Every year, the Smithsonian.com Annual Photo Contest wows us with incredible images from around the world. The chosen pictures capture awe-inspiring scenes from nature as well as a glimpse into other cultures and their everyday lives. For its 15th year, the competition received 48,000 submissions from photographers in 155 countries and territories in six categories, including Natural World, The American Experience, Travel, People, Altered Images, and Mobile. The esteemed judges somehow narrowed this massive selection down to just 60 of the most unique and memorable photographs.
The finalists in Smithsonian.com's 15th Annual Photo Contest showcase an exciting variety of subjects. One shot, called Joy by Erika Valkovicova, features an adorable scene of a jubilant seal pup in Germany. Another image, called Boatman, is a bird's eye view of a man in India as he leisurely enjoys his newspaper on a rowboat. No matter the subject, each picture is masterfully composed and will elicit an emotional response, whether that's joy or sorrow.
© mohammad mohsenifar. All rights reserved.
A couple of ladies are passing in front of graffiti.
© Azim Khan Ronnie. All rights reserved.
Red Chili Pepper Pickers
Countless chili peppers surround laborers in the Bogra district in the north of Bangladesh. More than 2,000 people work in almost 100 chili farms in Bogra in Bangladesh to supply local spice companies with chilies for use in their recipes. Chili peppers are a major part of the Bengali cuisine popular in Bangladesh and are used as part of a combination of spices for various meat dishes, including chicken and beef.
© Thong Huu. All rights reserved.
Breakfast at the Weekly Market
In northern Vietnam, people come to the weekly market to exchange goods and culture. They usually wake up very early to go to market and have breakfast here.
© Tran Tuan Viet. All rights reserved.
Decoratively dyed bundles of incense dry in Quang Phu Cau, a commune in Hanoi, Vietnam. In Buddhist countries like Vietnam, incense is an irreplaceable part of traditional festivals and religious ceremonies.
© Erika Valkovicova. All rights reserved.
A seal pup enjoys the morning breeze on Düne Island in Germany.
© Pedro Jarque Krebs. All rights reserved.
Griffon vulture portrait
© Tanya Sharapova. All rights reserved.
Rhino From Chitwan
There are about 600 rhinos in Chitwan National Park. It was a pure adventure to follow wild rhinos in their natural habitat. The main instructions, in case a rhino ran in my direction, were to climb a tree; if there was no tree, to run zigzags. The red color of the grass comes from my imagination.
© Farhana Akther. All rights reserved.
Care goes beyond gender. I went to the small slum near to my house in the morning, and I saw that this man was feeding his grandchild while his daughter, the infant's aunt, held him. It shows me something different than my society. In Bangladeshi society, care work is usually done by a female member of a family.
© Salvador Colvée Nebot. All rights reserved.
During my stay at a Costa Rican hotel, I noticed that red-eyed tree frogs flooded the gardens. As I approached this frog, it climbed into one of the holes in a leaf, as if it were sticking out a window.
© Sandra Portal-Andreu. All rights reserved.
My Post-Irma Street
This photo was taken right after Hurricane Irma hit Miami. This is my 5-year old son walking through our neighborhood.
© Brittainy Newman. All rights reserved.