Smithsonian magazine has chosen its top picks for its 10th annual photography contest, which draws submissions from amateurs and professionals around the world. This year’s finalists for best nature photo include an unforgettably soulful gorilla from the Bronx, a jaw-dropping galaxy rise behind Mt. Ranier, and the delicate wings of a juvenile Spectacled Spiderhunter perched on a branch in a dense green jungle in Malaysia.
Check out our gallery below, and then head over to Smithsonian’s site and vote for your favorites.
Milky Way Eruption
Photographer David Morrow captured this image, of the Milky Way rising behind Washington State’s Mt. Ranier, with a Nikon D800 camera.
This photograph of a baby owl was captured with a Nikon D90 during a photo shoot at a local bird enthusiast’s home.
Gorilla At The Bronx Zoo
This gorilla came up close to the photographer and lingered there for over half an hour while she took pictures with her Canon Rebel T3. Bartlett told Smithsonian that, after she got home, she “couldn’t stop staring at this [photo](
An Onlooker Watches The Solar Eclipse
Photographer Colleen Pinski captured this image of a person silhouetted at sunset during a solar eclipse in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last May.
Antheraea Polyphemus Caterpillar
Photographer Colin Hutton snapped this photo of a caterpillar in Duke Forest, North Carolina, while shooting footage of a jumping spider with a Canon 7D.
Juvenile Spectacled Spiderhunter
While visiting Borneo, Malaysia, in 2010, Singapore native Bjorn Olesen snapped this image of a young Spectacled Spiderhunter, who was calling and flapping its wings in an attempt to capture its parents’ attention.
Photographer Neal Piper took this photograph of Gento penguins and their newborn chicks at Damoy Point, Antarctica, with and EOS 40D.
Man-Made Ice Geyser
A photographer captured this image of an ice geyser in Duluth, Minnesota last January. The geyser forms from water flowing from a pipe that is left on all winter to prevent the pipe from bursting; Carlsen dropped a rope with several LEDs attached into the center of the geyser to achieve the lighting shown here, and took the shot with a Nikon D70.
Ants Holding Seeds
Photographer Eko Adiyanto captured this image with a Nikon D70, in West Java, Indonesia, last spring.
Bald Eagles Share A Meal
Don Holland captured this photograph in Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tennessee, using a Canon 7D with a 600mm f/4 IS lens.