A Minnesota teenager is the grand prize winner in a nationwide photo contest sponsored by Smithsonian Magazine.
Joelle Linhoff, 18, of Minnetonka snapped this year's winning image. It was chosen from more than 8,000 entries submitted from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 86 nations.
This is the fourth year of the Smithsonian's photo contest, which recognized the best photos in five different categories: The natural world, Americana, people, travel, and altered images -- photographs that have been manipulated for artistic purposes by applying digital or traditional special effects.
Linhoff's photo, which was entered in the natural world category, is a landscape of a New Zealand valley at dawn.
Linhoff spent three days vacationing at a camp overlooking New Zealand's Tukituki River Valley. Most days were foggy, says Linhoff, and usually there were no horses in the pasture.
On the day she took the winning picture, there were many horses, including a white one featured in the "Lord of the Rings" movies.
MPR's Tom Crann talked with Linhoff, who says she was just naturally inspired by the scene.