Drone sales have soared to new heights in recent years. Only a few short years ago the prospect would have seemed unlikely for the average civilian, back when the only talk of these unmanned aerial vehicles was for military purposes. But these days, drones are increasingly being used for recreational purposes, and most now come equipped with high-quality cameras, making it all the easier to snap those hard to get to pictures from captivatingly impossible angles. Drones are also now being used by retailers, hospitals, law enforcement and even sporting events to capture angles not easily accessed from ground view. But sometimes drones capture the most bizarre and unexpected scenes from our everyday lives that a normal camera just cannot achieve. Read here for an exclusive view into some of the world’s most astonishing images captured by drones.
A Great White
This still drone image was taken just off the coast of Southern California as part of a documentary by Mark Romanov and Forrest Galante that explored the relationship between humans and sharks. The two women – Jessica and Kelly – can be seen high-fiving on paddleboards while the dark silhouette of a great white shark can be seen swimming below the surface.
At one point the brave paddleboarders were surrounded by at least five great white sharks, yet they didn’t even flinch a muscle. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be so close to great whites in their natural habitat. At times, the sharks got so close to my paddleboard that I could see their color, fins, and gills in detail,” Kelly said. “I was so in the moment that I didn’t realize how much adrenaline I had until I was out of the water.”
Gulliver the Gentle Giant
This slightly disturbing image was taken by a drone from bird’s-eye view above a field in Edinburgh, Scotland. The statue, referred to as Gulliver the Gentle Giant, was created by convicted murderer and former gangster Jimmy Boyle while he was serving time in Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow.
The statue was unveiled in 1976 and became a favorite play area for local children. Over time the statue fell into disrepair and was eventually removed from the premises in 2011. The local government wanted to make space in place of the statue for a flood a prevention system. Prior to the dismantling of the statue, it was digitally scanned and will live on in cyberspace for future generations.
Happy Golden Week!
With more than 1.4 billion people, China is the world’s most populated country. As would be expected with such a status, China is also home to some of the world’s worst traffic jams ever recorded. This drone image was taken near the border with Hong Kong on the Beijing–Hong Kong–Macau Expressway, which spans a massive 50-lanes of traffic.
This traffic jam took place following the week-long Chinese national holiday called “Golden Week.” Year after year, more and more motorists take to the roads to travel to visit family during the holiday. The worst traffic jam to ever occur in the country was recorded in 2010 and lasted for 12 days, with some motorists only able to travel less than a mile a day.
The Catch Of The Day
This well-timed drone image was taken over Panama City Beach, Florida when a fisherman accidentally caught a hammerhead shark on his line. The aerial footage shows the fisherman struggling to reel in the shark. The fisherman eventually won the fight, and the shark was then released unharmed.
“We weren’t directly targeting hammerhead sharks but when your line is out there you never know what you’re going to hook into,” one of the fishermen told reporters after the incident. Reports show that the fisherman was part of an outdoor adventure group and a tourist from Denmark. Hammerhead sharks are one of several species of sharks common to Florida waters.
This haunting stadium, known as the Silverdome, was once home to the Detroit Lions football team before they moved to the spiffy new Ford Field in 2002. The Silverdome once hosted the Super Bowl, a pope, the NBA finals, an Elvis concert and dozens of other world-class performances during its heyday.
The stadium was purchased back in 2009 with plans to turn the arena into a soccer stadium but unfortunately, those plans never materialized. Developers still haven’t announced what the future plans for the stadium will be. Since falling into disrepair, the Silverdome has been gutted and everything of value has been sold off. Still, this fascinating drone shot of its stare-worthy skeleton is worth at least a thousand words.
Six Flags New Orleans
Located in New Orleans East sits, to this date, an abandoned Six Flags theme park. The park has been closed since Hurricane Katrina struck in August of 2005. This photo was taken by flying drone just two weeks after the storm while it remained flooded.
A number of different plans have been announced to redevelop the site, however, none have come to fruition. The site remains abandoned and in poor condition. Nonetheless, the park is patrolled 24 hours a day by the New Orleans Police Department as thrill-seekers attempt to break in to catch a glimpse of the now ghost-town amusement park.
Seen in this mystifying shot taken as part of the ‘Dronestagram’ travel photography contest, Mont Saint-Michel is one of France’s most recognizable landmarks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in France’s Normandy region, the iconic commune attracts more than three million visitors annually. The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and has been the seat of the monastery since the 8th century AD.
During low tide, the island is accessible to swaths of pilgrims who come to visit the abbey. And during high tide, the island is highly defensible to would-be invaders. Mont Saint-Michel remained unconquered during the Hundred Years’ War even though there were many attempts by the English to forcibly take over the commune.
Have you ever wondered where old US fighter jets go to die? Well, they go to a place dubbed “The Boneyard” in Tucson, Arizona. The storage and disposal center was established after World War II and takes care of about 4,000 aircraft, which makes it the largest center of its kind in the world.
The very low humidity in the Southwestern United States makes it ideal for storing aircraft, as the metal doesn’t corrode. On average, the base returns approximately $500 million worth of spare parts to the US military, government and other allied customers. Congress oversees and determines what equipment may be sold and to whom.
A High-Rise Nightmare
This impressive sight features an aerial drone photo overlooking the city of Hong Kong. The territory of Hong Kong is home to the largest number of skyscrapers in the world and while they may be beautiful to look at, they also represent a larger underlying problem with the city’s housing market.
Hong Kong is the fourth most densely populated region in the world with more than seven million residents living in its very compact perimeters. The housing market has long struggled in keeping up with demand for more living space, but sadly it has only resulted in smaller and smaller apartments at extremely high prices.
Basilica of Saint Francis
In what looks to be a castle straight out of the hit series Game of Thrones, this sight can be seen in person in Umbria, Italy – but only by drone. And it’s not actually a castle but a church known as Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. Construction of the impressive basilica started way back in 1228.
The complex is comprised of two churches built into a hillside along with a crypt where the remains of Saint Francis lie. Saint Francis lived and died in the town of Assisi and the location is one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites within Italy. The basilica has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000.
Social Weaver Birds
No, this isn’t an oddly place giant moose head sculpture, rather it’s the largest-known bird nest in the world. This drone photo was snapped by a South African photographer in the Kalahari Desert which spans an area of some 350,000 square miles across much of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
Such a large nest can house hundreds of social weaver birds. As the species of bird regularly maintains and upkeep their nests, they can last for extremely long periods of time – sometimes up to 100 years. The massive nests are comprised of natural materials such as twigs, grass and cotton. The social weaver’s communal nest is a phenomenon not commonly seen among birds.
Hase The Giant Pink Bunny
Nothing quite says beautiful Northern Italy like a giant pink stuffed rabbit laying on the hillside. Right? Perhaps the Energizer Bunny finally ran out of batteries and went there for an indefinite rest. Seen in this overhead drone capture is a giant rabbit installation in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy in 2005.
Upon completion, the giant rabbit, dubbed Hase, lay 200-feet-long and 20-feet-high. It was initially thought to have remained intact until the year 2025, however, by the year 2016, the rabbit had completely decomposed. When the creators were questioned as to why they would put such a thing in the countryside, they replied – art. Not sure that this qualifies as art, but sure, why not?
Remember the great clown scare of 2016? Yes… how could any of us forget. Hundreds of creepy clown sightings were reported across the United States and Canada. This odd drone photo capture over a field in Huntsville, Alabama definitely invokes the disturbing trend eventually spread to countries all around the world. While many have written this photo off as staged, it still leaves us distrusting of clowns – and cornfields for that matter.
While many people were convinced that the clown sightings were either practical jokes or promotional stunts for the 2017 release of the movie “It,” some communities were left terrified by the incidents. The disturbing clown phenomenon became so large, in fact, that McDonald’s announced that their mascot Ronald McDonald would be keeping a low profile in an effort to distance themselves and some of the costume-goers were arrested for criminal activity.
Christ The Redeemer
This rarely-seen perspective captured by drone, provides an aerial view of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue located on top of the 2,329-foot-high Corcovado Mountain in the sprawling Brazilian city. The statue stands at 124.7 feet tall and its construction took nine years to complete.
While the statue is huge, it is actually the third-largest statue of Christ in the world – after Bolivia’s Cristo de la Concordia and Poland’s Christ the King. Christ the Redeemer is the world’s largest art deco statue and stands so high that it regularly gets struck by lightning several times a year. In fact, in 2014, one of the statue’s fingers broke due to a lightning strike.
This aerial photo captured by drone photography depicts a sinkhole that opened up in Guatemala City after tropical storm Agatha hit the region in 2010, swallowing a three-story factory. Experts agreed that a combination of factors contributed to the formation of the sinkhole, not all of them natural. The cocktail of catalysts for the enormous sinkhole included Tropical Storm Agatha, the Pacaya Volcano eruption and leakage from sewer pipes.
The sinkhole covered an area of approximately 65 feet in diameter and 300 feet deep. Unfortunately, sinkholes are becoming a more frequent and highly unpredictable phenomenon in Guatemala City, partially due to lax city zoning regulations and building codes. Due to these reasons, geologists have demanded that the government inspect the sewer system more frequently.
A Silent Killer
This three-meter-long crocodile was spotted by a drone of the coast of a beach resort on Phuket Island, Thailand. Crocodiles can be very dangerous to humans considering their ability to strike before a person can react. The saltwater crocodile and Nile crocodile being the most dangerous, are responsible for hundreds of deaths in parts of Southeast Asia and Africa.
Local news reports stated that the crocodile in this photo captured by drone likely escaped from a nearby crocodile farm. Which begs us to ask the question – just who thought it was a good idea to build a crocodile farm next to the beach resort?! Now that’s just bad planning.
This gorgeous image of a sunken aircraft was taken by a drone flying above Morrison’s Quarry, located in Chelsea, Quebec. The quarry is just a 25-minute drive from Ottawa and will make you feel like you’ve completely left the country and landed in a tropical resort.
The site offers some beautifully clear water which is perfect for scuba diving. It is also home to the largest bungee jump in Canada. Apart from the submerged plane, there are also a tugboats and cars at the bottom of the water. As it turns out, all of the items were placed at the bottom of the body of water to spark more interest for the divers.
Staten Island Boat Graveyard
Did you know that right in the middle of one of the world’s largest cities, New York City, there is a boat graveyard hiding in plain sight? The location is known locally as the Staten Island boat graveyard, located just off the northern shore of the borough. The scrapyard was founded in the 1930s.
Originally used as a salvage yard, boats were dissembled and sold for parts but the project was eventually abandoned. Today, there are still around 100 vessels decomposing at the site. The destination has become a popular vantage point for photographers and artists, especially drone photographers looking to capture the unusual sight.
Mir Mine, Siberia
This aerial drone image comes to us all the way from the frozen tundra of Siberia. Seen in the image is the Mir mine, the first developed and largest diamond mine in the former Soviet Union. To date, the mine remains one of the largest excavated holes in the world.
The diamond-bearing deposits were discovered in 1955 by a team of Soviet geologists. The lead geologist, Yuri Khabardin, was awarded the Lenin Prize, one of the highest awards in the Soviet Union. During the mine’s heyday it produced 10,000,000 carats per year, making it a veritable gold mine for the then-struggling Soviet post-war economy.
Feeding The Ducks
This stunning drone image was taken above the Ba River, just downstream of Tuy Hoa City, Vietnam. A farmer can be seen feeding the hundreds of beautiful white ducks that are surrounding him. There is a long-standing tradition of duck farming in Vietnam.
Some 30 million ducks are raised annually in the country, which provides a significant amount of meat and eggs for its residents. Many ducks are raised seasonally in rice fields during the early growth of the crops as the ducks help to control insects and weeds, as well as providing manure for the rice plants which supply additional nutrients for them.
Pegasus Airline Flight 8622
This rare sight was captured by a drone in the Turkish city of Trabzon. The plane, Pegasus Airlines Flight 8622 was making a domestic flight within the country from the cities of Ankara to Trabzon when the aircraft ran off the left side of the runway, slid partially down a cliff and nearly fell into the Black Sea.
The airport temporarily closed following the incident and an investigation declared that the accident was a result of engine failure. The aircraft was severely damaged, with the right engine detaching and falling into the sea, and declared a hull loss. There were 168 passengers aboard the aircraft when it crashed, luckily authorities reported that no one was injured.
Located in New Delhi, India this building is known as The Lotus Temple and serves as the center of the Bahai’I faith for the region. As seen in this aerial drone shot captured by photographer Amos Chapple-Rex, the white marble building was designed to look like a blossoming lotus flower, surrounded by nine clear pools and gardens.
The temple was designed by Iranian-American architect Furiburz Sabha. The site attracts over 3.5 million visitors a year, making it one of the most visited sites in the world. The project took 10 years to complete and has been called by prominent Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, “one of the most remarkable achievements of our time, proving that the drive and vision of spirit can achieve miracles.”
This powerful photo captured by drone shows the destruction and flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey over the Houston metropolitan area. Armies of drones were used in the wake of the storm to assess damage to homes, roads, bridges, power lines, oil and gas facilities and office buildings.
Hurricane Harvey inflicted some $125 billion in damage, mostly due to flooding caused by the catastrophic rainfall, making it one of the most costly hurricanes on record in the United States -along with with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hundreds of thousands of homes were flooded, displacing around 30,000 people and prompting 17,000 rescues.
The Tubbs Fire
The Tubbs Fire was one of the most destructive fires in California’s history. The blaze broke out in October of 2017 and was, at the time, the most destructive fire in the state’s history. The fire destroyed 5,643 structures and caused around $1.3 billion worth of damage.
This drone image captured just a small part of the massive destruction caused by the flames. After a year-long investigation, the cause of the fire was deemed to have been pitted on the failure of a private electrical system. Half of the structures destroyed were homes in the city of Santa Rosa, California.
The Skies of Dubai
This breath-taking drone image was taken overlooking the towering skyline of Dubai, which looks as if it was emerging from the clouds. Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. The city is known as a global city and a major business hub in the Middle East. Today, Dubai is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
The city has long ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the Middle East. It is also home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa which took five years to complete and cost a whopping $1.5 billion.
Move It Or Lose It
The most abandoned and natural parts of the world are always the most captivating as they behold scenes you don’t stumble upon every day. This drone footage is the perfect example, and it shows that even marine organisms establish an unwritten, or should we say unspoken, code of law and hierarchy system.
This shark was snapped surrounded by a school of fish, but notice how the fish are keep their distance just in case the shark is feeling rather hungry. We’re almost sure at least one or two got a little too close for comfort and landed up as seafood. Whatever the case may be, this certainly makes for a beautiful shot.
Ever heard of the Kraken Hole? Otherwise known as the Glory Hole, some would say this drone footage is fake, even a hoax, but lo and behold it’s certainly real. Every last bit of it. Well, the hole is actually a man-made artificial spillway built in a Californian reservoir.
Man-made or not, this footage is certainly awesome, and if you didn’t know the backstory of it and you flew a drone over this reservoir, you would think you just spotted a vortex that sucks up random objects into the depths of the earth. It actually looks pretty freaky too, come to think of it.
Room With A View
Perhaps the view from this man’s room window wasn’t good enough, but what we can all agree on is that from way up this wind turbine, it sure is. It’s not entirely clear if he went up there for fun or to do some maintenance or repair work, but at least he had some fun while up there.
The best part is that this man took drone footage of himself and snapped a picture of him casually chilling on the top of the turbine with the breathtaking view behind him. The only question that remains is how on earth did he get down from there?!
Up, Close, And Personal
Whale watching is a pastime many only dream of experiencing, but getting this up, close, and personal with the mammalian wonders is not something even whale watchers get to tick off on their bucket lists. This group of people visiting Mexico certainly got lucky.
They took a boat ride when suddenly a gray whale swam right up to the boar and breached the water to give a quick wave hello. The whale was so close they could even touch it! Luckily this was all caught on camera in case no one believed them. What’s more, they lived to tell the tale.
Afraid Of Heights? Don’t Look
This aerial drone image shows a steep drop down a cliff face that would leave most people horror-struck. It’s unclear what the rock climber in the photo was feeling at the time this shot was captured, but there’s no doubt the climber already had some, or let’s hope tons of experience doing these kinds of gravity-defying stunts.
The climber is barely even visible against the terrifying backdrop, even with the neon top and helmet. The image just serves as a reality check that drones today serve the photography purpose helicopters did just a few years ago—one step closer to the dominion of machine over man. Just kidding.
Central Park During The Winter
With the fog floating over New York City, this photo almost looks as though it was taken for a post-apocalyptic film. Central Park appears bleak and desolate, which isn’t necessarily characteristic of a typical New York day. Where did all the people go when this was shot?
Well, New York City is known for its cold winters with regular snowfall (as well as its blistering hot summers, but that’s a different story). This flying drone captured Central Park from this aerial angle when it was covered in snow and resembled a true winter wonderland in the middle of the concrete jungle. So, of course, the reality was quite far from an actual zombie apocalypse.
Camels Crossing The Sand
This striking image looks almost as though it was animated. Captured by photographer Abdullah Alnassar using a Phantom 4 Advanced, the photo depicts a flock of camels passing through the iconic sand dunes of Saudi Arabia. The animals’ shadows create a dramatic mirror effect that only adds to the photo’s eye-catching composition and color.
Arabian camels, also known as dromedaries, are one-humped camels that inhabit the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Persian Gulf. They have been domesticated for some 3,500 years and can carry large loads for as much as 25 miles per day, though the camels in the photo don’t appear to be part of a caravan.
Mickey Mouse Fun
Who said solar panels can’t be fun? Duke Energy and Walt Disney World collaborated in 2016 to build a Mickey Mouse-shaped solar farm next to Epcot. Coined the Walt Disney World Solar Facility, the panel is visible from the air, which is fitting and sets the mood for the Epcot Center Drive, which is close by, as well as the Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort in Florida.
Duke Energy owns, operates, and builds on this five-megawatt solar farm, and in return, offers solar power to Walt Disney World. Duke’s are interested in adding more solar power to Florida, and building this Mickey Mouse panel was part of the company’s plans for future projects in the area.
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