About the Drone Photo Awards competition

Open to aerial photography and videos, the Drone Photo Awards are part of the Siena Awards and is also open to images taken from fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, balloons, blimps and dirigibles, rockets, kites, and parachutes..


All winning photographers for this award will be exhibited at the “Above Us Only Sky” exhibition from 23 October to 5 December in Siena (Italy) alongside the Siena Awards Festival.

Other categories in the competition include Wedding, Urban, and Sport. This year, the competition received tens of thousands of images submitted by photographers from 102 countries.

Find out more about the competition and view more images on the Drone Photo Awards website.

To view the images as a slideshow, click on the arrows in the top right hand corner of the photos below.

Photo of the Year

Pink-Footed Geese Meeting the Winter, by Terje Kolaas.

A very large flock of pink-footed geese against a white snowy background of snow (photo taken in winter), with some very pale trees in the background. Much of the frame is taken up by birds in the air, some of which are relatively close to the camera. There are also many birds on the ground.
Photo of the Year: Pink-Footed Geese Meeting the Winter. © Terje Kolaas/Drone Photo Awards 2021.

Thousands of pink-footed geese roost in central Norway in spring, on their way to the breeding grounds on Svalbard in the Arctics. Probably because of climate change, they arrive earlier every year and often the ground and the fields where they feed are covered by snow when they arrive. The geese tend to use the same paths, so when waiting for them in the air with a drone, photos like this one are possible.

Category: Wildlife

1st classified: Back to Adventure, by Qasim Al Farsi.

Aerial photo of a beach of golden sand with turquoise water on the lefthand side and a line of breaking water. A green turtle makes its way towards the water line, leaving a trail behind it.
Wildlife 1st classified: Back to Adventure. © Qasim Al Farsi/Drone Photo Awards 2021.

Green turtle heading back to water after laying down eggs in her peaceful nest at Oman coastline between Ras Al Jinz and Rashad turtle reserve.

Runner-up: Fast Food, by Igor Altuna.

Aerial photo of the carcass of a buffalo with eight hyenas feeding on it. Around them, vultures are waiting for their turn.
Runner-up: Fast Food. © Igor Altuna/Drone Photo Awards 2021.

This photo was taken in Zambia. Two male lion brothers killed a buffalo, and after eating for a day they left the remains to the others.

Highly Commended: Hippopotamus group from above, by Talib Almarri.

Aerial photo of a group of closely-packed hippopotamus in the sunshine. The whole frame is filled with their bodies, wallowing in very muddy water.
Highly Commended: Hippopotamus group from above. © Talib Almarri/Drone Photo Awards 2021

Hippopotamus group from above creating an amazing pattern. All hippos are adults except one baby who is in the center.

Highly Commended: Fairy Circles, by George Steinmetz

Aerial photo of sunlit golden grassy plain, with dark cloudy mountains in the background. In the foreground, a herd of about 40 zebras are running
Highly Commended: Fairy Circles. © George Steinmetz/Drone Photo Awards 2021

Zebra herd in the Namib Rand Nature Reserve in Namibia. The thin grasses here have a rare speckled pattern known as "fairy circles", a phenomena that is poorly understood. Grasses seem to grow higher on the inner rim of the circles due to less competition for water on the inside of the ring.

Highly Commended: Polar bear hunting, by Florian Ledoux.

Blue-white icebergs float in a darker blue ocean. A large one in the foreground has a number of arches where it touches the water, and on the top, a polar bear is lying and watching for seals.
Highly Commended: Polar Bear Hunting. © Florian Ledoux/Drone Photo Awards 2021

Polar bear hunting seal from an iceberg in Svalbard during the summer while the sea ice is gone all the way north to 83°N.

Category: Nature

1st classified: Extragalactic, by Martin Sanchez.

Aerial view directly into the mouth of a volcano; orange-red lava fills the centre of the image, surrounded by darker rock.
1st classified: Extragalactic. © Martin Sanchez/Drone Photo Awards 2021

The intense and glorious moments during an erupting volcano with an exclusive view from the inside. Captured in Iceland.

Runner-up: The Great Divide, by Janessa Anderson.

Aerial photo of a blue-white ice sheet, dissected by a thin almost-straight line of blue water running diagonally from bottom left to top right, with yellow and red kayak moving along it.
Runner-up: The Great Divide. © Janessa Anderson/Drone Photo Awards 2021

Ice sheets drift apart on a glacial fed lake providing a brief opportunity for exploration. With one path to continue moving forward, moving towards hope, this vast expanse of ice provides a look into the power and grandeur that nature possesses.

More like this

Highly Commended: Pure Power, by Phil De Glanville.

A huge dark blue wave fills the frame, moving from left to right. The edges of the wave are white and curling downwards, crashing into the surface of the water below.
Highly Commended: Pure Power. © Phil De Glanville/Drone Photo Awards 2021

Like people, each wave has a unique journey with the power to inspire. Photo captured off the South West coast of Western Australia.

Highly Commended: Camel Shadows at Sunset, by Jim Picôt.

Aerial photo of a desert beach, with water breaking onto deep orange sand and a line of camels, being ridden by people, casts shadows.
Highly Commended: Camel Shadows at Sunset. © Jim Picôt/Drone Photo Awards 2021

Flying the drone over the ocean, I spotted the approaching Camels, with human guests on board, and noticed the beautiful light, and shadows, and also the eloquent wave patterns on the shoreline.

Highly Commended: The Mighty Ruacana, by Jan Roode.

Black and white photograph of a huge waterfall lit by sunlight. Among the waters, a small baobab trees grows on a rocky outcrop.
Highly Commended: The Mighty Ruacana. © Jan Roode/Drone Photo Awards 2021

The Kunene River travels through Angola and surges over a mighty precipice on the Namibian border at the Ruacana waterfalls. Here a young Baobab Tree clings to a rocky outcrop as the waters of the Ruacana rage around it.