A bull rider is frozen in midair as he’s tossed during a rodeo competition. A 9-year-old girl pulls up her sleeve to receive a COVID-19 vaccination during a pop-up clinic at a McDonald’s restaurant. A cockapoo watches intently as her owner raises a 20-inch pickerel while ice fishing. The Skowhegan River Hawks celebrate after winning the Class A softball state championship.

These are among the scenes depicted in our Photos of the Year gallery for 2021. From sports and features to developing news and portraits, these stunning images from our staff photographers run the gamut and celebrate the people and places of central Maine.

We hope you enjoy the collection of images chosen by the photographers themselves: Joe Phelan and Andy Molloy from the Kennebec Journal, and Michael G. Seamans and Rich Abrahamson of the Morning Sentinel.

Joao Paulo Fernandez gets tossed from Wooly Bully during a PBR Velocity Tour rodeo competition at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on July 23. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Bert Languet sprays water onto on the four hockey rinks being set up Feb. 11 for the Maine Pond Hockey Classic on Snow Pond in Sidney. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Lily Taylor, 9, of Skowhegan, pulls up her sleeve as Shane Savage with the Oakland Pharmacy prepares to give her a COVID-19 vaccination during a pop-up clinic at the McDonald’s restaurant at 336 Main St. in Waterville on Nov. 23. With Taylor is her father Alan with baby brother Dylan, left, and mother Makenzee, shown filling out paperwork at right. Makenzee and Alan also received their vaccinations during the clinic. It was one of the first opportunities in the region for people as young as 5 to get vaccinated against the virus. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

A red squirrel rebuffs an eastern bluebird that explores the cavity of a tree where the squirrel nests on Jan. 28 in Hallowell. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Waterville firefighter Matt Adamson emerges from a structure fire with a kitten on King Street in the South End of Waterville on Jan. 11. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Skydiver Steve Staub hangs backward from the wing of the Cessna 182 that carried him to a 10,000-foot jump altitude above Waterville on July 28. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Isaac Cote, 14, casts into Crotched Pond in Fayette on Nov. 10 while fly-fishing with his father and brother. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

A deer pauses by puddles at Pine Grove Cemetery in Waterville that were left after rain showers soaked the region on Sept. 26. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Coach Karen Magnusson watches girls basketball practice Nov. 23 in the Mr. Burbank Memorial Gym at Maranacook Community School in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Waldo, a 2-year-old Great Dane, pokes his head through the sunroof of Kylie Beaudoin’s car after Beaudoin picked up flowers at The Robin’s Nest at the Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville on March 30. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The Memorial Bridge, left, spans the ice clogged Kennebec River as the sun sets right behind the Hartford Fire Station and lights up sky over downtown Augusta Feb. 4. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Lightning flashes in the distance south of Winslow as seen from Waterville on July 6. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Ron Young uses a tractor to tow his boat along Causeway Road en route to the boat landing at China Lake in China on July 27. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

MDI’s Amelia VanDongen, left, slipped and fell but Greely’s Annie Reynolds was able to stop before falling over her on a mud-slickened curve during the Class B state cross country race Oct. 30 in Belfast. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Students at the school at Happy Farm in Whitefield listen March 16 to their classmates yell initials of words they have to guess during a game of “Here We Come.” The 15 Amish children enrolled in the school, according to teacher Ada Kroyer, learn how to associate words with sounds while playing in the woods. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Milly, a cockapoo, watches intently as her owner, Patrick Higgins, raises a 20-inch pickerel while ice fishing with his father Tim at a private pond near their home in Fairfield on Jan. 20. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Christina Dorman, a STEM librarian at the Maine State Library, browses the fiction section while dressed as a “Star Wars” stormtrooper at the Waterville Public Library on May 4. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Casey Mills, left, and Jon Lettre grapple Nov. 23 during wrestling practice at Cony High School in Augusta. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

A fly fisherman casts a line Nov. 4 into the Kennebec River at its confluence with the Cobbosseecontee Stream in downtown Gardiner. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Tommy Keister pulls himself near a portion of the Benton Falls Dam on the Sebasticook River in Benton on May 21. Lobstermen like Keister rely on local access to bait to reduce the need to purchase imported bait from China. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Monmouth’s Owen Harding slides into second under a throw to Mt Abram’s Tyler Phelps during a Class C South semifinal game May 12 in Monmouth. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Gardiner players Megan Gallagher, left, Lizzy Gruber, Piper Lavoie and Taylor Takatsu play zone defense as Cony senior guard Julia Reny brings up the ball during a game Feb. 23, in Cony’s Ryan Family Gym in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Windham High School inside linebacker Tobias Perkins (4) breaks up a pass intended for Cony High School tight end Casey Mills in Oakland during a football game on Oct. 9. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Darren Doucette, right, and his wife Danielle hold the hands of daughter Brina Jo, 17 months, while walking the barnyard at Wolf Creek Maple farm in Sidney on March 28. The Sidney family spent time watching steam rise from a maple syrup evaporator inside the farm’s sugar shack. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The Skowhegan River Hawks celebrate after beating Biddeford to win Class A softball state championship June 19 on Richard W. Bailey softball field in Standish. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Purchase photos from the Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel.

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