The visual system rapidly extracts information about objects from the cluttered natural environment. In 5 experiments, the authors quantified the influence of orientation and semantics on the classification speed of objects in natural scenes, particularly with regard to object-context interactions. Natural scene photographs were presented in an object-discrimination task and pattern masked with various scene-to-mask stimulus-onset asynchronies (SOAs). Full psychometric functions and reaction times (RTs) were measured. The authors found that (a) rotating the full scenes increased threshold SOA at intermediate rotation angles but not for inversion; (b) rotating object or context degraded classification performance in a similar manner; (c) semantically congruent contexts had negligible facilitatory effects on object classification compared with meaningless baseline contexts with a matching contrast structure, but incongruent contexts severely degraded performance; (d) any object-context incongruence (orientation or semantic) increased RTs at longer SOAs, indicating dependent processing of object and context; and (e) facilitatory effects of context emerged only when the context shortly preceded the object. The authors conclude that the effects of natural scene context on object classification are primarily inhibitory and discuss possible reasons.