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Professional - 360 - 1st - 'The Starry Night' |©	Jingwen Chen / SkyPixel
Professional - 360 - 1st - 'The Starry Night' |© Jingwen Chen / SkyPixel
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These Breathtaking Drone Photos Will Blow Your Mind

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 23 February 2017
Drones are no longer just for covert military missions or spying on your neighbour, they’re now actively used by artists to create spell-binding views of the world around us. SkyPixel – the online aerial photography community – have just announced the winners of their global competition to find the top drone photographs of 2016.

From an impressive 27,000 submissions from 131 countries, 19 photographs were selected by a jury made up of TIME and Condé Nast Traveler photojournalists and award-winning photographers. All varying in approach, style and subject, the selection reveals how drone photography can capture the planet in an extraordinary manner.

Grand Prize | © 郑戈 / Sky Pixel

Grand Prize | © 郑戈 / Sky Pixel

The overall Grand Prize winner went to Ge Zheng for his exquisite shot of fisherman in Fujian Province in China. Here, Zheng transforms a daily activity into a striking moment through skilful use of aerial perspective and considered composition.

Professional Beauty - Exploration - 1st - © 王 汉冰 / Skypixel

Professional – Beauty – 1st – ‘Exploration’ | © 王 汉冰 / Skypixel

The other winners were chosen from six categories subdivided into professional and enthusiast. Here, they interpreted the themes: Beauty, Drones in Use and 360 photos, to spectacular effect, capturing everything from camels trekking across desert dunes to the tips of the Tianshan Mountain range.

2nd - 'Spilway Selfie' | © Dixonltd / Skypixel

Professional – Beauty – 2nd – ‘Spilway Selfie’ | © Dixonltd / Skypixel

3rd - 'The Earth' | © 李珩 / Skypixel

Professional – Beauty – 3rd – ‘The Earth’ | © 李珩 / Skypixel

Professionals Drones in Use - 1st - 'A Happy Morning' | © Roman Neimann / Skypixel

Professional – Drones in Use – 1st – ‘A Happy Morning’ | © Roman Neimann / Skypixel

Professional Drones in Use - 2nd - 'Meet the Phantom' © HackerSundy / Skypixel

Professional – Drones in Use – 2nd – ‘Meet the Phantom’ | © HackerSundy / Skypixel

Professionals Drones in Use - 3rd - 'Drone in use' | © Norman Nollau / Skypixel

Professional – Drones in Use – 3rd – ‘Drone in use’ | © Norman Nollau / Skypixel

Click the image below to view the interactive 360 image taken by 1st place Professional winner, Jingwen Chen.

Professional - 360 - 1st - 'The Starry Night' |©Jingwen Chen / SkyPixel

Professional – 360 – 1st – ‘The Starry Night’ |© Jingwen Chen / SkyPixel

Enthusiast Beauty - 1st - 'Overbridge' | © 天桥 / Skypixel

Enthusiast – Beauty – 1st – ‘Overbridge’ | © 天桥 / Skypixel

Enthusiast Beauty - 2nd - 'Green Waves' | © Mauro pagliai / Skypixel

Enthusiast – Beauty – 2nd – ‘Green Waves’ | © Mauro pagliai / Skypixel

Enthusiast - Beauty - 3rd - 'Ice River' | © 冰之河 / Skypixel

Enthusiast – Beauty – 3rd – ‘Ice River’ | © 冰之河 / Skypixel

Enthusiast Drones in Use - 1st - 'Despectus' | © Fifa / Skypixel

Enthusiast – Drones in Use – 1st – ‘Despectus’ | © Fifa / Skypixel

Enthusiast Drones in Use - 2nd - 'Inspire in Use' | © Lili Cui / Skypixel

Enthusiast – Drones in Use – 2nd – ‘Inspire in Use’ | © Lili Cui / Skypixel

Enthusiast Drones in Use - 3rd - ' The Phantom of the Earth' | © 零 大魔王 / Skypixel

Enthusiast – Drones in Use – 3rd – ‘ The Phantom of the Earth’ | © 零 大魔王 / Skypixel

Click the image below to view the interactive 360 image taken by 1st place Enthusiast winner, Wen Li.

Enthusiast - 360 - 1st - 'Flying Ink of Tianshan Mountain' | © Wen Li

Enthusiast – 360 – 1st – ‘Flying Ink of Tianshan Mountain’ | © Wen Li / Skypixel