Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Finalists Showcase the Beauty of the World We Live In

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The 11th annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest has just announced its 60 finalists. With over 50,000 entries submitted by photographers from over 132 countries, they’re the best of the best that have been split into 6 main categories: Natural World, Travel, People, Americana, Altered Images, and Mobile. Check out some of our favorites, below. (All captions provided by Smithsonian Magazine.)


Photograph by Daniel D’Auria (Tabernacle, New Jersey): A coastal brown bear hunts for salmon on Silver Salmon Creek in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. According to D’Auria, “she epitomizes the raw beauty and awesome power of the Alaskan wilderness.”

Photograph by Graham McGeorge (Brisbane, Australia): McGeorge spent a quiet 6 hours trying to get the perfect image of this eastern screech owl out of its nest.

Photograph by Karen Lunney (Brisbane, Australia): During their annual migration, wildebeests are forced to find new river crossings in the Serengeti-Mara region. “The animals were being taken by the unfamiliar currents of deep water and had to struggle to get close to the far bank. There were few rocks on which to land and the initial orderly progression soon became a desperate struggle of clambering,” says Lunney.

Photograph by Eko Adiyanto (Bekasi, Indonesia): To capture a wasp standing on grass, Adiyanto discovered the best time to photograph the insects was around 6 in the morning, just after they woke.

Photograph by José De Rocco (Buenos Aires, Argentina): Snails in Argentina.


Category: TRAVEL

Category: TRAVEL

Photograph by Vo Anh Kiet (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam): Terraced fields during harvest season.

Photograph by Matthew Zheng (San Francisco, California): “Navajo Bridge” is an image overlooking the Colorado River’s Marble Canyon.

Photograph by Pyiet Oo Aung (Yangon, Myanmar): A young monk.

Photograph by Sergio Carbajo Rodriguez (La Garriga, Spain): Portrait of a young Suri boy going with his father to take care of the cattle.

Photograph by Nidal Adnan Kibria (Dhaka, Bangladesh): 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.

Photograph by Aung Pyae Soe (Yangon, Myanmar): A fisherman on Inle Lake.


Category: PEOPLE

Category: PEOPLE

Photograph by David Lazar (Brisbane, Australia): High in the mountains, a group of children play with a homemade soccer ball.

Photograph by Vincent Cheng (Burnaby, Canada): A group of locals playing billiards by Namtso Lake.

Photograph by Nguyễn Bảo Sơn (Phan Rang-Thap Cham, Ninh Thuận, Vietnam): While taking this image in rural Vietnam, the wind was so strong it knocked over Bảo Sơn. After quickly standing up, Bảo Sơn made this image.




Photograph by Abigail Friel (Northampton, Massachusetts): Feeding time on Hettie Belle Farm.

Photograph by Troi Anderson (Portland, Oregon): A classic American car in the deserts of Colorado. “I found this car, a 1958 Oldsmobile, just as the winter sunset began to climax above the desert top of Mesa Verde.[…] The silence surrounding the desert lent a feeling of melancholy for an era I would never know, but felt I was catching a last glimpse of,” says Anderson.

Photograph by Carol Lynne Fowler (Seeley Lake, Montana): A champion bronco bucks a champion rider at the Helmville Rodeo.




Photograph by Nicolas Reusens (Madrid, Spain): A red-eyed tree frog underwater.


Photograph by Craig Bill (Midland, Texas): A day in the Japanese Gardens.


Photograph by Andrzej Bochenski (Łódź, Poland): Warsaw Bridge on the banks of the Vistula River.

Photograph by Michael Frank (Rochester, New York): Frank says what strikes him most about this image of the abandoned Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church is, “the sense of stillness. A stillness marked by anticipation, not unlike the stillness felt in a theater between acts.”

Photograph by Pistolwish (El Segundo, California): Raven Fall is an image of ravens flying over oak trees in autumn.

Photograph by Dina Bova (Petach Tikva, Israel): “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.


Category: MOBILE

Category: MOBILE

Photograph by Tandis Khodadadian (Woodland Hills, California): The image of a blue arch of a mosque, “was taken in my birthplace which I visited after ten years,” says Khodadadian.

Photograph by John Gamble (San Francisco, California): Meeting face to face with a snow monkey, Gamble says he was able to get within a foot of this Japanese macaque at the Jigokudani Monkey Park.

Photograph by Chaz Wilke (Los Angeles, California): “I risked life and phone,” says Wilke of his image of Leeloo at Cannon Beach.

Photograph by James Gardner (Verona, Wisconsin): Going down the slide at the pumpkin patch and corn maze.

The public is welcome to vote for the Reader’s Choice award through May 6th at 6pm EST. All Category winners and the Grand Prize winner will be announced on May 15, 2014.

Check out all of the finalists and vote for your favorite on Smithsonian Magazine’s website, here.


Taylor Goldblatt

After years of research, travel, and dreams, I have created this website for people like you who want to experience the things that only America can offer. My passion is to explore and share America's greatest destinations and attractions. Follow me on Twitter @USCityTraveler for additional travel tips and ideas.

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