The jury of the 14th international Smithsonian Photo Contest just released the 70 finalists, selected from more than 46,000 entries sent in from 168 countries. They get roughly 46,000 submissions from photographers in 168 countries and territories, and their subjects are just as varied. This year Smithsonian selected finalists in 7 categories: Natural World, The American Experience, Travel, People, Altered Images, Mobile, and Sustainable Travel. The winners will be named during the award ceremony on March 28.

Turtle-Back Ride by Michael B. Hardie

Turtle-Back Ride by Michael B. Hardie
The thing that draws me to the ocean the most is that I never know what I’m going to come across on any given day. I count myself extremely fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time to capture this image.

Texas Winter by Jassen Todorov

Texas Winter by Jassen Todorov
A very symmetrical orchard (I believe apple trees). Aerial Image (shot from a plane).

Farm Girl Swimming Pool by Kristen Chapman

Farm Girl Swimming Pool by Kristen Chapman
Keeping cool, no bull

Paper Mill by Jassen Todorov

Paper Mill by Jassen Todorov
Waste from a paper mill is agitated by aerators, producing steam and foam, which are pushed by the wind. Clearwater Paper Reservoir, Lewiston, Idaho. Aerial image (shot from a plane at 1,500 feet).

Singing for Big Mama by Jared Johnson

Singing for Big Mama by Jared Johnson
Lucretia M. Anderson sings a tribute to legendary blues singer Big Mama Thornton at the Blues Gal Musical hosted by Unity Church in Richmond, Virginia, in honor of the famous Richmond-born blues singer Lady E.

Prom Night by Trinja Henrickson

Prom Night by Trinja Henrickson
PHOTO LOCATION: Ludington, Michigan, United States of America.

This Party's a Drag by Maxwell Harvey-Sampson

This Party’s a Drag by Maxwell Harvey-Sampson
This photograph shows my experience of the gay community in Rochester, NY.

To Be Proud Of by Andrei Gorbatiuc

To Be Proud Of by Andrei Gorbatiuc
A big parade in a small town

Resting in an NYC Laundry Room by Milan Sachs

Resting in an NYC Laundry Room by Milan Sachs
This photograph is of a woman that I passed in an NYC laundry room. I’m not sure if she was really doing any laundry. It seems like she’s recalling something that recently happened to her. The subject is defeated, hurt and exhausted from this cycle she is in, like the cycle of a washing machine.

Before the Portrait by Stephanie Foden

Before the Portrait by Stephanie Foden
Lila Chosa sits on the side porch of her house while her family and friend get ready for a portrait behind her. Lila’s grandmother, Heart Warrior, has spent years battling to keep custody of her grandchildren in Minnesota. It’s part of a long history of Native American removal and resistance.

Yellow-Flecked Sipo by Claire Waring

Yellow-Flecked Sipo by Claire Waring
This beautiful yellow-flecked sipo was found at Bosque Protector La Perla near La Concordia, Ecuador. I am always impressed with a snake’s ability to hold itself motionless while sussing out a situation.

Flying by Lina Samoukova

Flying by Lina Samoukova
We were the very last to get on a small plane taking us from Sochi to Saint Petersburg. Little did we know what was waiting for us up above. I took the window seat not expecting to see much, as there was a light drizzle landing on the plane. But as we took off, it became clear I had the best seat on the plane.

Dream by Mario Gustavo Fiorucci

Dream by Mario Gustavo Fiorucci
An owl appears to yawn.

Father Calling by Karthik AK

Father Calling by Karthik AK
This night frog, endemic to the Western Ghats of India, exhibits a unique breeding behavior. The males call for females, the females come and lay the eggs, then the males fertilize them. In this image, the male has successfully fertilized a clutch of eggs from a female. He is calling out for other females to lay eggs.

Swamp Raccoon by Kim Aikawa

Swamp Raccoon by Kim Aikawa
While I was looking for alligators at a swamp in Louisiana, this beautiful little creature wandered out of the murky waters right into the morning light.

Munnar by Mustafa AbdulHadi

Munnar by Mustafa AbdulHadi
Munnar is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Kerala, India. It is a haven during the monsoon season as nature surprises you with amazing clouds and mists!

Lighting the Old Man by Garry Ridsdale

Lighting the Old Man by Garry Ridsdale
On a stormy autumn day a fleeting shaft of light illuminates the Old Man of Storr and other pinnacles of the Trotternish Ridge on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Firewalking by Binh Duong

Firewalking by Binh Duong
Firewalking is the act of walking barefoot over burning charcoal. In Ha Giang, a mountain province in northern Vietnam bordered by China, the Pa Then ethnic group observes this practice to wish for prosperity in the new year.

Cádiz Streets by Aya Okawa

Cádiz Streets by Aya Okawa
City streets in the Andalusian city of Cádiz. Photo taken at sunset from a small plane.

Morning Call by Gunarto Gunawan

Morning Call by Gunarto Gunawan
Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park is a national park in East Java, Indonesia. To shoot this moment, I climbed the hills at the foot of Mount Bromo in the early morning with my horse.

All Souls' Day by Md. Khalid Rayhan Shawon

All Souls’ Day by Md. Khalid Rayhan Shawon
In Christianity, All Souls’ Day commemorates departed souls. A large number of people visited this Dhaka graveyard in November 2016 to remember their dear ones.

Take Me Away, Deer by Kamil Nureev

Take Me Away, Deer! by Kamil Nureev
Since ancient times, the Nenets have led a nomadic life. Reindeer harnessed to sleds is the most reliable form of transport on the tundra, and the people of the North make use of their navigational abilities. In severe conditions, such as a blinding snow storm, deer are not only loyal companions, but sometimes the only hope for survival.
Since ancient times, the Nenets have led a nomadic life. Reindeer harnessed to sleds is the most reliable form of transport on the tundra, and the people of the North make use of their navigational abilities. In severe conditions, such as a blinding snow storm, deer are not only loyal companions, but sometimes the only hope for survival.

Ramadan Prayers by PRADEEP RAJA

Ramadan Prayers by PRADEEP RAJA
This shot is of women praying inside Istiqlal Mosque during the month of Ramadan.

Jakobshavn Melt by Kerry Koepping

Jakobshavn Melt by Kerry Koepping
“Jakobshavn Melt” was captured within the Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland, while on an expedition to document one of the largest calving events in 2016. The objective of the journey was to promote environmental awareness and education about the significant climactic changes occurring in the Arctic. This single calving event produced enough ice to meet the domestic freshwater needs of the United States for six months. The image was captured at 1:00 am during the last sunset before summer’s 24-hour light.
Sustainable travel embodies what it means to be an environmental photographer. I believe that each shot should not just be a moment in time, or a beautiful representation of a place. It should be filled with purpose and meaning, providing viewers a means to understand the evolving world at large. The image “Jakobshavn Melt” is but a small glimpse into the reality of a major environmental event.

Brown-Eyed Beauty by Lynda Hanwella

Brown-Eyed Beauty by Lynda Hanwella
Sustainable travel is travel that does not have a negative impact on the environment and ideally would not only protect the environment, but also provide opportunities for local communities. I see visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda as sustainable travel because the visits support the local community while protecting the endangered gorillas. Tourists can pay to visit families of these magnificent animals for one hour a day, up to eight trekkers at a time. Over time, the gorillas have habituated to people and are tolerant of their visitors. The rangers dedicate their lives to protecting the gorillas, and you can clearly see that they love their job. Porters are hired from the local community to help the trekkers through the jungle. The porters are rotated on a regular basis so that more people in the community can work. This way, the local community receives a benefit and poaching of the gorillas is less likely. This photo was taken during our one-hour visit with the Mubare Gorilla Family Group in Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest, Uganda. After about one and a half hours of trekking through the forest, we were fortunate to be able to watch these magnificent animals up close. This photo is of a female gorilla enjoying a midday meal. There are less than 1,000 mountain gorillas left on Earth.

Keel-Billed Toucan by Dennis Zaebst

Keel-Billed Toucan by Dennis Zaebst
A wild keel-billed toucan perches on a branch during a rainstorm in Costa Rica. I captured this image during a photography tour of Costa Rica focused on documenting its incredible bird population. Costa Rica comprises less than one percent of the world’s land mass, but five percent of its biodiversity. I am hoping this image, and others that I captured there, will encourage people to travel to this country, inform them of the marvelous wildlife heritage we enjoy there and inspire greater appreciation of what we still have to preserve for future generations.

A Man Looks Out the Door by Greta Rybus

A Man Looks Out the Door by Greta Rybus
To me, sustainable travel means making connections with individuals, communities and landscapes. I usually hope to spend a month in one place, allowing me to get to know local people, from shopkeepers to scientists. I try to find ways to understand and document the issues that have the most impact on their daily lives. In this image, a man is looking out a door that just hours before led to his family’s bedroom. The tide was particularly high that day, and because of rising sea levels, the sea had risen high enough to chew away at the home. The back rooms crumbled into the sea while his family carried their belongings out the front door. Several homes fell into the sea that morning. In an overpopulated community like Guet Ndar, the fishing village in Saint Louis, Senegal, many families may live in one home. So the loss of a home is particularly impactful.
When I first arrived in Senegal, I spent my first few days asking people about what matters most to them, what changes they had seen in the community, what worried them, etc. Many people were worried about the increasing impacts of climate change. Herders living inland said there was so little rain, they couldn’t feed their herds and had become the first generation in their lineage to look for supplementary work outside of herding. Fishermen described their homes becoming inundated with water and the seas becoming more volatile.
I spent a month in Senegal documenting climate change as a human rights issue. I started photographing the issue through human relationships to the environment and to one another. The morning I photographed the high tides and the loss of homes was part of a personal realization that climate change isn’t just an environmental issue, it’s a human one. And I realized that the people who contributed very little to the problem―those living in poverty or directly dependent on natural resources―will be the first to feel the impacts of climate change. And they are already beginning to deeply feel the effects. It sparked my interest in learning about an environmental issues through conversation and photography. A year later, I spent a month in Panama’s Guna Yala region, an archipelago of tribally held islands in which communities are facing relocation (or already relocating) due to rising seas, lack of water and other climate-related changes and challenges. I plan to spend a month in four more locations around the world for a total of six “chapters” in the project.

Big Life Foundation Dog Security Team Bloodhound Bone by Mattie Simas

Big Life Foundation Dog Security Team Bloodhound Bone by Mattie Simas
Each year I volunteer photography services to a grassroots organization that addresses issues we face as a human race. This year I partnered with Big Life Foundation to assist in bringing awareness to their mission. Big Life Foundation’s primary focus is to protect wildlife from poachers. They accomplish this by employing hundreds of Maasai community rangers who utilize 40 permanent outposts and tent-based field units as well as aerial surveillance to protect two million acres of wilderness in the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem of East Africa. Often times when we think about sustainable travel we think about the importance of preserving the natural environment. While this is important, I believe it is equally important to think about how our travel can aid in the current and future needs of the local communities we are visiting.
By working as a volunteer photographer for Big Life Foundation I was able to work closely with the local community, learning about the Maasai culture and supporting a local school and village health center. It is important to me that the people I’m visiting feel supported by my volunteer efforts. I believe grassroots organizations like Big Life Foundation deserve more attention and volunteer support so they may continue to achieve high levels of success in assisting community-oriented initiatives.
This picture of Bonnie and her handler, Mutinda, on a morning walk captures the actions behind Big Life Foundation’s mission of saving and preserving wildlife. Bonnie is one of three security dogs that assist the rangers in tracking poachers. In 2016, one of the dogs in the anti-poaching dog unit played a key role in the arrest of a suspected poacher by following the poacher’s scent to his village where rangers uncovered ivory in his home.

Nevada Solar One by Jassen Todorov

Nevada Solar One by Jassen Todorov
Spread over an area of 400 acres, the Nevada Solar One is a massive project built in the hot and dry desert, just south of Las Vegas. The plant uses 760 parabolic trough concentrators with more than 182,000 mirrors that concentrate the sun’s rays onto more than 18,240 receiver tubes. The projected CO2 emissions avoided is equivalent to taking approximately 20,000 cars off the road annually. It is a refreshing site to look at. I, for one, can’t wait to fly a solar-powered aircraft. This image is a part of a large project documenting our transition to clean and renewable energy.

The Straight Path by Folco Salani

The Straight Path by Folco Salani
A nun walks slowly next to the chapel of Notre Dame du Hau in Ronchamp, France.

Red by Gareth Bragdon

Red by Gareth Bragdon
I’m a street photographer. I search the streets of chaos and try to capture the beauty within that chaos. This is a candid picture and not posed. I was walking up the Royal Mile when it started to rain. People started looking for shelter. I found this subject hiding in a red phone box and caught them by surprise. I prefer viewers to interpret the picture for themselves.

Cormorant Fisherman by Duangmon C

Cormorant Fisherman by Duangmon C
The traditional cormorant fisherman in China works in the early hours before sunrise. He will sail on his bamboo raft with his trained cormorants to catch some fish.

Orangutan by Alexandra Cearns

Orangutan by Alexandra Cearns
Dinar the orangutan is visually striking and has an emotive face. The image was constructed by converting the orangutan image to black and white and editing the fur around the edge of his beard. Then I shot a marble headstone and duplicated that image into different layers, played around with the opacity and changed the orientation, before finally painting it across the layers to get the right look.

Improvisation by Jim Mneymneh

Improvisation by Jim Mneymneh
Dance improvisation in the studio

Shelter Pets Project - Peggy Sue by Tammy Swarek

Shelter Pets Project – Peggy Sue by Tammy Swarek
Last year my photography partner, Tammy Michael, and I began volunteering at our local animal shelter, Union County Animal Protection Society (UCAPS). We provide them with fine art/fashion portraits of their pups in hopes of increasing their chances for adoption and the perception of rescue animals. The response to the Shelter Pets Project has been remarkable. So far over 100 have been photographed. Eighty percent of the animals we have photographed have either been adopted, transferred to another shelter or have multiple pending adoption applications. We want to change the way the shelter animals are perceived. The common perception is that these animals are unworthy, discards from others or that they have health issues. It is true that most have been discarded and abused by people, but that has nothing to do with the animal and everything to do with us. We allow that to happen by not creating stricter laws with tougher penalties and insisting they are enforced.
Every animal we have photographed at UCAPS is amazing. Each one has such a different personality and disposition. We wanted to showcase that and did so by dressing them up accordingly. Over the past year, Shelter Pets Project has become a viral campaign. We have had the privilege of photographing these dogs in couture fashion from top designers in New York City. These dogs are regularly featured on Vogue Italia’s website as well as Vanity Fair, NY Post, Good Morning America and countless other media outlets.
Ms. Peggy Sue is a five-year-old papillon that was found wandering the streets of Union County, Arkansas. After a month of multiple attempts through social media to locate an owner, no one came forward. She was then put up for adoption at UCAPS. Peggy Sue soon found her new family and is in a loving home. When we first saw Peggy Sue, we fell head over heels for her. She had a royal appearance, and she held her head high despite everything she had been through in the past. We decided she deserved to be a queen in her photograph.

The Beauty of Tokyo at Night by Liam Wong

The Beauty of Tokyo at Night by Liam Wong
Shinjuku Nights / 新宿区 / 03:25:07 / Rain falls over Tokyo’s red light district. Taken as part of my photo series ‘T0:KY:00’ capturing the beauty of night. Taking real moments and transforming them into the surreal.

Snowflakes by rekha Bobade

Snowflakes by rekha Bobade
Snowflakes on my car windshield

An Old Man by Kyaw Kyaw Winn

An Old Man by Kyaw Kyaw Winn
I visited to central region of my country, Myanmar, last year. When I arrived to Mingun, I found this old man with an oxcart taxi for visitors. He took me around the Mingun area. Finally we arrived at the famous white temple of Mingun. I loved the background so requested to shoot a photo of him in the oxcart. I liked the frame of the oxcart box and lighting on the face.

Rainy Day by Aung Ko Latt

Rainy Day by Aung Ko Latt
The beauty of a rainy day

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