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Sometimes the offhand snapshot turns out better than the photo that’s carefully planned.

Exhibit #1 is Diane Kanneth of Highland Park.  She was staying in Commerce Township and got up early one morning and headed down to Proud Lake, trying not to drop her coffee, granola bar and camera.  

“In that struggle,” she said, “I lifted my camera in the direction of the boaters that captured my attention and snapped it. I turned camera off and did not think anything of it.”

Her photo, bathed in golden light and later titled “Misty Fishing Morning,” is one of the last four finalists in The Detroit News’ Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest under the Four-Season Fun theme. 

Kanneth went on that morning to shoot a deer swimming to the other side of the lake as the fog was lifting, and a spider web with daylight bouncing off huge dew drops.  ”So the photo I quickly snapped without much expertise or thought reminds me of that one beautiful morning as I enjoyed the dawn of a new day and the gifts from God,” she said.

This week’s other finalists are:

  • “Catching Raindrops,” by Brian Clayson of South Lyon. When it started to sprinkle at an outdoor birthday party, Clayson’s wife Michelle rounded up the kids to play in the rain. “At one point, she sat down, threw her head back, and opened her mouth to show the kids they could catch raindrops,” he said.  “Our niece Elana, a quick study, examined Aunt Michelle's form and then executed a near-perfect imitation.” 
  • “Fearless,” by  Kenneth Harris of Lathrup Village.  At the Wigle Recreation Center in Detroit, Harris saw skateboarders practicing their tricks. One of them "messed up multiple times, but she kept going, kept practicing," until she mastered it, he said.  "The confidence in her face gave me confidence in the shot. I took the shot and all I could say was, ’Wow. This is nice!’”
  • "I Got Your Back!” by Jim Ridley of Brighton.  On a spring morning, Ridley was helping the Michigan Osprey Program determine the number of hatchlings in a nest near Estral Beach in Monroe County when he sensed movement in the field straight ahead.  “Without knowing the subject, I quickly swung my camera in that direction, pressed the shutter button and up rose the rooster pheasant in all its glory,” he said. 

Cast your vote

Now that the 16 finalists are set, it’s time to vote for the People’s Choice winner, Wednesday through Sunday at  The photo with the most votes will earn its photographer a $300 Visa card. The same prize also goes to the Four-Season Fun winner, to be selected by judges from the Detroit News photo staff.

The winners will be announced next Wednesday, along with three Awards of Excellence, chosen from the finalists of all three contest themes this summer. Honorees will receive $100 Visa cards.

Follow along at for weekly stories and a running photo gallery of the finalists and winners selected to date.

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