Awe-Inspiring Photos from Annual Photo Contest

The imagery is as varied as these groups, with photographers capturing a brave soul who walks on fire, Tokyo’s buzzing neon lights, and a clever octopus who hitched a ride on the back of a sea turtle.

Each evokes its own emotional response, but the common thread is always awe-inspiring wonder.

The judges for the Smithsonian.com Annual Photo Contest have done the hard work of narrowing the submissions down.