The Drone Launch Aerial Photography Contest 2020 Finalists!


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We are excited to announce the finalists for the Drone Launch Aerial Photography Contest 2020!

We have been wanting to host an aerial photography contest for some time now, and we finally did it.

 There were nearly 400 photo submissions from the Drone Launch community.

 While there were many great photos submitted, the Drone Launch team was tasked with the difficult decision of choosing which photos would be selected for our 16 finalist spots.

 Then, it was up to you. We opened voting to the Drone Launch community, using a bracket system.

 On the first day of voting, you all narrowed the 16 finalists down to 8. On the second day, you chose your favorite 4. On the third day, you picked your top 2 choices. And on the final day of voting, you decided who would be the winner of the contest.

 We’ll show you (in no particular order) our 16 finalists, along with a short story behind each of them. Then, once you see all of the photos for yourself, we’ll reveal the winner (and runner-up) of the Drone Launch Aerial Photography Contest 2020  and you can see if your favorite was the favorite of the Drone Launch community!

Scott Ashcraft

Instagram: @swashc2

3rd at the Ballpark celebration by minor league Rumble Ponies team at Nyseg stadium.

Binghampton, NY

Drone: DJI Mavic Air 2

Jorge Garcia

Instagram: @jgarciaimagery

This is a composite image made up of four 5-second exposures taken with a DJI Mavic 2 Pro as a thunderstorm swept through Santa Teresa, NM. As an amateur storm chaser, I determined it was safe to launch after confirming on radar that the storm would keep its distance and track East.

Lightning is one of my favorite things in the world to photograph, especially at sunset because of the fiery colors combined with one of nature’s most beautiful yet deadly spectacles.

Santa Teresa, NM

Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Joshua Utterback

I took this photo the day of a snowstorm here in Payson. I was inspired by the amazing cloud formations in the sky while the sun was setting.

Payson, AZ

Drone: DJI Mavic Mini

Charlie Allocco

Instagram: @occolla

Taken in Norfolk VA, June 2018. First long exposure taken with my drone. Helped me get noticed in the local photography scene.

Backstory: I bought my first and current drone in June of 2017. In an effort to learn as much as I could, I flew almost every day from June – September and posted what I captured under #sleepinSeptember on Instagram. The knowledge and experience I gained from flying, shooting, editing, and posting every day was invaluable. It forced me to think creatively and to challenge myself every day to get better at aerial photography and all that comes with it.

I decided to do #sleepinSeptember again in the summer of 2018. For my first post, I wanted to do something new and exciting; something different from what I normally posted. I saw a few photos on Instagram of locals taking long exposures of a traveling Ferris wheel that had come to Norfolk for the summer: the Sky Star. I decided to try a long exposure from the air; something I had never tried before.

I was absolutely thrilled with the result. Sky Star reposted not only this photo, but another I took! A few local Instagram travel pages and photography collectives caught wind of it and reposted it on their Instagram pages as well! This brought in a lot of inquiries about my drone photography and if I was available for hire. At the time, I didn’t have my Part 107, so I turned them down, but told them I would reach out to them in the future to see how I could meet their needs. Unfortunately, I ended up moving across the state later that summer. I did finally get my 107 certification thanks to DLA!

I’m really proud of this photo. It’s one of my favorites that I’ve captured with my drone. This photo isn’t just just a colorful spectacle of a downtown attraction, but a final memory of the great city and the community that I was a part of for 3 years.

Norfolk, VA

Drone: DJI Mavic Pro

Jonathan Andrews

Instagram: @heartofthefoxphotos

Have you ever woken up before the sun and felt a rush a energy for the day ahead? I had a cup of coffee in my hand as I looked outside at the twilight and I saw that it was a cool, foggy morning. I grabbed my equipment and took a little personal adventure for myself. As the sun started to rise, I saw that the fog was diffusing the light in such a beautiful way and I had to capture it.

The town of Sharon, Wisconsin is a tiny, tiny town of about 1,600 people. We only lived in this tiny town for about a year, but it was home and it was slower than other places we had lived. I love to look at this photo and remember those little moments of calmer days.

Sharon, Wisconsin

Drone: DJI Mavic Air

Benjamin Shirley

Instagram: @shirleyaerial

I’ve always wanted to take a picture of Soldier Field and I got up early enough to capture a great photo during the early winter morning. I love it because the colours were spectacular.

Chicago, Illinois

Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Brad Smith

Instagram: @perceptiveb_photography

This is Courthouse Square of downtown Warren, OH. This is one of my favorites because of the courthouse layout and it’s from an overhead view.

Warren, Ohio

Drone: DJI Mavic Air

Henry Cromett

Instagram: @carhenlo

Was looking to capture the essence of fall at Reed College. Growing up this was my second backyard. The canyon has always been beautiful but especially from an aerial perspective.

Portland, OR

Drone: DJI Mavic Pro

Nigel Pereira

Instagram: @nigel.salvador.pereira

Was waiting for the right time of year where the tennis courts were almost hidden by the dense foliage. The photo looks great.


Drone: DJI Mavic Pro

Khairil Junos

Instagram: @kaj2020

The photo was taken in February 2018 from a white sandbank near Male, Maldives during a lunch break after a snorkeling trip. The sandbank was very secluded, I found it very unique and relaxing.

Male, Maldives

Drone: DJI Spark

Kevin Olson

Instagram: @marylanddroneguy

Sunrise at 5:45AM over a golf course.

Columbia, MD

Drone: DJI Mavic Air 2

Anthony Marino

Instagram: @iamdzine

I took many shots (8) 1 after another and much later, going through all my pictures, I realized, I have something special here. The original is super high resolution, I call it a megapixel picture.

Miami, FL

Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Kyle Meddaugh

Instagram: @onephotophoto

I love flying my drone over Eldredge Point, which juts into Lake Ontario’s Little Sodus Bay, at all times of the year. But it is particularly interesting in March, when the ice begins to thaw and creates massive cracks along the surface. Despite the ice and cold of this March day, the capture had an almost tropical feel to it, with its island colors.

Fair Haven, NY

Drone: DJI Spark

Michael Hubbs

I love the cool colors contrasting with the red Coast Guard ship.

Mackinaw City, MI

Drone: DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2

Daniel Taylor

Instagram: @designbydanielbrock

This photo was taken just after the sun set over downtown Houston’s iconic Theatre District. I currently work in the theatre industry, and I’ve always been enamored with this particular part of our city.

This photo offers a closer perspective of Houston’s iconic skyline and also highlights the Wortham Theater Center, the ultra modern Ballet Building, a tiny glimpse of the Downtown Aquarium and, of course, the city’s beloved Buffalo Bayou. If you look closely, you can see City Hall lit up in red, white, and blue directly across from The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Woven throughout these spectacular buildings are the brightly lit streets which normally guide visitors to their favorite performances or maybe a picnic in Sesquicentennial Park. Under current conditions, these once bustling streets are empty and quiet while the city retreats from the looming pandemic.

Houston, TX

Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Andrew Malott

Instagram: @andrew_malott

Decided to get the drone in the air to take some pictures of our farm’s wheat harvest this summer. It captures our Lexion Combine dumping on the go.

Star City, IN

Drone: DJI Mavic Air 2

So... who won?!

Alright, so now you’ve seen all of the great finalist photos.

So, do you have your favorite picked out? Do you think you’ve selected the winning photo?

Let’s see!

The winners are…

Runner-up: Khairil Jones' aerial photo of a beautiful island oasis!

Through bracket voting on our Instagram story, the Drone Launch community decided that Khairil’s photo earned him second place, as well as our runner-up prize: a $100 Amazon giftcard. Congrats, Khairil!

Male, Maldives

Drone: DJI Spark

First place: Charlie Allocco's mesmerizing Ferris wheel shot!

The Drone Launch community voted Charlie’s photo as the winner of the Drone Launch Aerial Photography Contest 2020! He’s also the winner of our grand prize, a $200 Amazon giftcard.

Norfolk, VA

Drone: DJI Mavic Pro

Thank you to everyone who entered their photos into our Drone Launch Aerial Photography Contest 2020.

There were so many great pictures submitted, and we can’t wait to see all of the amazing aerial photos that you’ll submit for our next contest!

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Drone Launch Academy has helped over 40,000 drone pilots learn how to fly drones, pass the Part 107 Exam, and learn the skills they need to start making money with drones.

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