Drones might be synonymous with reigns of terror, Hellfire missiles, extrajudicial killings, and countless civilian deaths. But these unmanned aerial vehicles can also play less sinister roles in search and rescue operations, conservation efforts, meteorology, disaster prevention...and, of course, photography.

The world's first drone-based photography competition, run by the online Dronestagram community in collaboration with National Geographic, has just come to a close. The winning entry - a shot of an eagle, taken from above, soaring over a national park in Indonesia - is quite breathtaking, and it's the kind of photograph which would never have been possible just a few years ago.

I think the competition really highlights the incredible potential of these mobile craft to capture unique views of our world. And drone photography is becoming more accessible than ever before: these days a drone + lightweight camera combination can cost no more than a mid-range DSLR (~ £1000). Would-be drone pilots now just need to work on ways to operate more safely in the eyes of the law before the practice of drone photography becomes more widespread.

I can't wait to see more of these beautiful aerial photgraphs!