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Women collect water from a dry riverbed in Khulna, Bangladesh. This photo was one of the “highly recommended” images in this year’s drone photo contest.

Sujon Adhikary


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Sujon Adhikary


Women collect water from a dry riverbed in Khulna, Bangladesh. This photo was one of the “highly recommended” images in this year’s drone photo contest.

Sujon Adhikary

What does our planet look like from the sky?

This year’s winning Drone Photo Awards images capture an incredibly fantastic view of the world. Seen from above, a field of bright green grass in Vietnam looks like faux fur – and a frozen reservoir in Kazakhstan looks like shards of shattered glass.

The awards, in their fourth year, have received nominations from 105 countries and 2,900 professional and amateur photographers, said Luca Venturi, founder of the competition and artistic director of Siena Awards, a group based in Siena, Italy, which organizes international photos. competitions.

The availability of cheaper and better drones in recent years has helped popularize this style, especially among hobbyists, says Ken Geiger, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and one of this year’s judges. Not only is drone photography “fabulously fun,” he adds, “it’s a medium that helps us learn things about our planet that we’ve never experienced before.”

The competition is open to all kinds of aerial photographs, taken not only with drones but also with airships, kites, parachutes, helicopters and even hot air balloons.

Here is a selection of contest winners and honorable mentions from around the world, including low income countries covered by Goats & Soda. There is photorealism – and also staged scenes that capture the times of pandemic we live in.

The trees reveal their true colors

A fisherman paddles through the mangroves of Tam Giang Lagoon in Vietnam’s Hue province. Mangroves are shedding all their leaves in winter, exposing their whitish trunks.

Trung Pham Huy


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Trung Pham Huy


A fisherman paddles through the mangroves of Tam Giang Lagoon in Vietnam’s Hue province. Mangroves are shedding all their leaves in winter, exposing their whitish trunks.

Trung Pham Huy

Photographer Pham Huy Trung calls his “Mangrove Forest Fishing”, taken in Vietnam’s Hue province, “a balance between humans and nature”.

A former engineer, Trung says it’s handy when using drones to take photos, always checking wind and fog levels before setting off, as both can affect photo quality. His ultimate goal, he says, is to find times when a person “feels at peace with the universe, inside and out.”

Scale and color play an important role in this photograph. “The white color of the forest shows how spectacular nature is, while the red color of the fisherman’s clothes represents the beauty of man, ”says Trung. “Small and large, red and white – much more should be [in harmony] together in life. “

Sunbathing – on ice

Photographer Alexandr Vlassyuk and a friend “sunbathe” on mounds of ice at the Kapchagay Reservoir in Almaty, Kazakhstan. “Without waiting for summer, we have decided to open the beach season!” said Vlassyuk.

Alexandr Vlassyuk


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Alexandr Vlassyuk


Photographer Alexandr Vlassyuk and a friend “sunbathe” on mounds of ice at the Kapchagay Reservoir in Almaty, Kazakhstan. “Without waiting for summer, we have decided to open the beach season!” said Vlassyuk.

Alexandr Vlassyuk

In the “Beach Season” photo, taken in a reservoir in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Alexandr Vlassyuk is both photographer and subject – a task he said was no small feat. He was operating the drone while posing with his friend on mounds of ice at a temperature of 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Both were almost naked. Oh, and it was windy, he adds.

“The shooting turned out to be quite difficult,” explains Vlassyuk, a publicity photographer with a passion for landscapes. “I took a series of shots with two drones. The batteries were low. In order not to freeze, we had to warm up periodically with hot tea.”

Geiger says he likes the concept. “It’s so over the top that I couldn’t help but vote for it. It made me smile.” And the “pop of people and colors” amid the broken ice, he says, “creates a strong entry point” for viewers.

Red harvest

Women sort dry red peppers at a factory in Bogura, Bangladesh. “Bogura peppers are famous all over the country,” says photographer MD Tanveer Hassan Rohan. But workers are only paid “$ 2 after 10 hours of work – and in some places they get less.” ”

Managing Director Tanveer Hassan Rohan


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Managing Director Tanveer Hassan Rohan


Women sort dry red peppers at a factory in Bogura, Bangladesh. “Bogura peppers are famous all over the country,” says photographer MD Tanveer Hassan Rohan. But workers are only paid “$ 2 after 10 hours of work – and in some places they get less.” “

Managing Director Tanveer Hassan Rohan

MD Tanveer Hassan Rohan, a freelance photographer from New York City, always tried to take pictures from the highest possible places, long before drones came into the picture. “I’m trying to find a place where I can see the area from above,” like a roof, he says. “It allows me to really see this place.”

When commercial drones became available, he says, he knew he had to have one. “I try to avoid congregating where a lot of photographers fly drones. Sometimes I go to unfamiliar places and fly my drone from a safe place to see what I can find.”

One of those places is the courtyard of a chili factory in Bogura, Bangladesh, just over 160 km from where Rohan grew up in Dhaka. His photo “Harvest of red peppers” captures two rows of women sitting under umbrellas as they sort through a carpet of bright red peppers to dry and store.

Other winners and commendations

People dine al fresco at makeshift restaurants in the snow-capped Kongdoori Valley, Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir in India.

Dipabrata South


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Dipabrata South


People dine al fresco at makeshift restaurants in the snow-capped Kongdoori Valley, Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir in India.

Dipabrata South

Women harvest grass in Vietnam. Grass has many uses, including as fodder for animals and as a fertilizer.

Khanh phan


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Khanh phan

A photo from Adas Vasiliauskas’ “COVID Self-Isolation Sucks” series, which received a commendation at this year’s Drone Photo Awards. The set of images, taken on the streets of his native Lithuania, play on people’s desire to “live life” despite a “COVID nightmare,” he says. In this particular photo, a man posing on the bed of a truck pretends to be driving his scooter.

Adas Vasiliauskas


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Adas Vasiliauskas


A photo from Adas Vasiliauskas’ “COVID Self-Isolation Sucks” series, which received a commendation at this year’s Drone Photo Awards. The set of images, taken on the streets of his native Lithuania, play on people’s desire to “live life” despite a “COVID nightmare,” he says. In this particular photo, a man posing on the bed of a truck pretends to be driving his scooter.

Adas Vasiliauskas



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