Despite the numerous advances in camera technology, we still struggle to take a decent photo. We have an extensive collection of blurry photographs taken at gigs where, frankly, it could be Rick Astley or The Jackson 5 duetting with Elvis up there for all we can tell.
But, fortunately, there are a lot of people who are rather skilled with a camera in their hands, as this incredible selection of photos demonstrates. They are 15 of the finalists of the Smithsonian.com Annual Photo Contest - now in its 12th year. The 26,500 entries received have been whittled down to ten finalists per category - Natural World, Travel, People, Americana, Altered Images and Mobile - with photographers from 93 different countries represented.
The Readers' Choice winner will be selected by the public - head to Smithsonian.com to vote for your favourite (one vote allowed every 24 hours) before 30 March. The triumphant entry will be announced on 31 March, alongside the category winners.
Take a look at a selection of 15 below, and marvel at some breathtaking images - click on each one to enlarge.