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Alaska Dispatch's best photos of 2012, part II: Scenics

A Mallard duck at Potter Marsh on Friday, May 4, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
A young moose walks through a downtown Anchorage neighborhood on May 16, 2012. Moose encounters are common in Alaska's largest city.
Loren Holmes photo
Girls and their dog enjoying a warm early summer day on the mudflats near Kincaid beach, with Redoubt Volcano visible behind them, May 23, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Wind turbines being erected on Fire Island, with Denali in the distance. July 26, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Aerial view of downtown Anchorage, Alaska at sunset on April 25, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Colony Glacier, emptying into Lake George, is the site of a salvage operation underway by the Air Force. They are recovering the remains of a C-124 airplane that crashed in 1952. July 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Alaska Range, Denali National Park. July 19, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Ruth glacier, Alaska Range, Denali National Park. July 19, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Polar bears play on the beach in Kaktovik. September 6, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A polar bear mom and her cubs exploring the tundra in Kaktovik. September 7, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Polar bear wave, Kaktovik. September 7, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Polar bears congregate at the carcass of a bowhead whale on the beach in Kaktovik. September 7, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
The view from Unalaska's Amaknak island. September 1, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Trumpeter swans depart Potter Marsh for warmer climes. September 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Bull moose sparring in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Sunrise at Bird Point. October 23, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Offshore oil platforms in Cook Inlet. November 1, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Northern lights dance above the Knik river as the moon rises early morning November 8, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above Tahneta pass in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The moonrise over downtown Anchorage, photographed from the roof of the 15-story Inlet Tower. Nov 29, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Musk oxen rest at the Musk Ox farm in Palmer. Dec 3, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Bowhead whale bones greet visitors to the town of Kivalina, Alaska. Located 85 miles above the Arctic Circle, when the sun sets on December 4 it won't rise again until January 7. Dec 10, 2012
Loren Holmes photo

Alaska's natural beauty is legendary. From glaciers to mountains, bears to birds, it's a land unparalleled anywhere on earth. Over the past year, Alaska Dispatch has travelled almost 20,000 miles across the state, from Alaska's largest city to villages so small they are barely more than ghost towns.

By foot, car and small airplane, sometimes in temperatures so cold even Musk Ox shiver, Alaska Dispatch trained their cameras on quiet landscapes and chaotic scenes of natural selection. A frosty, silent early morning sunrise along Turnagain Arm gives way to a bunch of noisy trumpeter swans alighting from Potter Marsh for warmer climates, the calm moonrise after the clash of moose in the fall rut.

Alaska Dispatch itself alighted many times from our offices at Anchorage's Merrill Field Airport. Whether it was to capture the glow of the city as the spring sun set, or to travel north for Denali's Ruth Glacier, in 2012 we flew thousands of miles in publisher Alice Rogoff's Cessna 206.

See Alaska Dispatch's best Life 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