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Photos: A look at our favorites from 2016

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A boat passes through a channel in Voyageurs.
A lone motorboat cruises through island channels in Voyageurs National Park on Aug. 7, 2016. In the winter, many visitors trade their boats for snowmobiles, which are prohibited on Voyageurs' 900-plus islands, but are welcome on about about 104 miles of groomed trails that cut across the park's 30 lakes. More: Getting paid in sunsets at Voyageurs National Park
Evan Frost | MPR News

Choosing the "best" photographs of the year is a daunting challenge. What makes a journalistic image great? There should be a memorable moment, certainly, along with a record of the news of the day. There should be art in using light and composition, and craft in using the camera gear. 

Still, great photographs are more than that. They illuminate the people and places we see, and help us understand our world. They make us feel something. They help us remember.

As the visuals editor at a radio station, I often get puzzled looks when I tell people what I do. But just as I am honored to work with some of the best radio and digital journalists anywhere, I am honored to work with some of the most talented staff and freelance photojournalists. Some are lifelong Minnesota residents, while others are newer to the area, and each brings a sharp eye that offers us memorable images of life around our state.

In choosing these, I asked each photographer to send me some of their own they liked best, I chose more I liked, then a group of us whittled the list down. There were some that everyone loved, and there was plenty of discussion about others. 

In the end, we decided it's not a contest, so we're not going to say these are the "best." Instead, we hope you enjoy a selection of our favorite photos from this past year. We hope they touch you in some way, and connect you to life in Minnesota.

 -- Regina McCombs, Senior Editor for Visual News