People and Places that pop: First finalists in Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest chosen

The Detroit News

Last June, Erica Giordano of Clarkston and her daughter Ellie, 14, signed up for the Tough Mudder event in Oxford.  

“We had heard that Tough Mudder is all about team spirit and the ability to conquer challenges with the help of friends, and wanted to give it a shot,” she said.

“When we reached a 13-feet high, slippery sloped wall, it was pretty intimidating for my 5 feet tall daughter.  It took her a couple of attempts, but with the help of teammates Kaleb Weaver and Ben Peterson, she conquered it!  What a rush!”

Giordano’s photo of that moment, “Teamwork,” is one of the first finalists in The Detroit News’ 13th annual Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest under the People and Places theme. Photographers have until noon June 21 to enter their outstanding photos of people and places in our state at, where all entries can be seen. 

Also chosen as finalists this week:

  • “Milford Mill Pond,” by Chris Bemis of Milford.   Bemis was driving by the Upper Mill Pond in Milford after the last snowfall last year.  “It was a heavy, wet snow that clung to everything,” he said. “I knew it wouldn’t last long due to the bright sun and rising temperature.” He hurriedly snapped the cool scene with his iPhone 8. 
  • “Pure Joy in Bellaire, MI,” by Michele Murray of Bellaire.  Murray and her “pride and joy” go sledding in Bellaire last December.  The delight on her son’s face makes the shot. 
  • “Last Light,” by Jerry Smith of Byron.  Byron had an idea about playing off the light in the Grand Haven lighthouse with the light from the setting sun.  “So as the sun arced its way down, I kept moving on the beach until the moment was just right!”

Four more People and Places finalists will be announced on Wednesdays through June 26. Then two winners will be selected from the 16 finalists, one by the Detroit News photo staff, the other a People’s Choice winner selected by online public voting June 26-30.

Both winners will receive $300 as their prize.

 The Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest then continues with two more themes: Woods and Wildlife (accepting entries June 21-July 19), and Four-Season Fun (July 19-August 16).

The contest is open to non-professional photographers age 18 and older. You may enter as often as you like. Read the official rules and follow along all summer at for weekly stories and a growing photo gallery of the finalists and winners selected to date.