1. A Farmer Saves His Crops

Here, this drone managed to capture a farmer in the midst of saving his crops. While we don’t know if he succeeded, we do know what he was trying to do. In essence, the way in which the farmer is traveling in relation to the fire suggests that he is trying to create a fire line.

farmer tries to save crops by driving over them with plough
Youtube

A fire line is a way in which to destroy the fuel for a fire. Here, that fuel is dry crops. If the farmer destroys these crops in a consistent way in front of the fire, the fire will have no fuel to burn once it gets to the line. The hope is that this temporary lack of fuel will prevent the fire from burning forward. While dangerous, this was a valiant effort by the tractor driver to protect the land.

2. Children of the Wheat

Most people don’t tend to fly their drones overtop vast swaths of crops as it tends to yield boring results. But within the small subset of people that do, sometimes they’re surprised at what they find. In this case, they were shocked to find a scarecrow. While scarecrows are actually common to the farming life, most don’t seem to be this creepy.

Scarecrow in field
Wikimedia Commons

This scarecrow is hunched over, looking as if it’s on the hunt. While we can be certain that it’s not actually animate, that doesn’t mean we can’t pretend. Either way, this is one of the more bizarre findings among the intimidating scarecrow industry. If it’s not bizarre for the actual scarecrow, perhaps it is because somebody thought this would be an interesting drone photo.

3. Crop Circles

Crop circles have been a primary motivator of superstition, movie plots, and cowardice everywhere. While many of the supposed alien creations were actually constructed by lonely farmers or media-crazed teens, crop designs have dazzled our imagination. When we see them from drones, they’re all the more impressive.

Twitter via @kopice86

But, just as an aside, most of the circles that might not have an explanation are very unlikely to have been formed by aliens (sorry). Many ancient societies, for instance, could have plotted the trajectory of ploughs and the like to elicit certain images from above. We have to consider parsimony with these things.

4. A house explodes

Sometimes drones capture things that police would have blocked off to the public. This is the case in the photo pictured below. This house, which had inexplicably exploded, was quickly quarantined off by the local authorities. While police and firefighters are not entirely sure what led to this houses’ crumbling disposition, they have some ideas.

Youtube

Primarily, they suspect that the explosion might have been due to the slow build-up of gas from an electric burner or other household appliance. After enough of the fuel has filled the house, a simple ignition from a gas stove or other flamed entity would ignite the house ablaze. That is likely—and unfortunately—what happened here.

5. The aftermath of war

Sometimes people take their drones to places where they probably shouldn’t be. In this instance, a perhaps unwise fellow had taken his to a war-torn region of Syria. When his drone took to the air, it realized the exact magnitude of the damage. Rubble buildings, decimated walls, estranged satellites—all indicators of a now-abandoned town.

Twitter via @OliviaIannelli

While taking your drone into an area embattled by war is by no means suggestible (it’s probably also illegal), it does reveal the scope of war. While the images in no way capture the fear felt by those who might have been present during the attacks, it does show the extent to which the damage reached.

6. Seconds before impact

When you take a drone to film yourself doing cool tricks on a motorcycle, you run the possibility of that drone capturing images of the falling. And that’s what happened here. The biker here had attempted to hop a jump. Unfortunately, while he did gain air, he also gained a few new bruises.

man rides dirt bike off of jump
YouTube

The fall from the bike in no way looked pleasant (do they ever?). After gaining about five feet in altitude, the bike descended to the ground in a heap that you wouldn’t want to experience. This heap included the drone itself, given that the biker had actually drove into the drone. Well, if you were to attempt something similar maybe you would give the drone more flight.

7. A family of elephants

Elephants, much to people’s surprise, are one of the most deadly mammals that exist. Given their large size, they are more than capable of destroying someone with the simple step of a foot. Here, we have a family of such creatures. While they may look benign, looks can be deceiving.

a bunch of elephants climbing through grass
LinkedIn

Just kidding. These elephants, estranged from the local tribes that surround them, are likely just roaming for food. The African Savannah is a large place, and finding watering holes can be a tedious game. This drone managed to capture them in their journey, showing mothers, fathers, and babies alike. Just a brief intermission of happy elephants before we move on to some more terrifying photos.

8. Gazelles in flight

Some animals are just a little skittish. This is especially true of Gazelles. When you spot them in the wild, most won’t stick around for a selfie. Given this frightful disposition, capturing a good photo of the tetrapedal beasts can be a challenge. This isn’t so with a drone.

Youtube

While the flying machines make an obnoxiously loud humming noise, this noise is apparently less intrusive than a person on foot. Perhaps this is because the gazelles have no clue of what the thing is. Perhaps it’s because they’re in the air. Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to pose as much of a threat as people in the ground. If you’re looking to take some choice shots of them, then, perhaps you should consider a drone.

9. An Icelandic Delta River

When we get photos from things above, they don’t always look the same. Thanks to the aerial abilities of the drone, Earth’s majestic beauty is put on full display. This photo of the Icelandic Delta River looks like a detailed watercolor painting worthy of framing and hanging in an art gallery. Mother nature truly is an artist.

Twitter via @Tidadou

One of the more famous of these photos was taken by a famous drone photographer (yes, such a job exists), Max Foster. Foster would take the drone to heights of around 1,500 feet, snap a photo, and reap the glory. It takes mad skills to take navigate the drone to high altitudes. Foster had mastered the craft, inducing confusion in some, awe in others.

10. Marriage proposal from a drone

Here, we have quite the romantic moment documented from above thanks to drone power. Dropped on one knee, this bachelor had flown his drone overhead to catch the proposal in the act. He wanted to have lasting, hands-free footage to document the sacred request. There’s something compelling about the tops of people’s heads as they say “I do.” And yes, the breathtaking view as well.

people proposing at yosemite national park
Youtube

Has the drone craze gotten out of hand? Instead of getting friends to take a photo of the ritual, the future Mr. and Mrs. are accompanied by an obtrusive propellered robot photographer. Romance has never been more futuristic, so we’ll just have to accept our mechanical hovering friends. We’re just glad he didn’t go with the selfie-stick.

11. The most dense population on Earth

Mexico City is full of surprises. One of these surprises is that it is the most densely populated place on Earth. This photo, captured via drone, brings this statistic to life in convincing form. If you were looking for a nice place of solitude, then, you might want to cross Mexico City off of your list.

mexico city being extremely crowded
Shutterstock

Here, we see thousands of houses packed tightly together over rolling hills and plateaus. Infrastructure has claimed the land in Mexico’s capitol hub. Drone footage once again captures just how incredible sprawl of a city can be. The great population of Mexico City—all 21 million people in it—have adapted to living in close quarters.

12. A house on rocky terrain

Most people appreciate their solitude. Some people take this to extreme lengths, living underground in bunkers or in far off and remote places like the Montana wilderness. Sometimes, however, they take their homes to dangerous rocks where others couldn’t possibly disturb them.

a beautiful shot of georgia
Twitter via @LilyjoyNaz1

This dangerous home, located atop Katskhi Pillar in Western Georgia (right below the Russian border), stands at a staggering 140 tall. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably wondering how they built the house so neatly atop this rock. Well, they did so brick by brick. The place is maintained by a solitary monk. And yes, we know what you’re asking: he can get down.

13. Abandoned college

Here, we have pictured an abandoned college in Abkhazia, Georgia. The place is clearly unkempt, showing thick overgrowth on its rooves and columns. While the college might look like a fun place to visit, it’s likely dangerous from the lack of care.

an overgrown building
Image via Facebook

Because the place is so isolated, the finding is considered a rarity. The aerial drone allowed for its rediscovery. Perhaps someday it will be repurposed as a new institution. Only time will tell. Until then, we’ll have to enjoy this place from the retrospective lens of the drone. If we get too close, we might be reclaimed by mother nature, too.

14. A friendly giant

Drone footage captured a peculiar granite giant in a field behind some houses. Apparently, the giant was created by a convicted murder and felon, Jimmy Boyle. Located in Edinburgh, Scotland, the thing has since been reappropriated as a playground for children. With time, however, the thing has fallen into disrepair.

giant stome creature from the air
IcePop

Because of this and a few other factors (like the fact that it blocks a developing flood prevention scheme), the 100-foot-long statue has been removed from the ground on which it previously so gallantly stood. The only thing that will remain of this once graceful giant is his foot. This is unfortunate, as a foot is far less mighty than the whole.

15. Unfortunate traffic

China is one of the most populated places on planet Earth. Considering that it maintains a population of around 1.4 billion people, and that these people are condensed into relatively small cities like Hong Kong and Beijing, the place can get a little crowded. Yes, this might be an understatement.

Twitter via @FTwitchs

Here, we have a drone image taken during “Golden Week,” a time at which traffic—clearly—is exceptionally bad. The road on which they’re traveling is the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, which maintains 50 total lanes. Despite the wide berth of this freeway, the traffic in this particular instance was thick and unrelenting.

16. Feed those ducks

Vietnam is full of surprises. While it is both home to some of the most idyllic beaches and jungle known to man, it is also home to some of the weirder phenomena on planet Earth. One of these phenomena, whether you believe it or not, is duck feeding. Here, at the Ba River in Vietnam’s Tuy Hoa City, ducks are getting fed en masse.

ducks en masse above a bay
Icepop

The number of ducks we see here is likely in part due to both the duck feeding and duck farming that goes in the village. Annually, there are around 30 million ducks that are farmed in this way, and the fruits of this farming (i.e., meat and eggs) are used to feed local villages and farmers. For the most part, these ducks are raised alongside rice paddies and the like. Either way, they exist in great abundance.

17. Better look out

Here, we have a drone image of some man being a little too caviler with his life. Walking in the water while a hammerhead shock swims below is not exactly the most sagacious thing to do with your life. Yet, the man wades on—all while others stand by in panicked worry.

man catches photo of shark
Youtube

The photo was taken on Panama City Beach in Florida. Florida has an abnormally high population of sharks, so this shark wasn’t exactly abnormal. Still, the find is troubling, and the fact that it was captured via drone shows the brazen attitude of some Floridan locals. We wouldn’t recommend that you attempt the same feat.

18. Trashed?

Here, we have a photo of the Silverdome. This stadium used to be the home of the Detroit Lions until they moved to a new stadium in 2002. The stadium has a florid history, having hosted everything from a Super Bowl to a pope. Despite this rich history, the place has been derelict for some time.

trashed stadium from above
YouTube

While plans for the abandoned stadium had been set to turn it into a soccer field, the plans never came to fruition. And because of this, the place has remained and accumulated trash. This drone shot captured this stadium in one of its worst moments. We hope that it might help in the repurposing of its once glorious status.

19. New Orleans’s Six Flags

New Orleans suffered a majority catastrophe in 2005. The catastrophe was Hurricane Katrina, which had submerged substantial portions of the low-elevation city in water. Because of this, the tragedy was one of the greatest to have ever struck the nation. While Six Flags isn’t the worst thing to have had sunk, it is indicative of the larger tragedy.

six flags flooded
Youtube

This particular image, taken via drone, shows an abandoned and submerged Six Flags amusement park. The place has been underneath the waves since the initial disaster. Unfortunately, the area has not had the resources to resurrect it. Regardless, the money could probably be better spent on other parts of New Orleans.

20. Mont Saint-Michel

Here, we see Mont Saint-Michel, taken via drone for a travel photography contest. The beautiful monastery is surrounded by water, such that during high tide it remains isolated from the mainland. Because of this, the place was considered a stronghold for centuries.

Youtube

The fortress was built in 708 AD. Having originated as a prophet vision to the Bishop Aubert of Avranches. Once equipped with this vision, he set out to build the monastery. Over time, the place became one of the most important destinations for nomadic tourists. The place is still a popular tourist destination, but not so important for worldly travelers.

21. Where planes go to die

Most of us didn’t think that there was a place where planes go to die. Well, it turns out that there is (thanks, drones!). This plane graveyard is located in none other than Tucson, Arizona. In total, the place carries around 4,000 aircraft. Built after WWII, this graveyard of aviation’s past has been the resting place of abandoned aerial technology from all over the United States.

a plane graveyard from the above
Twitter via @huseyinsayin

The main purpose of the graveyard is to repurpose or part-out old airplanes. To this purpose, the place has retained something around $500 million in salvaged parts. If you’re looking for something to replace the bedraggled engine of your old Being 757, then, this place might be the destination to check for a replacement.

22. Cities from above

Drones can fly quite high. Here, we have an image taken from Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world. As you can see, it has quite a large number of tall buildings. Amazingly, it has the greatest concentration of skyscrapers in the world.

drone shots of hong kong
Youtube

Within all of these skyscrapers, you have the fourth most densely populated area on Earth. In total, there around seven million people within its stunning city walls. Unfortunately, these walls are so tightly packed that they lead to abundant traffic and pollution problems. Either way, the city is a must-see for avid urban travelers.

23. Time for food

Here, we have a rare image of something fun: dolphins fighting for food. Because dolphins normally hunt in packs, we see the entire pod here fighting over something good. Dolphins normally eat things like other fish, but sometimes they resort to habits so strange as to cannibalize. And to that we offer a resounding “no thanks.”

Youtube

Killer whales, a species of dolphin, are especially tasked on this front. They are extremely predatory, voraciously hungry, and prone to cannibalize. They eat things ranging from cute penguins to ugly and annoying seabirds. Either way, they are powerful oceanic predators. Their beauty is unparalleled.

24. A close encounter

Kitesurfing is definitely one of the more extreme sports. On occasion, the surfer will get lifted from their surf, pulled onto some nearby shore, and, unfortunately, sometimes they will even be thrown into a building. However, sometimes they encounter things that are a little more jarring.

Youtube

Here, we see exactly what that jarring thing can be. Isabelle Fabre, a popular kitesurfing influencer, was taking a drone photo of her surfing. When she later reviewed the footage, she realized that during this particular run, she encountered a great white shark. While she wasn’t attacked by the thing, it did swim awfully close. Fortunately, she could have probably escaped need be.

25. Wreckage

In 2014, a tornado had torn through Mayflower, Arkansas. The results were devastating, ripping up buildings and destroying most that stayed in its path. Some people, to capture the damage, had flown their drones into the air to take photos. The pictures were terrifying, suggesting massive amounts of physical and emotional damage.

Wikimedia Commons

Here, we see pictured several homes, cars, and empty plots decimated by the turbulent winds. Chewed up and spit out, this heap of broken-down human structures shows the sheer power of nature. Sometimes it takes a drone to realize the breadth of this power. And we see that in its full statue here in Mayflower, Arkansas.

26. Bigfoot?

Sometimes images from above capture things that most of us would find strange. Here, we have exactly that. While no one is sure what this is, many have hypothesized that it is something as extraordinary as Bigfoot. In reality, it is likely photoshopped or some other type of animal.

bigfoot walking on grass
Youtube

Either way, the mysterious image was captured by a drone being piloted by a man from Idaho. His hope was to capture nearby animals like elk and deer. If you were to believe in something like bigfoot, however, you would want something far more compelling than this. Given the diminutive nature of the beast and the poor quality of the photo, we can safely dismiss these fantastic claims.

27. When cheetahs attack

Cheetahs are some of the most formidable beasts in the animal kingdom. While they’re light-weight, weighing in anywhere from 45 to 150 lbs., they can run at staggering speeds. The average speed of the cheetah is around 60 mph, but the fastest they’ve been recorded running is around 75 mph.

cheetah attacks drone
Youtube

Just so you know, the fastest a drone is purported to fly is around 85 mph. Their average speed, however, is about that of the cheetahs—70 mph. When the two battle, then, it’s not always certain who will win. And here, we have just that: a drone flying through the Serengeti about to be attacked.

28. Hot magma

There have been many occasions on which drones have flown too close to the object they were trying to capture. In Yellowstone, one drone had tried to capture the bursting of Old Faithful. Amusingly, the water exploded so high that it shot the drone down. Unfortunately, park rangers had to then fish the thing out.

magma from above
YouTube

Here, we have drone that didn’t fly too close to the Sun. Presumably exercising ample safety, this drone pilot flew their aerial instrument sufficiently high such to avoid the heat. And the result is that it sufficiently captured the tumultuous magma inside this active volcano. They’re lucky it didn’t erupt while they did so, otherwise they might be down a couple thousand dollars.

29. Basilica of Saint Francis

Fog is no stranger to the lands of Europe. Here, we have pictured the Basilica of Saint Francis. The church, located in Umbria, Italy, was built in 1228. In total, the place has around two churches and a crypt wherein Saint Francis lies. Saint Francis of Assisi is who the place was built for.

a plot of land protruding
Twitter via @tehnoprostir

The drone footage here allowed us to view the surreal town from above. While immersed in fog, the entire outlet looks estranged from the rest of the land. Fortunately, however, it is not. If you would like to visit the place, you are more than welcome. The place was actually a very famous destination for tourists back in the day.

This article was originally published on Science 101: These are the most incredible images ever captured by drones