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Alaska Dispatch's best photos of 2012, part I: Life

Ian McKeever, as Nacho Libre, winning the "biggest splash" award at the 2012 Slush Cup at Alyeska Resort on Saturday, April 21, 2012. Eric Frampton, dressed as Lance Mackey, won the event.
Loren Holmes photo
Surfers and paddleboarders wait for the bore tide near Bird point on June 4, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Mark Montalvo, Senior from Wasilla, practices the two foot high kick at the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 27, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Karan Nixon's disabled rabbit, Tubby, inherited his wheeled cart from George, who was killed by a black bear last year in Nixon's yard. May 21, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Michelle Scannell and her sons Stephen, 5, and Liam, 7, view the transit of Venus from atop a parking garage at UAA. June 5, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Emcee Daphne DoAll LaChores reads out bingo numbers during drag queen bingo, held June 7, 2012 at Snow City Cafe.
Loren Holmes photo
Kite surfers enjoy a windy weekend along Turnagain Arm. June 10, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Matt Novakovich on his customized treadmill, where he spends much of his time training. July 2, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Anchorage Fire Department rescuers pull a man from the mudflats ahead of the rising tide. July 6, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Skater Shay Martinson. July 11, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Hikers enjoy a spectacular summer solstice sunset from atop Flattop mountain, June 20, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
A few of Dallas Seavey's 9-week-old puppies walk along the road with him. They don't usually get names until they are a year old. July 13, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
After 5 hours dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai river on Sunday, Allyssa Frost and her friends had managed to catch over 100 sockeye salmon. July 15, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A sockeye salmon fights for its life from a cooler at the mouth of the Kenai River on July 15, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Air Force Thunderbirds perform during Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
The veiled bride and family members waiting before the wedding ceremony. August 15, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
3-year-olds Bodi Anderson, left, and Loden Johnson get distracted from their task of vegetable picking at Pyrah's Pioneer Peak Farm. August 17, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
83-year-old Gil Goulet, from Rhode Island, gets his picture taken on Hank the moose at the Alaska State Fair. August 23, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Chelcie Carver, left, and Abigail Smith rock fair hair at the Alaska State Fair. August 23, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A member of the Acilquq Singers and Dancers performs at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A bone and artifact digger takes a break on the outskirts of Gambell on St. Lawrence Island. Aug 29, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Savoonga residents breakdancing to traditional native drumming, in a song entitled "Rock and Roll." August 30, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Kaktovik residents butcher a whale head on the beach in Kaktovik. September 6, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Issac Akootchook, 90 years old, walks home after church in Kaktovik. September 9, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
The Stebbins Dance Group performs at AFN's Quyana. October 18, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Alaska Native artist Drew Michael putting the finishing touches on a mask entitled 'Tina's Little Cheeks.' October 24, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
3 week old Vaughn Dudukgian sleeps while his mom Sara Acharya votes early at the Division of Elections Region II office. November 5, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Press operators adjust the registration while printing the Cordova Times on a Goss Community offset web printing press at Anchorage Printing. Nov. 15, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
4th grader Larry Swan leg wrestles with 6th grader Shannon Knox in Kivalina's McQueen School gym. Leg wrestling is a traditional Iñupiat Eskimo game, one of many that the students practice regularly. Dec 13, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Oran Knox fishing for cod on the sea ice near Kivalina. Dec 10, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Loren Holmes

Whether it was walking the shores of the Arctic Ocean with polar bears, dipnetting on the banks of the Kenai River with thousands of Alaskans, climbing to the top of Alaska's most-climbed mountain on summer solstice, or dancing with St. Lawrence Islanders on the eve of their fall whale hunt, Alaska Dispatch was there this year, photographing it all.

Alaska exists in the imagination of outsiders as a land of rugged beauty, with tall mountains, dark forests, massive glaciers and abundant wildlife. But among all that vast natural beauty and wilderness live over 700,000 Alaskans. Some work in office buildings, others in fishing boats or on oil rigs. Some study the glaciers, others hunt the whales.

In these 30 photos exist a slice of life in the Last Frontier. We hope you enjoy them.

See Alaska Dispatch's best scenic photos of the year, here.

See Alaska Dispatch's best Iditarod photos of the year, here.

Contact photographer Loren Holmes at loren(at)alaskadispatch.com