This year Seattle Times staff photographers shot almost 6,000 assignments and captured hundreds of thousands of exposures in pursuit of storytelling photographs.

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This year Seattle Times staff photographers shot almost 6,000 assignments and captured hundreds of thousands of exposures in pursuit of storytelling photographs. While on those assingments, they sought a combination of three key ingredients: light, composition and moment.

Those moments can be as telling as Clay Bennett’s angry glance, as sweeping as a street full of revelers after Barack Obama’s presidential victory, or as amusing as a gentle prod to a reluctant Chihuahua.

The photographs can be the result of thoughtful anticipation or lightning reflexes, great patience or, occasionally, just plain luck. But when the right elements come together you get a good image, occasionally a great one.

Sometimes, these moments can carry the weight of history, sometimes they just make us smile. But more often than not, whether the subjects are mundane or monumental, motion or emotion, the best pictures seem to find a way to reiterate the importance of everyday life.

Over time these many images add up to another accumulated image, a portrait of who and where we are as a community. It is community, as much as these photographs, that we celebrate.

In this annual tradition, we’ve selected some of the best of our photographers’ work to present in Pacific Northwest’s last issue of the year.

Click here for a gallery of these images.