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2020 Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest winners: Critters, comets, fireworks and fun

The Detroit News

With a record number of entries — 6,902 photos in all — it's no wonder the photo staff at the Detroit News had a difficult time selecting this year's winners in the Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest.

But it's done: Three Editors' Prize winners, three People's Choice winners, and three more Awards of Excellence for outstanding images. Each Editors' Prize winner and each People's Choice winner has won a $300 VISA gift card. Each Award of Excellence winner receives a $100 VISA gift card.

People and Places

The Detroit News photo editors agreed that Shravan Kumar Mummadi's amazing photo of light streaks drawn with fireworks was deserving of the People's Choice award in People and Places. Not only is it creative but it's executed perfectly, they said. It was the biggest vote-getter among all the winners in a field of photos that drew a combined 3,323 votes in all — also a Celebrate Michigan record.

People’s Choice Winner - Shravan Kumar Mummadi of Dearborn captured this long-exposure image during a night at Lake Hudson Park in June 2020.

But the category was difficult to judge because the two subjects — people and places — are vastly different. Ultimately the editors chose the photo Marybeth Kiczenski of Des Plaines, Ill., captured of the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse in the Upper Peninsula. "The photo is a unique twist on a Michigan favorite as she also captured the NEOWISE comet. It's literally a once-in-a-lifetime shot," the editors said.

Judges' Prize Winner - Marybeth Kiczenski of Des Plaines, Ill., said of this finalist, "What a night!  After checking five or six different weather sources, I decided to make the seven-hour trek to Eagle Harbor.  It was iffy, as none of the forecasts were calling for completely clear skies. However, when a comet is involved, you just take a chance!  I love this little lighthouse — it is very storybook-like, to begin with.  Having the Comet grace the image makes it that much more special.  This was taken at the height of NEOWISE's brightness."

Woods and Wildlife

For the Woods and Wildlife category our editors chose the photo by Brighton photographer Charles Gammon of a female Eastern bluebird with food for her young. "There were many fantastic photos in this category but this one really stood out. The photographer had to work hard to capture this moment and it paid off. It's sharp, well composed, and more importantly, captured an incredible moment," the editors wrote.

Judges' Prize Winner - Brighton photographer Charles Gammon made a great photo of this female Eastern bluebird with food for her young.

The People's Choice winner in Woods and Wildlife was an image captured by Barbara Gibson, of Oakland Township, of two carp spawning. The images was the result of being in the right place at the right time to capture nature in action.

People’s Choice Winner  - Barbara Gibson of Oakland Township made a fine photograph of these carp spawning in front of her Houghton Lake cottage.

Four Season Fun

Charlie Newman of West Bloomfield was driving the side roads of Genesee County looking for old barns when he made the Editors' Prize winner for the Four Season Fun category. The intense lightning strike behind the weathered barn makes this image. 

Judges' Prize Winner - "Lightning Strike" by Charlie Newman of West Bloomfield.Newman captured this amazing image while driving the side roads of Genesee County looking for old barns.

The People's Choice winner ended up being a picture of South Lyon resident Kyla Murray's dog. She captured Friday in a happy pose among the flowers at the Holland Tulip Festival. 

People’s Choice Winner  - What could be a better combination than a puppy and the Tulip Festival in Holland? Kyla Murray of South Lyon caught her chocolate lab puppy Frida in a perfect pose among the tulips.

Awards of Excellence

Two images caused a lot of debate between the editors while deciding the top prize winners. Ultimately, Peggy Sue Zinn's shot of a photographer capturing rough weather and Peter Brown's shot of kite surfers were chosen as Award of Excellence winners

"We loved the feel of danger in Peggy's shot and the sense of mystery in Peter's shot," the editors wrote.

Award of Excellence Winner - Traverse City photographer Peggy Sue Zinn photographs fellow photographer Clark Most photographing huge waves.
Award of Excellence Winner - Peter Brown of Benton Harbor captured this image of a father trying to hold his son down as a gust of wind lifts the boy and his kite surfing kite into the air.

They added: "We also loved the whimsical nature of Aimee Fedore's shot from a family trip to Silver Lake." That creative image is our third Award of Excellence winner.

Award of Excellence Winner - During a family trip to Silver Lake, members of the Blodgett Family are 'captured' by a giant plastic cup. "The lake gets you every time!" by Aimee Fedore of Jackson.

Overall the contest featured many outstanding photographs. "And it was amazing to see how many great photos were taken on cellphones too," wrote our editors. "It just proves you don't need thousands of dollars of equipment to make a great photo."

See all the entries at Celebrate Michigan. And start planning your best shots for next year.