From bustling city skylines to out-of-this-world natural landscapes, the winning images from Agora’s #Aerial2020 competition are showcasing some of the most beautiful destinations in the world - all from a bird’s eye point of view. Dutch photographer @by_ewold beat the other 9,018 submissions to win the $1,000 prize with his breathtaking shot 'A magic morning in The Netherlands'.
When you see the world from above, you realize how important the point of view can be. These 50 works of art turn us into birds to admire the planet earth from above. Thanks to all the photographers of the world who participated in #Aerial2020!
Octavi Royo, Agora's CEO & Co-Founder
Winner: 'A magic morning in The Netherlands' by @by_ewold (Netherlands)
Location: Zaanse Schans, Zaanstad, Netherlands
I was waiting for a long time to capture this typical Dutch scene with low fog. And finally, on the 10th of May, the weather forecast looked perfect: no wind and low night temperatures are the ideal ingredients for low fog. My alarm went off at 4:00 am to drive to the Zaanse Schans; when I got there the fog was everywhere except around the windmills. I decided to check first some other spots, after 1 hour I came back and wow! The wind had turned and blown the fog in the direction of the windmills. I had only 50% battery left on my drone and took off to find a unique angle to capture this place. When I looked on my phone to see the drone view it was like a dream! I also shot a video during this morning:
Discover the 49 finalists:
'Overcrowded' by @will_tm (France)
Location: Dameisha beach, China
This is a public beach next to a five stars hotel. The hotel had its own private beach right next to it, which was empty. I was initially interested in capturing that contrast. The crowd density was so high, I had to gain quite a lot of altitude to make it fit in the frame. At that point, those indistinguishable people started to create a pattern that I found even more powerful and fascinating.
'Wind farm' by @henrydo (USA)
See the sailboat for scale!
'Floating in the air!' by @sjoerdbracke (Netherlands)
Location: Zhangjiajie National Park, China
This is a cable car ride inside Zhangjiajie National Park. Within the park, there are altogether more than 8,000 cliff mountains, towering into the sky. During our ride, it was a misty/cloudy morning which is why this scenery looks even more mysterious. We couldn't believe our eyes when we raise above the clouds and this view appeared. I wanted to capture this the best way possible, putting my GoPro through the small window because shooting through the scratched glass wouldn't turn out good at all. 1 minute later, the view disappeared again. Turned out we got lucky! I absolutely love the result and the feeling it transmits, cause when I look at this photo I get this mysterious feeling and "wow-effect" back immediately.
'Globos' by @sance (Spain)
Location: Cappadocia, Turkey
'Desert sunset' by @johandroneadventures (Belgium)
Location: Tatacoa desert, Colombia
On this ancient rock formation, you can see how the drought slowly scraped out these patterns and structures. Imagine the time that has been needed to create this. Layer by layer... that's just mind-boggling. You'd expect that this is a huge mountain range, but look at the green trees for scale reference...
'The Eye of Sarumon' by @blairsugarman1 (UK)
Location: IFC Building, Hong Kong
Aligning the sun and the building gives a Lord of The Rings vibe. This is one of the most iconic buildings in Hong Kong, and it looks spectacular at sunset. This is the building that Batman leaped off from in The Dark Knight, and has become a recognizable point of interest for this reason.
'Ski Jumper' by @thedronelad (Poland)
Location: Zakopane, Poland
The sky is the limit. Humans have dreamed of being able to fly for centuries and ski jumpers make that dream a reality even though it’s only for few seconds. The picture was taken during training, a day before the international ski jumping championship.
'Magical mood' by @arnold_maisner_photo (Germany)
Location: Mont Saint Michel, France
One of the most beautiful places I've ever seen: it was a cold sunrise, but certainly worth it. On top of the rock, you can see a church overlooking the village of 70 residents. The strongest tides in Europe rule here, with the water going back kilometers.
'Aerial in Hong Kong' by @jackyy_wch
Location: Central and Western District, Hong Kong
'Early morning trip' by @markcure (Netherlands)
Location: The Dutch Pyramid of Austerlitz, Netherlands
I went for an early morning trip to the Pyramid of Austerlitz to capture the scenery with my drone.
'Mood in the Mountains' by @jamesxtheo (UK)
Location: Lago Di Braies, Italy
The Dolomites area is full of picturesque landscapes, and no trip would be complete without a visit to Lago di Braies. I arrived in hope of a sunset but that did not happen; instead, I was greeted with some moody conditions with loads of low clouds. I enjoy shooting in challenging conditions and I was still determined to get some shots of this beautiful place.
'Like a chess' by @mikhail_derevyanov (Russia)
Location: Barcelona, Spain
As a photographer, I love shooting city landscapes. I have always dreamed about seeing the famous architecture of Barcelona and its symmetrical neighborhoods. Over the years I've seen a lot of aerial photos of the city, so I thought I had an idea of what was awaiting me, but when I flew my drone to see it for myself it just caught my breath. Barcelona is truly an amazing place that is unlike anywhere else.
'Crazy road' by @rakia10 (Spain)
Location: Tianmen Mountain, China
'Singing dune' by @artempikalov (Russia)
Location: Altyn Emel National Park, Kazakhstan
It was an incredible trip to Kazakhstan. The photo conveys the boiling heat on that day, it was about 35 degrees. Our guide told us that under strong winds the dune makes a characteristic sound, which is why it is known as the 'Singing Dune'.
'Racing the tide to safety' by @lukeylove (Australia)
Location: Sandy Cape Light, Australia
Cruising the Fraser Island highway at the sandy cape: an ever-evolving landscape where Giant dunes meet crystal clear water.
'Retired from service' by @ylee (Malaysia)
Location: Kern, United States
'Fortress of the dragon' by @sixthlens (Italy)
Location: Basque Country, Spain
A tiny island joined to the mainland by a bridge clung to rocks and stacks; one of the best places I’ve ever visited! That day was super windy, I flew my drone about 3 km away to get this shot and I was so worried that I would never see it again! Fortunately, it came back and it was definitely worth it.
'Road in Winter' by @imkaphotos (Germany)
Location: Allgäu, Germany
It was such a cold day. There was fresh snow and I wanted to take my dream shot. A lot of people around the world have never experienced snow so I wanted to show them the beauty of winter through my photo.
'Bridge topdown' by @panvelvet (Russia)
Location: Vladivostok, Russia
'The dreamscape' by @jsrpixel (China)
Location: Central Hong Kong
A city without clouds is like a musical without music. I captured this shot during the sea of clouds season which only happens once a year. One has to wake up super early and keep monitoring the latest weather forecasts for a chance to capture such low clouds floating through the city. Hong Kong is like a magical dream: I want to show the world that this city is not just a cold concrete forest, but a city with a warm, beautiful soul.
'Collecting salt' by @jassensf (USA)
Location: Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA
'Who doesn’t love train trips?' by @andreieye (Romania)
Location: Landwasser Viaduct, Davos, Switzerland
After spending 3hours in this place, I’ve managed to capture the train passing the viaduct. It is one of my favorite places to shot breathtaking moments, it makes me reflect on the journey of life.
'Bangkok market from above' by @michelle.wandering (Netherlands)
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Nearby this market was a parking garage. We climbed almost to the top and were amazed by its beauty from above. The lesson to learn from this photo: if you're in a place to do some photography, don't just stay at the location itself. Do some research beforehand and look around the area to find unique points of view.
'Vibrant Hong Kong' by @leemumford8 (UK)
Location: Hong Kong
'The road back home' by @odysseaschloridis (Greece)
Location: Thessaloniki, Greece
I wanted to convey some nostalgia, mystery and of course the grandeur of mother nature. Look at how small the car is in front of the beauty of our Mother Earth...
'One of the most amazing sunsets in Barcelona' by @alvarovaliente_ (Spain)
Location: Barcelona, Spain
It took me a whole year to get this shot right. I waited patiently for the sun to set in this exact position, so the lights create a path straight to the Sagrada Familia.
'Sunrise on Gunung Bromo' by @ghislainfave (France)
Location: Mount Bromo, Indonesia
We hiked on the rim of Java's Mount Bromo before sunrise, in almost pitch darkness, surrounded by rumbling sounds coming from the volcano. As the sun rose, we observed a cloud of smoke coming from a crater and felt suddenly so small in the front of nature. I did this hike with my 3-year-old daughter on my shoulders!
'The rock in the middle of nowhere' by @joelfriend (UK)
Location: New Mexico, USA
This has to be one of the highlights of my US trip. Shooting this rock with the drone was pretty epic, I had to fly it directly into the wind for 3km to capture this.
'Chasing waves' by @blakehobson (Canada)
Location: Perth, Australia
'An inverted diamond' by @visualspassport (Hong Kong)
Location: Hong Kong
Architectural roofs in HK can be boring, but sometimes gems like these show up. The diamond-shaped roof of the 'Entertainment building' is reflecting light in different directions, amidst the busy Central skyline.
@visualspassport (Hong Kong)
'Exploration trip' by @Abdullrahman9797 (UAE)
Location: Al Ain City, United Arab Emirates
My brother and I went on an exploration trip to an unknown desert that we had found on Google Maps. It was a huge empty hidden gem, a great place to relax out of the reach of tourists.
'Warm summer evening in Budapest' by @jprphotos (UK)
Location: Budapest, Hungary
'Whales' by @simonpastor (France)
The east coast of Australia offers excellent opportunities for whale watching. As I was flying my drone, I spotted this whale calf and mother surfacing.
'Lost in the city' by @poletaev.photo (Russia)
Location: Whampoa, Hong Kong
This is one of the weirdest sceneries I've ever imagined. Yes, it is a shopping center, but from above it looks like a boat in the middle of countless identical residential blocks.
'Rice paradise' by @carlesalonsophotography (Spain)
Location: Bali, Indonesia
I had to wake up at 5.30 am to take this shot. The early morning light bathing the rice terraces with the 2 volcanoes in the background made my day.
'Patterns of Death Valley' by @cannonmatt (UK)
Location: Mojave Desert, Death Valley, USA
I wanted to convey the beauty and scale of this unique location. It was important to photograph early as the temperatures here can reach to 134 °F (56.7 °C) during the day!
'Norway road trip' by @kveikjan (Norway)
We drove this serene mountain road in Norway after an exhausting and cold rainy day. But when we saw this lake and the big snow resting on top of it, we had to stop our campervan and explore the area. We stayed for a while, drank tea, read a book, and took pictures. The picture was long gone in the folder, but somehow a few months ago we had a different feeling when looking at it and were fascinated. I was glad that we went through all the old photos again, maybe we wouldn't have paid so much attention otherwise.
'Pindi Bypass' by @talhaarshad124 (Pakistan)
Location: Pindi Bypass, Pakistan
'Real lego' by @ataevruslan (Russia)
Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia
The cars were competing in a tuning festival held every year in Saint Petersburg. When I flew my drone and saw them from above, they all looked like toy cars in a playground.
'Freight ship inbound' by @withchris (UK)
Location: Jersey, UKq
I was out along the coast with another plan in my mind of what I wanted to photograph when I noticed the condor freight ship coming past. Fortunately, I had brought my second battery which allowed me the opportunity to quickly switch and zoom over to the freight to capture this beautiful angle of our essential food coming in towards the island.
'Old castle ruins in Upper Austria' by @hardingmicha (Austria)
This region has so much history and a lot of old castles! This castle was built around 1100 a.d, and I find it really impressive that there is still so much left off these old buildings.
'Boats on marina' by @nikybwd (Russia)
Location: Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece
The sailing regatta in Agios Nikolaos gathers hundreds of participants and spectators from all over the world.
'The road north' by @joncleave (UK)
When you're exploring new terrains for the first time, you're not really sure what's around the corner – particularly the weather. This was a calm before the storm moment when the snow had settled and left miles around blanket white. Driving the sub-arctic, North of Iceland in winter is no mean feat with snow blizzards, whiteouts, and weather fronts that appeared from nowhere – have never seen the weather change so instantly… incredible, but keeps you on your toes.
'Cold cars' by @wunderbilder (Germany)
Location: Blintendorf, Germany
'Men's toys' by @poul_t (Russia)
Location: Nikola Lenivets Art Park, Russia
The Nikola Lenivets Art-Park is one of the largest parks in Europe, displaying more than 30 contemporary art pieces over 55 hectares. I accidentally flew above this art piece under construction, which from above looked like a bunch of boys' toys.
'Life on Mars' by @tomdewaart (Netherlands)
Location: Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA
I wanted to show that our planet has landscapes that look like they are out of this world. We don’t need to go to Mars to find these kinds of landscapes. Like in most of my photos, I want to make people realize we can find beauty on this planet. We need to take care of nature, lots of times you see that when a location gets popular, tourists overcrowd the place and basically ruin it. If you decide to visit these kinds of places just leave nothing but footprints!
'Lego Technic' by @izlemus (Spain)
Location: Granada, Spain
I wanted to confuse the viewer into thinking it's a real formula 1 car.
'Going up' by @e.stis (Italy)
Location: Seceda-2500m, Italy
It was a moody summer morning, just how I like them.
'World’s best airport' by @jordisark (Spain)
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