The best photography reminds us of the supreme beauty of our natural world, the pain we inflict on it, why we must protect our planet, and what it means to be human. The winners and finalists of this year’s Smithsonian Photo Contest do all of that (and more), depicting scenes of playful whales, the humbling aftermath of wildfires, a sneaky Arctic fox stealing a hunk of meat bigger than its own head, and a newborn baby on his father’s lap. You can see the complete collection of the winning photos here. Scroll down to see a sampling of our favorites.
Playing With the Wave
Walrus Beach Masters
The Painful Aftermath
Newest Cowboy in Town
Flying at the Infamous Mara River Crossing