Surfers avoiding the hurricane rip in Western Australia.
@wayuptherephoto—Courtesy SkyPixel
April 22, 2017 5:26 PM EDT

Drones can offer a different perspective of our planet. 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.

TIME selected some of the most mesmerizing photographs from the thousands that were submitted to the SkyPixel 2016 Photo Contest. They stood out from the rest for their ability to play with height and texture in unusual ways, forcing the viewer to take a second look to figure out what they’re seeing.

See these photographs: Earth From Above

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