From searing deserts to icy polar caps, geometric sports arenas to autumnal forests – SkyPixel has unveiled their Photo Story Contest winners for 2017. As one of the world’s most popular aerial photography communities, run in conjunction with DJI, Skypixel ran the contest from October until December last year. Over 44,000 submissions were received from participants in 141 countries, and traversed the globe under the categories of Landscape, Portrait and Story.
We’ve already noted French photographer Florian Ledoux’s fantastic work in the Arctic Circle, showcasing his drone video footage of a Narwhal in Nunavut, Canada. Now, he has achieved a deserving accolade in the form of Grand Prize for 2017, for his capture of the memorable moment of a polar bear as it jumped across ice floes using his Phantom 4 Pro, titled “Above The Polar Bear”.
“I have witnessed incredible moments and scenes of the wild but I can guarantee you that this, by far, is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,” he said, “I hope that future generations will still be able to witness the beauty and grandeur of the Arctic wildlife the same way we do today.”
Jarrad Seng, a SkyPixel judge, photographer, filmmaker and creative director based in Australia, noted regarding Ledoux’s image, “There are images that might impress you with their technical mastery, and then there are images that make you feel something. This photograph floored me. It’s especially poignant given the climate crisis our world is facing right now.” As the Grand Prize winner, Ledoux has won prizes amounting to $15,095 USD, which includes a DJI Inspire 2 in addition to other products from SkyPixel sponsors.
“The SkyPixel Photo Contest of 2017 is now the world’s largest aerial photography contest, breaking the record it created in 2016,” said Danny Zheng, Vice President of Marketing at DJI. “SkyPixel was initially established to provide a platform for aerial photographers to share their creativity and unique perspectives of the world. Today, it has evolved to a global platform where we are able to document remarkable moments from once inaccessible areas of the world for future generations to witness and appreciate.”
Here are the top prizes across all categories, starting with professional photographers and followed by winning images from the drone enthusiast section.
Professional SkyPixel Award Winners
First Prize for Landscape was won by Burmese aerial photographer Zay Yar Lin for this image entitled, “Sun’s Up, Net’s Out”. Zay Yar Lin wrote, “An Intha fisherman sets up his net to fish as he paddles his boat with a unique leg-rowing technique in Mayanmar’s Inle Lake”.
First Prize for Portrait was claimed by Petra Leary, a New Zealand-based aerial photographer, the geometric “Balmoral Ball”, a depiction of Auckland’s hidden basketball courts.
First Prize for Story went to this amazing abstract aerial image titled “Earth War” by Chinese drone photographer “In the Higher Sky“. The extraordinarily beautiful image of mine tailings is described as a comment on on the rapid development of human civilization: “Human beings are rich in invention and creativity. They can also create a distinctive visual beauty in the process of industrial pollution and destruction of nature”.
Enthusiast SkyPixel Award Winners
First Enthusiast Prize for Portrait went to this stunning image titled “Dancer” by Chinese aerial photographer cocoanext. A translation of the image’s description says, “Shanghai’s only nearly 190-year-old courtyard house with northern features is rarely seen in the south, where dancers dance not only with skirts but also old Shanghai memories”.
First Enthusiast Prize for Story was won by another aerial photographer from China – for this photo of fishing in a river. It forms part of a series, which is described as “Myanmar’s Inu River, the ancient and unique fishing methods, attracting countless tourists to watch, and now has become a show.”
Popular Prize Top 10
You can view the other award winners over at SkyPixel.