Update - Mar 31, 2015: The winners have been announced! See them here.
Smithsonian.com is excited to announce the finalists of our 12th Annual Photo Contest. Selected from over 26,500 entries, taken by photographers from 93 different countries, these photos represent our favorite shots. Our photo editors selected ten finalists per category—Natural World, Travel, People, Americana, Altered Images and Mobile—and it is up to you to determine our Readers’ Choice winner. The photograph that receives the most votes between now and March 30, at 5 p.m. ET, will receive a $500 cash prize and be announced alongside our Grand Prize and category winners on March 31.
The finalists range from a serene sunrise canoe in Minnesota to a train ride in Myanmar to a vicuña wandering the grasslands of the Andes. Some moments were sought out, others captured by chance. Dawn LaPointe was on vacation when she and her husband witnessed a spectacular fog-gilded sunrise. “The silhouette of the canoeist effortlessly gliding along the lake illustrates the solitude and serenity we cherish in the American wilderness,” she writes.
Nicolas Reusens was hiking in the jungle between Monteverde and La Fortuna, Costa Rica, when he happened upon a snake devouring a frog. While rain added drama to the scene, he struggled to keep his gear dry as he prepared to capture the moment. “I could only get around five pictures before the frog was swallowed and the snake disappeared into the deep forest,” he says. “Not until I arrived home did I realize I had taken one of my favorite shots of the whole trip.”
Votes are limited to one person per 24 hours, so please come back each day to vote again. When we announce the winners on March 31, we’ll also be opening up the 13th Annual Photo Contest, so start taking your prize-winning photographs now!