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Help celebrate Michigan

The Detroit News

“It started several years ago when we noticed a dead deer out on the ice of the private lake that we live on,” said Kyle Phillips of Hillsdale. “We were seeing lots of critters visiting the carcass, so that’s how I got the idea.”

His epiphany? When you spot a dead animal, why not set up a trail camera nearby and see what comes to check it out?

“I started seeing eagles a couple years ago and have hundreds of pictures and videos of them, as well as coyotes, fox, mink, raccoons, hawks, crows, and even some curious live deer,” Phillips said.

His shot of a bald eagle taking off after a stop at a deer carcass is one of this week’s finalists in The Detroit News’ 10th annual Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest. The summerlong contest honors images that reflect the unique character of our state — the people, animals, scenery, places and events that make it special.

Each Wednesday through Sept. 7, Detroit News judges will select four photos to become eligible for prizes to be awarded on Sept. 14.

Other finalists named this week:

■“Cottage Life in Michigan” by Edward Byrnes of Rochester. A private dock in Lake St. Clair becomes a patio, with an umbrella, urns of flowers and people chatting in lounge chairs, creating a relaxing Michigan scene.

■“Sunbeam Dreamin’ ” by Derek Gauci of Plymouth. He was about to take a walk with his wife, Lauren, and dog Bruce when they spotted a burst of sunbeams coming through the trees in their yard. “It proves you don’t need to go way up north to find true Michigan beauty,” he said.

■“Paddling on Sunbeams,” by Amanda Knoll of Holland. Bright sunlight on water creates a twinkling background as her husband and young daughter paddle a surfboard on a lake.

Contest prizes are:

■First prize: A two-night stay for two at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, plus a 16-inch-by-20-inch framed print of your photo.

■Second prize: A waterproof GoPro HERO4 Session camera, for capturing on-the-go video and photos.

■Third prize: A $100 gift card to etsy.com, where you can find hand-crafted Michigan products and more.

■Best enhanced image: A 16-inch-by-20-inch print of your photo, plus four tickets to any Emagine theater.

The contest is open to all non-professional photographers who are 18 years or older, except employees of The Detroit News, Michigan.com and their immediate families. For the complete contest rules, go to detroitnews.com/celebrate michigan, where you can view all of the entries, share them on social media, browse a photo gallery of the finalists and enter your own Michigan scenes.