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Alexey Goncharov
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EYES IN THE SKY

The year’s best drone photos, selected by National Geographic

By Anne Quito

Paris-based photo sharing site Dronestagram has unveiled the year’s best photos captured by flying robots. A showcase of the earth’s breath-taking symmetry, the contest highlights the best images taken by intrepid hobbyist and professional photographers experimenting with drones around the world. A new “creativity” category features ambitious selfies and playful outdoor pictures.

Chosen by National Geographic’s photo editors from thousands of entries, here are 2017’s best drone photos, with descriptions from the photographers:

Jerome Courtial
Provence, summer trim

I went to Valensole hoping to get an original picture rather than the classic view with the sunset in the background.—Jerome Courtial, Provence, France

Calin Stan
Infinite Road to Transylvania

This is the image of Cheia DN1A road that takes you to Transylvania, here in Romania.…the legend says, this is the view that Count Dracula himself saw on his nocturnal flight.—Calin Stan, Transylvania, Romania

Florian Ledoux
Ice formation

This photo was realized during winter in east Greenland, which is one of the most remote places on earth. It was really hard to get there during that period because of the weather conditions and the drone was not guaranteed to work in -20° weather.—Florian Ledoux, Greenland

Bachir Moukarzel
Urban Jungle

This picture were shot at sunset time in Dubai at 6pm. [It] captures an area which was a literally a desert 10 years ago and is now a concrete jungle with the highest buildings in Dubai.—Bachir Moukarzel, United Arab Emirates

Alexey Goncharov
Mercury Tower

I saw industrial climbers. I liked the way their work looked from that perspective: they seemed to wash the city itself, not just the building’s windows.—Alexey Goncharov, Moscow, Russia

Luis Saguar Domingo
Peace

My sister gave me a drone as a Christmas gift and I started using it almost everyday. I was in Madrid looking for a nice place…when I saw my picture it was really cool and symmetrical.—Luis Saguar Domingo, Madrid, Spain

Martin Sanchez
End of the Line

I noticed an empty tennis court that just stood out like a treasured story in a book of empty words.—Martin, Sanchez, US

helios1412
Water lilies in Vietnam
Javier Bustamante
La Vijanera, Spain

La Vijanera is a winter carnival that takes place in the town of Silió, in Cantabria, Spain, the first Sunday of each year.  This party consists on a group of hunters who want to capture a bear.—Javier Bustamante, Cantabria, Spain

Thibault Beguet
Next Level

This picture was captured on a Normandy beach with my girlfriend, Manon. We’re looking forward to a happy event (a baby) and were looking for a fun, original and unusual way to announce it to our loved ones, family and friends.—Thibault Beguet, Brittany, France

Luke Bell
Two Moo

It was a cold early morning in South Africa on a farm near Stellenbosch. Two cows drinking from a nearby dam caught my eye when I saw their long shadows. I launched my drone to capture the scene in a way impossible with any other type of camera.—Luke Bell, Cape Town, South Africa

Romain Gaillard
Ugo sur la plage

As I watched my children playing on the beach and drawing in the sand I had the idea of ​​using the sand as a large sheet of paper.—Romain Gaillard, Brittany, France