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21 BREATHTAKING DRONE PHOTOS THAT SHOW THE MAJESTY OF OUR WORLD

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Drone costs have dropped substantially over the past few years, and during this span, we’ve seen the technology increase exponentially. While early designs were more of a backyard novelty than anything else, the latest drones are loaded with advanced cameras and stabilization technology that allows for more practical functionality. Designed with extended operational range, gone are the days of simply buzzing — and often caroming — about the backyard.

Needless to say, these enhancements and the general pivot toward drone-based, aerial imaging is changing the field of photography as we know it. While pint-sized quadcopters are best for navigating narrow indoor environments, there are a hundreds of more powerful brutes on the market designed to handle the gustier conditions often involved with aerial photography. We should know — we’ve tested dozens of drones over the years and curated a comprehensive roundup of our favorites.

From the choicest views of World Heritage Sites to close-up glimpses of volcanic eruptions, here are 21 of our favorites drone photos from around the world. We’ll be updating this photo gallery weekly, so be sure to check back regularly for a top-down glimpse of locals near and far.