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Smithsonian's Top 10 Travel Photos Of The Year (PHOTOS)

Posted: 07/03/2012 7:00 am

Our editors pored over more than 67,000 photographs, each one a postcard from a unique time and place for our annual photo contest. In our July/August 2012 issue that launched online Friday, we announced our winner, Jia Han Dong, 52, a shipping company manager from New Jersey. His stunning image of fishermen in southern China is included in this beautiful collection from the 9th Annual Photo Contest.

The pictures offer not only a glimpse of the wider world, but inspiration to hit the road in search of memorable moments and unforgettable views.

-- Jesse Rhodes

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  • Grand Prize Winner

    Jia Han Dong, Age 52 Parsippany, New Jersey • Photographed March 2009 Xiapu, China “is famous for photo ops because it has lots of small hills along the coasts,” says Dong. “I zoomed in with my Nikon so that the reflection filled the whole frame. I waited till those fishermen walked into the right position and took the shot.” Jia Han Dong, a shipping company manager from New Jersey, was vacationing in a small fishing community in southern China when he climbed a hill, intending to photograph the setting sun above the East China Sea. He walked around for hours trying to find the best spot to set up his equipment, but the conditions weren’t ideal. “It was kind of cloudy,” recalls Dong. Then the sun appeared and lent the shoreline a golden cast. “I saw those fishermen going out for low tide clamming with their tools on their shoulders. I loved the color, the pattern of the posts in the foreground, the texture of the water.”

  • Travel Winner

    David Lazar, Age 29 Brisbane, Australia • Photographed January 2011 At Inle Lake in Burma, Lazar was up at sunrise to capture fishermen who use their legs to wield oars. “I found a high vantage point,” he recalls, “and wanted to photograph this iconic and unique Burmese fishing style.”

  • Women making traditional art

    Chetan Soni (Madhya Pradesh, India) Photographed November 2010, Rajasthan, India

  • Jabulani the elephant greeting his caretaker

    Paula Durham (Cave Creek, Arizona) Photographed September 2011, Kapama private game reserve, South Africa

  • Segways on tour in Valencia near a modern building

    Marcel van Balken (Amstelveen, Netherlands) Photographed October 2010, Valencia, Spain

  • The golden rock

    David Lazar (Brisbane, Australia) Photographed February 2010, Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar

  • House collage

    Shyamal Das (Kolkata, India) Photographed October 2010, Sikkim, West Bengal

  • Burmese novices playing soccer in the evening

    Kyaw Kyaw Winn (Yangon, Myanmar) Photographed April 2011, Myanmar

  • The Kara women are the backbone of the tribe

    Nicholas Wiesnet (Garden Grove, California) Photographed September 2011, Omo River Valley, Ethiopia

  • Packed in the cabin of a train to Jodphur

    Ho Lee (Hong Kong, China) Photographed January 2011, Jaipur, India