The Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum and research complex, is recognized around the world for its dedication to the arts and sciences.
Its annual photo contest supports that mission, highlighting images that showcase all the world has to offer. This year, the Smithsonian received 48,000 submissions from 155 countries and territories in the following categories — Natural World, The American Experience, Travel, People, Altered Images and Mobile.
Finalists have been announced in every category, which is what we're sharing here, but there's also an opportunity to weigh in: You can vote for the Readers' Choice award. Voting is limited to one vote per person per day.
To make sure you're a well-educated voter, here's some information about each of the finalists. Photographer Tanya Sharapova is a finalist in the Altered Images category. She captured the image above of a rhino in Chitwan National Parkin Nepal. "It was a pure adventure to follow wild rhinos in their natural habitat," Sharapova said in her submission. "The red color of the grass comes from my imagination."
Photographer Roie Galitz captured this brown bear successfully catching a salmon at Kuril Lake, Russia. "There is no happier bear than a bear with a fresh salmon in his mouth!"
Jason Hatfield hiked for two days, crossed two glaciers and climbed for more than 12 hours to watch the total solar eclipse along with other mountaineers at Gannett Peak, the highest mountain peak in Wyoming.
Not every finalist traveled far to take a compelling image. Sandra Portal-Andreu lives in Miami, and her neighborhood was hit by Hurricane Irma last year. She took this photo of her 5-year-old son walking along a debris-filled street in their neighborhood.
Tran Tuan Viet's photo of bundled incense almost looks like a painting. Viet said incense "is an irreplaceable part of traditional festivals and religious ceremonies" in Buddhist countries like Vietnam.
"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," Florent Mamelle said in his submission. "Before the sunrise, I captured this dramatic picture, where the lava cascaded into the ocean, creating steam and lava bombs."
Here are some of the other finalists:
You can vote for the Reader's Choice Award until March 27.