June 28, 2012 at 1:00 am

Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest: Balloon photo rises into finals

You have to shoot very quickly, Mudg Poster says of Up, his photo shot at Balloonfest. The balloons are never where you would place them if you had time to compose a shot. (Mudg Poster)

Howell's annual Michigan Challenge Balloonfest is a joy and a challenge for photographers.

"You have to shoot very quickly," said Mudg Poster of West Bloomfield Township. "The balloons are never where you would place them if you had time to compose a shot. I'm constantly scanning the sky for a good composition. It is colorful chaos.

"This year there was a lack of wind so the balloons hovered over the field a bit longer than usual. Each launch is a bit different, but they are all luminous and mesmerizing."

Poster's shot is one of five chosen as a finalist this week in The Detroit News' sixth annual Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest, which showcases readers' photos that show the unique character of Michigan and its inhabitants.

Other photographers making it to the finals this week are Rob Kennedy of Livonia, Scott Skytta of Ispheming, Steve Watz of Troy and Rachel Welch of Linden.

Each Thursday through Aug. 23, we will announce five entries that will become eligible for four grand prizes announced on Aug. 30. The prizes are:

- Two nights on Mackinac Island in a Harbor View Suite at the Chippewa Hotel Getaway, plus dinner for two and two round trip ferry tickets.

- An overnight stay at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit, with complimentary breakfast and parking.

- A $100 gift certificate for Michigan-Made.com, which specializes in products and gifts made in Michigan.

- A large, matted and framed image of the winner's photograph from The Detroit News' PhotoStore.

To enter the contest, upload your photos at detroitnews.com/celebratemichigan, where you can see all of the entries, comment on your favorites, rate the photos from one to five stars and browse a gallery of the finalists selected so far.

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