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© Tran Tuan Viet. All rights reserved.
Citizenship

We've Never Seen Anything as Full of Joy as This Seal Pup

The editors of Smithsonian Magazine announced the 60 finalists for their 15th annual photo contest this month. Capturing silly moments in nature, tragic human experiences, and everything in between — they are stunning.

The finalists — selected from more than 48,000 entries sent by people from 155 countries — are competing in six categories, the winners of which will be announced on Mar. 27. In addition to the editor's choice contest, the photos are all up for readers' choice prizes, which you can vote for here.

Here are just a few of the finalists' photos showing our vibrant planet.


Natural World-Erika Valkovicova.jpgImage: © Erika Valkovicova. All rights reserved.

Joy: A seal pup enjoys the morning breeze on Düne Island in Germany. Finalist in the Natural World category.


Natural World-Martin Prochazka.jpgImage: © Martin Prochazka. All rights reserved.

Lion's Mane Jellyfish: A lion’s mane jellyfish is lured by a rich plankton soup. Finalist in the Natural World category.


Natural World-Oreon Strusinski.jpgImage: © Oreon Strusinski. All rights reserved.

Pinnacle of Existence: Energy travels hundreds of miles across the ocean and comes to a dramatic end when it reaches our shores. Finalist in the Natural World category.


Travel-Tran Tuan Viet.jpgImage: © Tran Tuan Viet. All rights reserved.

Making Incense: 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. Finalist in the Travel category.


The American Experience-Jason Hatfield.jpgImage: © Jason Hatfield. All rights reserved.

Summit Eclipse: Mountaineers witness totality of the 2017 eclipse on the highest mountain in its path, 13,809′ Gannett Peak. Deep in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, reaching the summit requires two days of backpacking, a 12+ hour climb day, and crossing two glaciers. Finalist in The American Experience category.


The American Experience-Sandra Portal-Andreu.jpgImage: © 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. Finalist in The American Experience category.