The best aerial images of 2022 have been announced – with explosive results

Siena Drone Photo Awards 2022
(Image credit: Armand Sarlangue / Drone Photo Awards 2022)

French photographer Armand Sarlangue has been named the overall winner of the Drone Photo Awards 2022, for his photo of a fissure that was taken a few hundred meters from the main crater of Fagradalsfjall volcano, Iceland.

Armand's winning shot was selected by the judges out of thousands of images – this year the popular international aerial contest saw 2624 participants entering from 116 countries. The annual Drone Photo Awards are a testament to the best camera drones, capable of capturing stunning photographs in their own right, but the sheer diversity in this year's winning and commended images show us just how far drone technology has come.

The winning volcano image sits among a myriad of other stunning aerial photographs across nine categories, including my favorite – two peeking polar bears captured by Russian photographer Dmitry Kokh in the storyboard category (below) – as well as an evocative landscape of the desert dunes and the South Atlantic Ocean photographed by Swiss photographer David Rouge, who won first place in the nature category.

Siena Drone Photo Awards 2022

Photographer Dmitry Kokh won the story category with his images of a polar bear family in an abandoned Weather Station on Wrangel Island. He used a drone equipped with low-noise propellers to photograph the animals without disturbing them (Image credit: Dmitry Kokh / Drone Photo Awards 2022)

Siena Drone Photo Awards 2022

Swiss photographer David Rouge won first place in the nature category (Image credit: David Rouge / Drone Photo Awards 2022)

Siena Drone Photo Awards 2022

Titled Quetzalcoatl, this aerial capture of the rivers of Iceland was commended in the Nature category (Image credit: Armand Sarlangue / Drone Photo Awards 2022)

Siena Drone Photo Awards 2022

Iranian photographer Mehdi Mohebipor was a winner in the wildlife category with this flamingo capture (Image credit: Mehdi Mohebipor / Drone Photo Awards 2022)

Siena Drone Photo Awards 2022

First place in the category was won by Ukrainian photographer Serhiy Vovk, with this rooftop view in Kartoffelraekkerne, Copenhagen (Image credit: Serhiy Vovk / Drone Photo Awards 2022)

Siena Drone Photo Awards 2022

Saurabh Sirohiya wins the abstract category with his shot of laborers in a salt pan in Habra, India (Image credit: Saurabh Sirohiya / Drone Photo Awards 2022)

The Drone Photo Awards are part of The Siena Awards Festival, which sees eight photographic exhibitions displayed in Siena from October 1 until November 20, 2022. Three collective exhibitions are dedicated to the Siena Awards contests: Siena International Photo Awards, Drone Photo Awards, and Creative Awards. 

There are also four solo exhibitions dedicated to Danish Siddiqui, killed in 2021 in Afghanistan during one of his reports; Ami Vitale, National Geographic photographer; Dan Winters, an icon of international photography and author of the most popular portraits of celebrities of the past 15 years, and Peter Mather, a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Feeling inspired? See the full winners gallery from The Drone Photo Awards and find out more about aerial photography.

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Lauren Scott
Freelance contributor/former Managing Editor

Lauren is a writer, reviewer, and photographer with ten years of experience in the camera industry. She's the former Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, and previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, Technique editor for PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, and Deputy Editor of our sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine. An experienced journalist and freelance photographer, Lauren also has bylines at Tech Radar, Space.com, Canon Europe, PCGamesN, T3, Stuff, and British Airways' in-flight magazine (among others). When she's not testing gear for DCW, she's probably in the kitchen testing yet another new curry recipe or walking in the Cotswolds with her Flat-coated Retriever.