28 Stunning Photos Of Nature That Look Like Heaven!

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The “Wilderness Forever” Photo Contest received over 5,000 entries this year. The exhibition of winning photos can be seen on display in “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places” a new photo exhibition at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC through summer of 2015. Here are some of our favorites. To see more images and to vote for your favorite, visit [Smithsonian](http://wilderness.smithsonian.com/vote/vote-180952419/).

“Mountain Goats, Colorado”

Verdon Tomajko

“Red fox, Alaska”

Dee Ann Pederson

“White Pocket, Arizona”

Richard Ansley

“Proxy Falls, Oregon”

Thomas Goebel

“Brown bear, Alaska”

Robert J. Amoruso

“Boundary Waters, Minnesota”

Dawn M. LaPointe

“Olympic peninsula, Washington”

Pablo McLoud

“Snowy owl, New York”

Scott Joshua Dere

“Alaska Range, Alaska”

Tim Aiken

“Milky Way, Oregon”

Joe LeFevre

“The stark quiet combined with the stoic tree trunks created a cathedral-like atmosphere—it was definitely a spiritual journey.”

Bill Lea

“Due to the strong wind, these light holes were quick to move. It evoked an Aurora Borealis effect of moving lights.”

Samuel Feron

“At 14,505 feet in elevation, the setting sun and the full moon created a unique combination of warm and cool tones.”

John Muir

“As the sun began to rise and illuminate the lenticular cloud above, all thoughts of frostbite quickly vanished as I captured my very own winter wonderland.”

Jarrod Castaing

“At sunrise, I walked along the Merced River. I was delighted to see golden light spreading across the trees and glass-like water reflecting the monolithic mountains. All was silent except for the sound of trickling water.”

William Patino

“Breathing in the fresh air, finding beautiful patches of large-flowered trilliums, and standing among 400-year-old giants never ceases to provide a thrill.”

Bill Lea

“People interacting with the landscapes of the wilderness provide an endless supply of new photographic opportunities.”

Ethan Welty

“Mother Nature is the master artist; I am a messenger.”

Dawn M. LaPointe

“As the sun set, light rays pierced the clouds and lit up the falling rain and the tips of the mountain with a golden hue.”

Phillip Noll

“My friend Kevin, in the lead, tugged us forward through the soup. Suddenly the clouds parted, revealing a solitary rock spire.”

Ethan Welty

“A wise person once told me, ‘You never know if you don’t go.’”

Laura Vu

“It didn’t take long for me to realize this was a scene that needed a hiker. I set up the timer and made my way into the composition.”

Adrian Klein

“Contrary to all appearances, my leaping friend Yoav—emboldened by the presence of a camera—made the jump to dry land.”

Ethan Welty

“I never did catch a fish, but I will have this beautiful memory forever.”

Virginia Short

“The stark contrast between the hiker’s diminutiveness and the size of the dune was a scene I had to shoot.”

Richard Hebhardt

“Just before I captured this image, a brilliant sunbeam pierced the small opening and produced the hotspot on the wall.”

David E. Bunnell

“I framed the alligator from the side to highlight its intense look, the leather-like texture of its skin, and the bony ridges on its back.”

Jenna Van Kley

“Progress was slow, but when the bird finally arrived at the rocky shore, it was able to hop out of the water carrying its lunch. Although stunned and soaking wet, the eagle had somehow managed to hang onto its meal.”

David Bahr