Sun becomes focal point for Celebrate Michigan photos

The Detroit News

Before dawn one day last September, Scott Niska of Atlantic Mine in the Keweenaw Peninsula was testing equipment in a boat on Portage Lake.

“I noticed an orange glow behind me — the sun was just starting to transition through the low band of clouds right on the horizon,” he said. In the distance was the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, which connects Hancock and Houghton.

“I grabbed my camera, framed the bridge and managed to capture a nice shot of this intense glow that lasted about 30 seconds before the sun broke through the band.”

Niska’s “Dramatic Sunrise Unveils an Icon” is one of this week’s finalists in The Detroit News’ Celebrate Michigan Photo contest. The 10th annual contest rewards photos that capture something special about Michigan — the people, animals, scenery, places and events that we enjoy. 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

■ “Fiery Sail on Lake Michigan” by Janette Dywasuk. The sail of a boat catches the colors of the sunset as it glides on Lake Michigan at Holland State Park.

■ “Flipping fish” by Mudg Poster of West Bloomfield. A green heron hiding under a water lily strikes out, grabs a fish, then tosses it around to eat it head first. Poster caught the scene in mid-flip.

■ “Day’s End” by Brian Sokol of Brownstown. People in silhouette leave Holland State Park after watching the sunset on Lake Michigan.

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 hand-crafted 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 non-professional 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.

Don’t delay! Entries must be received by noon Sept. 2.