10 Incredible Award-Winning Photos Of Nature

Tim Aiken/Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine. Winner, Most Inspirational Moment Student.

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act, one of the cornerstones of the conservation movement in America. The Wilderness Act created the National Wilderness Preservation System through which the federal government has protected more than 100 million acres of wilderness.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History recently conducted the Wilderness Forever photography competition.

The Smithsonian selected 50 winning photos from 5,000 entries from professional, amateur, and student photographers across the country. Each photo was taken within a U.S. wilderness area.

The Smithsonian has shared a selection of the winners with us, but you can check out more entries in the contest and vote for your favourites. Every month, the Smithsonian will feature the entry that receives that most votes.

DeeAnn Pederson/Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine. Honorable Mention, Wildlife Pro.

An adult male Snowy Owl is wide awake at dawn in Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness Area. Otis Pike is the only federally designated wilderness area in New York.

Scott Dere/Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine. Honorable Mention, Wildlife Pro.

Colourful petrified sand dunes of White Pocket tower over Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs in Arizona. White Pocket is a notoriously hard-to-reach patch of sandstone near the Arizona-Utah border.

Richard Ansley/Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine. Honorable Mention, Scenic Landscape Amateur.

Proxy Falls cascades down to a moss-covered forest in Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon. The Three Sisters are a series of three volcanoes. Two out of three of the volcanoes are inactive.

Thomas Goebel/Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine. Winner, Scenic Landscape Student.

A lone paddler watches the sun set upon the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Superior National Forest in Minnesota. The area is renowned for its fishing and canoeing.

Dawn LaPointe/Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine. Winner, People in Wilderness Amateur.

This path winds through the Aurora Ridge Trail in Olympic Wilderness Area in Washington. The Olympic Wilderness contains some of the most pristine forests left in the U.S.

Pablo McLoud/Smithsonian Magazine. Honorable mention, Landscape Amateur.
Joe LeFevre/Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine. Winner, Most Inspirational Moment Pro.
Robert Amoruso/Smithsonian Magazine. Honorable Mention, Wildlife Amateur.

A herd of mountain goats huddle together on top of Mount Evans, Colorado, during a lightning storm. Mount Evans is one of 53 mountains in Colorado over 14,000 feet high. It is the closest to Denver.

Verdon Tomajko/Smithsonian Magazine. Winner, Wildlife Amateur.

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