Celebrate Michigan finalists depict the state we love

The Detroit News

Like the prettiest girl at the party, Tahquamenon Falls gets the lion’s share of attention as an Upper Peninsula attraction. But the Tahquamenon River, which feeds the falls, is worthy of a close-up, too.

Kelly Dopkowski of Harrison Township paddled a kayak for 32 twisting miles of the river and brought along her camera. “A portion of the river has beautiful leaning trees on both sides and acts as the perfect frame for a photograph,” she said.

The judges of The Detroit News’ 10th annual Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest agreed, naming Dopkowski’s “Leaning Trees” one of this week’s finalists.

The summerlong contest rewards amateur photographers who best capture Michigan people, animals, scenery, places and events. 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:

■“Spartan Marching Band Celebrates” by John Culp of Dearborn. Culp’s daughter Lindsay waves, surrounded by her fellow band members facing in every direction. “Trying to find her in a crowd of 300-plus musicians, hair tucked up, all dressed alike, is challenging,” Culp said.

■“Barn Swallow Feeding Its Fledlings” by Sabrina Dao of Novi. Its wings spread, a barn swallow at the Robert H. Long Nature Park in Commerce Township feeds its fledgings, all of them with mouths agape.

■“On a Mission” by Paul Wojtkowski of Waterford. A golden retriever happily heads toward shore at Elizabeth Lake with his tennis ball, seemingly unaware that his big black poodle friend is about to pounce on him.

The 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, where you can find handcrafted Michigan products and more.

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

■In addition, the Michigan Wildlife Council has donated a 10 x 25 pair of digital camera binoculars to every photographer who has a photo in the finals. See that wildlife long distance and snap its picture too!

The contest is open to all nonprofessional photographers who are 18 years or older, except employees of The Detroit News, and their immediate families. For the complete contest rules, go to, 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.