The results are in. Smithsonian magazine recently announced the winners of their 13th annual photo contest. This year the magazine received over 46,000 submissions from 168 countries and territories, which their photo teams whittled down to a Grand Prize winner, along with winners in each of the contest’s six categories: The Natural World, Travel, People, The American Experience, Altered Images, and Mobile. Compared to last year, this year’s competition received 75 percent more submissions and four times as many votes for the Readers’ Choice award winner (it received 40,000 votes). Competition is fierce and only increasing, so dig up your camera and polish the lens — submissions are already being accepted for next year. Click here to submit, and good luck.
Grand Prize – Remaining on the Slopes of Mount Sinabung“Volcanic material flows from Mount Sinabung, as seen from the village of Jeraya, North Sumatra, Indonesia on June 26, 2015. Mount Sinabung intermittently spewed burning ash and gas a week after authorities told residents to evacuate the danger zone that lay with within a radius of seven kilometers (4.4 miles) from the crater.” Learn more
Photo Info: Canon EOS 7D, 119mm, 1/1000, f/11, ISO 500
Reader’s Choice – Orient Express“My bull terrier Claire photographed in an abandoned train, one of a series that I am currently working on. The series is called Leave Only Pawprints: Urbex Adventures With My Bull Terrier Claire.” Learn more
Photo Info: Nikon D800, 17mm, 1/40, f/11, ISO 200
The American Experience – Trucker Chapel“Truck driver Ben Blackburn, 46, participates in a Bible study session at the Transport For Christ (TFC) mobile chapel in Lodi, Ohio, on October 23, 2013. TFC chaplains helped Blackburn enroll in trucking school after he lost his job during the recent economic recession.
Transport For Christ, an international trucker ministry, has placed 45 mobile chapels at truck stops across the United States. The chapels offer Bible study, worship services and counseling from volunteer chaplains. They also give drivers a break from the struggles and solitude of life on the road.” Learn more
Photo Info: N/A
Natural World – A Little Monkey on a Cliff“A cold front hit the Nagano prefecture. I saw a little monkey enduring the cold in Jigokudani Monkey Park. This little monkey is really cute.” Learn more
Photo Info: Canon 5D Mk III, 1/160, f/3.2
Travel – Women’s Compartment of a Suburban Train“Every day millions of people make use of the suburban trains in Mumbai. Almost every train has separate compartments for women to avoid sexual abuse.” Learn more
Photo Info: Nikon D800, 24mm, 1/50, f/2.8, ISO 3200
Sustainable Travel – My Time“In February and March of 2014, I took a month off and went to work as a photographer/videographer in an orphan school in Likoni, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Mombasa, Kenya. My videos and pictures helped raise money to finish the building of the school for 150 children and a sleeping building for 30 orphan kids. This is the school director’s daughter on her break, while at school.
I took one month off because it was my time to give back again. It was my second volunteering project, after a month in Peru working with local knitters the year before. I used my photos and videos to promote their cause on [the organization’s] website and Facebook page, which I was taking care of. The main goal at that particular moment was to gather enough means to finish the new buildings, which would be able to accommodate their needs.
My experience was great, they are amazing people and took me as a part of the family and community. We still keep in touch, and I am proud I was able to help out.
When you travel sustainably, you find a place that gives you something, that makes you whole. But you also feel more than happy to give back. Both the place and you need a change. It is your job to find a way to make it work in unison. Usually, it is not you that is making the big change in the place though, it is the other way around.” Learn more