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47 breath-taking images from the International Space Station

(Pocket-lint) – Space is an incredible place, not just for the breathtaking views from new angles, but no doubt for the sheer feeling of insignificance the visions of our universe must give for astronauts lucky enough to blast off up and out of the atmosphere. 

The International Space Station is in regular orbit around the Earth. Not only serving as a home to astronauts and cosmonauts but also functioning as a unique science laboratory. 

Circling the Earth at roughly 250 miles up, travelling at 17,500 mph and orbiting the planet every 90 minutes, the space stations bares witness to some pretty incredible views. We’ve gathered some of the most impressive for you to see. 


Sun selfie

A close-up of the action shows one of the engineers on the space station carrying out repairs on the station during a spacewalk. This image was captured in 2017 and shows a brilliant view with the sun glaring in the distance. 

“Expedition 32 flight engineer Suni Williams appears to touch the bright Sun during the mission’s third spacewalk. During the six-hour, 28-minute spacewalk, Williams and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide (visible in the reflections of Williams’ helmet visor), flight engineer, completed the installation of a Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) that was hampered last week by a possible misalignment and damaged threads where a bolt must be placed. “


Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, northern Colombia

Mountain ranges make for a regularly popular image of our world as captured by those orbiting above. Somehow these giant landmasses appear insignificant when seen from this view and yet they are some of the tallest and most impressive sights our Earth has to offer.

This photo of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta was taken from 215 miles above: 

“This early morning image, taken by astronauts looking from the International Space Station, shows a dramatic view of the many peaks of Colombia’s Santa Marta massif.

The highest of these (approximately 5700 m, 18,700 feet), named for Christopher Columbus, is so high that it supports a small but permanent snow cap (image far left), even though it lies only ten degrees north of the Equator.

The summits are so high that trees cannot grow–landscapes appear grey because only grass and small shrubs can survive the cold. Interestingly, glacial erosion features can be seen throughout the grey summit zone area–showing that an ice cap hundreds of times larger than the snow cap existed during the geologically recent ice ages.

Most of the image shows the lower slopes covered with the green tinge of forests. A forest fire gives off smoke in a large valley. 

The Santa Marta snow cap is the only place where snow can be seen from the tropical beaches of the Caribbean coast, 45 km distant (outside the top of the image). The region is a tourist attraction because visitors experience changes in climate, landscapes, vegetation and wildlife as they ascend the mountains. The massif contains dozens of endemic species. Much of the massif is now protected as a national park, now designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1979. A 2013 report identifies the reserve as the most irreplaceable park in the world for threatened species.”


Scandinavia at night

Space is an incredible place, not just for the breathtaking views from new angles, but no doubt for the sheer feeling of insignificance the visions of our universe must give for astronauts lucky enough to blast off up and out of the atmosphere. 

The International Space Station is in regular orbit around the Earth. Not only serving as a home to astronauts and cosmonauts but also functioning as a unique science laboratory. 

Circling the Earth at roughly 250 miles up, travelling at 17,500 mph and orbiting the planet every 90 minutes, the space stations bares witness to some pretty incredible views. We’ve gathered some of the most impressive for you to see. 


ISS repairs

Of course, orbiting the planet, the International Space Station needs regular repairs and these are parts of the duties of the crew. The highlights of their work include some pretty magnificent views:

“Backdropped by a colorful Earth, including land mass that covers parts of New Zealand, astronaut Robert L. Curbeam Jr. (left) and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Christer Fuglesang, both STS-116 mission specialists, participate in the mission’s first of three planned sessions of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction resumes on the International Space Station.”


The Nile at night

Another incredible view from the space station captured by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) shows the view of the River Nile at nighttime. The streetlights and lights from the cities and towns below look almost like fires burning on the Earth’s surface. 


The deserts of Iran

The views of the deserts of Iran from space show some fascinating patterns in the surface below. Almost fluid-like, these sights are actually rock formations and the results of erosion too:

“As the International Space Station passed over the deserts of central Iran, including Kavir, one of the Expedition 38 crew members used a digital camera equipped with a 200mm lens to record this image featuring an unusual pattern of numerous parallel lines and sweeping curves.

The lack of soil and vegetation allows the geological structure of the rocks to appear quite clearly. According to geologists, the patterns result from the gentle folding of numerous, thin, light and dark layers of rock. Later erosion by wind and water, say the scientists, cut a flat surface across the folds, not only exposing hundreds of layers but also showing the shapes of the folds.

The dark water of a lake (image centre) occupies a depression in a more easily eroded, S-shaped layer of rock. The irregular light-toned patch just left of the lake is a sand sheet thin enough to allow the underlying rock layers to be detected. A small river snakes across the bottom of the image. In this desert landscape, there are no fields or roads to give a sense of scale. In fact, the image width represents a distance of 65 kilometres.”


The moon 16 times a day

The International Space Station takes some adjusting too. The orbit around the Earth happens with such frequency that the astronauts get an intriguing view – including seeing the moon rise 16 times a day. 

“On Sunday, July 31, 2011, when Expedition 28 astronaut Ron Garan aboard the International Space Station looked out his window, this is what he saw: the moon. And, he saw it 16 times. Said Garan, “We had simultaneous sunsets and moonsets.” For Garan and the rest of the station crew, this extraordinary event is a daily occurrence. Since the station orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, each day the crew experiences this about 16 times a day.”


Rivers and snow in the Himalayas

The Himalayan range of mountains makes for some incredible views wherever you are fortunate enough to see them. From the International Space Station, the sight looks even more intriguing. The veins on the surface show where the rivers and waters have cut through the landscape. 

The photo from 2015 shows a fantastic image of the snow-encrusted mountain ranges below:

“This oblique image was taken from the International Space Station as astronauts flew over the Himalaya range in China near the Indian border. The view shows one of the main ranges of the Himalaya Mountains across the bottom of the image, where peaks cast strong evening shadows against the snow. The peaks reach great altitudes (5200 m, 17,000 feet), with those just outside the lower margin reaching high enough (6500 m, 21,325 feet) to host glaciers. 

Rivers have eroded rock from these high mountains and deposited the sediment as broad alluvial fan surfaces (across the middle of the image). The snow cover shows these strikingly smooth surfaces. A trellis-work of gullies cuts into these surfaces casting sinuous shadows. The largest river in the view has cut a 500 m-deep (1650 foot) canyon through the fans (image left). 

Although the rivers in the view drain northward from the Himalayas, they ultimately flow back south through the mountain ranges as the Sutlej River (outside the image)–in one of the largest canyons in the world–before entering the lowlands of Pakistan and finally reaching the Arabian Sea.”


The eye of the storm

In 2003, Astronaut Ed Lu captured this broad view of Hurricane Isabel from the International Space Station. This image nicely shows the eye of the storm and the majesty of nature. 


The eye of Hurricane Isabel

Snapped in September 2003, this image shows a view over the Atlantic Ocean and the eye of Hurricane Isabel as it passed over that area. 

These views of cloud formations and harsh weather conditions look a lot less threatening from above. Certainly a beautiful view of the wonder of mother nature. 


Mt Cleveland

This photo, taken in 2006, shows an aerial view of Mt Cleveland as it erupts – an ash cloud bursting forth into the atmosphere. A thoroughly impressive view of nature at its most dangerous:

“Eruption of Cleveland Volcano, Aleutian Islands, Alaska is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 13 crewmember on the International Space Station.

This most recent eruption was first reported to the Alaska Volcano Observatory by astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams, NASA space station science officer and flight engineer, at 3:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time (23:00 GMT).

This image, acquired shortly after the beginning of the eruption, captures the ash plume moving west-southwest from the summit vent. The eruption was short-lived; the plume had completely detached from the volcano summit two hours later. Ash plumes from Cleveland Volcano have reached heights of 12 kilometres and can present a hazard to trans-Pacific jet flights.

The fog bank visible at image top centre is a common feature of the Aleutian volcanoes. Cleveland Volcano, situated on the western half of Chuginadak Island, is one of the most active of the volcanoes in the Aleutian Island chain extending west-southwest from the Alaska mainland. At a summit elevation of 1,730 meters, this stratovolcano is the highest in the Islands of the Four Mountains group. Carlisle Island to the north-northwest, another stratovolcano, is also part of this group. Magma that feeds eruptions of ash and lava flows from the volcano is generated by subduction of the northwestward-moving Pacific Plate beneath the North American Plate. As one tectonic plate subducts beneath another, melting of materials above and within the subducting plate produce magma that can eventually move to the surface and erupt through a vent (such as a volcano). Cleveland Volcano claimed the only known eruption-related fatality in the Aleutian Islands during 1944.”


Momotombo volcano, Lake Managua

In late 2018, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station snapped this photo of Momotombo Volcano in Western Nicaragua. Hard to believe this area was once referred to as “the smoking terror”.

From this angle, you can see the full magnificence of the volcano and its sulfur-stained peak. Regular plumes of vapour can be seen coming from this volcano and it has erupted as recently as 2015. 


Cape Cod, Massachusetts

An aerial view of Cape Cod like you’re unlikely to see elsewhere. This barrier island is thought to be one of the youngest of its kind – likely formed 20,000 years ago by glaciers. 

“Astronauts aboard the International Space Station used a very long lens to shoot this detailed image of the northern tip of Cape Cod–showing 8.5 miles (14 km) of its 65-mile (105 km) length. Cape Cod is one of the biggest barrier islands in the world, and it protects towns like Provincetown and its port facilities (image centre) from storm waves coming in from the Atlantic Ocean. It thus also protects much of the Massachusetts coastline. The cream-coloured features are symmetrically shaped dunes built mainly by northwesterly winter winds (image upper centre) blowing beach sands inland.”


Midsummer sunrise, Gulf of Saint Lawrence

Another brilliant snap shows a perfectly timed sunglint image. The sun’s reflection over the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador were photographed at around 4 am by an astronaut aboard the space station. For people on the ground, the sun wouldn’t rise for almost another hour – just another highlight of the different experiences for the crews of the station versus us lowly folk down below. 


Adele Island, Northwest Australia

“Astronauts aboard the International Space Station took this detailed image of a tiny island with many concentric zones around it.

Adele Island, off Australia’s north coast, is only 2.9 km (2 mi) long, but the entire tidal zone with all the concentric zones is 24.5 km (15.2 mi) long, surrounded by extensive sandbanks in the tidally exposed area…

Shallow water surrounding the island is light blue, compared with the deeper open ocean (upper left, lower right). During times of low sea level (repeatedly during the glacial stages of the past 1.7 million years), the entire platform and surrounding zones would have been dry ground–so that astronauts would have seen a much larger island occupying all of the image...”


Moonrise over the aurora

Back in 2016, astronaut Kate Rubins shared this image of a moonrise from the International Space Station. A brilliantly beautiful shot shows the majestic atmospheric glow of the aurora below. A backdrop of billions of stars is truly humbling from this angle. 


Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

This incredible image of Laguna Colorada shows a view of the lake below. The colours of the waters can be seen changing over time thanks to the algae that make up part of the ecosystem.

“Astronauts aboard the International Space Station took this detailed image of the brightly coloured Laguna Colorada, unique in this part of the Bolivian Andes Mountains and a well-known feature to astronauts.

The lack of atmospheric haze at great altitude–the lake lies at 4300 m above sea level (14,100 feet)–helps make images of the region especially clear. The strong red-brown colour of this shallow, 10 km-long lake is derived from algae that thrive in its salty water. But the lake occasionally has green phases because different algae display different colours, the type being determined by the changing salinity and temperature of the water. As the lake water evaporates in the desert climate it becomes saline. Snow-capped volcanoes appear image top centre and lower left. Ancient shorelines show that the lake has been larger in the past.

Laguna Colorada is the centre of a wildlife reserve (listed in 1990 as a “Ramsar Wetland of International Importance”) and home to large numbers of flamingo. Access roads on three sides of the lake are used by tourists who visit these other-worldly landscapes. “


Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator

Although perhaps not the most breath-taking of images on this list, this photo is nonetheless a powerful view of the work carried out on the station. In May 2019 work was carried out in this section of the ISS to repair damaged components. This sort of essential work ensures the station can continue to function fully. 

NASA explains “The International Space Station continues to be a critical test bed where NASA is pioneering new methods to explore space, from complex robotic work to refuelling spacecraft in flight and developing new robotic systems to assist astronauts on the frontier of space. Technologies like these will be vital as NASA looks to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024.”


The snow-capped Kiska Volcano on Kiska Island

It’s not just awesome views of space and the edges of our world that are visible from ISS. The station also gives fantastic visions of areas of our home planet that would be otherwise tricky to visit, nevermind see from this angle. 

This view from May 2019 shows a snow-covered Kiska Island, part of the Aleutian Islands in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. 



The Frozen Wild Dnieper River

Another incredible view of a frozen tundra captured by a European Space Agency astronaut aboard ISS. 

“Curling snow drifts are magnified by the terrain around the 1,400 mile Dnieper River, flowing from Russia to the Black Sea.

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, a member of the Expedition 50 crew, captured this image from the International Space Station on “Feb. 9th, 2017, saying, “winter landscapes are also magical from the International Space Station: this river north of Kiev reminds me of a Hokusai painting.”

Each day, the International Space Station completes 16 orbits of our home planet as the crew conducts important science and research. Their work will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will help us venture deeper into space than ever before. Crew members on the space station photograph the Earth from their unique perspective, hovering 200 miles above us, documenting Earth from space. This record is crucial to how we see the planet changing over time, from human-caused changes like urban growth, to natural dynamic events such as hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions.”


Buenos Aires, River Plate, Argentina

A muddy view of Buenos Aires from 220 miles up:

“This image was taken as astronauts aboard the International Space Station flew over the eye-catching delta and green swamps of the Parana River (image right) on the Atlantic coast of Argentina. The Parana River, South America’s second largest after the Amazon River, pours brown muddy water into a wide estuary known as the River Plate (image centre and left). The grey mass of Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires (metro population 12.74 million in 2010), is less prominent seen from space (upper left), although astronauts quickly attune their eyes to the subtle signature of such cityscapes. Numerous small farm plots on red soils surround the delta and city.

The muddy river sediment ultimately derives from erosion of the rocks of the Andes Mountains far upstream–mirroring the colour of the Amazon River which is also turbid and also rises in the Andes Mountains. In this image tidal backwash transports the muddy water a short distance upstream into the smaller Uruguay River (image lower right).”


Salt Ponds, coastal flats, Western Australia

Images of coastlines are common among the back catalogue of photos snapped from the International Space Station. These photos also represent a common view for astronauts looking down on our planet as they are the best indicators of which part of the world they’re looking down at. The familiar lines of the coasts are easy to identify compared with other landmasses. 


Hawaii from above

Another snap captured from the station, this time by European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) shows the island of Hawaii. A close look at this photo shows the peaks of the volcanoes too. 


Venice Lagoon

Another incredible view of our planet snapped from space in 2014. This photo shows the narrow barrier island which protects the Lagoon of Venice from the strong waves of the northern Adriatic Sea. The colours of the waters below are the result of many boats and other watercraft passing over the surface. Wear and tear on the surrounding lands caused by the wake of these boats has been of concern. So much so that a study was set-up to monitor the health of the Lagoon


Great Barrier Reef Near Whitsunday Islands

The Great Barrier Reef is an impressive sight from any angle. Though most people see it from tourist photographs, astronauts see it from 200 miles up – with the entire reef visible. This photo shows just 10 miles of the 1,700-mile reef. The reefs are easily visible from the station thanks to the change in colour – the iridescent blues of shallow lagoons contrast with the dark blues of deeper surrounding waters.


Red Sprites Above the US and Central America

This snap from the space station captures a view over Mexico when a red sprite can be seen over the white light of an active thunderstorm. These sprites are not caused by lightning in the usual sense, but are major electrical discharges, a cold plasma phenomenon similar to the discharge of a fluorescent tube. Large thunderstorms sometimes result in a burst of sprite energy but they are rarely captured on film.


Caribbean Sea Viewed From the International Space Station

A panorama photo of the Carribean Sea that includes parts of Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida. This brilliant image captures the glow of the atmosphere ringing our home planet too. 


Flooding on the Mekong River floodplain, Thailand and Laos

The Mekong River sits on the border between Thailand and Laos. This photo from the space station taken in 2015 shows evidence of flooding in the area. The floods below were caused by heavy monsoon rainfall that fell around July that year and affected everyone in the area. 

The crew of the International Space Station have often been tasked with documenting these sorts of floods. This sort of imagery helps authorities to assist with relief efforts on the ground and to save lives.


A view from a visor

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold (@astro_ricky) took this selfie during the May 16, 2018, spacewalk to perform upgrades on the International Space Station. He shared the incredible image on his Twitter account for everyone to see. Certainly an interesting view. 


The port of Sfax, Tunisia

This image shows Sfax, Tunisia as it appears from the International Space Station and highlights the radiating street pattern of Tunisia’s second city. These streets radiate out from the ancient walled city and create a distinct and beautiful image from above. The tiny buildings below, merely specks from this distance, house a population of over 900,000. 


Fish farms basins, NE China

Astronauts snapped this high-contrast image of the grid patterned fish farms on the coast of China. The view includes fish-farm basins built out of wood and shallow seabeds, mudflats and bays. Water flows from ships can be seen on the surface below too. 



Another incredible view from above, best described by NASA:

“Knowing the exact time and the location of the ISS, scientists were able to match the star field in the photo to charts describing which stars should have been visible at that moment. They identified the pattern of stars in the photo as our Milky Way galaxy (looking toward its centre). The dark patches are dense dust clouds in an inner spiral arm of our galaxy; such clouds can block our view of stars toward the centre.

The curvature of the Earth crosses the centre of the image and is illuminated by a variety of airglow layers in orange, green, and red. Setting stars are visible even through the dense orange-green airglow.

The brightest light in the image is a lightning flash that illuminated a large mass of clouds. The flash reflected off the shiny solar arrays of the ISS and back to the camera. The dim equatorial cloud sheet is so extensive that it covers most of the sea surface in this view.

Knowing the exact time and the location of the ISS, scientists were able to match the star field in the photo to charts describing which stars should have been visible at that moment. They identified the pattern of stars in the photo as our Milky Way galaxy (looking toward its centre). The dark patches are dense dust clouds in an inner spiral arm of our galaxy; such clouds can block our view of stars toward the centre.

The curvature of the Earth crosses the centre of the image and is illuminated by a variety of airglow layers in orange, green, and red. Setting stars are visible even through the dense orange-green airglow.

The brightest light in the image is a lightning flash that illuminated a large mass of clouds. The flash reflected off the shiny solar arrays of the ISS and back to the camera. The dim equatorial cloud sheet is so extensive that it covers most of the sea surface in this view.”


London at Night

A nighttime flyover of London shows the lights of the city shining brightly and the twists and turns of the River Thames cutting through the middle. 


Sunset over the Med

An incredible view of a sunset over the Mediterranean with the Alps, Adriatic sea and Italy just about visible below. The sun reflects across the surface of the planet, showing the beauty of our home from above. 


An Astronaut’s View from Space

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this beautiful view of the Earth with a sunrise over the ocean. A brilliant reflection of the beauty of our world


Iberian Peninsula at Night

An early evening photo of the entire Iberian Peninsula (that includes both Spain and Portugal) taken from the International Space Station in 2014. The bright glow of the towns and cities below can be easily seen, even from 200 miles up. 


Flying Through an Aurora

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst took this photo in 2014 as the space station passed through an aurora. These impressive views are caused by small energy particles from the sun interacting with the magnetic field lines in the Earth’s atmosphere. These interactions cause a reaction with the atmosphere as the oxygen sets off a beautiful green and red light display in the sky.


Earth’s changing vistas

This image was taken in 2015 and shows the views seen by NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Commander of Expedition 43, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko at that time. These views are clearly visible from special windows on the space station that allow a 360-degree observation of our world below. 


Hurricane Gonzalo

Another photo of a hurricane that makes these dangerous natural occurrences look like harmless swirls of cloud from above. This image, from 2014 shows Hurricane Gonzalo over the Atlantic Ocean.


Morning Aurora From the Space Station

This photo from 2015, was taken by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) and shows the magnificent view of the green lights of the aurora as seen from the space station. 


Panorama of the Night Sky and the Milky Way

Impressive visions from the space station not only show amazing views of Earth but also the stars and constellations around us. This eye-catching panorama of the night sky and the Milky Way was captured by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman in 2014. The majesty of the stars dominating the skies above our planet. Below, the sands of the Sahara desert make the Earth glow with an orange hue. 


A colourful long-exposure

Taken in July 2020, this photo shows a long-exposure snap from ISS showing a colourful glow from the Earth’s atmosphere. 


Sun Glint in Angola

The sun catches the light of the river below as the space station passes over the African continent. This incredible view makes the water look almost gold. 


Russian resupply above the night’s sky

Here a Russian supply ship is seen docked with the ISS while below the lights of Europe can be seen on the surface with millions of people going about their business as the station orbits above. 


The Canadarm2 robotic arm

A fairly magnificent view of the marvellous tech used aboard the International Space Station.

“The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman, with its prominent cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays, is pictured moments after its release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm ending its 83-day stay at the International Space Station.” 


Clouds above the Philippine Sea

The views from the International Space Station sure are staggering. This snap shows long whisps of clouds above the surface of the Philippine Sea. 

Writing by Adrian Willings.

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Breathtaking images snapped on iPhone

Apple’s iPhone has long been known for offering a great camera. These flagship smartphones are capable of some incredible photography, so much so that many modern photographers often ditch their DSLR cameras in favour of the ultra-portable iPhone. 

The results are often spectacular too. To honour the efforts, the iPhone Photography Awards were born in 2007 and have been choosing award-winning photos every year since. Apple also encouraged iPhone photographers to share their best works for the Shot on iPhone Challenge.

As you can imagine, the images submitted to both these competitions are nothing short of fantastic. We’ve combed through them to bring you a collection of our favourite photos taken over the last few years. Incredible images you won’t believe were shot on a smartphone.

If you feel like you’ve got what it takes, you too could submit your photos to the iPhone Photography Awards to see if you can win an award in one of the 16 categories. The registration page of the IPPA 2021 is already open and the deadline is 31 March 2021. 


Free from the past

This beautiful shot was taken in Varanasi, India on an iPhone X by Kristian Cruz from the United States.

We love the colours, the detail and everything that’s happening in the image. We aren’t surprised at all that it won first place in the travel category for the iPhone Photography Awards 2020.  


Beach Chair

Taken on Westhampton Beach, New York with an iPhone 6, this picture of a beach chair is one of our favourites from the 2020 winners of the iPhone Photography Awards. 

The atmospheric image was taken by Danielle Moir from the United States and it won first place in the other category.


Flying Boys

This fabulous image taken by Dimpy Bhalotia from the United Kingdom in Banaras, India won her the grand prize for Photographer of the Year in the iPhone Photography Awards 2020.

Bhalotia said: “I see the world in monochrome and I find art in the extraordinary details of the seemingly ordinary life on streets. I believe the universe is a piece of art and so is every soul and street.”

This image was taken on an iPhone X. 


Beauty in everyday

Winning second place in the abstract category of the iPhone Photography Awards 2020 is this beautifully symmetrical shot taken in Irvine, California.

Beauty in everyday was taken on an iPhone 8 Plus by Veronica Yoo from the United States.



Winner of the first place in the nature category of the iPhone Photography Awards 2020 is this beautiful picture of a waterfall.

The picture was taken on an iPhone 7 Plus by Lisi Li from China.


No walls

Winner of the first place for photographer of the year in the iPhone Photography Awards 2020, this image shows an annoyingly unfinished but brilliant painted wall.

Taken by Artyom Baryshau from Russia in India, the image titled No walls was taken on an iPhone 6.  



Now this is what we call a panoramic shot. What a beautiful photo of Meteora, Greece.

Taken by Garrine Tsang from Canada on an iPhone XS, this image titled Immersion won thord place in the panaroma category of the iPjhoen Photography Awards 2020.


Kea at Mount Luxmore

Avishai Futerman from Isreal took this beautiful image in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand on an iPhone XR.

The image won second place in the nature category of the iPhone Photography Awards 2020.


Duomo Di Milano

Shot on an iPhone X, this image of the magnificent Duomo Di Milano cathedral in Milan, Italy won first place in the architecture category of the iPhone Photography Awards 2020.

It was taken by Haiyin Lin from China.



We absolutely love this image of two beautiful pink flamingos shot on an iPhone 6S. The dark green leaves and lovely mirrored water make the animals really pop.

Winning second place in the animals category for the iPhone Photography Awards 2020, Flamingos was taken by Ji Li from China.


Cotton Candy

This image of a child sitting on a bench with cotton candy in front of their face brings a smile to ours.  

Taken in Vorontsovsky Park, Moscow by Ekaterina Varzar from the United States on an iPhone 6, Cotton Candy won first place in the children category of the iPhone Photography Awards 2020. 


Marble Canyon

This stunning image of the Marble Canyon in Arizona was taken by Kaiwen Jiang from China and it won first place in the landscape category of the iPhone Photography Awards 2020.

Jiang took the image on one XS Max.


Nightfall at the Dolomites

There’s nothing quite like a sunset and this photo has so much beauty to admire. Taken by Leo Chan from Hong Kong on an iPhone 11 Pro, Nightfall at the Dolomites was captured in Auronzo di Cadore, Italy.

This stunning shot won first place in the sunset category of the iPhone Photography Awards 2020. 


The Cloud

This appropriately named, perfectly framed image was taken by Dominic Dähncke from Spain in Tenerife, Canary Islands. 

The Cloud won third place in the landscape category of the iPhone Photography Awards 2020. It was taken on an iPhone 8 Plus.


Dreams in the basket

A small baby takes a casual and relaxing nap in the middle of a field in China. In the background, workers can be seen busying themselves with the daily grind. We only hope this child’s parents are nearby.

An incredible photo of life shot on an iPhone 5S. This image was chosen as the second place winner in the iPhone Photography Awards lifestyle category in 2018


Jasper the Raptor

From the 2019 winners of the iPhone Photography Awards (children’s category) comes this image snapped using an iPhone XS. A simple photo of a small boy in a raptor mask appears to show a dinosaur child in the shadow. 


The wonky one

Sometimes great photos are just a matter of perspective. Other times, they’re just fantastic snaps of weird and wonderful locations.

This shot was captured by Cocu Liu in the wonderfully sloping streets of San Fransisco. The building isn’t actually wonky, it’s the camera that is. 

Zarni Myo Win

I want to play

Just a simple photo of boys doing what boys do best – getting muddy and having a great time. This image was shot on an iPhone 7 Plus in Yangon, Myanmar and was given third place for Photographer of the Year 2018 in the iPhone Photography Awards.

“A young boy who lost his leg was watching his friends play soccer, and he said he wanted to play soccer if he could.”


The one with the long neck

This incredibly moody, atmospheric and perfectly timed photo was snapped by Shuo Li using an iPhone 7 Plus. 

This image was selected for the third place in the animal’s category in  iPhone Photography Awards 2017

“It was taken in Maasai Mara National Reserve, on October 6, 2016. It was the last safari that day, my friend and I were leaving Maasai Mara. The sky was pure blue with beautiful clouds, I noticed a giraffe was eating Kigelia Africana leaves. We drove our SUV around the giraffe, and then I found the best angle to took this photo.”

Aaron Sandberg/IPPAAWARDS

Lilly pad lake

A beautiful view of nature shot on an iPhone 6S. A lone tree stands in the centre of the frame surrounded by still waters and masses of Lilly pads. 

“I took this photo in late June of 2016 while in Sigtuna, Sweden. I used my old iPhone 6s (native camera) then did some light post-processing with Snapseed, Photoshop Fix, and VSCO. This photo didn’t need too much editing at all unlike some of my others – nature did most of the work here. This was the best shot out of maybe a dozen or so captures.”


A virtual view of another planet?

We’ll be honest, we’re not sure we know what’s going on with this photo, but we love it. A man in almost full astronaut gear sits near a biodome wearing what appears to be an Oculus VR headset. Perhaps he’s experiencing a virtual view of outer space and trying to make it as convincing as possible. 


A smattering of foxes

The  iPhone Photography Awards 2016’s winning photograph from the animal category shows a smattering of foxes gathering around the photographer. The angle of the image almost makes it look like the snapper was stuck up a tree. 

Bruno Militelli/IPPAAWARDS

What’s going on through here?

Bruno Militelli snapped this brilliant photo of his dog on his iPhone. We love a hilarious dog photo and this one is great too. We wonder what was so interesting. 


One cool cat

This guy, what a dude. We’re impressed that this snapper managed to get their cat to sit still for long enough to take a photo. Nevermind doing so while wearing accessories. 


Someone is going to need a bath

The joys of parenthood and childhood summed up in one wonderfully messy photo. A small child caught on iPhone in the midst of tumbling into a mass of mud and madness. 


A floral close up

This brilliant close up view of some poppies won Lone Bjørn the first place award in the  iPhone Photography Awards flowers category in 2016.


Chained to the water

Xia Zhenkai captured this image in China using an iPhone. The photo then went on to win the first place prize in the iPhone Photography Awards people category in 2016

Alex Jiang/@justphotons

Colourful flats

This image by Alex Jiang was snapped on an Apple iPhone XS Max and selected as one of the winners of the shot on iPhone challenge.

Snapped in Hong Kong, Alex Jiang tweaked the colours slightly using the iOS Photos App and Snapseed, but otherwise chose the perfect location for a brilliantly posed photograph.

One of the judges, Chen Man said: “This is a photo filled with lovely colour and sense of story in the composition. Zooming in, you can see the details of each family and their unique touch. The basketball hoop is placed right in the middle of the photo, adding more stories behind the image.”

Robin Robertis/IPPAAWARDS

She bends with the wind

This incredible photograph by Robin Robertis was snapped and submitted to the IPP Awards in 2016. The judges were so impressed they chose him as second place winner for the Photographer of the Year category.  

“I was on an iPhone workshop and reunion with a friend and teacher in Cape Cod. We all went out to photograph the perfect sunset. I tend to bring a few things when I travel, one being this wonderful red umbrella. When others shoot the sunsets and beautiful scenery, I like to photograph some human aspects in these scenes.”

Robert Glaser/Apple

Golden fields

This stunning snap of rolling golden fields was captured by Robert Glaser from Germany using his Apple iPhone 7. It was chosen as one of the winners of the Shot on iPhone challenge and judge Kaiann Drance said: “Gorgeous dynamic range. There’s detail throughout the photo in the meadow, trees, and clouds. Beautiful deep sky and pleasing colour overall.”


Dock worker

Brendan O Se snapped this close up pic of a dock worker’s dirty hands on an iPhone 6s in 2016. In 2017, the image was submitted to the IPPAwards and selected as the first place winner – seeing him crowned Photographer of the Year

“I shot this photo on an early morning photo walk around the docks in Jakarta in April 2016. These were the hands of a dock worker who was taking a break. I was struck by the texture created by the accumulated dirt on his hands.”


San Juan National Forest

LieAdi Darmawan captured this photo using an iPhone Xs and submitted it to the Shot iPhone challenge only to be chosen as one of the winners. 

He explained how it came about:

“This picture was taken from my last backpacking trip in Colorado’s San Juan National Forest. On my second evening of backpacking in the Colorado wilderness, I decided to hike up to the ridge right next to the Ulysses S. Grant Peak for a sunset shot (right after a nap that is). The Ulysses S. Grant Peak itself stands at about 13,767 ft, so I was just a few feet below that! I wasn’t sure what to expect as the temperature started to drop and the sun light started to fade. I was the only one left up there, where a few others had long descended down and left. Boy, was I glad to stay there long enough to witness the clouds and jagged peaks started to light on fire during the golden hour—it was such a spiritual experience! Descending down in the dark, equipped only by a headlamp, was not an easy task. I fell down a couple of times trudging through steep sandy terrain. I even missed my campsite by a few hundred yards. But looking back, it was all worthwhile.” 

The judges of the competition were certainly impressed too and there’s no denying it’s an incredible view. 


The performer

The second place award-winner of the Photographer of the Year category in the  iPhone Photography Awards 2017 came from Singapore with this image captured using an Apple iPhone 6 Plus. A street performer is seen taking a brief respite from performing:

“Chines traditional street opera is part of the Chinese culture. Unfortunately, the young generation in Singapore is no longer interested. Hence the street opera is fast disappearing.  Instead of shooting their performance, I decided to go the back of the stage to capture the performers’ preparation activity. I spotted this experience performer who is taking a short rest and was waiting for his turn to perform. I was attracted by the lighting of the old plastic curtain, electric fan, and the overall calm atmosphere.”


A moody view of Utah

This image by Bernard Antolin was captured on Apple iPhone Xs Max and shows a wonderfully moody view of Utah. This photographer’s images are always black and white and often stunning, we’d recommend having a look at their Instagram feed. 

The judges of the shot on iPhone challenge were certainly taken by the image. Kaiann Drance said: “Looks like a simple scene but a good choice of using black and white to elevate it with a different mood. Helps to bring out the dramatic contrast in the clouds and the surrounding landscape.”


Eye to eye

Huapeng Zhao snapped this image in the YanTai ShanDong province, China using their iPhone 6. A small boy is seen holding a tiny fish to his eye. The black and white finish of this image adds a moody ambience that we love. The judges did too as this photo was selected as the second place winner for Photographer of the Year 2018 in the  iPhone Photography Awards. 

“I met this boy while walking at the seaside. When I was trying to take a picture of him, he put the fish he caught in front of his eye.”


Inspired by Green Book

Art director and iPhone photographer, Andrew Griswold took this photo on his iPhone XS saying he was inspired by 2018 film Green Book starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. The image was selected as one of the winners of the Shot on iPhone challenge and just Sebastien Marineau-Mes commented:

“Very unique composition and colour palette, playing to the strengths of iPhone XS. What I find most interesting is the background pattern, uniquely magnified and distorted in every one of the water droplets. I’m drawn to studying and trying to elucidate what that pattern is.”


A cheeky fox

In 2014, Michael O’Neal took this brilliant photo of a rather cheeky looking fox out in the snowy ridden landscape of San Francisco. The image was chosen as the first place winner in the animal category of the iPhone Photography Awards. It’s easy to see why as it’s fantastic.  


A child in the wild

Another winner of the Shot on iPhone challenge shows Elizabeth Scarrott’s daughter surrounded by the beauty of nature. Taken in Yosemite National Park and captured on iPhone 8 Plus, this image is brilliantly posed and we love the curious look etched on the child’s face. 

Judge Brooks Kraft commented: “A portrait that captures the wonderment of childhood in a beautiful setting. Great composition that shows both the personality of the child and the experience in the surroundings.”

Danny Van Vuuren/IPPAAWARDS

A family day out

From the coast of South Africa comes this fantastic family photo of a man and his two children wading through the waters. A brilliant image of family life Shot on an iPhone. 


Perspective flip

iPhone photographer, Dina Alfasi from Israel captured this weirdly wonderful shot using an iPhone X. A brilliant flip of perspective that makes our head hurt but looks magnificent. 

Shot on iPhone challenge judge Brooks Kraft said: “A unique perspective and a new take on the popular subject of shooting reflections. I like that the subject is evident, but you are not really sure how the photo was taken. The puddle is the shape of a heart, with nice symmetry of the subject. The depth of field that iPhone has in regular mode made this image possible, a DSLR would have had a difficult time keeping everything in focus.”

Sofija Strindlund/IPPAAWARDS

A tasty meal

We all love a great snap of a tasty meal. Foodies aren’t the only ones who snap a good meal photo and post it on Instagram. Sofija Strindlund captured this photo and submitted it to IPPAAWARDS where it was selected for third place in the food category in 2014.


A colourful view of our world

A glance at Nikita Yarosh’s Instagram profile and you’ll quickly get a sense for this photographer’s style. He snaps some brilliantly colourful and eye-catching images from astounding angles. The results are often impressive and striking too. This particular image was selected as a winner by the judges of the shot on iPhone challenge. 

Judge, Luísa Dörr says “I like the simplicity of this image, the composition, light, details, everything looks good. Then you see one small line that looks wrong and makes me think what happened, where is this place, who was there. For me a good image is not only one that is strong or beautiful, but makes you think about it — and keep thinking.”

Erika Brother/IPPAAWARDS

Birds in flight

A simple, yet wonderful shot of nature at its finest as birds are captured taking flight with the use of an iPhone. Some filters may have been applied, but there’s no denying the results are incredible. 


The architect fan

Darren Soh is an architectural photographer with an eye for stunning buildings and interesting man-made structures. This photo shows the reflection of a housing block from Singapore that particularly appealed. Posting this image to Instagram, he said:

“Completed in 1984, the HBD public housing estate of Potong Pasir (Singapore) has several blocks with a distinct #skislope roof that have become iconic and synonymous with the town. Here is a #reflection of one of the blocks on the Basketball court of the community club that had just been washed. The bird as always, is a bonus.”

This image was also chosen as one of the winners of the Shot on iPhone challenge, with Phil Schiller saying: “A reflection that looks like a painting, two worlds have collided. You are compelled to think about where and how this photo was taken, the bird flying in the corner provides the single sign of life in an otherwise surreal composition.”

Gerard Collett/IPPAAWARDS

A bad day

Someone’s having a bad day. This brilliantly posed image shows a man being led away by the police with a foreboding atmosphere as bystanders look on. This photo by Gerard Collett was selected as the first place winner in 2014 for the news and events category. 


A cheeky chappy

Blake Marvin snapped this image using is iPhone XS Max and submitted it to the shot on iPhone challenge, only to be chosen as one of the winners by the judges. 

Phil Schiller said: “The stolen glance between this racoon/thief and photographer is priceless, we can imagine that it is saying ‘if you back away slowly no one has to get hurt.’ A nice use of black and white, the focus on the racoon and the inside of the hollow log provides an organic movement frozen in time.”


The young and the weary

A fantastic photo taken by Athena Tan that brilliant captures youth and the wisdom of age in one image. This brilliant snap was also captured on iPhone and made an incredible submission to the iPhone Photography Awards iPhone Photography Awards people category in 2014


Peng Hao

Come across

Shot on an iPhone X at the Burning Man festival, Chinese iPhone owner Peng Hao, look the photo during a sand storm. “I took this photo in the desert in Nevada, USA, at the Burning Man festival. I stood on a bridge and saw two people lost in a sand storm, but after a while, something very special came along, a huge silver ball.”


Another world

This sort of photo demonstrates just how brilliantly flexible smartphone cameras can be. They’re not just great at taking selfies and snaps of your lunch, they can also be used for landscape photographs, still life imagery and much more besides. 

Gabriella Cigliano

Big Sister

The 2019 Grand Prize Winner of the iPhone Photography Awards was Gabriella Cigliano from Italy with her picture ‘Big Sister’. Shot in Zanzibar, Tanzania on an iPhone X. Capturing that perfect moment can happen at any time, according to Cigliano, who snapped the winning shot while in Tanzania for a month teaching. “Before heading back to Italy we stopped in Zanzibar, where this photo was taken. I still wonder how could I capture that exact moment in all its beauty. I was just observing, a few meters from them, but they were probably more curious about me than I was about them, and that’s probably why the girl was looking at me. We couldn’t talk much, except for a few words in Swahili I had learned in the previous weeks, but those kids could definitely talk with their eyes. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life, and I’ll keep it in my memories forever. The best part was showing them and their mums the photos, for some it was the first time they were seeing their faces, and their excitement was unexplainable, unfortunately my iPhone was in their hands and I couldn’t capture that!”


A piercing gaze

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes, that beauty is just in their eyes. This magnificent shot shows that iPhone photographs have been incredible for years. This image by Kim Hanskamp was taken way back in 2013 and selected as the winner in the  iPhone Photography Awards people category. 

Yuliya Ibraeva

Sorry, no movie today

According to Yuliya Ibraeva who took “Sorry, no movie today” it was a hot summer day in Rome, Italy, even the asphalt was melting when he look this phone on his iPhone 7 Plus. “We decided to escape from the city centre to see the ancient trees of the Borghese Gardens and watch an Italian movie, but when we arrived the pouring rain began. We didn’t see the film, but I took wonderful pictures. It was great travel moment I’ll never want to forget.

Tomas Stankiewicz/IPPAAWARDS

Shadows and sunlight

Tomas Stankiewicz captured this breath-taking image of an empty and peaceful street using just his iPhone. Wonderful shadows and beams of light can be seen stretching forth across the paved surface ahead. 

Diogo Lage

Sea Stripes

Sea Stripes was taken in Santa Rita Beach, Portugal where the striped beach tents are very typical and set the tone of the well organized and summery little villages. Playing along with this beachy mood, a bather in the distance embodies the spirit in a striped shirt. Amazingly shot on iPhone SE showing you don’t need Apple’s latest iPhone to do well, it was taken by Diogo Lage.  


Wild stallion

On a wide open country road, you’ll often see animals crossing and trying to get to safety. You won’t often see a horse darting across your path though. This iPhone photographer has managed to snap just that, as what appears to be a wild stallion dashes across the road ahead. This image was chosen as the first place winner in the iPhone Photography Awards animal’s category in 2013


A snowy night in Moscow

This image was snapped in Russia by Konstantin Chalabov and shows a dramatic night time shot of the cold and foreboding, yet entirely beautiful landscape. The photo was selected as one of the winners of Apple’s Night mode photo challenge and it’s easy to see why. 

Jedrzej Franek/IPPAAWARDS


A wonderful piece of abstract photography that shows what looks, at first glance, to be a weirdly wonderful painting of an urban landscape. These are real buildings from Poland though and a genuine photo snapped on an iPhone

“This photo is a facade of one of the most recognizable buildings in Pozna, the former Polonez Hotel (closed, and re-opened as
a student dormitory centre). Considered very modern and luxurious in the 80’s it has fallen in disrepair in the 2000’s.”


Classic Lofoten views

Another brilliant night time shot, this time showing off the beauty of the Lofoten islands in Norway. This photograph by Rustam Shagimordanov highlights a wonderfully captivating view of the islands with small red houses backdropped by magnificent rockface. 

Kaiann Drance commented on this image saying: “A captivating shot of a winter village by the sea, which must feel cold, yet looks warm with the glow against the rocks and lights inside the red cabins, inviting a story about the people inside.”

KuangLong Zhang/IPPAAWARDS

Jameh Mosque of Isfahan

A wonderfully framed view of a Mosque which shows an amazing reflection of the view ahead. This image was shot on an iPhone 7 and won second place in the iPhone Photography Awards’ architecture category in 2018

“This one of the oldest mosques in Iran and is the result of continual construction, reconstruction, additions and renovations on the site from around 771 C.E. to the end of the 20th century.”


Night markets in Beijing

Yu “Eric” Zhang used their iPhone to capture this awesome shot of Beijing, China amidst the hustle and bustle of night time markets. The snap does a good job of highlighting the difference between shadows and the light. Even picking up bright orange trainers of a bystander. 



A well-timed photo demonstrates that the newer iPhones are capable of some impressive action shots. A small boy catches some air at a skate park as his friend looks on. This photo was shot on an iPhone X at a skate park in Haifa, Israel. It was awarded second place in the children category in the iPhone Photography Awards 2018

“Part of a series taken at Skate park. I was captivated by these young children, who spend hours, training continuously to improve and achieve greater things.”


A colourful light show

This image is from the entries into the 13th annual iPhone Photography Award awards and seems to show an endless number of lights springing inexplicably out of the ground at night. A fabulous shot.


The Kerid

This iPhone X photograph shows a brilliant view of the landscapes of Iceland. From this angle, the photographer Naian Feng has managed to capture a shot of a frozen volcano. The dormant volcano known as Kerid is now just a crater that’s home to a volcanic lake.

In the heart of winter, the surface of the lake freezes and plays host to tourists, though from up here it looks like the people below are enjoying a spot of ice skating. 


Sky scaffolding

Sari Sutton snapped this image on their iPhone X in Busan, South Korea and the judges chose it as one of the winners for the IPPAWARDS in 2019. A simple image of a building painted with sky blue colours and adorned with fluffy white clouds. 

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More images from the American West

The American West, whether you call it the Wild West or not, is one of the most evocative settings and periods of history that we can think of. Whether that’s because of countless movies down the years or more modern entries like Westworld and Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s a consistently interesting time. 

Even better, it’s a time that coincided with the first instances of photography, and that means that there are plenty of old photos out there showcasing the diversity of life back then.

We’ve gathered together another selection of some of the most interesting photographs we’ve found for your browsing pleasure. 

US National Archive


We all know that it was a more brutal time, when trophy hunting was more widely accepted than it is around the world now. This grizzly bear, though, is of particular note, and not just because of how impressively massive it is. It was actually shot by General Custer, who would later go down in infamy for his foolish military tactics. 

US National Archive

Training dummies

Before you get worried, as you’ll see from the annotation on this photograph, the horses you see in it are alive and well, merely being trained in battlefield tactics. That said, given the guns being wielded on both sides, it’s more than a little depressing to consider that horses were trained to act as cover like this. 

US National Archive

Quite a view

Turning away from that more brutal side of things, this view over the intersection between the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers is extremely romantic, not least because of the young woman surveying it to the left of the frame. In the background you can see some long buildings that are suggestive of barracks or other mass accommodation. 

US National Archive

Skating along

This picture is from Montana, and shows a skating party taking advantage of frigid weather to enjoy an excursion – don’t miss the big shaggy black dog the group on the left has brought with them. It’s rare to see images with families and children in this setting. 

US National Archive

Adverse conditions

Cold weather generally didn’t make for fun and games like the skating we saw before, though – for people on the move it meant treacherous conditions and hard riding, as this column shows. At least they’re all wrapped up against the cold. 

US National Archive


A bar in the old West has something extraordinarily evocative to it. This is The Good Old Days canteen from Fort Keogh in Montana, pictured in the early 1890s, in case the mustaches on show didn’t give you a hint. 

US National Archive

Tools of the trade

Blacksmiths might not be a particularly common brand of tradespeople now, but they were key links chains of infrastructure in the West, helping with all manner of tooling and repairs, from carriages to horseshoes.

US National Archive

A stained history

Of course, one of many uncomfortable truths of this period of history is the treatment of indigenous people all around America. This image shows native Americans welcoming President Chester A. Arthur, a rare image of concord.

US National Archive

All a-flutter

As camera technology pushed ever forward, pictures were able to become less and less posed and formal. This image of a cavalry unit performing practice sabre manoeuvres is a perfect example, packed with motion and dust. 

US National Archive

Not much of a jail

Of course, the West is also famous for its gangs and robbers, and its sheriffs and deputies – a lawless time that would slowly be reeled in. If you ended up on the wrong side of the law things could get pretty rough for you. Just consider this jail in Clifton, Arizona, carved out of the very cliff face. We wouldn’t fancy spending much time in there. 

US National Archive

The force

This photograph of Dodge City, Kansas’ “Peace Commissioners” paints a real picture – the serious looks on their faces, the varied and eye-catching differences between their coats and hats. These were the law-keepers when there wasn’t much law. 

US National Archive

Rough justice

Another form of justice is represented here by Judge Roy Bean, holding a court session of sorts as he judged horse thieves. As the sign for beer might have hinted, this building was both the courthouse and the saloon for locals, making it an interesting dual-purpose place. 

US National Archive


While the cowboys and sheriffs might take the limelight, the reality is that most Americans in the West at the turn of the century faced a hard life of work and little play. These workers on a vineyard show that even if in rudimentary surroundings, industries were starting out. 

US National Archive


You could probably rely on being able to relax after dark, though, as this party is doing at a ranch in Idaho, complete with characterful timber construction, furs and, of course, an astonishing collection of guns. 

US National Archive


Depending on where you washed up, yours could be the only property for miles around, leading to isolated but stunningly beautiful scenes like this one, taken in Montana, with the mountains rising up in the background. 

US National Archive

Backbreaking work

This might look some sort of military endeavour, but it’s actually an irrigation trench in the process of being dug in Arizona, largely by native American labour. This is a showcase of just how much physical labour was required.

US National Archive

Family life

Meanwhile, families continued to live and have children, as demonstrated by this group from Mormon Lake in Arizona (we can’t be sure whether they themselves were Mormons – the place name, though amusing, might be unrelated). 

US National Archive


As anyone who’s played Red Dead Redemption 2 through to the end knows, building a house at this time took, well, time. This group might quite have finished the house behind them, but they look might proud of it regardless, and fair enough.

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Stunning images taken from the sky

Drone photography has soared in recent years, with the number of and quality of drone photos increasing every year. There are so many photos in fact that drone photography even has its own official awards programmes.

Now that most new drones come equipped with high-quality cameras capable of capturing great shots and videos the images are only getting better and better. We say easier but that’s not to say it’s a walk in the park. 

We’ve compiled some of the best photos we’ve seen as well as plenty more from Dronestagram and the Skypixel photo contest to show off just how stunning drone photos can be. Get ready to pick your jaw up off the floor.

Amos Chapple

The star fort at Bourtange

Fort Bourtange was originally built in 1593 in the Netherlands to defend and control the road between Germany and the city of Groningen. It has seen a lot of history in the decades and centuries that have passed since and has recently, rather fittingly been converted into a historical museum. 

From above, Fort Bourtange is certainly beautiful, surrounded by defensive moats and brilliant countryside. 

Amos Chapple

Savior on the Spilled Blood

This is a magnificent view of a Church in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It shows the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. This incredible building originally began construction in 1893, and represents a romantic nationalism architectural style by Alfred Alexandrovich Parland and Archimandrite Ignaty. 

Amos Chapple

A deserted college

This is a beautiful view of the countryside of the Republic of Abkhazia. It shows an amazing landscape with a tragic history as this is part of the region where ethnic cleansings occurred in the 1990s. People were expelled from their homes, brutally murdered and persecuted. Now a broken, deserted college stands as a homage to this tragic time. 

Amos Chapple

Lotus Temple

This is certainly a breath-taking view of an already awe-inspiring temple of worship. The Lotus Temple is located in Delhi, India and is famed for its flowerlike shape. It’s also a place of wonder thanks to welcoming everyone – regardless of religious belief. 

Deryk Baumgärtner

Mont Saint Michel in the fog

This breathtaking shot shows the famous French monastery Mont Saint Michel bathed in stunning morning fog. This image was also chosen as the grand prize winner of 2018’s Skypixel contest


Bathing Hippos

This image of bathing hippos won the first place prize in Dronestagram’s 2018 drone photography awards. The photographer, Martin Sanchez, said:

“This by far was the highlight of my trip to Tanzania. I giant hippo party which was super VIP. But I knew exactly how to get in. Something they couldn’t resist. A game of Hungry Hungry Hippos!”

Wiltold Ziomek

Sunrise in Bagan

This brilliant drone photo was snapped in Bagan, Myanmar by Witold Ziomek. He used a Mavic Pro done to snap this brilliant photo of ancient architecture backdropped by hot air balloons. 

drone.nest/Ilya Martyanov


An unhappy accident makes for a pretty awesome aerial photograph. A lorry has tipped over and spilt its load on the side of the road. Ilya Martyanov noticed the accident and quickly dashed out to send his drone up for a snap. The result of which is a fantastic drone photograph of the pitfalls of modern life. 


The red train

This brilliantly contrasting image from the sky shows a fantastic red train passing through the snow-covered mountains of Switzerland. 


Thin ice

A weirdly beautiful black and white photograph that appears to show a vein-like pattern on the ice below. Perhaps the remains of a tree that’s disappeared below the icy depths? 

John Wong/dronestagram

Happy boats

A thoroughly cheerful view from the rivers of Singapore shows canoes from above, posing in a position that makes them look like a happy face. Of course, it could be an accident, but it’s a happy accident if it is. 

Jerome Courtial

Summer trim, France by jcourtial

Jerome Courtial, a 39-year-old Frenchman based in London, went to Valensole to get “an original picture rather than the classic view with the sunset in the background”. His girlfriend was with him, and in an interview after being chosen as the No. 1 winner of Dronestagram’s 2017 awards, he thanked her for her patience, as they “waited quite a long time to find the perfect spot”. The photo ended up being his favourite picture ever taken.

Alexey Goncharov

Dawn on mercury tower, Russia by Alexeygo

Alexey Goncharov, a 36-years-old physicist who works at Moscow State University, said he sometimes takes drone photos before heading into work. One morning, while in search of a beautiful reflection in mirror windows of Mercury tower, he spotted industrial climbers: “I liked the way their work looked from that perspective. They seemed to wash the city itself, not just the building’s windows.”



This aerial image really plays tricks on the eye giving the impression of a cyclist mounting the side of a skyscraper. Nigel Kwan’s image was skillfully captured using a Mavic Pro. 

Javier del Cerro/SkyPixel

Geometry of liquid gold

Javier del Cerro captured this brilliant aerial snap of the amazing symmetry of the olive tree groves of Castilla La Mancha, Spain. 

Luis Saguar Domingo

Peace, Spain by luckydron

Luis Saguar Domingo, a 24-year-old, said he got his drone as a gift at Christmas and was in Madrid looking for a nice place to fly the new drone. He feels relaxed when flying simply because of all the beautiful landscapes he’s able to see, and when he took this picture, he thought it was “really cool and symmetrical”. From this point of view, Domingo said it is really “hard taking a pic like that”.



This astoundingly beautiful image of the landscapes of Iceland is actually 12 separate images stitched into one. A brilliant panoramic shot of the surroundings with the cloud-covered mountaintops and flowing rivers cutting through the landscape.

Luke Bell

Two moo by Luke Bell

Luke Bell, a Cape Town-based videographer and photographer, said he took this photo on a cold, early morning in South Africa on a farm near Stellenbosch. “Two cows drinking from a nearby dam caught my eye when I saw their long shadows,” he explained. “I launched my drone to capture the scene in a way impossible with any other type of camera.”

Trung Pham/SkyPixel

Baby lobsters breeding farm

Above the waters of Vietnam, Trung Pham captured this image of the lobster farms of the Phu Yen province. The striking colours and mix of man-made materials with nature make for an incredible photograph. 

Thibault Beguet

Next Level by Macareuxprod

Thibault Beguet, a 34-year-old photographer based in Rennes, Brittany, uses drones to take photos and make films for companies, agencies, TV, etc. This picture was captured  with his girlfriend, Manon, while looking for a fun, original, and unusual way to announce they’re expecting to loved ones and friends: “We love Normandy, the sea, and outdoor activities, so we choose naturally to shoot on the beach.”

Romain Gaillard

Ugo le marin by Rga

Romain Gaillard said this picture was taken early in the morning. “I had gone to the beach to take some pictures,” he explained. “As I watched my children playing on the beach… I had the idea of using the sand as a large sheet of paper. So my two sons and myself drew a scene related to the sea – on the image you can see my oldest son.” 


Raising ducks by the river

In the skies above Vietnam, a drone captures ducks being raised by the local farmers. A mass of white ducks relax on the peaceful riverways while the farmer works. 

Bachir Moukarzel

Concrete jungle, Dubai, EAA by Bachirm

Bachir Moukarzel, a 33-year-old Lebanese living in Dubai, is a cluster Financial controller in Rotana Hotels. This picture was shot at sunset time in Dubai at 6pm, while trying to capture an area which was a desert 10 years back but is now “a concrete jungle with the highest buildings in Dubai”. He said every flight is a new adventure, even though he has been flying for ages, as each flight “has its own taste”.

Mauro Pagliai

When in Rome

The Roman Colosseum is an incredible sight from the ground and from most angles. It’s a marvel of architecture and a fantastic view of our history. Just when you thought it couldn’t get more impressive, along comes this image by Mauri Pagliai showing it in full nighttime splendor from the sky. 

This image was selected for one of the People’s Choice Prizes in the Sky Pixel contest


Not a small Hong Kong island

Like a scene out of Inception, this drone photo captured with a Phantom 4 Pro shows a dream-like view of Hong Kong. A collection of 43 photos was just to create this amazing view and it’s certainly impressive. 


Icelandic waterfall

A wonderful Mavic Pro photo of the landscapes of Iceland and one of the many ice-encrusted waterfalls visible across the landscapes. 


Fire and ice

Another brilliant Mavic Pro photo. This time from Yellowstone National Park in the US. The icy surface below shows brilliant colours as hot sulfur water finds its way through the snow. 


Lighthouse of Smögen

A perfectly timed photograph of a lighthouse in Sweden shows the sun setting through the top. The brilliant red of the tip shining brightly for all to see. An empty horizon stretches off into the background. Brilliantly simple, wonderfully framed and fantastic use of a Mavic Pro. 


A lion’s eye view

The king of the jungle is also perfect fodder for a fantastic aerial snap. This brilliant image shows a lion disturbed by the sounds of the drone, but not put out by its presence. Not often you get to safely view a wild animal in this manner unless you happen to be hiding in a nearby tree.



Dolphins are awesome, aren’t they? Even more so when you get to see them like this at home in their natural habitat in incredibly crystal clear waters off the coast of Western Australia. 

Bryan Duma

Central Park in the winter

New York City certainly sees some regular snowfall. The city’s park looks incredible from this angle – even more so when sprinkled in wintery snow. 

Bryan Dumas

A bird’s eye view of Lombard Street, San Francisco

Most people will be able to identify this as the famous Lombard Street – reportedly “the crookedest street in the world”. This windy road is certainly iconic and this drone photo is equally fantastic. 


Tatahatso Point

This brilliant image shows Tatahatso Point at the Grand Canyon. A popular photography spot, but not often seen from the sky. 


Novo Mesto, Slovenia

This incredible sight is seen in the town of Novo Mesto, near the border of Croatia. A lush green landscape, winding river and close-knit community can be easily seen from the sky. 



This isn’t just a small jetty into beautiful waters. It’s also an aerial view of a lighthouse on the coast of Yalta. The waters are actually the Black Sea. This impressively high photo makes the lighthouse appear tiny too. Which is no mean feat.  


Stylish symmetry

This simple photo wasn’t snapped as high in the sky as some of the others on our list, but that’s doesn’t make it great. The view of rows and rows of vines stretching off as far as the eye can see look fantastic. Even more so with the brilliant symmetry. 


A lonesome home

In the dusty plains, a lonely house sits surrounded by nothing but dust, brush and the occasional tree. The buildings casting magnificent shadows across the land.  

Bryan Dumas

Where we’re going we don’t need roads

Roads, roads, so many roads. But who needs roads when you can fly? Certainly not this drone. 

Valentin Valkov/SkyPixel

Santa Maddalena village, Italy

This incredible photo shows the beautiful green hills and surroundings of Santa Maddalena in Italy. A brilliantly colourful shot of nature made possible by a man-made drone. 

Jesper Guldbrand/SkyPixel

The long ride

This photo is actually the result of a number of different images stitched together to create the end result. This stitching gives the impression of a bending world that stretches off into infinity. We’ve seen this style before and have to say it’s a pretty awesome way to capture drone photographs. 

Jesper Guldbrand gives a bit more insight:

“This series is called “Mind bending” and is shot during 2017 in different locations of Sweden. Falun is a great city for mountain biking. This photo shows it. 20 images stitched together. A process that took about 1.5 months.”


Night line

This image shows a Chinese fisherman working in the waters, plying their trade. This image was one of a series of similarly beautiful images captured above the waters. 


Autumn fragrance

Taken in the skies of China, a number of magnificent photos were snapped by this professional photographer using a DJI Phantom 4 Pro. One of these images shows the rural villages and the hard work that goes into reaping the crop of fruit. This aerial view was chosen as the runner-up in the professional story category. We’d highly recommend checking out the rest of the images too

The photographer commented:

“Autumn season is the season of harvest, full of golden fruit is the earth’s contribution to the hard work of mankind.”


The land of the Earth

This image is a part of a collection of photos showing the damage industrial waste has done to the landscape. Although showing waves of beautiful colour, these aerial photographs actually demonstrate the damage mankind has done to the world we inhabit. 

The photographer commented

“The rapid development of human civilization has brought a series of negative effects. The environment is polluted and the ecology is destroyed. At present, the status quo of pollution in the earth is very harsh, forming a staggering “earth 殇”! Mankind must reflect on the triumphant industry development model, truly implement the policy of transforming the development mode and achieve sustainable social and economic development. Face the devastation of the earth, forever scars. Environmental pollution must be managed, otherwise, there will be no complete earth. Without protection of the environment, mankind will perish. Abstract images can instead better express the environmental impact of industrial pollution. Although these industrial pollution-related environments, details and colours can produce an attractive charm, the appearance does not represent the essence of spectacular colourful pictures may be very ugly nature, it is dirty, very evil. Human beings are rich in invention and creativity. They can also create a distinctive visual beauty in the process of industrial pollution and destruction of nature. The author recorded the destroyed land in aerial photography. This group of photos (18) 2017 shot in a mine tailings.”


Woman in the wash

From the shores of Taiwan, this aerial image captures the photographer laying by the edge of the water, the whitewash of the waves blending with her white dress. This brilliant photograph was nominated as a professional image in the portrait category. 

The photographer, Bobo, commented about this image:

“This is my Taiwan film, Hualien’s coastline is steep cliffs and secluded sea, steep terrain, step by step is the deep sea. I’ve always wanted a special perspective, so try my best to try that as Mavic flies over the coastline, I find the waves on the coast flashes beautifully between dark grey gravel and turquoise water, dark and light. The contrast was very strong. When the waves fell toward the shore and retreated, they showed a vast and euphemistic shape, reminding me of the tail end of the whale, and finished the work. I pressed the shutter when the spray and the skirt were handed over to make the skirt and the sea wave blend together and have a sense of extension, leaving the work with an attachment and a similar space. With this idea, I shot a series of compositions in different forms continuously. The whole process was very exciting. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day. If it is sunny, the overall color of the works will be even more gorgeous.”

Max Foster/SkyPixel


This aerial photograph was captured at 1,500 feet above the rivers of Iceland. The swooping lines show the beauty of nature and this image is part of a series of equally magnificent snaps with a similar theme.


Anchang town more goods

This image shows an old town around twisting waterways. This town is known for its produce, but it’s now also known for its views. This aerial image is part of a collection captured using the DJI Spark a small but clearly capable drone. 

Zeng Xinmin commented about this image:

“Anchang Ancient Town is one of the four famous ancient towns in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province is the first batch of published historical and cultural towns. Was built in the Northern Song Dynasty, after the war, repeatedly burned, and rebuilt in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the architectural style inherits the typical characteristics of Jiangnan Water Village, a water, simple and elegant, its speciality Anchang sausage, or “sauce” The poultry meat, etc. Only you can not think of, there is no Anchang “wax”, “sauce” can not. It is the hometown of Shaoxing Master.”


Inle Lake fishing show

This image highlights the show the fishermen put on for tourists on the Inle Lake in Burma, but actually represents their traditional fishing methods in action. The aerial view taken with the DJI Mavic Pro is certainly something special and likely very different to the view usually seen by people visiting the lake. 

The photographer commented:

“Myanmar’s Inu River, the ancient and unique fishing methods, attracting countless tourists to watch, and now has become a show.”

This image captured with a DJI Phantom 4 and shows the docks of the Yantian District, China. This photo is part of a series of beautiful images of workers caring for the docks and maintaining the surfaces. 


Beautiful Yantian

This image captured with a DJI Phantom 4 and shows the docks of the Yantian District, China. This photo is part of a series of beautiful images of workers caring for the docks and maintaining the surfaces. 

Petra Leary/SkyPIxel

Balmoral Ball

This aerial image of the basketball courts of Auckland shows wonderfully contrasting colours and brilliant symmetry from the skies. This image by Petra Leary, won first prize in the professional portrait category in 2017’s Skypixel awards. 


The rebirth

From Sardinia, Italy, this aerial image won third prize in the professional portrait category of 2017’s Skypixel awards with a simple caption:

“Now you’re going to be witness to the rebirth of humanity.”

Ian Montgomery


Saksun is a small village located in the northwestern part of the Faroese island of Streymoy. The village is surrounded by splendid landscapes with breath-taking views of nature. This amazing view of the local church was captured by Ian Montgomery using his Mavic Pro and submitted to the Sky Pixel contest.  


Waterfall hero

A lone man is captured diving over the waterfall. This brilliantly timed photo shows a Guinness World Record holder carrying out his passion.  

The photographer gave a little more insight into it:

“He is over sixty, he is the world record holder for the Guinness waterfall diving. In China’s famous spout of the Yellow River and the great falls of the water tower in Heilongjiang province, he surprised the world with his leap. In the air, his action stretches the beautiful. Freeze the moment of the shock, take this leap into eternity.”



A lone man is captured wading through the desert sands in the depths of China. The image was submitted to the Skypixel awards with the caption:

“It was shot in the Tengger Desert, an outdoor sportsman walking hard in the desert on foot, with the footsteps of deeper and deeper, will not be caught?”


Grab the fall’s tail

Another breath-taking aerial photograph captured on the Phantom 4 Pro shows the wonderful reds of the Autumn trees.

Marc Lamey/SkyPixel

Lost in the sand dunes

Near the Grand Staircase National monument area in Utah, Marc Lamey snapped this image using a DJI Phantom 4 Pro. The subject of his photo curled up on the warm sands below.



This brilliantly simple image was captured on a DJI Mavic Pro and shows a dancer in the centre of an ancient courtyard in Shanghai, China.

Photographer Cocoanext commented:

“Shanghai’s only nearly 190-year-old courtyard house with northern features is rarely seen in the south, where dancers dance not only skirts but also old Shanghai memories”

Drone Hikers/SkyPixel

Comet into darkness

In the early hours of the morning, in Newfoundland Canada, a professional drone photographer sent his drone up to see what he could see on the waters. A fishing boat approaching the shore is flocked by seagulls, no doubt trying to snag an easy catch of their own. 

“One of my favourite shots. An early morning in Newfoundland, I was hiking on the East Coast Trail when I heard a bunch of seagulls. I quickly launched my drone to find-out what was causing the mayhem. It was a small cod fishing boat steaming towards the harbour, a truly magical moment.”

Zay Yar Lin/SkyPixel

Sun’s Up, Nets Out

This snap shows a fisherman on his boat on the waters of Inle Lake. This talented man is not only rowing his boat with his leg, but also managing to catch fish at the same time. A brilliant photograph, well deserving of the prize. 

“An Intha fisherman sets up his net to fish as he paddles his boat with a unique leg-rowing technique in Mayanmar’s Inle Lake”


The sun is busy

This drone photo shows an aerial view of workers drying noodles on various racks. The photographer captioned the image:  

“On October 5, 2017, villagers in Xiashi Town, Kaili City, Guizhou Province, were busy drying noodles.” 

Florian Ledoux/Skypixel

Above the polar bear

The Grand Prize winner of 2017’s Skypixel awards, captured using a Phantom 4 Pro, shows a lone polar bear leaping across the icy landscapes. Photographer Florian Ledoux, captioned his image:

“Dear future generation, I hope we will still be able to see the Arctic wildlife as we do now. It is threatened as the environment is changing. I was able to witness many scenes of wildlife and I can guarantee you this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Incredible and unique shot above a polar bear in Nunavut, Baffin area during wildlife reportage in Nunavut and Greenland.”

Trung Pham/SkyPixel

Baby lobsters breeding farm

Above the waters of Vietnam, Trung Pham captured this image of the lobster farms of the Phu Yen province. The striking colours and mix of man-made materials with nature make for an incredible photograph. 


Raising ducks by the river

In the skies above Vietnam, a drone captures ducks being raised by the local farmers. A mass of white ducks relax on the peaceful riverways while the farmer works. 

Martin Sanchez

End of the line, USA by Martin Sanchez

Martin Sanchez said he took this photo on a Saturday afternoon in April just before sunset in New Jersey. He noticed an empty tennis court that “just stood out like a treasured story in a book of empty words”. After a few takes, two people came by to play some tennis and seemed confused watching him lay on the ground. When he was done, he showed them his photo and they said, “Ohhhh! I get it!”

Javier Bustamante

La Vijanera, Spain by feelingmovie

Javier Bustamante, a 32-year-old designer, said he took this photo while at La Vijanera, a winter carnival that takes place in the town of Silió in Cantabria (Spain) on the first Sunday of each year. “This party consists on a group of hunters who want to capture a bear,” he explained. “(Sic) Tour the village representing the capture of the bear… This photo is the end of the party in which the bear is captured.”

Florian Ledoux

Ice formation By Florian

Florian Ledoux, a 27-year-old who recently moved to Reykjavik to get closer to the Arctic, started to photograph in Greenland in 2014 to “report changes in Inuit culture and to witness the beauty of this huge land”. This photo was taken during winter in East Greenland – one of the most remote place on Earth. He said he attempted to fly here several times, and that his drone got attacked by two Gyrfalcon.


Waterlily, Vietnam by helios1412

A beautiful shot from above the waterways of Vietnam shows a lone worker wading deep in the water. 

Calin Stan

Infinite Road by Calin Stan

Calin Stan, a 30-year-old who has worked in the photography business for more than a decade and owns his own business, said his drone image is of the Cheia DN1A road that takes you to Transylvania in Romania. Or, as the legend says, this is the view that “Count Dracula himself saw on his nocturnal flight”, Stan explained. He actually first captured the image for the Transylvania Roads Project.

Alex Javier

Basilica del Voto Nacional

An amazing sun-bathed view of the Basilica del Voto Nacional, a Roman Catholic church that dominates the horizon of Quito, Ecuador. The amazing church was blessed by the Pope in 1985 and is one of the biggest attractions of the area. It also makes for an impressive drone photo as Alex Javier proved with this snap using his Phantom 4 Pro. 

Petra Leary/ZEISS Photography Award

Daily Geometry by Petra Leary

If you’re going to have a list of the best drone photos around, it only seems fair to include a real award winner. These images are part of a series called “Daily Geometry” by award-winning aerial photographer Petra Leary. This collection of photos saw the aerial photography master selected for the shortlist of the Zeiss Photography Award 2019. Brilliant lines, bold eye-catching colours and amazing symmetry from simple urban locales. 

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