Drones have become the latest must-have tech gadget, with everyone from young kids to professional drone racers – yes, that sport does exist – investing in the very best new devices to help them pursue their hobby.
Aside from racing, drones have also become an essential part of any professional photographer’s kit, allowing artists to send their cameras into places that would usually be well beyond their reach – or which would at least be a few hours hiking away!
Of course, sending a drone and a camera up into the wild blue yonder does leave photographers in the dark as to what kind of images they might capture. And sometimes drones can come back with some rather surprising footage, as the unusual collection of photographs below illustrates.
Not all of the wildlife shots captured by drones were planned, however. This drone managed to capture the nerve-wracking image of a lone paddle boarder out at sea, completely unaware that he was paddling awfully close to a passing Great White Shark. At least the paddle boarder was blissfully ignorant of the passing danger and made it safely back to shore.
19 Bizarre Bunny
This is one of those images which doesn’t just require a second glance, but maybe a third or even a fourth. Yes, that is a giant stuffed rabbit sitting next to a quiet farmhouse in the Piedmont region of Italy. It was created by a collective of artists for people to sleep on, climb over and to generally provide inspiration, and is simply too big to be moved from its original location.
18 Sudden Sinkhole
One drone operator timed his flight to perfection when he sent his device up to capture some overhead images of Lake Berryessa in California. The lake has been built with a spillway which only operates when the lake contains too much water. It may look like a sinkhole, but this was all planned, even though it only happens every few years.
17 Whale Of A Time
Another paddle boarder was photographed by a drone in very close proximity to two huge whales while he was trying to enjoy some peace and quiet in the sunshine off the Western Australian coast. This stunning image was captured by a quadriplegic drone operator who uses his device to stay connected to the world.
16 Jump The Shark
Head out into the middle of the ocean, and it is hardly surprising that paddle boarders and kayakers might encounter whales or sharks, but as this alarming drone photograph proves, no-one is safe from the horrors of the deep! This curious hammerhead shark exploring the shallows at a Florida beach was eventually caught by a brave local fisherman.
15 Hello Up There
Getting the perfect photograph is all about timing, and the same goes for those who are trying to capture amazing images with drones. While most drones can fly over animals without disturbing them, this lion heard the device and couldn’t resist checking out what was happening in the sky – producing an amazing wildlife image for this drone operator.
14 Storm Chasing
Sending up a drone also comes with its risks – and these devices can cost tens of thousands of pounds. The owner of this done managed to capture a stunning image of an approaching tornado, though they were probably quick to return it to the ground and clear the areas before the powerful storm got any closer!
13 Look Out Below
For travelers who like to get off the beaten track, drones provide an opportunity to get holiday snaps that are as adventurous as the activities they are involved in. The idea may have been to get a snap of this kayaker out in the middle of the ocean, but nobody looking at the photograph would be able to take their eyes off that lurking shark.
12 Fragile Ice
At first glance, this seems just like a beautiful image of a polar bear exploring its Arctic home. But look closely and you can see how thin the ice floes are that the polar bear is using to get around and that the bear is being forced to jump across areas where the ice has melted away. A pretty picture which also tells a tragic story.
11 Shark Bait
These two paddle boarding beach babes must have thought they had captured the ultimate Instagram image when their drone took a photograph of them out at sea. It looks like they are blissfully unaware that sharks are circling their paddle boards at the moment this image was taken; although they soon spotted their pursuers and headed back to shore.
10 Say Cheese
While many drone owners might use their devices to try and capture images of wildlife, sometimes the wildlife has a very different idea. This angry goose was obviously startled by the presence of another flying creature in its territory and took a fearsome approach to chasing the drone away from its pond in the Netherlands.
9 Birds’ Eye View
Not all birds seem so unhappy to share the sky with drone photographers. Some are even happy to put on a bit of a show for the cameras! This drone captured some perfect footage of a soaring eagle hovering in the air as it waited to strike and attack its prey.
8 Drone Disaster
Drones may be a great way to produce some creative holiday snaps, but tourists should be wary not to get carried away while posing for their eye in the sky. This French tourist ended up falling into a fountain at a local chateau when she and her friends visited for the day and took their drome camera with them.
7 Lost In The Woods
An undamaged 727 passenger jet might be the last thing you would expect to see in a drone photograph of woodland in Oregon – however, this plane is famous, as is its eccentric resident. The owner of the plane has converted into a comfortable home, where he can live undisturbed by the rest of the world. Apart from passing drones, of course.
6 Force Of Nature
Drones are ideal for taking pictures of animals, as they are far less likely to disturb their normal behavior than a heavy-footed human photographer. One drone photographer snapped this candid shot of a crocodile swimming back to its lair in Papua New Guinea with a giant pig in its mouth, ready to enjoy a tasty dinner.
5 Soaring Spy
Sadly, some drone owners do not always use their technology for good, and some men have been known to use their devices to spy on unsuspecting women. This sunbathing beauty was distinctly unhappy to see a drone buzzing above her rooftop hideaway and decided to chase it off with a handy broom.
4 Hidden History
Aerial photography has been used for decades to try and identify prehistoric sites buried under 20th century farmland, but drone photography means that any old Tom, Dick or Harry can make their own historic discovery. The owner of this drone spotted an unusual pattern under the field of crops in the image, which was later identified as an ancient burial mound.
3 Close To The Edge
This farmer was determined to try and save as much of his property as possible from a wildfire in Colorado, by trying to remove the crops in its path which might have provided more fuel. He was putting himself in tremendous danger by doing so, but his desperate efforts did help to create a jaw-dropping drone image!
2 Bigfoot Spotted
We have already seen how drones are the ideal tool when trying to photograph wild animals – and they don’t come much wilder than the mythical Bigfoot. But this image of the mysterious sasquatch was not quite all it seemed, as the whole thing was a hoax, set up by the owner of the drone and his friend.
1 Chimp Takedown
Drones may be the perfect way to capture images of animals, but you don’t want to let your expensive piece of kit get too close to the wildlife. This chimp took offense at having a drone spy on him and managed to knock it out of the sky with a long stick. Although it did make for some interesting photographs when the footage was retrieved.
Sources: Inhabitat, Digital Trends, RT, Live Science,