High-flying photography! The spectacular winners of the 2023 Drone Photo Awards revealed 


These photographers are taking their art form to lofty new heights.

Their work has been awarded in the Drone Photo Awards 2023, an annual international competition dedicated to aerial photography.

The contest received thousands of submissions from countries around the world, with gongs handed out in nine categories including Wildlife, Urban and Sport.

The top prize goes to a shot of a mass of protesters partially concealed by three enormous billboards in Israel, captured by Israeli photographer Or Adar. Other photographs that have stirred the judges include a mesmerising shot of a storm cloud looming over a surfer in Australia, a beautiful picture of a shark gliding through a swarm of silver fish and a dramatic image of smoke billowing from a Mexican volcano.

Photography lovers can get a closer look at the winning entries when they’re showcased in the ‘Above Us Only Sky’ exhibition at the San Galgano Abbey in Siena, Italy, from July 8 to November 19 as part of the Siena Awards festival of visual arts.

Below is MailOnline Travel’s pick of the winning and commended images. Scroll down to the very bottom to see the image that reigns supreme overall…

This astonishing photograph, which is commended in the Nature category, shows Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano, the second tallest volcano in the country at 5,393m (17,694ft) above sea level. It's been active since 1991

This astonishing photograph, which is commended in the Nature category, shows Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano, the second tallest volcano in the country at 5,393m (17,694ft) above sea level. It’s been active since 1991 

The stunning Hengifoss waterfall in eastern Iceland is the subject of this vibrant photograph, captured by Ammar Alsayed Ahmed. He notes that the waterfall, which is the third highest in Iceland at 128m (420ft), is 'mainly eye-catching' due to the patterns on the cliffs by the water - striking strips of red clay between layers of lava rock. The image is highly commended in the Nature category

The stunning Hengifoss waterfall in eastern Iceland is the subject of this vibrant photograph, captured by Ammar Alsayed Ahmed. He notes that the waterfall, which is the third highest in Iceland at 128m (420ft), is ‘mainly eye-catching’ due to the patterns on the cliffs by the water – striking strips of red clay between layers of lava rock. The image is highly commended in the Nature category 

A runner-up in the wildlife category, this poignant picture shows wild elephants in the eastern province of Sri Lanka that have 'developed a peculiar, distressing, and dangerous [habit] of searching for food in a designated garbage dump'. Photographer Lalith Ekanayake notes: 'It is disheartening to witness these majestic creatures resorting to such destructive and unhealthy habits'

A runner-up in the wildlife category, this poignant picture shows wild elephants in the eastern province of Sri Lanka that have ‘developed a peculiar, distressing, and dangerous [habit] of searching for food in a designated garbage dump’. Photographer Lalith Ekanayake notes: ‘It is disheartening to witness these majestic creatures resorting to such destructive and unhealthy habits’ 

Commended in the Sport category, this high-octane shot shows a surfer brave 'harsh afternoon summer storms in pursuit of the perfect wave' off the coast of Racecourse Beach in New South Wales, Australia.  Photographer Tim Burgess recalls that as the storm cell 'formed in the distance, the most unique formation of textures embraced [these] skies'

Titled 'Suburban Dystopia', this eerie photograph shows 'a purpose-built villa community on the outskirts of Dubai' that 'features houses with identical designs'. Photographer Florian Kriechbaumer says: 'The houses are characterized by a two-colour pattern and are arranged along a rectangular access street system.' The shot is highly commended in the Urban category

LEFT: Commended in the Sport category, this high-octane shot shows a surfer brave ‘harsh afternoon summer storms in pursuit of the perfect wave’ off the coast of Racecourse Beach in New South Wales, Australia. Photographer Tim Burgess recalls that as the storm cell ‘formed in the distance, the most unique formation of textures embraced [these] skies’. RIGHT: Titled ‘Suburban Dystopia’, this eerie photograph shows ‘a purpose-built villa community on the outskirts of Dubai’ that ‘features houses with identical designs’. Photographer Florian Kriechbaumer says: ‘The houses are characterized by a two-colour pattern and are arranged along a rectangular access street system.’ The shot is highly commended in the Urban category

This astonishing photograph of the Austfonna ice cap in Norway's Svalbard archipelago takes the gold medal in the Nature category.  It was captured by Thomas Vijayan, who reflects: 'I have visited this place several times before, but last year it was disheartening to witness the sea ice melting as early as June... even the ice cap had begun melting earlier than usual last year, which was a concerning observation'

This astonishing photograph of the Austfonna ice cap in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago takes the gold medal in the Nature category.  It was captured by Thomas Vijayan, who reflects: ‘I have visited this place several times before, but last year it was disheartening to witness the sea ice melting as early as June… even the ice cap had begun melting earlier than usual last year, which was a concerning observation’ 

Highly commended in the Wildlife category, this mesmerising photograph shows an aerial view of a shark 'gracefully' gliding through a dense school of menhaden fish (a type of herring) off the coast of the town of Southampton in New York State. Photographer Joanna Steidle says: 'It was a remarkable privilege to witness this captivating interaction between these two species'

Highly commended in the Wildlife category, this mesmerising photograph shows an aerial view of a shark ‘gracefully’ gliding through a dense school of menhaden fish (a type of herring) off the coast of the town of Southampton in New York State. Photographer Joanna Steidle says: ‘It was a remarkable privilege to witness this captivating interaction between these two species’ 

Mammatus clouds, a rare cloud formation, can be seen over Toowoon Bay and Blue Bay in New South Wales, Australia, in this powerful shot, which is commended in the Urban category. Jim Picot notes that 'they are associated with storm activity, and can form very quickly and also dissipate quickly as well'

Mammatus clouds, a rare cloud formation, can be seen over Toowoon Bay and Blue Bay in New South Wales, Australia, in this powerful shot, which is commended in the Urban category. Jim Picot notes that ‘they are associated with storm activity, and can form very quickly and also dissipate quickly as well’

Taking the top prize in the Sport category, this photograph shows the renowned tightrope walker Nathan Paulin successfully crossing a 200m (656ft) long and 2.5cm (one-inch) wide 'high-line' in France's Aravis Range mountains. Positioned at an altitude of 2,460m (8,070ft), he completed the feat 'amidst intense cold'. Photographer David Machet notes: 'This incredible achievement required the dedicated efforts of a team of six individuals over the course of three days'

Taking the top prize in the Sport category, this photograph shows the renowned tightrope walker Nathan Paulin successfully crossing a 200m (656ft) long and 2.5cm (one-inch) wide ‘high-line’ in France’s Aravis Range mountains. Positioned at an altitude of 2,460m (8,070ft), he completed the feat ‘amidst intense cold’. Photographer David Machet notes: ‘This incredible achievement required the dedicated efforts of a team of six individuals over the course of three days’ 

This eye-opening photograph shows a densely populated area of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The photographer notes that in the city, 'the detrimental consequences of urbanization are evident', adding: 'One of the most significant impacts is the gradual disappearance of green spaces. Over the past few years, various parts of the city have witnessed the vanishing of green areas, a side effect of unplanned urbanization.' The picture is highly commended in the Urban category

This eye-opening photograph shows a densely populated area of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The photographer notes that in the city, ‘the detrimental consequences of urbanization are evident’, adding: ‘One of the most significant impacts is the gradual disappearance of green spaces. Over the past few years, various parts of the city have witnessed the vanishing of green areas, a side effect of unplanned urbanization.’ The picture is highly commended in the Urban category 

A runner-up in the Nature category, this remarkable drone shot shows the Maelifell volcano in southern Iceland. Photographer Daniel Vine Garcia reveals: 'I attempted to capture the isolated beauty of the volcano, while also highlighting the rivers that lead towards it'

A runner-up in the Nature category, this remarkable drone shot shows the Maelifell volcano in southern Iceland. Photographer Daniel Vine Garcia reveals: ‘I attempted to capture the isolated beauty of the volcano, while also highlighting the rivers that lead towards it’ 

This magnificent aerial shot, commended in the Wildlife category, shows a polar bear in its natural habitat in Norway. Photographer Javier Lafuente notes that 'the bear shows signs of previous hard fights'. He adds: 'I used a drone with low noise propellers but I never approached very close to the bear, so it ignored me while I was framing the shot'

This magnificent aerial shot, commended in the Wildlife category, shows a polar bear in its natural habitat in Norway. Photographer Javier Lafuente notes that ‘the bear shows signs of previous hard fights’. He adds: ‘I used a drone with low noise propellers but I never approached very close to the bear, so it ignored me while I was framing the shot’ 

Commended in the Wildlife category, this jarring photograph shows the remains of a buffalo being eaten by a hyena and vultures in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park

Commended in the Wildlife category, this jarring photograph shows the remains of a buffalo being eaten by a hyena and vultures in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park

This epic photograph by Oren Alon - commended in the Sport category - shows a group of runners beginning the Dead Sea Marathon in Israel. Alon says the athletes appear to be crossing the sea 'in a manner reminiscent of' the biblical story of the parting of the Red Sea

This epic photograph by Oren Alon – commended in the Sport category – shows a group of runners beginning the Dead Sea Marathon in Israel. Alon says the athletes appear to be crossing the sea ‘in a manner reminiscent of’ the biblical story of the parting of the Red Sea

Commended in the Wildlife category, this brilliant drone shot shows gray whales interacting with people on board a boat in Baja California Sur, Mexico, 'as if they were friends'

Commended in the Wildlife category, this brilliant drone shot shows gray whales interacting with people on board a boat in Baja California Sur, Mexico, ‘as if they were friends’ 

This enchanting picture of India's Taj Mahal is commended in the Urban category. Photographer Michele Falzone notes that the 'layer of clouds and mist' in the frame gives 'a floating... surreal look to the timeless mausoleum'

This enchanting picture of India’s Taj Mahal is commended in the Urban category. Photographer Michele Falzone notes that the ‘layer of clouds and mist’ in the frame gives ‘a floating… surreal look to the timeless mausoleum’

Behold, the picture that takes the top spot overall, captured by Or Adar. It shows huge billboards stretched above protesters in Tel Aviv, Israel

Behold, the picture that takes the top spot overall, captured by Or Adar. It shows huge billboards stretched above protesters in Tel Aviv, Israel



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