In photo: Stunning 'Blood Moon Rescue' among the winning images of the 'Capture The Dark' contest

In photo: Stunning ‘Blood Moon Rescue’ among the winning images of the ‘Capture The Dark’ contest

The nonprofit International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) based in Tucson, Arizona, has revealed the winners of its third annual “Capture the Dark” photo contest.

The selection includes everything from nebulae and galaxies to comets and fireflies from the United States, China and Australia. However, perhaps the most dramatic is an image of climbers under a rising total lunar eclipse – a “Blood Moon” – taken in California’s Joshua Tree National Park by photographer Chris Olivas.

“We received unprecedented response at this year’s Capture the Dark photography contest,” said Lauren Scorzafava, communications manager for IDA, which seeks to protect the night from growing light pollution. There were 1,180 entries for the nine categories. “We were thrilled to see tremendous global participation in this major event that helps raise awareness of what is at stake if light pollution continues to increase through the art of photography,” she added.

The jury includes some of the most famous astrophotographers in the world including Babak Tafreshi, Miguel Claro and Jack Fusco.

Here are all nine winners in each category along with the details of what you are looking at:

‘Connect to the Darkwinner

“This was meticulously planned for the location, timing and positions of all elements,” said photographer Olivas of the stunning “Rock climbers under a rising blood moon” image (main image, above). “To focus on both the moon and the subjects using a telephoto lens, I focused on each separately and merged them together.”

The next total lunar eclipse, the last until 2025, occurs on 7/8 November 2022.

‘International Dark Sky Place winner

Nearly 200 protected lands and municipalities around the world have been certified by the IDA as “International Dark Sky Place”, creating havens for astrophotographers. One of them is the Greater Big Bend International Dark Sky Reserve in Texas, where Stephen Hummel took this one-shot photo (above) of a bright meteor from the Perseid meteor shower just like a large sprite (an electrical fault in the upper atmosphere ), which occurred during a distant storm.

Winner of “The Positive Side of Enlightenment”.

This single exposure (above) from Tibet, China shows a dimly lit hotel below Namcha Barwa Peak following the five principles of the IDA for responsible outdoor light.

Winner of “Creatures of the Night”.

This stacked image (above) from Xishuangbanna in southwest China’s Yunnan province shows fireflies creating a star-shaped scenery in the forest. Light pollution has negative and deadly effects on wildlife, including amphibians, birds, insects and mammals.

Winner of “Deep Sky”.

Shaun Robertston of Melbourne, Australia created this stunning image (above) of NGC 6188, an emission nebula commonly known as “Macaw Dragons”. It is located 4,000 light years away near the edge of a large invisible molecular cloud at visible wavelengths in the southern constellation of the Ara, “the Altar”. Robertson took 15 hours of exposures to create this finished image.

Winner of “The Mobile Photographer”.

Remember the 2020 NEOWISE comet? It was shot on an OPPO Find X2 Pro smartphone by Zhaoqi Li in Hebei, China (above).

Winner “Youth”.

The winner of the under 17 category was Jingyi Ma from China for this stacked image (above) taken in the Kubuqi Desert.

Winner of “Utah Dark Skies”.

This beautiful combined image (above) taken by Marcin Zajac in Utah, USA, sponsoring the “Capture the Dark” contest.

I wish you clear skies and eyes wide open.

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