A photographer captures the dark, Utah, May 2019. Photo: Bettymaya Foott
Last month, the International Dark-Sky Association launched its first-ever dark sky photography contest. The Capture the Dark Photo Contest called for photos of the beautiful and dark night sky, images that captured the impact of light pollution, submissions from youth photographers, and more. In two weeks, IDA received nearly 450 submissions from around the world with entries from Madagascar, Mexico, Denmark, India, Canada, New Zealand, Turkey, the United States, and more.
A panel of international judges have reviewed all entries and scored photos and captions based on technical skill, composition, wow factor, and connection to contest theme. Of the hundreds of submissions, below are the highest-scoring photos for each category.
Connecting to the Dark Experiencing a natural night provides perspective, inspiration, and leads us to reflect on our humanity and place in the universe. Share a shot that illustrates our connection to the night.
Catching Light. Photo Credit: Jason Perry. Nags Head, North Carolina, U.S.
Milky Way Over Acadia National Park. Photo: Yalonda (Lonnie) Gatlin. Maine, U.S.
"We are all explorers!" Photo Credit: Gary Cummins. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Grandfather and Granddaughter. Photo: Apostolos Kyriazis. Mt. Pelion, Volos, Greece
Galactic Ghost. Photo Credit: Benjamin Alldridge. Tasmania, Australia
Duel of Astrophotographers. Photo Credit: Attila Munzlinger. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The Wicked Witch of the West's House. Photo: Adam Feigelman Southport, Maine U.S.
The Jewels of the Night. Photo: Egon Filter. Sao Luiz Gonzaga, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
"The Galactic Divide". Photo: Nick Penev. Loveland Pass, Colorado, USA
International Dark Sky Place Over 130 protected lands and municipalities have been certified by IDA as an International Dark Sky Place creating havens for astrophotographers around the world. Share a shot taken in one of these locations.
Neon Night. Photo: Anthony Turpaud. Alpes Azur Mercantour International Dark Sky Reserve, France.
Edge On Galaxy. Photo: Tom O'Donoghue. Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, Ireland
Great Bio Way. Photo: Les Williamson. Aotea / Great Barrier Island International Dark Sky Sanctuary, New Zealand.
Dark Night in Pyrénées Mountains. Photo: Jean-Francois Graffand. Pic du Midi International Dark Sky Reserve, France.
Bryce Canyon. Photo: John Vermette. Bryce Canyon International Dark Sky Park, Utah U.S.
Milky Way Reflections in Death Valley. Photo: Chris Olivs. Death Valley International Dark Sky Park, California, U.S.
Candle Light Night At The Lakes. Photo: Carl James. Waterton-Glacier International Dark Sky Park, Alberta, Canada.
Impact of Light Pollution Light pollution can have significant impacts on the environment, human health, and our access to the universe. Share a shot that demonstrates the impact of light pollution.
Guds Hus. Photo: Rajesh Jyothiswaran. Cranfills Gap, Texas, U.S.
Lunar Eclipse & Mars over Melbourne. Photo: Steve Johnston. Melbourne, Australia
Real Light Pollution Panorama. Photo: Tomas Slovinsky. Kosice/Kosicka Nova Ves/Durdosik/Borda/Benatina/Runina
Lights Off, Stars On. Photo: Justin Hartney. Rodeo, Argentina
Remembering The Old Times Photo: Petr Horálek. Great Wall of China.
Finding Darkness in Light. Photo: Damien McNamara. Oamaru Harbour, North Otago, New Zealand.
Look Down at Town Lights. Teruyasu Kitayama. Vicuna, Chile.
Rocky Planet Of Night Lights. Photo: Tunç Tezel. Uludag National Park, Bursa, Turkey
Milky Way Over Quoddy Head Lighthouse. Photo: Jeremy David. West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Lubec, ME, U.S.
Lava glow from Mauna Kea. Photo: Ben Coffman. Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Bright Side of Lighting Light pollution can give lighting a bad rap. But lighting that follows IDA’s Principles for Responsible Outdoor Light can be beautiful, healthy, and functional. Share a shot of lighting that respects the dark.
Back to the Future. Photo: Pedram Mohammad Taheri. Esfahak Village , South Khorasan Province, Iran.
Refugio Al Universo. Photo: Martin Lovekosi. La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.
Lights Under the Sky. Photo: Chen Xu. Zermatt, Switzerland.
Atacama Desert Gegenschein and Milky Way. Photo: Matt Dieterich. San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.
The House of Dreams. Photo: Parisa Bajelan. Zardgah, South Khorasan, Iran.
The Celestial River. Photo: Jean-Francois Graffand. Pyrénées National Parc, France.
Wat Phu Prao Temple Star Trails. Photo: Brian McDonald. Sirindhorn, Chong Mek, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand
Ghostly Star Trail. Photo: Mark Humpage. Leicestershire, United Kingdom.
Andean Display of Lights. Photo: Sebastian Rámirez. Dosquebradas, Risaralda, Colombia.
Star Trail Blazing in Borrego Springs. Photo: André Brousseau. Borrego Springs, California, U.S.
Youth Entrant must be 17 years old or younger. Share a shot for any of the above categories.
The Scale is Relative in the Universe. Photo: Nikola Kadlečková, 16 years old. Czechia, Zlín district, Ublo.
Washing out the Milky Way. Photo: Christine He, 15. St. Charles, Iowa, U.S.
Snowy Hills. Photo: Eli Frisbie, 16 years old. Cedar Valley, Utah, U.S.
A Close Encounter with the Moon. Photo: June Liu, 14 years old. Hong Kong
Front Seat At The Milky Way Theater. Photo: Jai Shet, 16 years old. Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA.
The Barn. Photo: Nayana Rajesh, 16 years old. Ennis, Texas, USA.
Space's Heart and Soul. Photo: Elias Pasanen, 17 years old. Muurame, Keski-Suomi, Finland
Converge. Photo: Zheng Huo, 16 years old. Mauna Kea, Hawaii, United States.
Road To Milky Way. Photo: Neil Shet, 14 years old. Arches National Park, Utah, U.S.
Carina Nebula with a Vintage Lens from the '70s. Photo: Chester Hall-Fernandez, 17 years old. Wellington, New Zealand.
The City Shines. Photo: Christine Chan, 17 years old. Hong Kong.
Thank you to all participants for their submissions. Their photos and the stories behind them make clear the important role the photography community plays in the dark sky movement. The winning photo for each category will be announced shortly. Stay tuned!