Cows near Kiskunhalas, Hungary.
Daróczi Csaba—Courtesy SkyPixel

By Josh Raab

You think you understand the world around you, until you see it from above. Drones allow for a different perspective, and a new visual language. With no horizon, the traditional rules of composition are changed and looking straight down flattens the world. At times this can trick the eye, but it can also bring order to the most chaotic of situations.

These photos were submitted to the SkyPixel 2016 Photo Contest. They were selected for their ability to stand out of the 27,000 entries sent from 140 different countries, making SkyPixel the world's largest photo contest dedicated to aerial photography.

Surfers avoiding the hurricane rip in Western Australia
Travgmarshall—Courtesy SkyPixel

A prayer ceremony by the Mekong River in Lincang, China
Ma Jinzhong—Courtesy SkyPixel

Frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia
Evgeny Green—Courtesy SkyPixel

The Tatacoa Desert in Colombia
Fran Arnau—Courtesy SkyPixel

Lumber production in Baruth Brandenburg, Germany
Jokeair Klaus Breuer & Andrea Kuenstle—Courtesy SkyPixel

Sparklers in the desert near Lhasa, Tibet, China
Li Heng—Courtesy SkyPixel

Animals on a hillside in Xinghuagou, China
16127704—Courtesy SkyPixel

Sledding
Kwak Poung Young—Courtesy SkyPixel

Surfers in San Clemente, Calif.
Eric Peniata—Courtesy SkyPixel

Clouds over Xichongkou, China
王富军—Courtesy SkyPixel

Fog underneath the Baling River Bridge in Guizhou Province, China
诚涵—Courtesy SkyPixel

Fruit trees in a mowed field in Kiskunhalas, Hungary
Daróczi Csaba—Courtesy SkyPixel