Winners of the 2020 Drone Awards Show Stunning New Perspectives of Our World

Heart-Shaped School of Salmon

“Love Heart of Nature” by Jim Picôt. Winner, 2020 Drone Awards.
“In winter, a shark is inside a salmon school when, chasing the baitfish, the shape became a heart shape.”

You can get a different perspective on the world thanks to the winners of the 2020 Drone Photo Awards. Organized as part of the prestigious Siena Awards Festival, the photo contest highlights the best aerial drone photography from around the world.

This year, Australian photographer Jim Picôt took home the grand prize for his image Love Heart of Nature. The brilliant photograph shows a shark swimming among a school of salmon. Picôt managed to capture the magical moment when the salmon came together in what looks like a heart, making for a dynamic and charming image. His is just one of the spectacular winning images across nine categories, including Wildlife, People, Urban, and Sport.

Particularly timely are the entries into the special Life Under Covid-19 category. Israeli photographer Tomer Appelbaum won the category for showing how his countrymen peacefully protesting in the age of social distancing. Other standout photos include Mohamed Azmeel‘s Tropical Bride, which won the wedding category. This image saw the Maldivian photographer get creative with floral decorations to set up a memorable portrait of a new bride.

Forty-five of the winning photographs will go on exhibit at one of Italy's oldest science museums, Siena's Accademia dei Fisiocritici. Scheduled from October 24 until November 29, 2020, it's the only group exhibition dedicated to aerial photography in Italy.

Check out more winners from the 2020 Drone Photo Awards and see the world from a new perspective.

Aerial Photo of the Petronas Twin Towers

“Alien Structure on Earth” by Tomasz Kowalski. Winner, Urban.
“Sometimes we need to change the perspective to feel the strength of the structure stronger than we've ever thought. The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers, are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur.”

Sled Crossing Frozen River

“Frozen Land” by Alessandra Meniconzi. Winner, People.
“With temperatures of minus 30°C, winters in the Eurasian steppe can be brutal. But life doesn't stop, and local people move from one village to another with a sledge, crossing icy rivers and lakes.”

Herons Nesting in Tree Tops

“Where Herons Live” by Dmitrii Viliunov. Winner, Wildlife.
“Many think that herons make nests in reeds or in a swamp. In fact, they nest in the tops of huge trees and with a drone it is sometimes possible to see them.”

Aerial View of Swimmers in the Ocean

“On the Sea” by Roberto Corinaldesi. Winner, Sport.
“An aerial view of swimmers, where the sea becomes the place to take refuge, between the blue carpet and the white foam of the waves.”

Creative Bridal Photo

“Tropical Bride” by Mohamed Azmeel. Winner, Wedding.
“I used the flowers and the leaves leftover from the decoration of a wedding, to make something creative.”

Gray Whale Pushing Boat Full of Tourists

“Gray Whale Plays Pushing Tourists” by Joseph Cheires. Winner, Nature.
“At the end of the gray whale season, I was told about a gray whale that, for the last 3 years, used to play with the boats, pushing them gently. So we went back the year after and incredibly the gray whale appeared and this shot is the result.”

Eid-ul-Fitr Congregation

“Largest Congregation” by Azim Khan Ronnie. Runner Up, Abstract.
“More than 600,000 devotees participated in South Asia's largest Eid-ul-Fitr congregation. The prayers began at 8:30 am with devotees coming from different parts of the region. Eid-ul-Fitr is a Muslim festival of happiness celebrated all over the world.”

Dubai Marina as Seen from a Drone

“Dubai Marina” by Carmine Chiriacò. Runner Up, Urban.
“It is extraordinarily interesting to see the architectural designs of the buildings, the streets, and the pier of Dubai Marina that contrast with the ocean water.”

EVRAZ Manufacturing Facility

“Continuity” by Yura Borschev. Runner Up, Series.
“This is a photo project for EVRAZ corporate calendar, showing all manufacturing facilities of the Group—which are located thousands of kilometers away from each other.”

Overhead View of Tennis Playing Serving

“Ball Up” by Brad Walls. Runner Up, Sport.
“The physical motions of the tennis player against the clean abstract lineage of the court created a harmonious effect to the eye.”

Empty Square in Warsaw During Covid-19

“Heart of Warsaw” by Rafal Ganowski. Runner Up, Life Under Covid-19.
“The deserted oldest part of Warsaw which, before the pandemic, used to be filled with sun umbrellas of nearby restaurants and crowds of people.”

Overhead View of Protesters Marching in Hong Kong

“2,000,001” by Tugo Cheng. Runner Up, People.
“Two million Hongkongers took to the streets on 16 June 2019, calling on the government to withdraw the controversial extradition bill. The night before the historic march that nearly one-third of the population took part, protestor Leung Ling Kit ended his life after hanging a banner of the people's demands in the city center.”

Munk's Mobula Rays Swimming in the Ocean

“Munk's Mobula Rays Schooling” by Mark Carwardine. Runner Up, Wildlife.
“Though from a boat it was hard to appreciate just how enormous this shoal was, the drone revealed a mass of thousands of Munk's Mobula rays (also called Munk's pygmy devil rays), all swimming in the same circular direction.”

Aerial View of Busy Marine Harbor

“Empty seas and crowded shores” by Srikanth Mannepuri. Winner, Series.
“This is a tale of the slowly collapsing marine life where the fastest fishes aren’t fast enough, the gentle giants not big enough, and the apex predators not strong enough to withstand the weight of human greed and over-consumption.”

Drone Wedding Photography

“Lovers on the Field” by Krzysztof Krawczyk. Runner Up, Wedding.
“We were looking for some abstraction. We had a boat, a drone and …. a lot of time. A strong wind created a beautiful storm in the field. Perfect weather conditions showed me ‘the eye of the tiger' or ‘deer eye' through the couple in the kayak. A wonderful combination: beautiful lovers, fantastic nature, strong wind, and this perspective.”

Flamingos at Lake Logipi

“Flamingos at Lake Logipi” by Martin Harvey. Runner Up, Nature.
“The early morning sun lights a scene of flamingos gathered at the edge of Lake Logipi, next to an interesting fan-like geological formation.”

Protestors in Israeli Gathering Against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“Black Flag” by Tomer Appelbaum. Winner, Life Under Covid-19.
“Thousands of Israelis maintain social distancing due to Covid-19 restrictions while protesting against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rabin Square on 19 April 2020.”

Regeneration Process at the Industrial Mining Site of Lake Owens

“Phoenix Rising” by Paul Hoelen. Winner, Abstract.
“The phoenix rising is a symbol of re-emergence from the ashes of fire. This is symbolized through the beginnings of an actual regeneration process at the industrial mining site of Lake Owens. After a destructive past and the creation of the most toxic dustbowl in America, migratory birds are returning, and life is beginning anew.”

Drone Photo Awards: Website | Facebook | Instagram

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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