It's that time of the year again, when The Smithsonian Magazine announces the finalists of their hotly contested photo contest. Year after year, the contest continues to blow us away with the quality of entrants, with only the cream of the crop qualifying as the 60 finalists, narrowed down from over 48,000 submissions.


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The submissions are split into 6 different categories, Travel, Altered Images, Mobile, Natural World, People, and The American Experience. We here at Bored Panda have compiled a list of the finalists, which you can check out below and choose your favorites. There is still time to vote for your choice to win the Reader's Choice prize, you have until March 26th and can do it here.

So scroll down and prepare to be dazzled by these varied and masterful shots, and contribute by voting for your favorites in each category, it will be a tough task to choose just one!

#1 Affection, Natural World Finalist

Affection, Natural World Finalist

This is my favorite black skimmer photo that I have taken in all the years following a little-known colony. Every year I select a nest when the parent is on eggs, then follow that same nest until they fledge. I choose one nest because colonies are chaotic; you will miss some shots by pointing the lens at hundreds of birds. One morning I got into position and lay there for... Read More

This is my favorite black skimmer photo that I have taken in all the years following a little-known colony. Every year I select a nest when the parent is on eggs, then follow that same nest until they fledge. I choose one nest because colonies are chaotic; you will miss some shots by pointing the lens at hundreds of birds. One morning I got into position and lay there for an hour until sunrise when a parent flew in directly to feed the baby. The baby was inches away from me, so I couldn’t get the feeding photo. However, after the baby gobbled down the fish, I captured it running up to the parent and displaying the behavior pictured.

Thomas Chadwick Report

Full Name 7 months ago

Most people just don't get what nature photographers go through to get their shots. For every golden one you get you miss 25 that you saw but couldn't capture, and that's after hours and hours and wasted trip after wasted trip. You knocked this one out of the park and it was all worth it.

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#2 Joy, Natural World Finalist

Joy, Natural World Finalist

A seal pup enjoys the morning breeze on Düne Island in Germany.

Erika Valkovicova Report

Vlad Horobet 7 months ago

Rare picture of me after getting enough sleep.

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#3 Soul Of The Winter Woods, Altered Images Finalist

Soul Of The Winter Woods, Altered Images Finalist

A spotted deer stag on a cold winter morning in the forest

Swaroop Singha Roy Report

Jef Bateman 7 months ago

Expecto patronum

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#4 Making Incense, Travel Finalist

Making Incense, Travel Finalist

Decoratively dyed bundles of incense dry in Quang Phu Cau, a commune in Hanoi, Vietnam. In Buddhist countries like Vietnam, incense is an irreplaceable part of traditional festivals and religious ceremonies.

Tran Tuan Viet Report

Lua boots 7 months ago

Coral reef of incense...amazing <3

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#5 Sardines In The Sun, Natural World Finalist

Sardines In The Sun, Natural World Finalist

Sardines emerge from a coral wall in cobalt waters just a few yards from the shores of Cebu Island in the Philippines. They move in a single undulating cloud of silver that twists, turns, shrinks, expands and wraps itself around any object that gets in its way. At times, it becomes a thundercloud, blocking out the sun or clapping violently as it suddenly flips its formation to evade a predator.

Giacomo Marchione Report

riley.girl 7 months ago

I see an elephant in the top left of the photo! This is absolutely stunning!!!

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#6 Bear And Salmon, Natural World Finalist

Bear And Salmon, Natural World Finalist

This brown bear successfully captured a salmon in Kuril Lake. There is no happier bear than a bear with a fresh salmon in his mouth! The bears at Kuril Lake are in a state of hyperphaghia, meaning they are always hungry. They must gain weight before the winter’s hibernation and catch up to 40 salmon a day to achieve that.

Roie Galitz Report

Heather Johnson 7 months ago

I highly recommend watching the movie "Bears". This picture reminds me of it. It's amazing!

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#7 Ray Of Zeus, Natural World Finalist

Ray Of Zeus, Natural World Finalist

On New Year’s Eve in 2016, a sea cliff collapsed near Kalapana on Big Island, Hawaii. A dramatic stream of lava, called a fire hose, started to shoot out of the cliff. Before the sunrise, I captured this dramatic picture, where the lava cascaded into the ocean, creating steam and lava bombs. The lava stream stopped in March 2017.

florent mamelle Report

reece n 7 months ago

Why Zeus and not Pele, whose volcano that is?

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#8 The Window, Natural World Finalist

The Window, Natural World Finalist

During my stay at a Costa Rican hotel, I noticed that red-eyed tree frogs flooded the gardens. As I approached this frog, it climbed into one of the holes in a leaf, as if it were sticking out a window.

Salvador Colvée Nebot Report

Full Name 7 months ago

Kilroy.

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#9 Red Chili Pepper Pickers, Travel Finalist

Red Chili Pepper Pickers, Travel Finalist

Countless chili peppers surround laborers in the Bogra district in the north of Bangladesh. More than 2,000 people work in almost 100 chili farms in Bogra in Bangladesh to supply local spice companies with chilies for use in their recipes. Chili peppers are a major part of the Bengali cuisine popular in Bangladesh and are used as part of a combination of spices for various meat dishes, including chicken and... Read More

Countless chili peppers surround laborers in the Bogra district in the north of Bangladesh. More than 2,000 people work in almost 100 chili farms in Bogra in Bangladesh to supply local spice companies with chilies for use in their recipes. Chili peppers are a major part of the Bengali cuisine popular in Bangladesh and are used as part of a combination of spices for various meat dishes, including chicken and beef.

Azim Khan Ronnie Report

Full Name 7 months ago

God bless these workers. Thanks for making my food delicious!

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#10 Pinnacle Of Existence, Natural World Finalist

Pinnacle Of Existence, Natural World Finalist

Energy travels hundreds of miles across the ocean and comes to a dramatic end when it reaches our shores.

Oreon Strusinski Report

stellermatt 7 months ago

you are not a drop in the ocean, you are an entire ocean in a single drop.

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