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Smithsonian Photo Contest finalists reveal splendors of the natural world

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Smithsonian photo contest
credit: Erika Valkovicova. All rights reserved.

All 60 finalists for this photo contest are stunning, but we are especially smitten with the ones showing off Mother Nature.

Each year the Smithsonian Photo Contest brings in a stunning array of photos from around the world. This year is the contest's 15th and is as dynamic as ever, with a whopping 48,000 submissions from photographers in 155 countries and territories. Comprising six different categories, the photo editors narrow it down to 60 final images which they deem to be the most unique and memorable.

Along with category winners and the Grand Prize, which will be announced on March 27, there will also be a Reader's Choice awards. Voting is open until March 26. You can see all 60 finalists from the contest and vote for the Readers’ Choice winner here.

Of course, this being TreeHugger, we found ourselves completely enamored with the finalist selections from the "Natural World" category, a handful of which you can see here. First up, the sweet seal pup above:

Joy by Erika Valkovicova

A seal pup enjoys the morning breeze on Düne Island in Germany.

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