These prize-winning aerial photos are just unreal

Winners announced for the 7th anniversary skypixel and DJI photo videography contest
Shot using Mavic 2 Pro (Image credit: Ekaterina Polischuk / SkyPixel )

The incredible winning imagery has been revealed for the 7th anniversary Aerial Photo and Video competition. Co-organized by SkyPixel and DJI, it attracted nearly 30,000 submissions from professional and enthusiast content creators from around 124 countries and regions. 

One of the most popular spaces for sharing aerial photography and videography with an engaged community, SkyPixel holds a vast collection and portfolio of aerial masterpieces representing themes the likes of nature, culture and architecture.

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The SkyPixel online community has attracted over 37 million aerial photographers, videographers, and content creators collectively from more than 140 different countries. This year’s contest represented the community with an overwhelming number of submitted entries showcasing the best in the field. 

The Grand Prize winner 2021 in the Photo Category was Zhu Jianxin, with their captivating shot of a frozen lake (below) after a heavy snow fell in the Taklamakan Desert. This otherworldly sight comes together in a change of perspective to reveal several cracks that form a portrait of an elegant orchid.

(Image credit: Zhu Jianxin / SkyPixel)

“Photography as an art form always comes from life. It is born from nature. I am amazed by how a drone changes my perspective and helps me capture the beauty of our world,” shared Jianxin. 

Member of the judging panel, Stefan Foster, also commented on the work: “The real art in photography is to capture a photograph people have to analyze longer than a few seconds to see what the picture really shows.”

Shot using Mavic 2 Pro (Image credit: binhd7 / SkyPixel )

This year's Video Category Grand Prize winner 2021 was Wenrui Ye, as director of 'Urban villages', a visual exploration of urban villages from the perspective of a dancer. 

“Urban villages show a unique way of urban inclusion,” said Wenrui. “I revisited Guangzhou, a city where I have lived for nearly thirty years, and explored it with my interpretations, memories, and a brand-new perspective. The dramatic contrast between the city and the villages looked almost surreal, and I can’t help thinking about the countless possibilities of Guangzhou in the future.” 

Watch full video here (Image credit: Wenrui Ye / SkyPixel)

Alex Meliss, member of the judging panel, commented that the winning video has a "strong story and great editing overall. Really loved the creative use of the drone and the seamless integration of aerial shots in this video. Also color, transitions, and sound design are on point." 

Judge Yann Arthus-Bertrand added that, "the video as a short movie [is] nicely done, with a real story and a great image technique and usage of light”.

Shot using DJI Mavic 3 (Image credit: 张力视觉 / SkyPixel )

DJI and SkyPixel also announced the winners of the Mavic 3 Limited Award, along with the first, second, and third places in all 10 photo and video categories, the results of which can be found on the contest website as part of an image gallery. 

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.