The stunning image of the Kalbyris Forest in Denmark was taken by Michael Bernholdt, who won first place in the Nature Wildlife category for the annual Drones International Photography contest. Images like this one are becoming increasingly difficult to take right now becaus US legislation regarding drones is constantly evolving. For example, if a person wants to pilot a drone they need to be at least 16 years-old, have a drone pilot certificate, and the machine needs to be kept within visible distance from the pilot. In addition, the pilot must be mindful of the craft’s height and speed. Despite the drawbacks of widespread drone use, the photos that follow show angles and places that would normally be impossible to capture by different means. With such beautiful pictures, it’s hard to believe that taking such images could be illegal in many cases under current law.
1. This photograph by Amos Chapple portrays Russia’s Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, commonly known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral, located in the Red Square in Moscow. The building is shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky and its design has no analogues in Russian Architecture. The former palace is now a museum and it was built from 1555–61 on orders from Ivan the Terrible commemorating the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan.
2. This evocative image by Karolis Janulis of Gran Canaria, Spain won the 3rd prize in the Travel category at the annual Drones International Photography contest.
3. The Hermitage Pavilion is part of one of the oldest and largest museums in the world. Located in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the museum was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and opened to the public on 1852. Its collections hold over three million items and it was famous for parties where tables laden with food would rise from beneath the floorboards into groups of delighted guests. This photograph of the Pavilion in St. Petersburg in autumn mist, taken by renowned New Zealand journalist Amos Chapple, was described as “the little whipped-cream palace wreathed in dawn mist”.
4. The Papal Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi located in Umbria, Italy, was built in 1228 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. This photograph of the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor Conventual in Assisi was the 1st Prize Winner in the category of Travel for the annual Drones International Photography contest.
5. This aerial drone photograph of Saints Peter & Paul Cathedral rising through winter mist was taken by Amos Chapple. Located in Peterhof, a municipal town under jurisdiction of St. Petersburg, Russia, the palace complex was occupied by German armies during World War II, who almost completely destroyed it in their retreat. It was built between 1712 and 1733 under Peter the Great and was designed by Domenico Trezzini. The cathedral’s bell tower is the world’s tallest Orthodox bell tower.
6. This picture of the Piton De La Fournaise Volcano, on the eastern side of Réunion island (a French department) in the Indian Ocean, won the 3rd Prize on the Nature Wildlife category for the annual Drones International Photography contest.
7. The Lotus Temple is a Bahá’í House of Worship located in Delhi, India, it was built in 1986 and designed by an Iranian exile. The building remains open to all people, regardless of religion or any other qualification and a 2001 CNN report referred to it as the most visited building in the world. As shown in this unbelievable photograph by Amos Chapple the temple is composed of 27 free-standing marble-clad “petals” arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides, with nine doors opening onto a central hall with height of slightly over 40 metres.
8. This spectacular drone photograph of Moab rock climbing from above was taken by Max Seigal. It was the 1st Prize Winner in the Sports Adventure category at the annual Drones International Photography contest.
9. Another aerial drone photograph by Amos Chapple was taken during one of his trips to Russia. This image shows Saint Petersburg’s Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood during a squally autumn morning. This Church was built between 1883 and 1907 on the site where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated. The Church, now a museum of mosaics, is one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.
10. This aerial drone photograph of the Chugach Mountain Range in southern Alaska was taken by photographer TJ Balon. It was the 3rd Prize Winner in the Sports Adventure category for the 2016 annual Drones International Photography contest.
11. This beautiful aerial image of the Taj Mahal and its gardens as tourists began visiting. The building is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in Agra, India, built between 1643 and 1653, and its estimated construction cost was approximately US$827 million. In 1983, the Taj Mahal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage” attracting 7–8 million visitors a year.
12. This photo by California based photographer Fouad Jreige portrays an amazing aerial shot of an Oregon forest.
13. Amos Chapple has carried out “as much aerial work as weather and local laws allow”, such as this photograph of the Star Fort in the village of Bourtange in Groningen, Netherlands. The fort was built in 1593 and its original purpose was to control the road between Germany and Groningen while controlled by the Spaniard during the Eighty Years’ War.