The Drone Launch Aerial Photography Contest 2021 Finalists!


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The 16 finalists of our Drone Launch Aerial Photography Contest 2021

First of all, thank you to everyone who submitted an aerial photo for the contest. There were over 200 great submissions!

And thank you to everyone who voted over on our Instagram stories.

We used bracket-style voting over the course of a few days. On day 1, you narrowed the 16 finalists down to the top 8. Then the next day, you narrowed it down to the final 4. On day 3 of voting, you chose your 2 favorites. And finally, on day 4, you voted for the photo that you wanted to win the entire contest.

Here are all 16 finalist photos, along with a short story behind each of them.

At the end of this blog post, we’ll announce the winner and runner-up!

Art Koch

Instagram: @arthurkochstudio

I like this photo because of wide angle expanse using the panorama mode on my Mavic 2 Pro. It was during the magic hour so the lighting is balanced between the colorful sunset and window lights in the building. It gives me a sense of awe and reminds me why I have lived in this beautiful city for over 30 years.

San Francisco, CA

Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Chase Gensheimer


I woke up early to a foggy morning. It was beautiful and I decided to take a kayak ride by myself in the silence. It was surreal.

Brantingham, NY

Drone: DJI Mavic Air 2

Chris McKenna

Instagram: @chris_mckenna_photography

I was out flying the drone in the Mt. St. Helens area attempting to find a good vantage point of the volcano while still maintaining legal ability to do so. When I was done and working my way back home, I decided to take the scenic route and find areas to fly around and shoot photographs/video. I came across a lake that had an incredible view of Mt. Rainier on one side, but it was inaccessible. Fortunately for me, I had the drone and was able to position it in an area to capture the photo. Luck was on my side, too, as it was during the golden hour and the light falling on the mountain gave me an incredible site to behold.

Mineral, WA

Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

David Christiansen

Instagram: @dmchristiansen

I was “up north” on a road trip in my home state of Michigan and was capturing the fall colors. I decided to point the drone camera down at one point and loved the textures and colors and patterns I saw with this photo. Picking this location was pure luck, I saw some nice colors from the car and decided to randomly pull over in the middle of nowhere to launch my drone. I would have totally missed this if I would have kept on driving.

Fife Lake, MI

Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Don Valentine

Instagram: @valentinephotog

The local annual fair was taking place and I was in the area, so I parked my car at a local shopping mall lot and took my drone up to capture this.

Pottstown, PA

Drone: DJI Phantom 3

Don Yeoman Jr.

Instagram: @magicdonnie

Was shooting some horse farm photos when my drone gimbal broke and would only look straight down. Before bringing the drone in and sending it in for repair, I captured this image.

Springfield, KY

Drone: DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Elane Graves

Instagram: @egravesphoto

The photo was taken in October 2021 and was my first trip with the MV2P where there was unlimited open space. The desert formations are really magnificent and I was struggling with my DSLR camera to get the right composition. I popped up the drone and was able to eliminate foreground clutter and position it in a way that was impossible with the DSLR. I love the way the morning sun kisses the edge of each formation give the canyon depth.

Hanksville, UT

Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Forrest Govoni

Instagram: @snowytree

This photo has been on my ‘bucket list’ of photos to take for a few years, I had wanted to do it the correct way with a permit from the USFS which was lengthy & expensive process but well worth it. The day itself was hectic flying from sunrise to sunset.

Lincoln, NH

Drone: DJI Mavic Air 2S

Jack Dent

Instagram: @jdent16

I took this on my DJI Mini 2 in May 2021, we got engaged here a year earlier and went up to do the cliff walk around golden hour so took the drone just in case conditions were good and it was probably the best conditions/lighting I’d ever had there before. I’d only had the drone a few months before this shot so was happy with how it turned out!

Dublin, Ireland

Drone: DJI Mini 2

Joe DiDario

Instagram: @joedidariophotography

Overhead view of an amusement park, taken prior to the start of the Jersey Shore 2021 Summer Season

Beach Haven, NJ

Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Kara Murphy

Instagram: @karaemurphy

This photo was captured when I visited San Francisco last. I have a lot of history with this city, and it has shaped me into the person I am today. When Salesforce Tower was first constructed, there was outrage. People complained it was too tall, unsightly and ruined the city’s skyline. But, when captured in the right light, it really is a beauty.

San Francisco, CA

Drone: DJI Air 2S

Kevin Olson

Instagram: @marylanddroneguy

This photo was taken during my trip to Aruba in January 2021. I did some research on Google Maps before my trip to scout some locations and I knew going there that I wanted a photo of this pier. This is one of my absolute favorite shots I have taken so far.

Palm Beach, Aruba

Drone: DJI Mavic Air 2

Maddy Washburn

Instagram: @mmaaddzz

The sun was setting behind the mountains on the island and I had just enough battery to grab a few quick shots before the sun disappeared. The Catalina Express boat also happened to be taking off right as I launched.

Catalina Island, CA

Drone: DJI Mavic Pro 2

Matt Nugent

Instagram: @wingwalkerphotos

I am locally born and raised in Seattle, WA. I grew up looking at photos of the downtown Seattle Skyline, mostly photos you had to have a helicopter to even attempt to capture. Nowadays, the versatility of Drones allow for an even closer proximity than a helicopter would ever even try. I had to attempt this for myself and love how this photo turned out. All UAS flights are in accordance with FAA rules and regulations.

Seattle, WA

Drone: DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ V2

Michael Gerking

Instagram: @mtgdrone

Harvest at dusk in Iowa. Farmers often work long after sundown to harvest crops such as corn in rural Iowa.

Lake Park, IA

Drone: DJI Mavic Air 2

Ryan Cameron

Instagram: @Rcameronphotography

I was in Vegas for a friend’s wedding. I brought the drone along with me and had gone through the process of asking for permission to fly near the High Roller and gotten permission to fly. I also had to coordinate that permission with DJI’s app so my drone would take off. This was my first time flying needing special permission. I thought lining up the setting sun with the center of the wheel would make a very cool shot and it definitely did.

Las Vegas, NV

Drone: DJI Air 2S

And the winners are...

Runner-up: Kevin Olson!

Instagram: @marylanddroneguy

The Drone Launch community voted Kevin’s photo as the runner-up. He won a $100 Amazon gift card!

Congratulations, Kevin!

Palm Beach, Aruba

Drone: DJI Mavic Air 2

First place: Chase Gensheimer!


Chase’s photo was crowned the winner of the contest! He won the grand prize, which was a $200 Amazon gift card.

Awesome job, Chase!

Brantingham, NY

Drone: DJI Mavic Air 2

Thanks again to everyone who participated in our Drone Launch Aerial Photography Contest 2021.

We’re looking forward to the next photo contest!

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