Smithsonian Magazine has just announced the (absolutely incredible) finalists in what is now their 10th annual photography contest. Here are some of our favorites; they'll take your breath away.
Smithsonian was forced to narrow down over 37,600 submissions from photographers in 112 different countries to the mere 50 you can see in full here. Voting for the Readers Choice winner will be open to the public through March 29, and the final winners will be announced in spring. Disagree with our picks? You can vote for yourself right over on their website.
Alternating Rice Plots in Bascon Valley by Hai Thinh Hoang: For this shot, the photographer had to climb a mountain for two hours and reach an altitude of 617 meters.
Image: Hai Thinh Hoang
Visiting the Bronx Zoo by Vanessa Bartlett: As the photographer was taking shots of his habit, this gorilla skipped over to her and watched her watching him for an entire half hour.
Image: Vanessa Bartlett
An Onlooker Witnesses the Annular Solar Eclipse as the Sun Sets on May 20, 2012 by Colleen Pinski: In explaining her photo, the photographer was inspired by the eclipse because "anyone can look at it and feel touched by a ‘beyond this world' experience."
Image: Colleen Pinski
The Milky Way Galaxy Exploding from Mount Rainier by David Morrow: "The stars almost looked as though they were erupting from the mountain and I knew this was a moment in time that I had to capture," says the photographer.
Image: David Morrow
Rice Terraces Close to Harvest Season by Vo Anh Kiet: Hundreds of photographers congregate at these ready-for-harvest rice terraces each year to attempt to capture the grain's blossoming.
Image: Vo Anh Kiet
Monks Releasing Lanterns During Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai, Thailand by Daniel Nahabedian: By releasing the lanterns, these monks are hoping their negative thoughts will be carried away, as well, allowing them to fully focus on the future.
Image: Daniel Nahabedian