News / USA

Nature's Best Captured in Award-Winning Photos

International competition receives more than 20,000 entries from 56 countries

Visitors view one of the winning photos in the Nature’s Best Photography International Awards exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. (July 2011)
Visitors view one of the winning photos in the Nature’s Best Photography International Awards exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. (July 2011)

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is home to a collection of more than 124 million objects, including ancient dinosaur bones and the celebrated Hope Diamond, which many regard as the world's most famous jewel.

But tucked away on the second floor of the iconic institution is another gem of an exhibit which has attracted an impressive number of visitors.

There, colorful, large-format prints showcase captivating images of nature taken by both professional and amateur photographers from all over the world.

These are some of the winning entries in the 2010 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards competition.

The contest drew more than 20,000 entries from photographers in 56 countries. Thirty-nine of the winning entries are now on display at the Smithsonian.

It is a stunning collection of photographs, presenting images of everything from exotic wildlife to a wide variety of plant life and vibrant landscapes.

Nature’s best photography

The annual contest was launched by Stephen Freligh and his wife and co-publisher, Deborah, both lifelong nature enthusiasts. They created the competition in the magazine, Nature’s Best Photography, in 1996.

Each year, the winning entries are featured in the magazine and exhibited online. Since 1998, a selection of the winning entries has also been exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Freligh says he created the contest “to celebrate the beauty and diversity of nature through the art of photography.”

Ordinary people, extraordinary images

Freligh looks at every photograph entered into the competition. He, along with a panel of judges made up of photographers, publishers and conservationists, carefully select images for their excellence in composition, use of light, technical accuracy and overall image appeal.

“What we are looking for,” he says, “is something that catches you off guard, that makes you stop and view that image for a longer period of time.”

One of Freligh’s favorite entries is a photograph of an osprey crashing into the water trying to capture a trout.

Grand prize winner: 'Osprey' taken in Finland by Peter Cairns

According to Freligh, photographer Peter Cairns spent endless hours watching the osprey, trying to get the perfect shot. His patience paid off. The photograph was the competition's grand prize winner.

“The whole story was there in that one shot,” says Freligh. “And that’s what makes an image that we feel deserves the position of grand prize.”

Freligh believes every photograph in the exhibit has a story to tell.

“It really has to be a capsule of information that people can get, understand and take away with them,” he says.

Appreciative audience

There did seem to be some take-away moments for several recent visitors who packed the exhibit.

Norman Baade of St. Joseph, Missouri says he has been to Africa several times and was impressed by a photo of two young cheetahs chasing a springbok fawn. It reminds him, he says, of the fragility of nature.

Cheetahs close in on a fawn at Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa (Bridgena Barnard)

For Baade, the photo also serves as a reminder that people need to have an understanding and appreciation of other places and the animals that live there.

“If people in general don’t have an appreciation of them, they won’t survive,” he says.

The exhibit inspires twins Claire and Jack Winters, 10, of Austin, Texas, to get closer to nature.

“I think it’s really cool how they captured almost everything in nature," says Claire. "They look so real.”

Her brother is mesmerized by a photo of two orangutans.

“The close-ups really bring out the details in the animal," he says "It looks like it could bite me.”

From the wild, to the walls of the Smithsonian

The contest is named after the late Windland Smith Rice, an accomplished nature photographer and conservation activist who was a 1999 award recipient and passionate supporter of the awards program.

Freligh says his goal for the competition is to recognize talented photographers like Smith Rice and use their work to motivate people to “experience the wild" and, take advantage of modern technology to "go out and get good images.”

His ultimate hope is that all nature enthusiasts will become ardent protectors and guardians of the planet.

The contest begins accepting entries for next year's competition from photographers of all ages and levels of experience beginning Jan.1, 2012.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid