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Best drone photographs of 2017



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It is amazing to see the images that are captured by drones. If it weren’t for these incredible machines, it would be nearly impossible to capture some of the photos that they have been able to. When you think about it, drones are able to take pictures and videos from a height that is far less than that of an airplane, but more than what could be taken by a camera attached to some sort of stand. They are able to seamlessly capture a bird’s eye view of the images that they are after.

In 2017, we began to see more and more drone pictures and videos as they hit the Internet. With constant technological advances, the pictures became better and easier for drone pilots and hobbyists to capture. Though there were hundreds of thousands of great photos that were taken by drone and made available to the public, we’ve determined the list of the top twenty. These are not listed in any specific order, but are noted as the best twenty drone pictures of 2017.

Number 1: This one is captioned as “Water Lily.” It shows a woman in a pond in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam that is harvesting water lilies. The picture is stunning because it is sharp, and shows water lilies floating with a small canoe, the woman harvesting them, and bright lilac flowers.

Number 2: The caption for this one is “Concrete Jungle.” This is a photo taken above the tall buildings of Dubai. You can tell the height of this photo is incredibly high since it is able to capture the tops of these high skyscrapers in the middle of the city. You can also view the sidewalks and smaller buildings that are below.

Number 3: This is captioned as “Friendship.” This incredible photo shows two ladies sitting at the edge of the ocean on the island of Maupiti in French Polynesia. The drone that is responsible for this image is up high enough to also capture two large stingrays that are directly in front of the ladies in the shallow water.

Number 4: This one has a caption of “Dawn on Mercury Tower.” This stunning photo features men that are doing window cleaning on one of the large towers in Moscow. They refer to it as Mercury Tower because of the glowing reddish color.

Number 5: The caption for this picture is “Stairway to Heaven.” This is an incredible image showing the staircase that leads to a beautiful beach in Algarve, Portugal. It shows a desolate beach that is able to be reached by travelling down multiple flights of steps that are carved in the side of a cliff.

Number 6: This one is captured as “The Majestic Beast Nanuk.” In this image, you’re able to see a large polar bear as it easily crosses one large piece of ice onto another over the sea. The bear is stretched across the water as it glides over to the other piece of ice.

Number 7: This photo is captioned as “Rising Waters.” It is a stunning photo of a lonely cottage located between New York and Canada when the water has begun to rise and fall colors are also beginning to show. The small house has water almost to the entryway in this incredible picture.

Number 8: The caption for this one is “Portuguese Surfer.” This image is of surfer in the icy waters of Portuguese in February. The stunning photo captures some very cold looking waves and a surfer as he paddles to the top of them.

Number 9: This really neat picture has a caption of “Quad Bikes in the Dunes.” It shows four quads and their riders along with their shadows as they cross the massive desert dunes at sunset in the Namibian desert. The birds eye view of the photograph makes it look as though the quads are gliding across brown silk.

Number 10: The caption for this stunning image is “Swimming with Whales.” In this photograph, you’re able to see a large blue whale swimming in the ocean with one lone diver above the water and not too far away from it. In the picture, you’re also able to see the different depths of the water from above due to the topography of the ocean floor below.

Number 11: This beautiful photo has the caption “Exploring the Kefalonia Melissani Cave.” This image is of one lone boat that is within the center of water within the Kefalonia Melissani Cave in Greece. You can see the mountain and greenery around one small boat that sits in what appears to be a small body of water that is located within the cave.

Number 12: This stunning photo that looks a lot like a canvas painting is simply captioned “Marigolds.” It shows a group of gardeners picking marigolds in the morning on a farm in Sukhothai, Thailand. The incredible birds eye view makes this photo look like something you would see hanging in a beautiful home.

Number 13: The image in this photo is captioned “Sveti Stefan Hotel.” This cool picture shows an incredibly high birds eye view of the Sveti Stefan Hotel in Montenegro. It shows the angles that the brick-colored buildings are sitting at and gives an idea of how large the hotel is that can only be reached via a bridge across water.

Number 14: This nostalgic-looking image has the caption of “Cruising Route 66.” In this picture, you can see a couple in a class blue Ford Mustang convertible as they are cruising the infamous Route 66. In the photo, you can see the woman passengers arms up as they are riding carefree.

Number 15: This neat image is captioned as “Tropical Island Beach, Dominican Republic.” In this image, you’re able to see the beaches of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic as the sun begins to set. The photo shows the shadows that are cast by the large palm trees, which makes it look like there are many more trees on the island than there actually are. It also shows beautiful surfboards that are brightly painted and sticking in the sand.

Number 16: This interesting image is captioned as “Cracked Mud Boating.” In the picture you’re able to see a family rowing a small boat in the middle of what appears to be a very shallow body of water. In the image, you’re able to see the bottom of the water, which looks like it is cracked mud.

Number 17: The caption for this image is “Motorbike Bridge over River in Thailand.” This stunning image shows two motorbikes as they race along a trail over water and with waves crashing beside them in Thailand. The stunning blue and white of the waves make it almost impossible to tell if the water is coming towards them from the sides or is falling down beside them.

Number 18: This stunning photo has the caption of “The Salt Fields of Bac Lieu on the Mekong Delta.” Many people have never seen a salt field in their life and this incredible image gives a very cool birds eye view of them. You can see mounds of salt with people on top of them in a salt field.

Number 19: The caption for this relaxing image is “Rio De Janeiro.” In the picture, you can see a woman lying out on the beautiful brown sand as the waves make their way towards her. You can definitely tell the sense of relaxation in the pic and the lack of worries the sunbather currently has.

Number 20: This incredible image is simply titled “Hippos.” It is an aerial view of the hippopotamus that are in the Serengeti National Park. Just seeing the number of them with their incredible size is fascinating.

Seeing all of these incredible photos that were taken by drone in 2017 gives us a lot of hope that even better images are to come in 2018. As drone batteries continue to develop to allow longer flight times, we can only assume that places never reached before will become reachable and we’ll get a glimpse at the incredible images and videos that they have in store. Since cameras also continue to advance with better capturing abilities, there is no doubt that the list for the best pictures in 2018 will also be incredible.


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Amazing Drone Video Shows Mega Colonies of Penguins!



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Drones have helped scientists find mega colonies of penguins – over 750,000 pairs – in protected areas in the Antarctic Peninsula.

The journal Nature reports that a “multi-modal survey” including ground counts and computer automated counts of drone imagery, showed huge populations of Adélie penguins in the Danger Islands off of the norther tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The survey served to demonstrate the results of using satellite and drone imagery for environmental surveys.

“Despite concerted international effort to track and interpret shifts in the abundance and distribution of Adélie penguins, large populations continue to be identified,” says the article.  “Here we report on a major hotspot of Adélie penguin abundance identified in the Danger Islands off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). We present the first complete census of Pygoscelis spp. penguins in the Danger Islands, estimated from a multi-modal survey consisting of direct ground counts and computer-automated counts of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery.”

“Our survey reveals that the Danger Islands host 751,527 pairs of Adélie penguins, more than the rest of AP region combined, and include the third and fourth largest Adélie penguin colonies in the world. Our results validate the use of Landsat medium-resolution satellite imagery for the detection of new or unknown penguin colonies and highlight the utility of combining satellite imagery with ground and UAV surveys.”

Scientists say that the Danger Islands “appear to have avoided recent declines” which have been documented on the Western Antarctic Pensinsula and “deserve special consideration in the negotiation and design of Marine Protected Areas in the region.”

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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Amazing Drone Video Shows Mega Colonies of Penguins! was originally posted at by Miriam McNabb


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Drone Racing is Racing for Good: IDRA Claims Miracle Flights as Official Charitable Partner




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Drones are well suited for saving lives and performing miracles – and the drone industry has been generous in charitable endeavors.  Drone racing is not to be left behind.  The International Drone Racing Association (IDRA) has announced that Miracle Flights, the nation’s leading health and welfare flight organization, is the official charitable partner for the 2018 Drone Racing Series and 2018 Challengers Cup.

The following is from the joint press release by the two organizations:

Established in 1985, Miracle Flights provides free commercial air transportation to critically ill children in need of medical care far from home.

The newly announced partnership fits perfectly into IDRA’s mission to grow the motorsport and international drone community. Our community’s youth are not only the future of the hobby, but also the platform for which the drone market and technologies will continue to develop. With Miracle Flights as the official charitable partner of IDRA, we can use professional and semi-professional drone races as a new medium to promote this organization’s endeavors and raise donations from sponsors and the drone community to help more children receive life-changing medical treatment.

“Miracle Flights is an amazing nonprofit organization that provides thousands of flights to children from all over the world,” said Justin Haggerty, President and CEO of IDRA. “It is our pleasure at IDRA to work with Miracle Flights as our official charitable partner. I hope the partnership bares many fruits and gives our drone community the chance to help a child in need.”

Now in its 33rd year, Miracle Flights has provided more than 114,000 free flights to help children with rare and life-threatening conditions gain access to specialized medical care out of state.

“IDRA has engaged an incredible community of individuals across the country and around the world,” said Miracle Flights CEO Mark E. Brown. “To have them partner with us in our mission to improve access to healthcare for seriously ill children is a true honor. We look forward to everything we can accomplish—and the lives we can change—together.”



Drone Racing is Racing for Good: IDRA Claims Miracle Flights as Official Charitable Partner was originally posted at by


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Lighting Up the Skies with Lume Cube



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Lume Cube Lighting Kits give drone pilots the chance to pilot a spotlight in the sky. We took the Mavic Pro Lighting Kit for a spin to see what all the fuss is about. 

Lume Cube market their product as the world’s most versatile light. And they may have a point. These lights can be used with smartphones, GoPros and DSLRs. They can be mounted, sat down or simply handheld. They can be set to varying degrees of brightness or just strobe at whatever speed you feel like. And you can control all of those features through an app.

They can also be attached to your drone, which is where we come in. We’ve been testing out the Lume Cube lights and the company’s mounts for the Mavic Pro. Both are needed if you want to try your hand at flying a spotlight in the sky.

What is a Lume Cube?

So let’s start with the obvious question: What is a Lume Cube? Simply, it’s a portable light.

But it’s no ordinary light. This light is encased inside a rugged, mountable cube and can be connected to your smartphone. It’s also waterproof. So what’s the benefit of all that? Well, if you’re a GoPro user, a keen outdoor photographer or even a drone pilot, using a Lume Cube gives you more control over the light conditions in your shots.

You can illuminate a scene for night photography or light up a dimly lit area with the touch of a button. You can sync the flash to go just before you hit record or take a photograph. You can also get really creative with light when it’s in the palm of your hand, particularly when you mount a Lume Cube or two onto a drone.

Which is where Lume Cube’s Mavic Mounts come in. Not only does the Lume Cube Lighting Kit for the Mavic Pro help illuminate your drone in dark conditions. It also gives you a new tool to help you explore your aerial creativity.

The Lighting Kit comes with two mounts and two Lume Cubes, one for each side of the drone.

Each Cube has 10 manual brightness settings that change in increments of 150 lumens. The brightest setting maxes out at 1500 lumens. We don’t know much about lumens, but we do know that the highest setting on these cubes is ridiculously bright. If you’re shooting at night for whatever reason, they are more than powerful enough to illuminate natural features like trees or rocks.

The Lume Cubes clip onto the wings of the Mavic Pro with a lightweight mount. And it has to be. Because each Cube weighs 3.5 ounces. Despite our reservations, the Mavic Pro didn’t have any problem lifting them off the ground and flying comfortably.

The biggest issue we faced was attaching the mount in the dark in cold weather. It’s fair to say that the plastic mounts aren’t as rugged as the Cubes themselves. Impatient hands and low visibility actually led to us breaking the mounts before take-off while trying to clip them on, but we were still able to attach them and take the Lume Cubes for a spin.

Read more: Hands On Review With DJI’s CrystalSky Monitor

The extra weight took a few minutes off the battery life as you might expect, and the Mavic certainly wasn’t as nimble as it would be without them, but those are minor compared to the benefits of flying your very own spotlight.

The Lume Cube Lighting Kit

Each Lume Cube can be charged up with a standard USB cable. The battery life sits can last for more than 2 hours, depending on how bright your settings are.

Read more: Hands On With PolarPro’s Elektra Cinematic Color Presets

The Cubes and the free Lume Cube application are compatible with both Apple and Android. Through the app, you can control flash, duration and brightness of multiple cubes all at the same time.

Lume Cube Price and Compatibility

Now, you’re probably wondering two things at this point. First, how much is one of these Lighting Kits going to set you back? And second, what drones are Lume Cube Lighting Kits compatible with?

The Lighting Kits cost $179. These include two Cubes, the mounts for your drone and all the cables you need to keep them charged.

In terms of compatibility, the Lume Cube team has done its best to make sure there are kits available for all of the most popular drones on the market. That means you can buy dedicated Lighting Kits for the Mavic Pro, the Phantom range, the Inspire range and even for the now-defunct GoPro Karma, Autel’s X-Star and the Yuneec Typhoon H.

Looking for a lighting rig for your Mavic Air or Spark? We wouldn’t count on this happening anytime soon. Those tiny drones probably aren’t going to be strong or stable enough to carry two of these Cubes.

Final Thoughts

Lume Cubes offer a great way to add some creativity and versatility to your photography. At $179 a Lighting Kit isn’t cheap, but in reality, these lights are going to last you years and can be used in so many different scenarios. If you do decide to upgrade your drone, new mounts alone are only a small fraction of that price.

Rather than using Lume Cubes to light your drone’s way, we recommend getting behind a DSLR and using your drone to guide a spotlight into place over an interesting scene.

The posts below from the Lume Cube community are good examples of that. We did try to recreate a couple, but we’re going to need some more practice before they are worthy of publication…

Malek Murison is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for tech trends and innovation. He handles product reviews, major releases and keeps an eye on the enthusiast market for DroneLife.
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Lighting Up the Skies with Lume Cube was originally posted at by Malek Murison


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