"Coral Paradise : Saint Martins Island, Bangladesh" - © Kumar Bishwajit, all rights reserved.

See the Amazing World Through 2016’s Smithsonian Photo Contest

The world is amazing. From the wavy vibrant glow of sunrise weaving through city blocks to the twinkling diamond quarry of a starry country night, the happenings of the world are plentiful in their awe-inspiring beauty. But, alas, we have jobs, families, and a litany of reasons tying us to a local existence, and yet we wonder. We wonder how other cultures are spending their time, what wildlife is springing to life, what landscapes look like without architecture.

There’s so much out there we don’t get to see, let alone experience. So we owe it to photographers who capture humans, wildlife, and the natural world in immaculate moments. They burst with colors we know, but practically radiate anew; a strange freshness to the way we see the world over. You remember the curiosity that struck you dumbfounded on repeat during childhood. You want to go back to school to learn what’s in the depths of our ocean, spend an afternoon researching mountain villages in remote lands, or read a book about the rainforest.

Your eyes shine when you remember what the world can be, and thanks to the Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest, you can have your brain massaged and your heart bounced.

See a handful of the 70 finalists for this year’s contest below.

“The Wind and the Kite” © Kumar Bishwajit, all rights reserved."The Wind and the Kite" © Kumar Bishwajit, all rights reserved.“Muscle Power” – © Archna Singh, all rights reserved."Muscle Power" - © Archna Singh, all rights reserved.“Eiffel Tower, Up” – © Tom Werres, all rights reserved."Eiffel Tower, Up" - © Tom Werres, all rights reserved.“Under Pressure” – © Adam Taylor, all rights reserved."Under Pressure" - © Adam Taylor, all rights reserved.“Under the Aurora” – © Gary L. Fiedler, all rights reserved.3. "Under the Aurora" - © Gary L. Fiedler, all rights reserved.“A Little Monkey on the Cliff” – © Hideyoshi Ogata, all rights reserved."A Little Monkey on the Cliff" - © Hideyoshi Ogata, all rights reserved.“The Washing Machine” – © Kevin Dilliard, all rights reserved."The Washing Machine" - © Kevin Dilliard, all rights reserved.“Bearded Iris” – © Robin David (a.k.a. Williamson), all rights reserved."Bearded Iris" - © Robin David (a.k.a. Williamson), all rights reserved.“Catch the Sunset” – © Tuan Nguyen Manh, all rights reserved."Catch the Sunset" - © Tuan Nguyen Manh, all rights reserved.“Conspiracy” – © Pedro Jarque Krebs, all rights reserved."Conspiracy" - © Pedro Jarque Krebs, all rights reserved.“Riding the Clouds” – © Robin David (a.k.a. Williamson), all rights reserved.11. "Riding the Clouds" - © Robin David (a.k.a. Williamson), all rights reserved.“Mating Red-Eyed Tree Frogs” – © Jennifer Guyton, all rights reserved."Mating Red-Eyed Tree Frogs" - © Jennifer Guyton, all rights reserved.“Great Egret in Breeding Colors” – © Sidney Schnyder, all rights reserved."Great Egret in Breeding Colors" - © Sidney Schnyder, all rights reserved.“In the Midst of Monks” – © Wan Shun Luk, all rights reserved."In the Midst of Monks" - © Wan Shun Luk, all rights reserved.“Three Black Cows” – © Valery Romanov, all rights reserved."Three Black Cows" - © Valery Romanov, all rights reserved.“Sun Head” – © Geert Weggen, all rights reserved."Sun Head" - © Geert Weggen, all rights reserved.“Synchronous Fireflies” – © Radim Schreiber, all rights reserved."Synchronous Fireflies" - © Radim Schreiber, all rights reserved.“Tree Hugger” – © Suyash Keshari, all rights reserved."Tree Hugger" - © Suyash Keshari, all rights reserved.“Leatherback Pair” – © Ben Hicks, all rights reserved."Leatherback Pair" - © Ben Hicks, all rights reserved.

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