Winning images from SkyPixel 2024, the competition for those who shoot with drones

The award now in its ninth year shows how the technique of photographers and videomakers is evolving over time, going on to explore new themes and aesthetics.

SkyPixel, one of the world’s most famous online communities for aerial photography and videography, has announced the winners of the ninth edition of its SkyPixel Photo & Video Contest. Organized in collaboration with DJI, this year’s competition attracted more than 130,000 submissions, including entries from professionals, enthusiasts, and new talents. The judging panel consisted of prominent industry professionals, including Wen Huang, a World Press Photo judge and Senior Editor, Anne Farrar, Assistant Photography Chief Editor at National Geographic, Daniel Kordan, a renowned landscape photographer, Michael Fitzmaurice, the Aerial Director of Photography of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Xiaoshi Zhao, known for his award-winning work, Bing Xi, a prominent figure in the Chinese TVC industry, and the celebrated filmmaker Brandon Li.

The video judging panel this year chose Luke Bredar’s video, Haines Alaska Through the Eyes of Luke Bredar as the winner of the section. The short film captures a skier racing down a snowy mountain, with breathtaking shots of Alaska’s winter landscape. The photography jury selected the photo Mongolian Yurt, taken with a Mavic 3 Pro at three times zoom, for the Annual Best Work Prize. Captured on a snowy morning in the Ulan Butung grasslands of Inner Mongolia, the photo depicts herdsmen preparing alongside their animals, horses, and camels. Their yurt is at the center of the composition. The tones of the picturesque photo almost resemble a traditional Chinese ink painting.

The increase in people-focused documentary content reflects photographers’ engagement with and desire to explore the human experience. Using aerial imagery, they capture urban transformations, but also striking everyday moments. Among the Top 10 images of the year, Fatigue Sleep, chronicles two boatmen in Sadarghat, Bangladesh as they relax on their boats. Due to climate change in Bangladesh, many riverine people have lost their homes due to frequent floods, river erosion, and other natural disasters. They are forced to migrate to Dhaka where their day starts and ends on the boat.

The pursuit of extreme heights is also evolving into a more sophisticated understanding of aerial composition, leading photographers to explore lower camera positions or new angles. Consequently, there has been an increasing number of works centered on everyday subjects, capable of capturing beauty even in the ordinary. City Spider-Man, Nominated photography, depicts workers handling the high-altitude cleaning of a stadium facade. The photo of the month, on the other hand, is Picture Scroll of Sea Current, which elegantly evokes a sense of softness and fluidity with graceful curves, skillfully playing with contrast and capturing the peaceful harmony of the landscape.

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