PROPELLER PHOTOS

Drone photography is just normal photography now

The new shortlist of finalists in Sony’s 2018 World Photography Awards reveals an interesting trend: Across sports, natural landscapes, architecture and conceptual art, many of the best pictures were taken with drones, and all various models of Chinese drone brand DJI.

Drones in photography aren’t new—there are even specialized drone photo competitions—but the technology had an outsized presence in this year’s wide-ranging competition, across pro and amateur photographers. “There was a very significant change in the entries to the Open [single image] competition this year, as so many more were drone images,” head judge Zelda Cheatle tells Quartz. “The same criteria applies to drone photographers as land or sea-based; the content has to have something special—composition, impact, skill, portraying something special or different or informing in a new way.”

The photos below are a visually impressive reminder that while drones still come with a high novelty factor, photographers are quickly adopting them as an essential tool.

We live in a symmetrical world
An image from “We Live in a Symmetrical World” (Varun Thota/Sony World Photography Awards)
We live in a symmetrical world
An image from “We Live in a Symmetrical World” (Varun Thota/Sony World Photography Awards)
A drone's eye view of a traditional Chinese circular tulou building.
A drone’s eye view of a traditional Chinese circular tulou building. (Chaoyang Cai/Sony World Photography Awards)
园林开新花.jpg
A fashion show held at a national park in Guigong City, Guangxi Province, China. (Shifang Lin/Sony World Photography Awards)
方阵 The Phalanx
In China, new senior middle school students have their military training at the beginning of the first year’s school term. (Xiaoxiao Liu/Sony World Photography Awards)
After the end...
A composition of an aerial photo and a computer generated 3D pyramid. (Giannis Papapostolou/Sony World Photography Awards)
cubism dock
An aerial shot of a dock in Kos island of Greece. (/Sony World Photography Awards)
Patterns of Glacial River
An aerial view of the Glacial River in Iceland. (Manish Mamtani/Sony World Photography Awards)
The Big Meringue
“Scala dei Turchi” (The Turkish Steps) is a white cliff in Sicily made of a soft limestone and a blinding white marl. (Placido Faranda/Sony World Photography Awards)
Daily fishing
Early morning fishing in the Baltic Sea near Klaipėda,Lithuania. (Andrius Kundrotas/Sony World Photography Awards)
Electric blue
A lonely surfer battles his way to the next wave off the coast of Sydney, Australia. (Pat Kay/Sony World Photography Awards)
the roof-3.jpg
A view of a building’s courtyard. (Jin Xu/Sony World Photography Awards)
天空之城(City of sky )
Morning mist over Zhuzhou, Hunan Province, China. (Ming Luo/Sony World Photography Awards)
Deep in the mountains in Sichuan Province in China, water and minerals creep down from the turquoise calcified ponds formed naturally in a valley, giving a colourful and abstract composition of leaking paints.
Deep in the mountains in Sichuan Province in China, water and minerals creep down from the turquoise calcified ponds formed naturally in a valley, giving a colourful and abstract composition of leaking paints. (Tugo Cheng/Sony World Photography Awards)
November 2017 Photograph shot on Putrajaya in Yunnan ,China, to showcase its beautiful scenery.
November 2017 Photograph shot on Putrajaya in Yunnan ,China, to showcase its beautiful scenery. (Lin Chen/Sony World Photography Awards)
山路-.jpg
A stretch of mountain road leading to the Yellow Stone Forest in Jingtai County in Gansu province, China. (Li Wang/Sony World Photography Awards)

Read more: Drone photography diehards pick their favorite shots of 2017


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