While many of the world’s natural landscapes can be appreciated on foot, award-winning photographer Stas Bartnikas takes to the skies to capture their beauty from above. The Moscow-based photographer’s spectacular portfolio of aerial photography highlights the magnificent abstract patterns found in nature—a style he calls “aero-art.”

While drone photography allows today’s photographers to capture the world from new heights, Bartnikas values the old-school tradition of flying in small planes and helicopters to look down and take the photographs with his camera in hand. His portfolio showcases the world from a different perspective, revealing the incredible patterns, shapes, and colors of Mother Nature. “Regular travelers are able to see only so much of the amazing places they travel to, whereas aerial photography allows us to see places that are inaccessible on foot,” Bartnikas tells My Modern Met. “[This] shows a very different perspective and enables capturing the beauty of our Earth in its full glory and uniqueness.”

Bartnikas’ favorite place to shoot from above is the vast Icelandic landscape. “Iceland is one of the most photogenic countries when looked from above,” says the photographer. “[The] combination of ice, snow, volcanic formations, glacial rivers, beaches, and ocean makes for [an] absolutely surreal and stunning sight.” Bartnikas’ incredible images look just like abstract paintings: icy streams appear as expressive twists and swirls, rock formations as textural elements, and frothy shorelines look like thick layers of oil paint.

“Every time I go up in the air I look for abstractions created by nature that you can see only from above,” says Bartnikas. “Each abstract image has its own character and vibe. It is almost the same as photographing human portraits; each portrait is unique and conveys its own message. It is the same for my images. Often times in my pictures I see faces. I call them ‘faces of the Earth.’ ”

Bartnikas’ work will be featured as part of the Beyond the Lens photo exhibition in Siena, Italy from October 28 to December 2, 2018. If you can’t make it to Italy, you can gaze in awe at the talented photographer’s work on his website.

Moscow-based photographer Stas Bartnikas takes the skies to capture the beauty of the world’s landscapes from above.

Abstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas Bartnikas

His spectacular portfolio of aerial photography highlights the magnificent abstract patterns found in nature—a style he calls “aero-art.”

Abstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas Bartnikas

His incredible images look just like abstract paintings.

Abstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas Bartnikas

Icy streams appear as expressive twists and swirls…

Abstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas Bartnikas

…rock formations as textural elements…

Abstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas Bartnikas

…and frothy shorelines look like thick layers of oil paint.

Abstract Aerial Photography by Stas BartnikasAbstract Aerial Photography by Stas Bartnikas

Stas Bartnikas: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Stas Bartnikas.

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