Many times it's hard to see the forest through the trees. We can only see what's in front of us, and beyond that, the big picture is unclear. In today's day and age, drones have given us the ability to see the forest even while standing amongst the trees. Sometimes it's a stunning view of nature or man-made beauty, and sometimes it's the harsh reality of either natural or manmade disasters. Check out these photos taken by drones that will literally put everything in perspective.
How Did They Miss That the First Time
At first glance, you may wonder what is worthy of this drone photo. It's just a view of the back of a building that could be from any congested city in the world. But with a closer look, you can see that there is a statue of a Buddha made of rock that was only discovered when renovations began on the building above it. He's missing his head, though. Maybe the building ate it?
Found in a residential area in Chongqing, China, this is a truly amazing discovery that might never have been brought to light without the building needing renovations. Let's hope they keep it!
There's Art in Sustenance
What do you think this is? Dots of gold? Sand? Would you have guessed these are mounds of rice? Along the Meghna river, Brahmanbaria, in the Chittagong province of Bangladesh. Normally the rice is laid out in lines to dry out in the sun, but when rain is coming, the farmers rush to form them into mounds covered with giant straw-like hats called Topas, protecting the rice from getting wet.
Making up 70% of their diet it's super important that it doesn't get ruined. This aerial view of traditional rice drying has a symmetry to it that can only be appreciated from above.
Find and Seek the Music Maze
Can you find the treble clef and the two French horns? Called the Music Maze, this man-made work of art is also beautiful from above. Taken by a drone in Balsham, Cambridge, UK, this maze is a private garden that was planted in 1993 consisting of over 1,500 trees, with over a quarter-mile of grass paths. Standing within the maze can not give you the aerial perspective showing the beauty of this complete artwork that's probably really fun to go through.
There is a circular pond in one of the french horns and an alpine garden in the other. Not usually open to the public, this may be the only opportunity to really enjoy it.
Open Air Garden in the Middle of a Concrete Jungle
In big cities, sometimes it can be hard to find green spaces when concrete dominates the landscape for miles upon miles. In the Xihu District of Nanchang City, Jiangxi province of Southeast China, one man decided to turn the top of his building into a huge roof garden. Besides making the rooftop a lovely green space to enjoy, he is also fighting air pollution which is a huge problem in China.
Despite all the good this one man did for his building, it's against the rules to have such a rooftop garden and he was ordered to take it down.
Pass the Soy Sauce
It's difficult to understand this picture at first, cause it kind of looks like umbrellas all lined up, maybe even cup covers, but at closer inspection, you realize there are people standing with those cups. So what is it really? Turns out these are giant ceramic pots containing soy sauce. You could actually bathe in them if you wanted, like a soy jacuzzi. We never realized that's how soy sauce is made!
This soy sauce farm is in Rugao City, Jiangsu Province of East China, is quite a sight. Thanks to a drone flying overhead, we will never think of soy sauce the same.
Don't Stop to Smell the Flowers
For all the millions of miles of highways throughout the world, rarely do you see such a pleasant view while driving down a freeway. This lovely drone photo was shot of Pingle Yudong Overpass in Nanning City, of south China. Whether driving the speed limit or stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic this view will surely make you smile. Like pink ribbon stashes laid along the road, this overpass beats all the rest.
Such smart thinking of the city to beautify the highway with Bougainvillea branches planted with pink and purple lace mixed in, making traffic moments a time to smell the flowers.
The Ever Growing Diamond Mine
Koffiefontein diamond mine, in Free State Provence, South Africa, opened in the late 19th century, and it's been operational ever since. Once a small mine, that has continued to grow deeper and wider through the years, it's now a gigantic man-made crater. While this diamond mine is impressive, from the ground, only with a drone can you truly appreciate its grand scale! Diamonds are forever. So too is this mine!
Whether standing on the edge, looking down, or viewing from overhead, either way, it's completely dizzying. So if you ever get the chance to visit, make sure not to fall in!
Cauliflower Art at the Market
'Eat your vegetables' is a common phrase we hear all too often, yet this supply of cauliflower would last for years even if you ate one a day. Having this point of view, from top-down, makes these cauliflowers look more like an art installation instead of a vegetable market where they are then shipped all around the world. How long do you think it took them to lay it all out?
This was taken by a drone of a vegetable market in Shibganj, in the Upazila district of Bangladesh, that runs over a mile long. Now that's a lot of cauliflower!
City of Ice That Is Out of This World
This city of ice could be from a dark planet on the other side of the galaxy in any Star Wars movie. But no, it's a real place in Harbin City, Heilongjiang, in Northeast China. Harbin Ice and Snow World, also known as Bingxue Large World, covers more than 8 million square feet and grows larger every year. This is the most popular winter attraction in the world, and we can definitely see why.
It's a dream-like fantasy world all made out of ice, as you can see here, courtesy of a drone, it's freezing cold. So dress like you're going to the north pole if you're visiting.
New Moon of the Red Planet
This looks like shot from the movie Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger taken on the red planet, right? Nope, yet again, it's from right here on Earth. This is a super cool supermoon taken over the Minaret Mountain Range in Sierra Nevada, California, and of course, taken by a drone. A supermoon is a new moon that is at its closest to Earth on its elliptical orbit, basically the biggest it can look to us.
The best part about drones being able to get shots like this, is that most of us never see such views of Earth's wonders in person. Drones give us this chance.
Not All Mushrooms Are Edible
So many vacation places have themes that give travelers a reason to come and stay. The Yixing Mushroom Outdoor Luxury Hotel, located in Xingyi in Guizhou Province, China, opened in 2018 with loads of fun and attractions to keep anyone busy. Stay in this mushroom fairyland with the Sunshine Bonsai Garden, Alcohol Factory Scenic Spot, and Guizhou Minzu Hunsu Museum all right nearby. Inside the hotel, the fantasy land is captivating.
Pretend you're a hobbit and feel like one too, standing amongst these giant mushrooms. It's only from an aerial view taken by a drone that you can see this massive artistic creation.
A Photo Only a Drone Could Get
Before drones, photos taken from above have been shot from planes or helicopters, so while drones make it easier to access aerial shots, there are some photos that would be impossible to get without a drone. Take this photo of a duck farmer walking through the water with all the ducks gracefully perched on the beach around him. A quick look and you would think they are flying, but oh, they are not.
The ducks are not bothered by the farmer, so they stay where they are, yet if this photo had been attempted with a plane or helicopter, the ducks would surely fly away.
A Sea of Tulips
This breathtaking aerial shot was taken of the famous tulip fields of Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam. Besides being known for wooden shoes, Amsterdam is also known for its tulips. The tulips fields are a must-see when visiting The Netherlands -- from March until May they are open for touring with some 800 different types of tulips. Keukenhof Gardens plants over 7 million bulbs each year in the autumn for blooming in the spring.
There's a tulip festival and a tulip parade in the spring, making it a top destination for travelers to get a glimpse of this stunning view in person. It's just gorgeous!
The Gateway to Hell
Ethiopia's Etra Ale Volcano sits in the Danakil Depression on three diverging tectonic plates, creating a lake of lava, which is one of only six active lava lakes on earth. Etra Ale means, smoking mountain and locals refer to this lava lake as the "Gateway to Hell" which, seems appropriately named, wouldn't you say? Without drones, we may never have known it even existed. Well, the gateway to hell had to be somewhere, right?
The center of the crater has cooled, leaving a black-looking crust, while the edges are flaming with spitting lava, creating a terrifying ring of fire.
One Topsy Turvy Bridge
Are you afraid of heights? Even if you're not, would you dare cross this bridge? Looking like DNA that a mad scientist created for laughs, this bendy Ruyi Bridge in China is 328ft long and has a glass bottom. The transparent bottom is enough to stop people from crossing it, let alone the ups and downs. You have to be a brave soul to cross this bridge with confidence and hold onto the railings if you do.
While it's truly a great feat in engineering with its double-decker walkways, it looks straight out of a futuristic fiction movie.
Salvation Mountain A Happy Place
Salvation Mountain is a happy place for the people of Slab City, in the Sonoran Desert of California. Created by one resident, Leonard Knight, it is considered a work of folk art that should be preserved and protected. Slab City is a place where people live outside the constraints of conventional society, instead, it's an off-grid alternative lifestyle community for squatters and snowbirds. People come from all over to visit.
Made with adobe bricks, tires, and lots of discarded items, Knight has turned someone's trash into inspiring art with numerous murals and Christian sayings. This photo shows the full gamut of his vision.
One Tree at a Time Saving the Planet
Looking like a giant game of Whack-a-Mole, this aerial photo is chock full of goodness. It's a planting trees campaign to convert bare land into a forest in Zhangye, in the Gansu province of China. Volunteers and employees, 10,000 strong, are trying to plant over 4.1 million trees for 2021. Talk about helping save the planet! This may not be the prettiest drone photograph but it's all love for our mother earth.
Isn't it amazing that people are getting together in the thousands to turn barren land into beautiful forests? This is great news for fighting pollution in china and for everyone.
A Drain Like No Other
Like a wormhole to another dimension, this stunning photo is of the Morning Glory Spillway, or Glory Hole as it's known in Napa Valley, California. It's 72 feet wide and funnels excess water from the Monticello Dam on Putah Creek, Lake Berryessa. Swimming near the Glory Hole is strictly forbidden, and for good reason. No one wants to get sucked into this gigantic drain, for who knows where it may lead.
The Glory Hole isn't always looking like this, and most of the time, it's just a giant cement drain in the lake, so catching a photo like this one was lucky.
A Rainbow of Fabric
How gorgeous it is to see all this color? Each rectangle is beautifully created by dying patterns onto white cloths, later to be made into traditional women's dresses. A drone snapped this Aerial view in Narayanganj, Bangladesh, where this process is done by hand. No two cloths are the same and you can see in the photo that the colors are rich and vibrant, running the spectrum of the rainbow.
There's someone in this photo laying out each textile to be dried, you just need to look closely in the middle of the photo. It's a lot of effort for sure.
Social Distancing Made Simple
In today's day and age, social distancing is the new norm, thanks to the Novel Corona Virus. Here it's been made easy for people to gather in groups in Sint-Pietersplein square in Ghent, Belgium, with these large white circles painted on the ground. From this point of view, it looks like some kind of game is being played on a large scale. Stay in your circle they kindly are hinting.
On the ground, the people probably hardly notice this large-scale attempt at social distancing. Yet from above it is clear that the city wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors safely.
Like a Cameo Pinned to the Earth
This elegant work of art can only truly be appreciated from aerial photos like this one taken by a drone. This is an earthwork or earthscape that is over 365,000 square feet in size, located in the Taiping Lake Forest Park in Mile City, Yunnan Province in Southwest China. An absolutely stunning view, it's constructed of dirt, stones, trees, plants, wood, and even water, creating this massive environmental art piece.
Earthwork artist, Stan Herd, created "Young woman of China" in 2014. It's so big that it can probably be seen from space. It's like no other, a cameo brooch pinned to the Earth.
Watch the Water Fall
Waterfalls are always stunning to look at-- with tons of gallons of water rushing down into the abyss. Drone photographers never get tired of taking photos like this one. Haifoss Waterfall in Iceland makes for great drone photography. The view is from hovering over the falls in a place that no man or woman could ever get to. Thank goodness for drones otherwise, this picture could never exist and we would all miss out on its grandeur.
If you look closely you can see the electricity poles in the background-- showing just how massive this fall really is. Almost a little dizzying for those afraid of heights.
The Picturesque Rorbu Homes of Norway
Dating all the way back to 1100, these homes were built to assist fishermen in Northern Norway who traveled to the Lofoten Islands during the cod fishing season. Today they are mostly vacation rentals, yet they represent the important role fishing was and still is to the Norwegian people. "Ro" translates to rowing and "bu" means a small house, the Rorbu allowed fishermen to dock a boat and enter right into the two-room house.
The most famous Rorbuer is pictured here, the Eliassen Rorbuer, in Hamnøy, Reinefjorden river-- With the backdrop of majestic mountains, drones have really accomplished the dramatic effect of this Norwegian landmark.
Freedom Comes With a Heavy Price Tag
To pay tribute to the British servicemen who gave their lives for their country-- in November of 2014, an art installation at London's Tower of London was opened to the public, with exactly 888,246 ceramic red poppies each representing the fallen soldiers during World War I. It's called "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" from a poem written anonymously by a Derbyshire Soldier. Seen from the air, it is a dramatic sight.
It reminds us, lest not we forget the sacrifices made and all the bloodshed caused while defending one's country. Whether you're a Brit or not, appreciate the freedoms you have.
Dancing Starlings in Flight
We have all seen swarms of flying birds or insects take to the sky as if they are performing a dance that only they can hear the music to. This phenomenon, called swarming, is where many flying creatures assemble in a group and move in unison through the air. The phrase-- birds of a feather flock together, is exactly what this is with the beauty and grace of a ballet performance.
Photos like this, have usually been taken from the ground, yet in recent years, drones have given us a much better perspective of this marvel in flight. If only we could hear the music too.
Is This Proof of Aliens Visiting?
Crop circles have been around for decades, and while many people think they are linked to UFO's landing in large fields, this has been debunked many times over. In truth, they are man-made designs that pranksters do, usually in one night to puzzle onlookers while bringing publicity to the creation. Made by the spiral flattening of wheat or corn crops, mostly in symmetrical patterns, other designs exist which make for great drone photography.
Mostly found in the United Kingdom, like this one is from Coventry, England, they have, in fact, spread all over the world, continuing the alien and UFO sightings mystery to this day.
Australia's Cable Beach Should Be Camel Beach
In Western Australia, the town of Broome has a remarkable white sanded beach called Cable Beach for its telecommunications cable that runs from Australia to the island of Java. The beach is so stunning and flat that it's hard to see where the beach ends and the ocean begins during the sunset and sunrise times of the day. When drones take to the sky to photograph the view, it looks like an optical illusion.
These camels cross the beach in caravan style making it hard to tell if they are walking on water or sand. Either way, they should demand a name change on their behalf.
The Dam Sprung a Leak
China's Yellow River Diversion Project sprung a leak in 2018, causing flooding in North China's Shanxi Province. In order to fully understand that cause and resolve the problem as quickly as possible drones were sent into the air to fully identify the problem. The ability for the drones to fly overhead, without putting anyone in danger of falling into the dam was a blessing, along with gaining much insight as to the cause.
The use of drones in instances like this one keeps workers safe and greatly speeds up the process of resolving the leaky dam that caused the massive flooding. The quicker the better!
The Hidden Lakes of Iceland
So as irony would have it, Iceland is very green, and Greenland is mostly ice, go figure, someone got it backward. What's most impressive about Iceland though, is that it is chock-full of geological activity-- volcanos, geysers, hot springs, geothermal energy, and best of all, two tectonic plates drifting apart on land. The Eurasian tectonic plate and the North American Tectonic plate are separating, which literally created Iceland. So cool, right?
The hidden lakes of Iceland, are inaccessible by foot, but a drone captured these pockets of lakes in assorted colors, produced from the high mineral content of each lake. An earthwork created by Earth itself.
The Church Among the Clouds
The Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus stands on the summit of Mount Tibidabo in Barcelona, Spain. This Roman Catholic Church and minor Basilica started construction in 1902 and took 59 years to complete in two stages. It all started in 1886, when rumors of a Protestant Temple would be built there, so fears of that happening, set into motion this jewel of Barcelona overlooking the entire city.
In recent years it's been a popular place for drone photography and with good reason. Sitting among the clouds, majestic and holy as if Jesus Christ, standing arms wide open, speaks to his followers.
Up Close and Personal Disaster
We never know when a personal disaster will happen. No one leaves home thinking their house is going to catch fire or blow up from a gas leak, yet these things happen more often than we would like. Usually, scenes from personal disasters are seen on tv from helicopters flying high in the air looking down or from photojournalists on the ground capturing someone's tragedy. These days, drones give a different view.
Here you see a three-story residential building explosion in Dortmund, Germany. Using a drone, we are able to see the view up close and personal from an angle only drones can capture.
Dangerous Ghost Towns Aren't a Problem for Drones
What once was, is no longer. All too often, political conflict takes its toll on people and places throughout the world. Previously a flourishing town in Gali, Abkhazia, is now all but a ghost town, a dangerous one, at that! To visit in person could be life-threatening, so drones have become the option of choice for places like this one, that are either too difficult to get to, or dangerous for people to be.
Pictured here, are the remains of a college that was one of many cultural institutions in Gali. Sad to see what's left of a place of learning that no longer can exist.
Even the View of Buddhist Monks Gives off a Zen Feeling
China is full of stunning Temples and grand views, like the Great Wall or the TerraCotta Army, just to name a few. Buddhist Temples and Monasteries are scattered all through the land as places of great beauty and history. Yet rarely do we see the elegance of the Monks' rituals captured on camera. Endless blooming Lotus flowers, seen here, vibrantly float in the pond while Buddhist Monks walk in unison meditating on a bridge.
This overhead shot, taken by a drone, channels the tranquility of the monks meditating at Guangde Temple in Suining city, of Sichuan province in China. Just looking at them is calming.
Hungry Hungry Hippos From Afar
We all have seen pink-friendly hippos in cartoons, with bubbly personalities and huge smiles, but hippos are anything but friendly, and up close, they are massive, barrel-bellied, vegetarians that can do real damage when they get mad. A view from overhead makes these 3,000-pound megafaunas look like peanuts amongst the grand landscape of the Luangwa River in Zambia's Luangwa National Park. Don't they look like cute baby dinosaurs playing around?
Best to enjoy them from afar, with high-flying drones that they can't catch, cause if these water-loving beasts chase you at 30 mph there isn't any way you're getting out of it.
A Boneyard With No Bones About It
As a junkyard is for cars no longer in use, the Boneyard is for planes that no longer fly. It wasn't so long ago these F-4 Phantoms and T-38 Talons were all the rave in aerospace advancement, so it's very fitting to have an itty bitty drone photograph the resting place of these retired airplanes at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, in Arizona. Drones are literally flying over the backbones of their predecessors.
In the dry Arizona heat, these planes will be the artifacts of our time for people of the future to dig up and wonder about our society. They might not even know what they are!
A Glimpse of the Past in the Present
This picture could have been taken centuries ago, like a glimpse of the past captured in full color and high resolution of a shepherd leading his flock in Sonatola Upazila, Bangladesh, through rice fields. It is only through the flying technological advancement of drones that we can see the old ways of times long gone, for most of us, yet managed to carry forward and still survive the ever-changing world.
There is beauty in the simplicity of life that seems to have stood the test of time. Sometimes, old ways still work just fine. If it isn't broken don't fix it.
Rain Rain Go Away We Don't Want No Sinkhole Today
Heavy rains can cause lots of damage like mudslides and flooding, but one phenomenon that also happens is sinkholes. This massive sinkhole happened on June 10th, 2017, in Nantong City in the Jiangsu Province of China after heavy rains slammed the busy streets. While the street was itself collapsed, it also took with it a minivan along with a tree. Happy to say, no one was hurt during this event.
Using a drone, the immense scale of this sinkhole was captured, giving the full picture of just how much damage can be done when heavy rains collide with urban settings.
Molten Ice Pools Can Swallow a Person up Too
So we all know too well what molten lava is, but have you ever heard of molten ice pools? In Switzerland, the Corvatch glacier, near St. Mortiz, Engadin, is a popular place for winter sports. Skiing and winter hiking is the thing to do there, with its picturesque landscape, it's simply breathtaking, but be careful though, avalanches aren't the only dangerous happenings on this glacier-- molten ice pools are too.
Beneath the surface, the ice melts creating a lake, with the top still frozen, the weight is too great, so it becomes like a sinkhole. Beware from above and below!
Night Sky Art Powered by Drones Is the Future
Forget the fireworks to start off a big celebration, how about a drone light show instead? The 2020 Global 5G Application Competition in Shenzhen Province, China, used thousands, and we mean thousands of drones to pull off an amazing feat by any standard. Drones worked together to create words and designs in the night sky, like a person walking and a giant cube, just to name a few. Basically, it's art with drones.
This picture doesn't do this spectacular event justice. The choreography involved takes lots of manpower and time, too, despite they weren't visible to viewers.
Argentina's Edge of Civilization
Ever look at a picture and wonder where is that? Do people really live there? Well, this is one of those photos showing just how small people really are. Known as the Patagonia region it covers the Southern part of South America mainly in Argentina. It is one of the last, mostly untouched, frontiers on earth, with vibrant mountains, stunning lakes, and numerous jaw-dropping glaciers, each one bigger than the next.
El Calafate is the gateway to the majestic Perito Moreno Glacier, seen here, Lake Argentino to the right, and the Andes Mountains behind. The perspective is fantastic, thanks to the drone!
Cry Me a River No More
The Rigaud River, running through Quebec and Ontario Canada has been susceptible to flooding in recent years. Each spring the river overflows its banks, spilling out into residential areas causing property damage while leaving many homeowners stranded. Thanks to drones, rescue crews are able to find people trapped on their property in difficult-to-reach areas because of the rising floodwaters. Drones have become a vital part of rescuing people quickly by knowing where to go.
Without assistance from drone technology, lives could be lost, thankfully though this doesn't have to be the case anymore. So while drones can capture impressive aerial shots, they are lifesavers too!
Not the Picture Perfect Nature We Imagine
This looks like a scene from Hurricane Katrina, a flooding Mississippi river full of debris, but in fact, it's Cameron Falls, Alberta, in Canada. A drone captured this photo, on a regular day, of the rapids looking murky and muddy. It's not so clean and pristine as we imagine the untouched wilderness to be, but then again how would we know if it wasn't for drones capturing a shot like this.
Oftentimes what we expect nature to be, beautiful and perfect, isn't always the case, unfortunately. Hopefully, this drone shot won't change your mind about how beautiful nature really is, most of the time.