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The sun sets as a rainstorm blows over Delicate Arch in Arches National Park near Moab, which is among the top travel destinations in 2022.

The sun sets as a rainstorm blows over Delicate Arch in Arches National Park near Moab on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Top Utah photos of 2021: What Deseret News photographers saw this year

SHARE Top Utah photos of 2021: What Deseret News photographers saw this year
SHARE Top Utah photos of 2021: What Deseret News photographers saw this year

For the past 12 months, there have been moments where life felt normal again. It was almost as if there wasn’t a worldwide pandemic going on at time. 

So in 2021, the talented photojournalists from the Deseret News got to return to what they love so much, documenting the world up close and personal through their cameras, capturing life as we know it today. 

Yes, they photographed the struggles of COVID-19, but throughout the year they also treated our readers to some very memorable moments filled with light, love and life.

Here are 30 of the best images of the year taken by our staff photographers.

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Brynlee McIntosh catches air as she sleds at Riverbend Golf Course in Riverton on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

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Bikers ride through Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. The weather is expected to be dry and clear for holiday travel in Utah.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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Shazia Kakaie, left, and her husband, Azim Kakaie, stand during the national anthem before a soccer match between Real Salt Lake and Portland at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021.

Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

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Fall colors are pictured in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

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President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, tours the renovation work at the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Rose Salt gets a hug from granddaughter Susie Denetsosie

Rose Salt, 93, gets a hug from granddaughter Susie Denetsosie outside of The Blue Coffee Pot Restaurant in Kayenta, Ariz., in the Navajo Nation on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Salt often runs into family and friends at the restaurant after months of isolation due to COVID-19.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

A marker buoy is grounded on the dried-up shore of Echo Reservoir on Sept. 16, 2021.

A marker buoy is grounded on the dried-up shore of Echo Reservoir, which is currently at 12% capacity, at Echo State Park during a drought on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Retired Utah National Guard Lt. Col. Craig Morgan was at the Pentagon on 9/11.

Retired Utah National Guard Lt. Col. Craig Morgan, who was at the Pentagon on 9/11, closes his eyes for a portrait at his house in South Jordan on Monday, Sept. 6, 2021. Morgan grew up in Provo and served in the military for 34 years.

Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

Margaret Wahlstrom stands at the 9/11 memorial at the Utah State University Botanical Center in Kaysville.

Margaret Wahlstrom is photographed at the 9/11 memorial at the Utah State University Botanical Center in Kaysville on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. The memorial honors three victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Walstrom’s mother-in-law, Mary Alice Wahlstrom. of Kaysville, and her sister-in-law, Carolyn Anne Beug, were on American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Also honored is Brady Howell, a Utah State alumnus from Tremonton who was working at the Pentagon and killed when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into it.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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Nanette Kearl puts an oxygen mask on her husband, Thomas Kearle, at their house in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. Thomas Kearl, 59, fought to survive COVID-19 in a hospital for 223 days before he was finally able to return home last week.

Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

Visitors to Silver Sand Beach at the Great Salt Lake Marina are reflected on still water as they walk during a rainstorm.

Visitors to Silver Sand Beach at Great Salt Lake Marina are reflected on still water as they walk around during a rainstorm on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.

Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

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Raindrops fall in a puddle during a rainstorm in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

An air tanker drops retardant on the Parleys Canyon Fire west of Park City.

An air tanker drops retardant on the Parleys Canyon fire west of Park City on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Aisha Yasin of Somalia waves an American flag after taking the oath of allegiance to become a U.S. Citizen at the Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.

Aisha Yasin, of Somalia, waves an American flag after taking the oath of allegiance to become a U.S. citizen at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. One hundred twenty-four citizenship candidates from 38 countries became U.S. citizens.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Supervisory Border Patrol agent and Rio Grande Valley sector chaplain Robert Hess questions undocumented migrants in Texas.

Supervisory Border Patrol agent and Rio Grande Valley sector chaplain Robert Hess wipes perspiration from his face while questioning undocumented migrants in McAllen, Texas, on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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Tricia Wright grieves over the casket of her sister, Shawna Wright, who died of heat exhaustion while homeless, during Shawna Wright’s interment at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Reyes Carballo loads feed for his cattle on his ranch in Parowan, Utah.

Reyes Carballo loads feed for his cattle on his ranch in Parowan on Monday, June 21, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

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Jreydon Schreppel cools off in the splash pad at Liberty Park during a heat wave in Salt Lake City on Monday, June 14, 2021.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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First lady Jill Biden waves as she boards her plane to depart Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

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U.S. Army reservist Staff Sgt. Dan Gustavson, of the 312th Medical Logistics Company out of Seagoville, Texas, hugs daughter Aria during a surprise homecoming at Vision Dance and Learning in South Jordan on Monday, May 3, 2021. Gustavson has been serving in Iraq for nine months.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Rob Hall and Misti Western light candles in front of a mural of George Floyd in Salt Lake City.

Rob Hall and Misti Western light candles in front of a mural of George Floyd in Salt Lake City after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the killing of Floyd on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

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Fog covers the Salt Lake Valley on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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Congregants listen to sermon by Pastor Oscar Moses at Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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Wind turbines stand at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon in Spanish Fork on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

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Rob Reinfurt and Kelly Long ski and play with their neighbor’s dog Modoe in Cottonwood Heights on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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Hawkwatch International field biologist Max Carlin returns a golden eagle nestling to its nest after his team collected samples and data from it in a remote area of Box Elder County on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

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Nancy screams as Salt Lake County Health Department workers clean up homeless encampments on 500 West and 400 South in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. According to the department, the cleanup is part of the the department’s “routine operations” that occur about once a week.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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Lia Smith, a registered nurse assistant, prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, where those 70 and older are receiving the vaccination.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Senior living community resident smiles through her mask as she is photographed after receiving her COVID-19 vaccination.

Cedarwood senior living community resident Yvonne Bolingbroke smiles through her mask as she is photographed after receiving her COVID-19 vaccination in Sandy on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. Cedarwood has been preparing for the vaccine for weeks, working closely with its partner pharmacy Walgreens and local public health officials.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News