From their high perspective and discreet presence, drones have the ability to capture unique aerial images. Mobile app maker Dronestagram saw the potential for a contest and this year's winners are truly inspiring. Dronestagram executives, along with staff from National Geographic, reviewed more than 5,000 photos taken by drones around the world to identify the top winners. Here, you'll find aerial imagery ranging from snorkelers in French Polynesia to a cliff diver in Mazatlan, Mexico. Enjoy! Above: This photo radiates suspense as snorkelers swim in the center of eight gliding sharks in French Polynesia. The photo took top honors in the "Nature" category.
A custom-built drone rose above the fog to capture this photograph of the cross at the top of the Cathedral of Maringa in Brazil. It won first prize in the "Places" category.
In the "Dronies" category, which represents selfie-like photos taken with drones, an image of a group of people dressed like they are out of a Where’s Wally scene (better known as Where’s Waldo in America) won first place. Where were they really? At Limassol Carnival in Cyprus.
This picture of participants at the very beginning of La Jolla, San Diego’s Pier-To-Cove ocean race took second in the "Nature" category.
Taking second place in the "Places" category, this photo of the Mont Saint-Michel island commune in Normandy, France, features calm waters, a gorgeous landmark and a spectacular sky.
This photo features Plovdiv, an ancient Bulgarian city, lit up magically at night. The image took second price for the "Popular" category, which represents the most-liked photos.
Marama Photo Video/Dronestagram
Taking third place in the "Nature" category, this photo of a tropical island in French Polynesia shows spectacular aerial imagery of a group of people with their toes in the water, along with lush trees and a breathtaking sky. Look closely and you’ll also find a hidden rainbow.
This image of a colorful field of tulips in the Netherlands and a group of people strolling trough them took third prize in the "Places" category.
With dozens of propellers spinning wildly, a chandelier-like flying drone dubbed the Megacopter achieved a new world record recently, lifting its hefty payload aloft in a breezy Oslo atrium.
The colorful beast has 48 propellers arranged in eight groups, and took the University of Oslo team led by drone maker Henning Pedersen 18 months to build.
A lightweight aluminum and plywood frame supports the bot, which has wireless controls for lift and thrust.
Check out photos of their steady progress on Megacopter’s own Facebook page.
With two team members piloting the Megacopter remotely, the drone set the Guinness World Record for heaviest payload lifted by a remote-controlled multicopter by hauling 134 pounds and 7.6 ounces — not counting its own weight.
Given the drone’s limited battery capacity, the team only had five attempts at the Oslo Science Park. After some hiccups with the first two tries, the Megacopter lifted its load for 37 seconds, achieving the minimum 30 seconds needed to count as “lifting,” according to a press release from the University of Oslo.
Watch them make history here:
I’m pretty sure the Megacopter was actually the first drone to set this particular world record since the Guinness World Records site doesn’t mention any previous record-holders for the category.
No doubt the Norwegians will be back to that atrium again in the future, trying to haul more. Their goal with Megacopter, based on the Facebook description, has long been to safely transport a person. Next time, I’d love to see them try it with a volunteer who wants to take one heck of a ride.