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Astonishing Smithsonian Photo Contest Finalists

Think of Washington’s Smithsonian Museum and you instantly think of astronaut monkeys running amok in that underwhelming sequel to Night at the Museum, right?

No? Okay, well, it’s not too far off topic when regarding the institute’s 11th annual photography contest, which, as it happens, includes one snap of a monkey which really is out of this world.

And now the latest contest has unveiled its finalists. Be it a dusty bike at burning man, a peckish grizzly, or a storm looming over a small town in a manner befitting Twister, the ludicrously good snaps have captured a wealth of natural scenes from the modern world.

Whittled down from over 50,000 images submitted from 132 different countries, the 60 mesmerising works have been slotted into six categories for its in-house journal: Natural World, Travel, People, Americana, Altered Images and, giving us all hope of snapping our own award winning shot for 2015, Mobile.

Have a gawp at some of the best (below) for some inspiration.

John Gamble

Nidal Adnan Kibria

Daniel D'Auria

Candy Feng

Dina Bova

Kenneth DiLuigi

Carol Lynne Fowler

Graham McGeorge

Mark Kaplan