Smithsonian Magazine recently announced the finalists for its 11th Annual Photo Contest. 50,000 photographs submitted by photographers from 132 different countries were whittled down to the top 60. Ten photographs were selected from each of the six categories: the Natural World, Travel, People, Americana, Altered Images, and the new category Mobile.
The finalists cover a remarkable variety of photography, but they all hold one thing in common: capturing the beauty and spirit of all walks of life that exist in nature, including animals, plant life, and people from across the globe. Whether the photos depict lush and sunlit rice terraces, a group of children joyously playing soccer, or a sea turtle gliding smoothly beneath the surface of the ocean, they all inspire a similar desire to venture forth into the world to see and experience as much as possible.
In addition to the juried votes, the contest is open for a Readers' Choice vote. Be sure to check out all of the other spectacular finalists and vote for your favorite images here, from now until May 6.
Above: Photograph by Dina Bova (Petach Tikva, Israel). Finalist: Altered Images. “Babylon – Made in Italy is inspired by the story of the Babylon tower, the painting by Pieter Bruegel and by a trip to the beautiful Cinque Terre in Italy,” says Bova. Cinque Terre, Italy, October 2013.
Photograph by Vo Anh Kiet (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). Finalist: Travel. Terraced fields during harvest season. Mu Cang Chay, Vietnam, September 2012.
Photograph by Graham McGeorge (Jacksonville, Florida). Finalist: Natural World. McGeorge spent a quiet 6 hours trying to get the perfect image of this eastern screech owl out of its nest. Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, April 2013.
Photograph by Michael Anglin (San Angelo, Texas). Finalist: Americana. Mark Duncan and his horse Blue Duck. “I got down in the dirt, adjusted my exposure, and told him to blast past me as close as he could. He did. I could feel them thunder by as the rope swooshed just above my head,” says Anglin. San Angelo, Texas, June 2013.
Photograph by David Lazar (Brisbane, Australia). Finalist: People. High in the mountains, a group of children play with a homemade soccer ball. Quthing, Lesotho, December 2011.
Photograph by Aspen Wang (Hong Kong, Hong Kong). Finalist: Natural World. Penguins on Ice. “Although my photo hardly does justice to describing the tenuous balance in Antarctica's ecosystem, it has served to crystallize in my memory one of the last stretches of untamed and inarticulate lands on earth,” says Wang. Antarctica, December 29, 2010.
Photograph by Nidal Adnan Kibria (Dhaka, Bangladesh). Finalist: Travel. Action Hero. As part of a show called “Well of Death,” a biker performs a stunt at a village fair to celebrate Rath Jatra, a Hindu festival. Dhamrai, Bangladesh, June 2012.
Photograph by Pistolwish (El Segundo, California). Finalist: Altered Images. Raven Fall is an image of ravens flying over oak trees in autumn. Los Angeles, California, November 2013.
Photograph by Sergio Carbajo Rodriguez (La Garriga, Spain). Finalist: Travel. Portrait of a young Suri boy going with his father to take care of the cattle. Ethiopia, August 2013.
Photograph by Christopher Doherty (North Palm Beach, Florida). Finalist: Natural World. Breath at sunset, captures a sea turtle at a dive site called Black Rock. Ka?anapali, Hawai?i, August 2013.
Photograph by Willie Huang (Sunnyvale, California). Finalist: Americana. A beautiful sunrise forms over an amazing set of ancient petroglyphs facing the heavens with the Eastern Sierras in the backdrop. “I have always been fascinated seeing ancient ruins and artwork that tell a story of America's past,” says Huang. Eastern Sierras, California, March 2013.
Photograph by Dusan Ignac (Svidnk, Slovakia). Finalist: People. Power of Will was taken during one of the last obstacles of a Spartan Race. “In spite of the great exhaustion he managed to overcome this obstacle in order to cross the finish line,” says Ignac. Vechec, Slovakia, August 2013.