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A big fan of Lake St. Clair Metropark, Michele Gabris of Roseville and her family regularly have a picnic by the boat launch area and watch the water sports. “It’s always an awesome way to relax after a long day or week,” she said.

It’s also a great birding hot spot, with more than 230 bird species reported sighted. On June 3, “I was on my way out of the marsh via the boardwalk when I heard the call of a marsh wren,” Gabris said. “Usually, you can only hear them calling from deep inside the cattail reeds, but this little one flew up and showed off by balancing between two cattails not more than six feet away from where I was standing.

“He did not seem bothered by my presence. He even flashed me his tail feathers before diving back down into the tall grass out of sight.”

Gabris’ “Marsh Life” photo earns a place in the finals of The Detroit News’ Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest: Favorite Places. The contest 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, indoors or outdoors —a public place or your own secret spot.

This week’s other three finalists are:

■ “The Gracious Mac,” by Jay Hijazi of Dearborn. The sun was just rising over the Mackinac Bridge when Hijazi and his friends started to cross it on their way to the Porcupine Mountains. “One of the most majestic views I have ever witnessed,” he said.

■ “It's All About Height,” by Kim Corey of Highland. This exuberant photo shows Corey’s nephew Nolan and his friend Johnny clinging to inner tubes as they bounce high off Runyan Lake in Fenton. “Every summer I sit with my Sony a100 35mm zoom lens on the back of the boat trying to get some fun pictures of the kids,” she says. “By the end of summer, I usually have enough pictures to put into a collage to show off all the fun that we have had.”

■“Summers in Glen Arbor,” by Kylie Harig of Ferndale. Daughter Ellie, in her summer dress and rubber boots, looks over her ice cream choices on a hot afternoon in July.

Finalists chosen by Detroit News photo editors will be announced each Wednesday until Aug. 30. Then it’s your turn to pick the winner via public voting Aug. 30-Sept. 3. The photographer with the most votes will be announced on 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.

For the complete contest rules, go to detroitnews.com/celebrate-michigan, where you can find all of the weekly stories, links to the contests and the growing photo gallery of finalists.

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