands of Munk’s Mobula rays (also called Munk’s pygmy devil rays) all swimming in the same circular direction.
#16 Wedding Category Winner: Tropical Bride
Image source: Mohamed Azmeel
“I used the flowers and the leaves left over from the decoration of a wedding to make something creative.”
#17 Wedding Category Runner-Up: Lovers On The Field
Image source: Krzysztof Krawczyk
We were looking for some abstraction. We had a boat, a drone and… a lot of time. A strong wind created a beautiful storm in the field. Perfect weather conditions showed me “the eye of the tiger” or “deer eye” through the couple in the kayak. A wonderful combination: beautiful lovers, fantastic nature, strong wind, and this perspective.
#18 People Category Highly Commended: Carpet Field
Image source: Mehmet Aslan
Hundreds of handwoven carpets are placed in the fields in order to draw out different colors with the burning effect of the sun’s rays. A pair of workers lies down on the carpets after finishing their work to relieve the tiredness of the day.
#19 Wedding Category Highly Commended: Framed
Image source: Tobias Froehner
This is one of my favorite pictures. It was a perfect match. The great couple, the VW Beetle, the frame. So, it was easy to create a great composition.
#20 Abstract Category Highly Commended: Spring Zebra
Image source: Lukasz Rajs
The area of this small village in the Częstochowa region is characterized by large rapeseed crops that create beautiful patterns that extend to the horizon.
#21 Abstract Category Highly Commended: Swirl
Image source: Boyan Ortse
An abstract shot of a pink lake chemical reaction in Western Australia.
#22 Sports Category Winner: On The Sea
Image source: Roberto Corinaldesi
An aerial view of swimmers, where the sea becomes the place to take refuge, between the blue carpet and the white foam of the waves.
#23 People Category Runner-Up: 2,000,001
Image source: Tugo Cheng
Two million Hongkongers took to the streets on 16 June 2019, calling on the government to withdraw the controversial extradition bill. The night before the historic march that nearly one-third of the population took part in, protestor Leung Ling Kit ended his life after hanging a banner of the people’s demands in the city centre.
#24 Nature Category Highly Commended: The Island
Image source: Pawel Zygmunt
#25 Sports Category Highly Commended: Waterfall
Image source: Davide Lopresti
Surfers try to challenge the waves. It is difficult enough to ride them, not to mention to tame them and be able to take off, as well as break them and then caress them.
#26 People Category Highly Commended: Women Sorting Dry Red Chillies
Image source: Md Tanveer Hassan Rohan
Women collecting red chilies under the sun for more than 10 hours a day for little pay, employed in one of the many factories that specialize in drying chilies.
#27 “Life Under COVID-19” Runner-Up: Heart Of Warsaw
Image source: Rafal Ganowski
The deserted oldest part of Warsaw which, before the pandemic, used to be filled with sun umbrellas of nearby restaurants and crowds of people.
#28 Sports Category Runner-Up: Ball Up
Image source: Brad Walls
The physical motions of the tennis player against the clean abstract lineage of the court created a harmonious effect to the eye.
#29 Wedding Category Highly Commended: Pebble / Wave
Image source: Dominic Lemoine
After the ceremony, the couple headed to the beach and decided to go in for a dip. We were lucky to find the perfect waves which only touched the bottom of the dress.
#30 Abstract Category Runner-Up: Largest Congregation
Image source: Azim Khan Ronnie
More than 600,000 devotees participated in South Asia’s largest Eid-ul-Fitr congregation. The prayers began at 8:30 am with devotees coming from different parts of the region. Eid-ul-Fitr is a Muslim festival of happiness celebrated all over the world.