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The Art of the Dronescape

Stunning, dizzying aerial photography from Dronestagram.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, by Shoayb Khattab. Latitude 25.1528, Longitude 56.3576, Altitude 30ft.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, by Shoayb Khattab. Latitude 25.1528, Longitude 56.3576, Altitude 30ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram

The top of the Golden Gate Bridge stands 746 feet above the strait between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. From that height, when the Bay Area’s famous fog has cleared, the city’s skyline shimmers in the distance and tiny cars seem to creep along six lanes of road below. It’s a view that few, save bridge workers and birds, have ever seen—until, that is, the drones came along.

Aerial photography has a long history, but drones and sturdy, high-resolution digital cameras have introduced a new way of seeing the world from above, and made the perspective more accessible than ever before. “It is so different from images taken by satellite or plane or helicopter or, on the other hand, street view images,” says Dronestagram founder Eric Dupin. An active drone photographer, Dupin launched Dronestagram in 2013 after he realized there were few online communities just for this new breed of aerial photographer. Within two years, it reached 30,000 users and now a new book is showcasing the best of their work.

Although drones have democratized aerial and elevated photography, there are still important limitations. Regulations have been introduced to protect wildlife, aircraft, and even celebrities from the intrusion of camera-carrying drones. The biggest challenge for Dronestagram user GotShots, however, was the notorious, unpredictable weather around the Golden Gate Bridge. As he details in the book, he spent six months returning to the site for the right conditions to capture a shot that would have once been impossible, even with aerial photography.

Atlas Obscura has a selection of images from Dronescapes: The New Aerial Photography from Dronestagram.

San Francisco, California, by GotShots. Latitude 37.8255, Longitude -122.4791, Altitude 88 1/2 ft.
San Francisco, California, by GotShots. Latitude 37.8255, Longitude -122.4791, Altitude 88 1/2 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Edinburgh, Scotland, by Francesco Gernone Photo. Latitude 55.9494, Longitude -3.1911, Altitude 103 ft.
Edinburgh, Scotland, by Francesco Gernone Photo. Latitude 55.9494, Longitude -3.1911, Altitude 103 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Oskarström, Sweden, by anders@andersa.com. Latitude 56.7947, Longitude 12.9759, Altitude 40ft.
Oskarström, Sweden, by [email protected] Latitude 56.7947, Longitude 12.9759, Altitude 40ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Mérida, Mexico, by jelipegomez, Latitude 20.9911, Longitude -89.6013, Altitude 50 ft.
Mérida, Mexico, by jelipegomez, Latitude 20.9911, Longitude -89.6013, Altitude 50 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by Alexandre Salem. Latitude -22.9068, Longitude -43.1729, Altitude 2,952 ft.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by Alexandre Salem. Latitude -22.9068, Longitude -43.1729, Altitude 2,952 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Saint-Malo, France, by Easy Ride. Latitude 48.6612, Longitude -2.0099, Altitude 53 ft.
Saint-Malo, France, by Easy Ride. Latitude 48.6612, Longitude -2.0099, Altitude 53 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Guntur, India, by Aurobird. Latitude 16.3475, Longitude 80.3713, Altitude 26 1/2 ft.
Guntur, India, by Aurobird. Latitude 16.3475, Longitude 80.3713, Altitude 26 1/2 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Oceanside, California, by kdilliard. Latitude 33.1931, Longitude -117.3885, Altitude 157 1/2 ft.
Oceanside, California, by kdilliard. Latitude 33.1931, Longitude -117.3885, Altitude 157 1/2 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Limbiate, Italy, by pescart. Latitude 45.5964, Longitude 9.1113, Altitude 259 ft.
Limbiate, Italy, by pescart. Latitude 45.5964, Longitude 9.1113, Altitude 259 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Mazatlán, Mexico, by w00tsor. Latitude 23.2469, Longitude -106.4922, Altitude 18 ft.
Mazatlán, Mexico, by w00tsor. Latitude 23.2469, Longitude -106.4922, Altitude 18 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Miami, Florida, by iMaerial_com. Latitude 25.7818, Longitude -80.1352, Altitude 131 ft.
Miami, Florida, by iMaerial_com. Latitude 25.7818, Longitude -80.1352, Altitude 131 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California, by Romeo Durscher. Latitude 36.2508, Longitude -121.7943, Altitude 492 ft.
Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California, by Romeo Durscher. Latitude 36.2508, Longitude -121.7943, Altitude 492 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
Lake Guerlédan, France, by Nicolas Charles. Latitude 48.2097, Longitude -3.0844, Altitude 98 ft.
Lake Guerlédan, France, by Nicolas Charles. Latitude 48.2097, Longitude -3.0844, Altitude 98 ft. © 2017 The Photographers of Dronestagram
The cover of <em>Dronescapes: The New Aerial Photography from Dronestagram</em>.
The cover of Dronescapes: The New Aerial Photography from Dronestagram. Courtesy Thames & Hudson