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They live in central Illinois, but Deb Barber and her family have been vacationing in southwest Michigan for five generations, just like many Michigan families.

“My grandmother grew up in Holland, Michigan, and later moved to Springfield, Illinois, so the tradition began with her,” she said. A cousin has a house in Douglas, a town south of Holland on Lake Michigan with a public beach that was just right for hosting the extended family at sunset recently.

Grandsons Eli and Ian Bostrom, ages 10 and 7, couldn’t resist running into the lake, and Deb’s wife Diane VanderKooy jumped in too. “When they spotted a submerged rock sticking out of the water big enough for all three of them to stand on, their squeals of laughter and fun could be heard up and down the beach, as they slipped off and climbed back onto it,“ Barber said.

“They finally found their footing long enough to coordinate the group jump of joy, which I managed to capture as the sun was setting,” she said. “One of many perfect endings to many perfect days spent in Michigan.”

Barber’s “Sunset Fun” wins one of the first spots in the finals of The Detroit News’ Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest: Favorite Places. The contest is open to all non-professional photographers age 18 or older. Submit your photos until Aug. 25 of anywhere in Michigan that’s special to you. Look indoors or outdoors, at public spaces or private ones.

This week’s other three finalists are:

■ “Cabin Life,” by Derek Jackson of Point Edward, Ontario. While camping at the KOA in Port Huron, Jackson and his 12-year-old son Bailey set the camera “for a 30-second long exposure to gather lots of light, as it was about 10 p.m. During the exposure we painted light on the front of the cabin with an LED flashlight to highlight certain areas, while lighting my wife and younger son with the campfire. Our goal was to capture a photograph that would give people the feeling of being there.”

■ “Lake Superior Magic,” by Sharon Bodenus of Little Lake. “Often you will get this beautiful glow over the whole lake,” says Bodenus, who photographed the pinkish sky from Presque Isle Park in Marquette. “It is moments like this that I will put the camera down and just allow myself to enjoy the moment in real time. I love to smell the air and enjoy the sound of the crashing waves mixed with the call of seagulls.”

■ “Pleasant Sunset,” by Dale Niesen of South Rockwood. To get to a number of sandstone caves in the area of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising, Niesen “had to wade in nearly chest-high water with our equipment held high — and I was also carrying a 50-pound Belgian Sheepdog (his pet Jet) — but the shots were worth the effort,” he said.

Four finalists chosen by Detroit News photo editors will be announced each Wednesday, through Aug. 30. After public voting Aug. 30-Sept. 3, the winner will be announced Sept. 6 and receive a $500 Visa card.

Also on that date, three Editors’ Pick bonus prizes of $150 cash cards will be awarded for three photos chosen from the pool of finalists for all three contests by The Detroit News staff.

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