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14th Annual Smithsonian Magazine 2016 Photo Contest


14th Annual Smithsonian Magazine 2016 Photo Contest

The finalists of the 14th Annual Smithsonian Magazine 2016 Photo Contest are out. There were 48,000 submissions in total from the photographers belonging to 146 countries.

Only 70 striking pictures made the final cut so now it will be up to the public to declare the winner as the Grand Prize will be announced on March 28.

golden monkey

Photograph: ©John Beckman/


Sustainable Travel Finalists

Sustainable travel enables conservation of the things that make a destination desirable in the first place. Rather than denuding forests for a strip of souvenir shops and a tiny fenced reserve, places like Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park protect the native habitat for several rare species, including the golden monkey, mountain gorilla and forest elephant. Park tourism dollars employ guides, trackers and porters and also support community development projects that reduce the incentive to cut forest for illegal farms or set antelope snares, which can kill endangered monkeys and gorillas. Many primate families in the park are comfortable with close human presence. I was thrilled to get within twelve feet of this beautiful golden when it descended from the trees to search for tender bamboo shoots. It paid little attention to me, but surveyed the area briefly, perhaps as a caution against eagles.


stallion herd

Photograph: ©Javier Arcenillas/


Natural World Finalist

Taking place every year across Galicia, Rapa das Bestas, or ‘Shearing of the Beasts,’ involves cutting the manes of semi-feral horses that live in the mountains. Horses are rounded up into enclosures called curros, foals are branded and the adults groomed before being freed. The best known is the Rapa das Bestas of Sabucedo, which takes place the first weekend in July.

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Photograph: ©Kamil Nureev/


Travel Finalist

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.



Scottish mountain

Photograph: ©Garry Ridsdale/


Travel Finalist

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.


turtle octopus

Photograph: ©Michael B Hardie/


Natural World Finalist

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.


woman in phonebooth

Photograph: ©Gareth Bragdon/


People Finalist

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.

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Photograph: ©Binh Duong/


Travel Finalist

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.



american couple

Photograph: ©Amy Sacka/


The American Experience Finalist

A couple dances in the backyard of a home in the West Village neighborhood of Detroit.



burning man cycle

Photograph: ©Alina Rudya/


Mobile Finalist

A man bikes by an octopus statue at the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada.



peru festival

Photograph: ©Sharon Castellanos/


People Finalist

Break time during a street theater festival known as FITECA. Periphery of Lima, Peru.



gay party

Photograph: ©Maxwell Harvey-Sampson/


The American Experience Finalist

This photograph shows my experience of the gay community in Rochester, NY.


soaring crane

Photograph: ©Marc Toso/


Sustainable Travel Finalists

I believe sustainable travel is travelling through a natural experience. For me the most rewarding way is to explore ancient cultures in conjunction with ancient skies. In what is now the Bears Ears National Monument, a friend and I spent hours of wandering until we came upon the Soaring Crane. We sat in the canyon until nightfall and photographed the art by the light of a thin moon. This area of the Utah desert is a land of dark skies and one of the least light polluted places in the continental United States. Its ancient walls and art exist far from urban boundaries. We visit to step out of the modern world and for a brief time remember how the planet was and how our species dwelled for millennia. The stars and planets above our heads comprise the same sky that guided the Crane’s artists. These sites need to be appreciated in their original context under the same dark, starlit sky that inspired our religions, mythologies, mathematics and sciences. For several years I have been documenting prehistoric ruins, ceremonial structures, petroglyphs and pictographs in the context of the night sky. I hope to eventually collect these images into a book.

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Myanmar temple

Photograph: ©Kyaw Kyaw Winn/


Mobile Finalist

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.

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