The year's best drone photography, from eagles to fireworks

Aerial photo site Dronestagram picks its 2014 winners

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While small "drones" have raised controversy in the US, they've made a lasting contribution to the world of photography. A light camera and a quadcopter can capture beautiful aerial shots that might once have been difficult or impossible for most photographers. Last year, Dronestagram launched as a place for both amateurs and professionals to upload their work. This year, it opened a contest to find the very best ones. The winners, picked with the help of users and National Geographic, represent the spectrum of drone photography, from high-flying nature shots to athletic spectacles to people who are just wondering what's up there looking at them. "Went back to my home town in the Philippines. I was flying in the park one Sunday morning when suddenly people had become really interested," writes Jericsaniel, who captured the second-place photograph above. "Looking at this picture, I realized how happy my drone makes these people." And the winning photographer, who deserves every bit of that accolade, has actually managed to make a drone fly with the eagles.

First-place finisher "Capungaero" took this incredible photo of an eagle soaring over Barat National Park, Indonesia. (Capungaero / Dronestagram)

Annecy

Third-place finisher "Drone-cs" took this photo of the sun over Annecy, France. (drone-cs / Dronestagram)

In the popular vote contest, "Postandfly" earned the first prize for the Tamul falls in Mexico. (Postandfly / Dronestagram)

The second-place winner in the popular vote contest went to "Jams69" for his shot of Sansury Sur Mer, France. (Jams69 / Dronestagram)

Last but not least, the third-place finisher in the popular vote contest was "IceFire" for his photo of fireworks over a soccer stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria. (IceFire / Dronestagram)

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