65 photos that capture the beauty of the world from the air

Courtesy of Michael SchirnhoferHenningsvær, Norway.

Sometimes you need a different perspective, and aerial photographers understand that better than anyone.

These photographers capture everyday moments from the sky, creating some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring images. Everything from nature to infrastructure can be captured from the sky, using drones and helicopters.

These pictures of water, trees, roads, natural disasters, and current events prove that the view really is better from the top.


While a beachfront view is amazing, sometimes the ocean is even more beautiful from the sky.

Courtesy of Erez MaromCoastline aerial view.

Photographer Erez Marom took this photo on the coastline of the Dead Sea.


The coastline of Kauai, Hawaii, is just as beautiful from above too.

Courtesy of Erez MaromKauai, Hawaii.

Kauai has been nicknamed “The Garden Isle” for its sprawling landscapes.


The Skeleton Coast in Namibia, Africa, has a haunting beauty.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggSkeleton Coast, Namibia.

The photographer, Tobias Hägg, said this is “where ships and whales go to die.”


Some coastlines seem surreal, like this one on the Faroe Islands, which has a lake sitting atop a cliff.

Couresty of Michael SchirnhoferFaroe Islands.

The Faroe Islands is an archipelago in Denmark, that photographer Michael Schirnhofer describes as “surreal.”


The Faroe Island’s green cliffs are also inspiring from the air.

Courtesy of Michael SchirnhoferThe Faroe Islands.

The Faroe Islands consist of 18 smaller islands, each with steep cliffs, mountains, and endless waterfalls.


This aerial shot of Henningsvær, an island off the coast of Norway, highlights its soccer field.

Courtesy of Michael SchirnhoferHenningsvær, Norway.

Henningsvær is known as a fishing village, but residents still love their soccer.


These Badlands in Central Europe demonstrate some of the most beautiful natural occurrences in the ocean.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggBadlands in Central Europe.

Badlands are terrains shaped by erosion. Here, the Badlands were shaped by water. The photographer described the scene as a “lunar landscape.”


Although the Badlands have next to no vegetation, the beauty is still striking.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggBadlands in Central Europe.

Photographer Hägg said this is a “desert like no other.”


In other parts of the world, like Greenland, icebergs form in the water.

Courtesy of Erez MaromDisko Bay, Greenland.

This photo was taken in Disko Bay, Greenland.


When sunlight hits the icebergs, it creates a dazzling display of colours.

Courtesy of Erez MaromDisko Bay, Greenland.

Disko Bay has some of the largest icebergs outside of Antarctica, and you can take a boat tour of them.


Sometimes you can only see the peculiar nature of sea life from up above, like this heart-shaped school of salmon.

Jim Picôt/Drone Photo AwardsSchool of salmon in Australia.

Jim Picôt won the top prize at the 2020 Drone Photo Awards with this picture taken in Australia.


This humpback whale crossing the ocean near Iceland is a reminder of the life that lives in the waters.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggWhale from the air.

Hägg described this photo as a “majestic encounter.”


The humpback whales in Greenland are just as majestic.

Courtesy of Stian KloWhales in Greenland.

This photo was taken in Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Even flamingos look magical when photographed from above, like these ones in Kenya.

Martin Harveyl/Drone Photo AwardsFlamingos in Kenya.

This photo was taken by Martin Harvey at Lake Logipi in Kenya and was runner-up in the nature category at the 2020 Drone Awards.


From above, humans look just as synchronised in the water.

Roberto Corinaldesi/Drone Photo AwardsHumans catching a wave.

Roberto Corinaldesi’s photo “On the Sea” won first place at the Drone Photo Awards in the sport category.


But a boat in the ocean can look equally stunning if caught at the perfect moment.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggBoat in the water.

“No summer without a proper spin,” photographer Hägg wrote about this image.


Even a simple kayak in the Swedish lakes can make the perfect aerial shot.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggSwedish Lake.

“Feels so good to be back on my Swedish lakes,” photographer Hägg wrote. “Unpacking the kayak and just go out to find new corners of places I think I already know everything about always surprise me.”


When Mother Nature and man-made structures meet, the effect can be stunning. This jetty on the Amalfi coast in Italy is the perfect example.

Courtesy of Josh WelchA jetty on the the Amalfi coast, Italy.

“Always fascinated by the unique shapes used to try and separate man from the power of water and nature,” photographer, Josh Welch, said of this image.


Like water, trees can look even more impressive from a bird’s-eye view.

Courtesy of Erez MaromAerial shot of trees in Norway.

This photo was taken in Senja, an island off Norway.


This minimalistic photo of snow-capped trees from the sky is nothing short of magical.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggFrozen trees.

Photographer Hägg describes this picture as “a patch of frozen trees, an island of silver.”


This dense, Austrian forest stands at the edge of a lake.

Courtesy of Michael SchirnhoferAustria.

If you look closely, you can see a small boathouse between the forest and the water.


The Gesäuse National Park in Austria looks even better from above.

Courtesy of Michael SchirnhoferGesäuse National Park, Austria.

Gesäuse National Park in Austria is known for its limestone mountains, dense forests, and stunning scenery.


Likewise, the forest in Steiermark, Austria, seems to go on forever.

Courtesy of Michael SchirnhoferAustrian forest.

“I am still overwhelmed by those bird views,” photographer Michael Schirnhofer said about this image.


Some aerial shots of trees can capture a landscape stuck between seasons.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggA forest in Sweden.

Photographer Hägg describes this picture as a “small scene in a grand landscape.”


The greenery of this forest is contrasted by the red roof and darkened blue waters to its left.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggAerial view of a forest.

Hägg did not disclose the location of this forest.


This aerial shot captures a rainbow that formed above the trees in Hawaii.

Courtesy of Erez MaromKauai, Hawaii.

This photo was taken on the island of Kauai, which is known for its tropical rainforest.


This forest of colours is split in the middle by a single, black road.

Courtesy of Michael SchirnhoferSonnhofen, Austria.

This photo was taken in Sonnhofen, Austria.


Even roads can be beautiful from an aerial perspective, like this snaking road in Hungary.

Balazs Mohai/ APRoad in Hungary.

Just outside of Budapest, Hungary, this road leads through the snowy Pilis Mountains, according to the AP.


This U-shaped road cuts through a dense forest in Madeira, Portugal.

Courtesy of Michael SchirnhoferMadeira, Portugal.

Maderia has been called the “Pearl of the Atlantic” because of its year-round temperate climate and rolling green landscapes.


The roads twisting and turning through the Italian Alps are just as magical from the sky.

Courtesy of Josh WelchItalian Alps.

“Mountain roads and hidden golden larches,” photographer Josh Welch captioned this photo.


Calle de las Siete Revueltas is one of the most twisted roads in Spain.

Deensel/ FlickrCalle de las Siete Revueltas, Spain.

The road has seven sharp bends.


Some roads are scenic both on the ground and in the air, much like this one in South Dakota.

Courtesy of Morgy LoveSouth Dakota.

“Probably one of the most underrated places I’ve ever been,” the photographer, Morgan Love, said about this road in South Dakota. “I don’t know what I expected from the Dakotas, but it wasn’t this.”


This road magically splits seasons.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggA forest in Sweden.

This forest in Sweden seems caught between spring and winter.


Meanwhile, some roads seem to look like floating islands.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggA road in Sweden.

This photo was taken somewhere in Sweden.


This road in Tuscany, Italy, cuts through farmland.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggTuscany, Italy.

“One road to lead them all,” photographer Hägg said.


This scenic bridge in Norway stretches over the Djupfjorden, offering views of the snowy mountain tops nearby.

Courtesy of Stian KloDjupfjorden, Norway.

The bridge is almost 850 feet long (259 meters), and opened in 2003.


While not every road in the world is surrounded by picturesque, remote landscapes, aerial photography can even make traffic eye-catching.

Courtesy of Jordan HammondChengdu, China.

This colourful intersection is in Chengdu, China. Photographer Jordan Hammond said, “Having driven across this intersection on multiple occasions during my stay in Chengdu, it was only on my last day that I decided to launch the drone, and it sure blew me away.”


Get high enough, and the world can begin to show patterns, like these colourful flower fields just outside of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Peter Dejong/ APAmsterdam, Netherlands.

This flower field is located in Lisse’s Keukenhof, the largest flower garden in the world.


These Chinese rice fields resemble a stained-glass window.

Courtesy of Tobias HäggChinese rice fields.

These are Chinese rice fields that photographer Hägg describes as “one giant, artistic puzzle.”


This aerial photo of North Korea farmland captures the country in the middle of autumn.

David Guttenfelder/ APNorth Korea.

This farmland is located in Pyongyang, North Korea.


Even a palm plantation can create a beautiful pattern from the sky.

Antara Foto Agency/ ReutersIndonesia.

This location can be found in Dumai on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.


Bales of hay have never looked more symmetrical.

Pascal Rossignol/ReutersFarmland in France.

This photo was taken in Coquelles, which is in Northern France.


The patterns and lines of America’s farmland can best be seen from the air.

Courtesy of Mitch RouseWyoming.

Photographer Mitch Rouse said the symmetry in farmland “beg to be photographed.”


From a bird’s-eye view, you can see farmers keeping their industry alive.

Courtesy of Mitch RouseWyoming.

The workers on the ground bring movement to farmland photography.


Aerial photography even has the power to bring beauty to an industry some might find dull.

Courtesy of Mitch RouseWyoming.

“You can miss the beauty of it all from down on the ground,” photographer Rouse said. “From above, you have a whole new perspective and [can see] the beauty that this industry really creates.”


Farmland and fields are also the perfect places to take wedding photos.

Krzysztof Krawczykl/Drone Photo Awards‘Lovers on the Field.’

Krzysztof Krawczyk titled this photo “Lovers on the Field,” and it was runner-up in the wedding category at the 2020 Drone Photo Awards.


This photo shows the intricate textures of Mount Bromo, an active volcano in Indonesia.

Courtesy of Erez MaromMount Bromo, Indonesia.

Mount Bromo is located in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, which is four hours away from Surabaya. The massive volcano is 7,847 feet (2,392 meters) tall.


Aerial photos were able to capture the fiery beauty of Kīlauea’s last eruption in Hawaii.

Courtesy Erez MaromKīlauea, Hawaii.

The photographer, Erez Marom, said he accidentally melted his drone camera to get these aerial images.


Lava is best photographed from a distance.

Courtesy of Erez MaromHoluhraun, Iceland.

This photo was taken in Holuhraun, which is a lava field located in Iceland. The last eruption was in August 2014, and it didn’t stop until February 2015. The field of lava is about 33 square miles.


A volcanic eruption can have devastating consequences for the greenery in the region.

APPahoa, Hawaii.

In this photo, lava seeps through land fissures on the Big Island in Hawaii, according to the AP.


The dry deserts of Namibia are also gorgeous when viewed from above.

Courtesy of Erez MaromSossusvlei, Namibia.

This desert in Namibia is called Sossusvlei. Marom, the photographer, said that the image captured “an unbelievable misty morning above the intricate dunes.”


This is a bird’s-eye view of the famous pitchfork dune in the Namibia desert.

Courtesy of Erez MaromPitchfork dune, Namibia.

This photo was taken at sunrise in the Sossusvlei.


Aerial photos can capture the beauty of humans as well, like this group of people practicing tai chi.

China Daily China Daily Information Corp/ ReutersTai Chi in China.

This photo was taken in Qinyang in China’s Henan province, as a group of people practices the martial arts form in unison.


These people getting facials in China are also stunningly symmetrical.

China Stringer Network/ReutersGroup symmetry.

This photo was taken in Jinan, China.


This beautiful aerial shot captures a group of people participating in International Yoga Day.

Kamil Zihnioglu/ APGroup yoga.

This photo was taken at an International Yoga Day event in Paris, France.


From above, 600,000 people praying has a dizzying effect.

Azim Khan Ronnie/Drone Photo AwardsPeople praying in Bangladesh.

Azim Khan Ronnie took this photo in Bangladesh during Eid-ul-Fitr, a Muslim festival. The photo itself was the runner-up at the 2020 Drone Awards in the abstract category.


Architecture can take on a whole new look when photographed from a certain angle.

Courtesy of Henry DoCopenhagen, Denmark.

Photographer Henry Do told Insider that this apartment building is an example of “interesting, modern architecture.”


You can really appreciate a city’s symmetry through aerial photography.

Carmine Chiriacò/Drone Photo AwardsDubai Marina.

This photo of Dubai Marina by Carmine Chiriacò won runner-up at the 2020 Drone Awards in the urban category.


Some architecture can even look alien from a different vantage point.

Tomasz Kowalski/Drone Photo Awards‘Alien Structure on Earth.’

Tomasz Kowalski titled this photo of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur “Alien Structure on Earth.” It won first place in the urban category at the 2020 Drone Photo Awards.


Aerial photography shows us just how vast some cities are, like Athens, Greece, in this case.

Courtesy of Henry DoAthens, Greece.

Athens is the second-oldest city in Europe. Photographer Henry Do describes it as “busy and gritty.”


Or how dramatically, precariously built, like this seaside village that clings to the side of a cliff.

Courtesy of Henry DoCinque Terre, Italy.

Cinque Terre is comprised of five small villages on the coast of Italy that are known for their dramatic cliff-side locations.


Sometimes people create bizarre structures that are best appreciated from a bird’s-eye view.

Courtesy of Jordan HammondTianzi Hotel, China.

This structure is actually the Tianzi Hotel in China, which depicts three Chinese deities from the ancient world.

“Representing prosperity, good fortune, and longevity, this hotel may well be the most interesting work of art I’ve ever seen,” photographer Jordan Hammond wrote about this photo.


Aerial photography can also add dimension to current events.

APSix Flags in New Orleans.

This photo captures the effects of Hurricane Katrina on Six Flags in New Orleans, which remains abandoned to this day.


In 1997, aerial pictures captured crowds paying their respects outside of Kensington Palace immediately after Princess Diana’s death.

APKensington Palace in the UK.

Thousands of people left flowers, creating massive piles at the front gates.


When Boeing aeroplanes were grounded, an aerial photo captured the moment with satisfying symmetry.

Lindsey Wasson/ ReutersGrounded aeroplanes in Seattle.

The aeroplanes were grounded at a Boeing Field in Seattle.

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