International Dark-Sky Association Hosts Global Photo Contest

International Dark-Sky Association Hosts Global Photo Contest

Entries must be received by June 30, 2023

International Dark-Sky Association(DarkSky), a leading global organization combating light pollution, is now accepting entries for its fourth annual “Capture the Dark” photography contest, celebrating the beauty and benefits of natural darkness. The competition is free and open to night-sky enthusiasts worldwide.

“The contest is designed to capture the importance of a dark sky to all living things,” said Ruskin Hartley, executive director for DarkSky. “As with past contests, the images help educate people about the serious impacts of light pollution and inspire all of us to protect the night sky.”

Light pollution is increasing by ten percent per year. Scientists link light pollution to global insect decline, the death of millions of migrating birds, increased carbon emissions and human disease. 

This year’s “Capture the Dark” photo contest sponsor is the Utah Office of Tourism. The organization is committed to elevating life in Utah through responsible tourism stewardship. “We look forward to welcoming photographers of all ages and skill levels worldwide to capture the beauty of awe-inspiring night skies,” said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism. “Preserving dark skies helps communities establish long-lasting tourism economies and keeps our places Forever Mighty®.” 

Photographers may submit one photo per category by June 30, 2023. Entries will be evaluated by a panel of accomplished astrophotographers from across the globe, including Imma Barrea (U.S.); Ben Coley (South Africa); Jeff Dai (China); Dr. Lin Qing (China); Ian Lauer (U.S.); and Parisa Bajelan (Iran).

There are eight contest entry categories and a “People’s Choice” award:

1. Connecting to the Dark – Photos providing perspective and inspiration to reflect our humanity and place within the universe. 
2. International Dark Sky Places – Photos capturing images from certified International Dark Sky Places. 
3. The Impact of Light Pollution – Photos demonstrating light pollution’s impact on wildlife, ecosystems, climate, human health and night sky viewing including images of severe lighting and glare bombs.
4. The Bright Side of Lighting – Images of lighting using DarkSky’s Principles for Responsible Lighting, showing how outdoor light can be beautiful, healthy and functional. 
5. Creatures of the Night – Photos showing light pollution’s adverse and deadly effects on wildlife and ecology. 
6. Deep Sky – Photos capturing deep space objects like nebulae, galaxies and star clusters.
7. The Mobile Photographer – Shots capturing dark sky imagery taken with a cell phone, tablet or GoPro. No DSLR, mirrorless camera or drone shots allowed.
8. Youth – Photos representing any of the contest categories taken by someone 17 or younger. 

The public will also be invited to select the People’s Choice winner from among the winners in the eight contest categories beginning on July 3. In addition, photos taken in Utah are eligible for a Utah Dark Sky award. 

Winners of each category will receive a prize package that includes feature coverage in DarkSky’s Nightscape publication, blog and social media posts, plus a DarkSky membership and swag. Winners will also receive a STRGZR hat, t-shirt and other small items.

People’s Choice award winners will receive a prize package that includes a $250 B&H gift card, feature coverage in DarkSky’s Nightscape publication, blog and social media coverage, plus a DarkSky membership and swag. 

All winning photos will also be featured in a special DarkSky exhibit in the Shanghai Astronomy Museum in late 2023.

To learn more, visit the official website for the contest at

About International Dark-Sky Association
International Dark-Sky Association (DarkSky) is the leading organization combating light pollution worldwide. Since 1988, DarkSky has promoted win-win solutions that allow people to appreciate naturally dark, star-filled skies while enjoying the benefits of responsible outdoor lighting. DarkSky reaches 57 countries on six continents, with members, volunteer advocates and International Dark Sky Places around the globe helping to preserve the natural nighttime environment. Learn more at

About Light Pollution Solutions:

Here are a few ways to mitigate light pollution in your community:

  • Shield light fixtures so they point at the ground not into the sky, reduce intensity to eliminate glare, use motion controls to turn lights off when no one is around and chose warmer color lights where possible.
  • Talk to your neighbors about light pollution. Encourage your neighbors to reduce their light pollution by using DarkSky-approved lights around their home.
  • Contact your local government. Encourage your local government to adopt policies that reduce light pollution.
  • Get inspired by visiting an International Dark Sky Place. There are over 200 across the globe, setting high standards on dark sky environments and restoring our view and connection to the universe.
  • Get involved in the DarkSky movement!
Learn more at
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