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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid