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Local photographer finalist in national contest

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Out of 6,000 pictures Mike Melnotte’s photo of his daughter has won its category and made the final six in the 2011 Energizer Ultimate Photo Contest.

Melnotte says the competition has been a fun ride.

“Pictures of your kids, you always think there is something special to those,” Melnotte said. “There was just something about the fact that such a small creature was involved that kind of added a little bit extra and having her hold still, the angle was a little bit different. So it’s just something nice that came together.”

The picture is of his daughter Rachel, who has a lady-bug crawling across the frame of her glasses. It won the family and community category of the contest, and for that Melnotte received a $1,000 prize package including camera equipment. His family may be eyeing a little more.

“I’ve been like really excited,” Rachel said. “I’ve always had this big dream of being on TV or in a newspaper or magazine or something. It’s just really exciting for me to probably be in a magazine, and I really hope my dad will win.”

If they win, Rachel’s face will be in an Energizer ad in National Geographic magazine. They also will receive a trip for two to either Alaska, Morocco or Bhutan. Carol Melnotte is hoping to perhaps get a little sun.

“I’m hoping for Morocco,” Carol said.

Their fate is now in the hands of National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson who judges the final six contestants.

Regardless of whatever happens, the Melnottes feel pretty blessed.

“Being chosen was great,” Mike said. “Having won the category is even better. If I can go even further with the grand prize that would be fantastic, but we’ll see.”

Final results for the contest will come in November.

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