Best drone photos from Dronestagram's 2017 contest
By Francesca Street, CNN
(CNN) — Surely the time of Peak Drone -- when the skies over beauty spots become perilous battle zones for hobby photographers -- cannot be far away. Until then, we love nothing more than marveling at the word as seen from a buzzing aerial bot.
Especially when Dronestagram, a site for sharing some of the planet's best bird's eye images, announces the winners of its Annual International Drone Photography Contest.
Thousands of striking entries were submitted for the contest's fourth outing, with three winners announced in each of the four categories: nature, people, urban and -- new for 2017 -- creative.
"A completely new dimension"
First prize winner in the nature category was Jerome Courtial, who photographed a vibrant image of the harvest in Provence, in the South of France. Courtial describes photographing by drone as like "experiencing the world in a completely new dimension."
His enthusiasm is echoed by second prize winner Colin Stan. "The drone set me free!" he says. Stan's entry is an atmospheric photograph of a winding road in Transylvania -- framed by pine trees and sunlight.
"As the legend says, this is the view that Count Dracula himself saw on his nocturnal flight," says the photographer.
If Dronestagram's nature entries have a sense of timelessness to them, the urban entries are firmly grounded in 21st century concrete jungles.
The first prize winner is Bachir Moukazerel's shot of Dubai. The photographer wanted to capture one of the city's busiest spots, a haven for high rise architecture -- which Moukazerel notes was just a desert a decade ago.
"Every flight for me is a new adventure," he says of the drone experience.
Moscow-dweller Alexey Goncharov's image of the Russian capital is particularly striking. The photograph depicts window cleaners washing the glass exterior of the city's Mercury Tower.
"I liked the way their work looked from that perspective," says Goncharvo. "They seemed to wash the city itself, not just the building's windows."
Goncharvo took second prize in the urban category.
The judges introduced a new category this year, celebrating the most innovative drone creations.
Cape Town photographer Luke Bell captured the shadows of two cows, creating an unexpected dynamic.
Meanwhile Romain Gaillard was inspired by his children playing on the beach:
"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," he says.
A particularly fun image is Macareuxprod AKA Thibault Beguet's entry.
Beguet's photograph was taken on a beach in Normandy, in celebration of the fact that he and his partner are expecting a baby. The image is a "fun, original and unusual way to announce it to our loved ones, family and friends," says Beguet.
"I'm sure that our child will be amused by this story when he will be able to understand!"