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The Smithsonian Photo Competition finalists are truly spectacular

No matter how good our phone camera gets, you can guarantee we'll try to capture some stunning vista (or a funny dog we've seen walk past), sit down later to admire our work and sigh with resignation at how it utterly fails to capture the magnificence of what we've seen (the dog is blurry).

So all we can do is applaud the work of the brilliant photographers who have been selected as the finalists for the Smithsonian Magazine's 13th Annual Photo Contest.

46,000 submissions have been whittled down to just 70 photos, in seven different categories: Mobile, Altered Images, People, Sustainable Travel, Travel, The Natural World and The American Experience.

You can view all of the finalists here (and vote for your favourite), and take a gander at our 15 favourites below.

Prepare to have your breath taken away.

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