Portrait of Anil Eglais, 62, outside his apartment. Eglais worked for Gopher Resource from 1988-2016 in a variety of different positions. He suffered a heart attack in 2016 and is now retired. Eglais described the work environment, especially in the bag house, as that of a cement factory or bakery with a lot of dust in the air. This portrait was part of our investigative project into safety practices at Gopher Resource, "Poisoned." Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 in Tampa.

A Tampa Bay Times photographer’s year in photos: Martha Asencio-Rhine

Looking back at 11 moments that stood out in 2021.
Portrait of Anil Eglais, 62, outside his apartment. Eglais worked for Gopher Resource from 1988-2016 in a variety of different positions. He suffered a heart attack in 2016 and is now retired. Eglais described the work environment, especially in the bag house, as that of a cement factory or bakery with a lot of dust in the air. This portrait was part of our investigative project into safety practices at Gopher Resource, "Poisoned." Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Looking back at 11 moments that stood out in 2021.
Published Nov. 17
Updated Nov. 18

This collection of photographs have something in common – they all feature people.

After a surreal 2020, 2021 felt like a new beginning. I felt a sense of gratitude for the opportunities to make photos beyond socially distant portraits, buildings and press conferences.

I chose this set as my favorites of the year because I liked the photograph or I liked the moment.

Sticking to 11 photos was hard.

Friends, Will Hoffman, 30, (left) and Group Kunaroop, 25, both of Wesley Chapel, use their day off to go fishing off a sea wall on the south side of the Gandy Bridge, as heavy fog covered the bay, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 in Tampa.
Friends, Will Hoffman, 30, (left) and Group Kunaroop, 25, both of Wesley Chapel, use their day off to go fishing off a sea wall on the south side of the Gandy Bridge, as heavy fog covered the bay, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Al Nixon, 58, enjoys the sunrise from the St. Petersburg waterfront, every morning, from the same bench. He estimates that he makes it to his favorite spot, 350 days out of the year. Nixon enjoys the quiet, the time for reflection and the opportunity to start his day positively. The sun’s rising every morning represents a renewal which Nixon finds comforting. “You have to have a third place,” he said. A place aside from home and work. He is a recognizable figure, most people walking by wave hello and Nixon greets them by name. After an a little over an hour on his bench, Nixon departs for work, Friday, May 21, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
Al Nixon, 58, enjoys the sunrise from the St. Petersburg waterfront, every morning, from the same bench. He estimates that he makes it to his favorite spot, 350 days out of the year. Nixon enjoys the quiet, the time for reflection and the opportunity to start his day positively. The sun’s rising every morning represents a renewal which Nixon finds comforting. “You have to have a third place,” he said. A place aside from home and work. He is a recognizable figure, most people walking by wave hello and Nixon greets them by name. After an a little over an hour on his bench, Nixon departs for work, Friday, May 21, 2021 in St. Petersburg.

Read: It’s St. Petersburg’s bench, but Al owns it

Mark Fernandez holds his mother, Peggy Jagars, while she cries remembering her son, Joseph "Chuck" Fernandez, Mark's brother, who died last year because of COVID-19. At home on Monday, March 1, 2021 in Brandon.
Mark Fernandez holds his mother, Peggy Jagars, while she cries remembering her son, Joseph "Chuck" Fernandez, Mark's brother, who died last year because of COVID-19. At home on Monday, March 1, 2021 in Brandon.

Read: After Tampa Bay’s bruising, exhausting pandemic year, a shard of hope for some

Colin Brown peeks out from between his mother, Tomika Brown, and civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump, during a press conference to announce the filing of a lawsuit against Gopher Resource, following the Tampa Bay Times' investigation into the company's safety violations, on behalf of the Brown family, outside of the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse, Wednesday, June 2, 2021 in Tampa.
Colin Brown peeks out from between his mother, Tomika Brown, and civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump, during a press conference to announce the filing of a lawsuit against Gopher Resource, following the Tampa Bay Times' investigation into the company's safety violations, on behalf of the Brown family, outside of the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse, Wednesday, June 2, 2021 in Tampa.
Frank Nesmith, 79, head bird curator at Sunken Gardens says hello to Bobbie Sue, a 30-year-old Double Yellow-Headed Amazon, and Nesmith’s favorite bird. “Hello,” echoed Bobbie Sue, “I’m a pretty bird!” Thursday, August 5, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
Frank Nesmith, 79, head bird curator at Sunken Gardens says hello to Bobbie Sue, a 30-year-old Double Yellow-Headed Amazon, and Nesmith’s favorite bird. “Hello,” echoed Bobbie Sue, “I’m a pretty bird!” Thursday, August 5, 2021 in St. Petersburg.

Read: Meet the bird man of St. Petersburg’s Sunken Gardens

A member of the St. Petersburg Police Honor Guard stands at attention inside The Coliseum before the start of the funeral of St. Petersburg Police officer Michael Weiskopf who died due to complications from COVID-19, at The Coliseum, Tuesday, August 31, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
A member of the St. Petersburg Police Honor Guard stands at attention inside The Coliseum before the start of the funeral of St. Petersburg Police officer Michael Weiskopf who died due to complications from COVID-19, at The Coliseum, Tuesday, August 31, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
Diane Delano, founder and president at Wild Horse Rescue Center, pets some of the horses in her care, a trio of tarpans, from left, Tarpman, Raven, and her own personal horse, AquaMan, at Wild Horse Rescue Center, Monday, May 24, 2021 in Webster.
Diane Delano, founder and president at Wild Horse Rescue Center, pets some of the horses in her care, a trio of tarpans, from left, Tarpman, Raven, and her own personal horse, AquaMan, at Wild Horse Rescue Center, Monday, May 24, 2021 in Webster.

Read: Where wild mustangs from the West come for Florida ‘healing’

Roger Little, 80, poses for a portrait near the city waterfront where he trains for triathlons. Little has participated in 400 triathlons in his lifetime, including the World Ironman Championships, 18 times. He will be traveling to Hawaii in October for the Ironman Championship once again, his 19th time, as the oldest person to compete in the race which includes swimming, cycling and running grueling distances, Friday, July 30, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
Roger Little, 80, poses for a portrait near the city waterfront where he trains for triathlons. Little has participated in 400 triathlons in his lifetime, including the World Ironman Championships, 18 times. He will be traveling to Hawaii in October for the Ironman Championship once again, his 19th time, as the oldest person to compete in the race which includes swimming, cycling and running grueling distances, Friday, July 30, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
Kids take part in a batting workshop during A Perfect Game Cares Foundation youth camp at Oliver Field in Campbell Park,Tuesday, July 13, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
Kids take part in a batting workshop during A Perfect Game Cares Foundation youth camp at Oliver Field in Campbell Park,Tuesday, July 13, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Giovani Bernard (25) scores a touchdown in the first quarter during a game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021 in Tampa.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Giovani Bernard (25) scores a touchdown in the first quarter during a game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021 in Tampa.