The winning entries were selected by Smithsonian editors from over 50,000 submissions by photographers from 132 countries around the world.
Voting for the Readers’ Choice Winner will be open until May 6, 2014 at 6:00 PM ET, and you can cast your vote once every 24 hours for your favorite. Smithsonian will announce the Readers’ Choice, Grand Prize and six Category winners on May 15, 2014.
To cast your vote and see more, visit Smithsonian.com
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.” (Lake Clark National Park, Alaska, August 2012, Canon 1D Mark IV)
A wall cloud. “This cell grew exponentially over the next 16 minutes, split twice and spawned three EF4 tornadoes with $67.4 million in damage to residences and crops,” says DiLuigi. (Omaha, Nebraska, July 2, 2012, Canon EOS Rebel T1i)
Terraced fields during harvest season. (Mu Cang Chay, Vietnam, September 2012, Canon 5D Mark II)
A fisherman on Inle Lake. (Inle Lake, Myanmar, November 2013, Canon EOS 1DX)
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.” (Detroit, Michigan, October 2013, Canon 7D)
An eagle hunter on a steppe in Mongolia rests with his Golden Eagle. (Mongolia, February 2013, Nikon D700)
A devotee at Mela Chiraghan, an annual Festival of Lights in Pakistan. He was standing in front of a huge fire, casting the orange glow in the background. (Lahore, Pakistan, March 2011, Canon 40D)
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, Canon 1D Mark III)
Neist Point Lighthouse at dusk. (Isle of Skye, United Kingdom, October 2011, Nikon D600)
Dust swirls around citizens of Black Rock City as they peek into the “Black Rock Bijou Theatre,” an art installation at the 2013 Burning Man festival. (Black Rock City, Nevada, August 2013, Nikon D7100)
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. (Mara River, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, September 2013, Leica M240typ)
Sun painting a monastery and the surrounding Ladakh landscape. (Ladakh, India, July 2013, Canon 5D Mark II)
“Navajo Bridge” is an image overlooking the Colorado River’s Marble Canyon. (Page, Arizona, August 2012, Canon 5D Mark II)
“Absolute Head Scratcher” is an image of a blue macaw. (Quebec City, Canada, July 2012, Canon EOS 60D)
Coming Over, shows a cold morning sunrise on Pohorje Hills. (Šmartno, Slovenia, December 2012)
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.
(Phan Rang-Thap Cham, Ninh Thuận, Vietnam, November 2011, Canon 4000D)
The fog slowly lifts while tour guides in traditional antebellum dress get ready for their tours at Oak Alley Plantation. (Oak Alley Plantation, Vacherie, Louisiana, October 27, 2013, iPhone 5)
Sunrise at Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park. “The barn in the photo is the John Moulton Barn, built by Mormon settlers who arrived in the area in the 1890s. Behind the barn is the Teton mountain range,” says Faist. (Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 27, 2013, Nikon D5100)