July 9, 2014 at 1:00 am

Celebrate Michigan, win a prize

Backyard animals are a recurring theme in this years entries to The Detroit News eighth annual Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest. In the latest example, Cathy Bragiel of Pinconning was in the right spot at the right time to capture a beautiful shot of a beautiful bird.

I woke up early this November morning to find everything covered in a thick frost, she said, when this female cardinal landed on a branch for a moment before heading for the feeder.

The cardinal joins photos of a fawn and a cow in the finals of the contest, which seeks photos that capture the best of Michigan and its inhabitants, events, scenery and activities. Each Wednesday through Aug. 27, our staff will announce four more finalists for prizes to be awarded on Sept. 3.

Other photographers making the finals this week are Robert Barba of Pinckney for a Comerica Park scene with a funny optical illusion; David Marvin of Lansing for Glass Blowing at Greenfield Village; and James Timmer of Troy for a shot of the Mackinac Bridge taken from a ferry boat.

Looking for inspiration? Browse through the photo gallery of the top shots selected so far at detroitnews.com/finalists.

Contest prizes include:

■First place: A two-night stay at the Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island.

■Second place: $300.

■Third place: A large, matted and framed print of their photo.

The contest is open to amateur photographers who are 18 years or older, except employees of The Detroit News, the Detroit Newspaper Partnership and their immediate families. For the complete contest rules, go to detroitnews.com/celebratemichigan, where you can view all of the entries, comment on them and share them on social media.

Dont let the summer slip by without entering your best photos!

Pinconning's Cathy Bragiel photographed a cardinal one early November morning. / Cathy Bragiel