Photographer Francesco Cattuto was on a leisurely stroll at sunset the day after Christmas in 2015 when he sent his drone up into the sky above the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy.
The result — a spectacular aerial image of the 763-year-old Franciscan church rising toward the heavens, swathed in a billowy puff of clouds — earned first place in the nature/wildlife category of Dronestagram's third international drone photography contest.
About 6,000 photos were submitted from around the world by professional photographers and amateur drone enthusiasts for the contest organized by Dronestagram, a social network dedicated to aerial photography, in partnership with National Geographic.
At a low altitude “drones can capture images in places that are impossible to reach with another flying device,” said Dronestagram co-founder Guillaume Jarret in a statement. And he’s right. Just take a look at Max Siegal’s photo at top of a rock climber precariously wedged into a Moab, Utah, cliff, staring down into the abyss.
Check out the full list of the winners.