April 14, 2021

15 Of The Incredible Winners Of The 17th Edition Of Smithsonian Magazine’s Photo Contest

The editors of Smithsonian magazine have just announced the 60 finalists in their 17th annual photo contest, selected from 36,000 entries sent in from 145 countries and territories. They have once more allowed me to share here a selection of images from the competition’s six categories: Natural World, American Experience, Travel, People, Altered Images, and Mobile. Captions were written by the photographers.

From Vietnam to Antarctica, this year’s winners bring you amazing glimpses of a changing world—and the indefatigable human spirit.

Be sure to visit the contest page at smithsonianmag.com to see all the finalists. Smithsonian Magazine is currently accepting entries for their 18th Annual Photo Contest. For more inspiration, you can follow along on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Smithsonian Magazine: Website | Facebook | Instagram

“Cave Fishing” by Natnattcha Chaturapitamorn (All rights reserved). Finalist, Travel.
Father and son catch fish inside a cave in south Vietnam during the monsoon season.

“Home Survives Direct Hit From Tornado” by Matt Gillespie (All rights reserved). Finalist, American Experience.
This home was in the direct line of a tornado that hit Ellerslie, Georgia. Most of the trees on the property had fallen, but the house stood with minimal damage.

“Adélie Penguin on an Iceberg” by Conor Ryan (All rights reserved). Finalist, Natural World.
Ice-dependent animals are in perilous danger of losing their habitats. This photo shows an Adélie penguin standing on an iceberg off Devil Island, Antarctica. I like how the half-lit, sea-eroded iceberg gives the scene a sense of dichotomy. Perhaps the penguin’s indecision on which way to go, or perhaps ours.

“Nueva Venecia” by Javier Arcenillas (All rights reserved).
New Venice is a palafito town with an air of magic realism located between the Colombian cities of Cartagena and Santa Marta. Its 3,000 inhabitants live isolated from tourism and travel by boat, so the school buses are canoes and each house is an island. The town of Nueva Venecia has been resurrected in the two decades since a paramilitary slaughter.

“Attendees of the Michigan State Fair Ride the Swings” by Amy Sacka (All rights reserved). Finalist, American Experience.

“A Fish Seller Displays His Goods” by Jon Enoch (All rights reserved). Finalist, Travel.
A man poses with his scooter in Hanoi with a delivery of pet fish. The riders have an amazing ability to transport all kinds of goods in astonishing quantities. I spent a week chasing down riders and their cargos and convincing them to pose for the camera.

“Train Through the Mountains” by Lori Kupsch (All rights reserved). Finalist, Travel.
Photographers will wait for hours for a train to go through the popular Morant’s Curve in Banff National Park. My friend and I were lucky enough to catch a train within about 20 minutes. Once the train had gone by, we did some long exposures to capture and blur the train as it went through the curve. The pop of the red car has really added interest to the scene.

“Moraine Lake” by Timo Heinz (All rights reserved). Finalist, Altered Image.
A panoramic picture of Moraine Lake in the Banff National Park, Canada.

“Portrait of Endurance Athlete Anders Hofman” by Jesper Gronnemark (All rights reserved). Finalist, People.
Portrait of endurance athlete Anders Hofman before his attempt to complete a triathlon at Antarctica.

“Horse Racing” by Peng Yuan (All rights reserved). Finalist, Mobile.

“Two Whales” by Jim Guerard (All rights reserved). Finalist, Travel.
A humpback whale surfaces in front of a large iceberg that resembles the profile of a sperm whale off the coast of East Greenland, near Tasiilaq. It was late in the day, and I was a couple of miles offshore photographing icebergs from an open bow boat when we saw a humpback whale surfacing in the distance. We followed the whale for a good 30 minutes before we were finally able to align him surfacing with the iceberg in the background.

“Mother and Baby” by Tianyi Xiong (All rights reserved). Finalist, Altered Image.
Baboon holding baby.

“Palina Boy” by Philip Am Guay (All rights reserved). Finalist, Mobile.
A boy is setting up a grass bonfire to be used for palina during All Saints’ Day in Cebu City, Philippines. Palina is a Filipino belief that after visiting a departed loved one in the cemetery, you should pass through a bonfire’s smoke before going home to get rid of bad spirits.

“Dust Devil” by Jim Guerard (All rights reserved). Finalist, Natural World.
A lone bull elephant crosses the plain in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, on his way to Lake Amboseli for a drink and a swim as a storm brews and a dust devil spins in the background.

“Picture Perfect” by Janine Krayer (All rights reserved). Finalist, Natural World.
This female leopard (Panthera pardus) was enjoying the last moments of golden sunshine before a storm rolled over the Chobe National Park in Botswana.