The editors of Smithsonian magazine have just announced the finalists in their 12th annual photo contest, selected from more than 26,500 entries. They've kindly allowed me to share several of these images here from the competition's six categories: The Natural World, Travel, People, Americana, Altered Images and Mobile. Captions written by the photographers. Be sure to visit the contest page at to see all the finalists. [14 photos total]

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Grizzly bear walking in an estuary in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska, photographed by Kevin Morgans from Wirral Peninsula, Cheshire, U.K. #
Light refracts through the curves of a breaking wave, New South Wales, Australia, photographed by Ray Collins from Sydney, Australia. #
At Selva Verde Lodge, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica. This was a harmless snake but very restless, getting out a photograph of his whole body was the challenge. Photographed by Alvaro Cubero Vega from Costa Rica. #
Looking down at a wheat field in Bagan, Myanmar, from a hot air balloon. Photographed by by Sesh Kumar Sareday. #
An albino child attends an exhibition about albinos at the Ethnology Museum of Valencia, photographed by Ana Yturralde from Valencia, Spain. #
A green iguana surfaces for air in a sea cave of the Caribbean island of Bonaire. Photographed by Lorenzo Mittig. #
Onno, a teenage girl from the Arbore tribe in Ommo Valley, Ethiopia, photographed by Matjaz Krivic from Ljubljana, Slovenia. #
On the village river in Thuong Tin, Hanoi, Vietnam, photographed by Viet Phuong Tran from Hanoi, Vietnam. #
Sewing the fishing net, Vinh Hy bay, Ninh Thuan, Vietnam, photographed by Pham Ty from Vietnam. #
Kids playing on the main minaret of the Grand Mosque in Bani, Burkina Faso, during Eid al-Fitr. Photographed by Matjaz Krivic from Ljubljana, Slovenia. #
A snake swallows an unlucky frog near the Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica, photographed by Nicolas Reusens from Madrid, Spain. #
Girl looking out the window of a slow train, while an old woman sleeps, Kayah State, Myanmar, photographed by Jorge Fernandez from Spain. #
Densely packed christian cemetery in Hong Kong, photographed by Brian Yen from Hong Kong. #
Young buddhist novices playing in Hsinbyume Pagoda, Myanmar, photographed by Sergio Carbajo Rodriguez from La Garriga, Spain. #

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