The Smithsonian.com 14th Annual Photo Contest has rolled out its list of finalists. After narrowing down the 48,000 images submitted by photographers in 146 countries and territories, a set of 70 outstanding images are competing for votes by readers.
The categories in the contest include Natural World, The American Experience, Travel, People, Altered Images, Mobile, and Sustainable Travel. The categories provide a dizzying array of wildlife, landscapes and people.
A sampling of the impressive collection of images is below, including the photographers' captions. You can see all 70 finalists and vote on which images you think are best on Smithsonian's contest website. Voting closes on March 27.
"The beauty of a rainy day."
"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."
"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."
"Keeping cool, no bull."
"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."
"An owl appears to yawn."
"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."
"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!"
"I am always looking for unique ways to showcase the beauty of elephants in the hope that it will make a difference in the way they are viewed and appreciated. This image was taken when a herd of elephants came down to the banks of the Chobe River in Botswana for an afternoon drink. The opportunity presented itself as the the trunk of the elephant in the foreground framed the eye of the elephant in the background. I focused on the eye, and with some creative cropping, was very pleased with the final result."
"Snowflakes on my car windshield."
"The world's largest Buddhist academy is located in a remote place in Sertar County, China, named Larung Gar. People from all over China come here to learn Buddhism. However, it is a controversial place. Nuns and monks have suffered from demolition and imprisonment. In June 2016, the authorities imposed new rules, which put thousands of residents at risk of removal. These residents have not been given the chance to practice religion peacefully. If the oppression continues, this unique place will eventually fade from history."