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Davis Journal

Capture the Dark Sky contest underway

Jul 14, 2022 01:16PM ● By Tom Haraldsen

For the third straight year, photographers are encouraged to submit their best images of the state’s night sky. The Utah Office of Tourism is taking entries until July 21 for the International Dark-Sky Association’s Capture the Dart Sky Photography Contest.

Association Director of Engagement Bettymaya Foott said that growing up in Utah, she always looked at dark skies in wonder and awe.

“It’s an honor now for IDA to partner with Visit Utah to promote the amazing dark skies there and support their incredible efforts to protect the stunning beauty for future generations,” she said.

Utah has the highest concentration of designated Dark Sky Places in the world. The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), an award-winning conservation program that recognizes communities that strive to preserve the beauty of the night, has designated 24 Dark Sky Places in the state. In addition, Utah’s Gov. Spencer J. Cox has twice declared April as Utah Dark Skies Month.

The Red Emerald Strategic Plan, a tourism program of the state, hopes to elevate life in Utah in part through exploration of the night sky to add a deeper appreciation for Utah, the darkness and the positive effect it has on our environment.

“Our office is proud to sponsor IDA’s Capture the Dark photography contest and thrilled by the inclusion of the Utah Dark Sky category,” said Bianca Lyon, Community and Partner Relations Director for the Utah Office of Tourism. “Utah State Parks, our national parks and community partners have shown tremendous leadership and vision in preserving the night sky throughout the state. This is a unique opportunity to invite photographers of all ages and skill levels to come to Utah to capture the beauty of the night sky.”

Of the nine categories open for submission, one has been designated specifically as “Utah Dark Skies.” Other categories, to be judged by a panel of world-class astrophotographers, include:

● Connecting to the Dark – Experiencing a natural night provides perspective, inspiration, and leads us to reflect on our humanity and place in the universe.

●  International Dark Sky Place – Over 170 protected lands and municipalities around the world have been certified by IDA as an International Dark Sky Place creating havens for astrophotographers.

 ●  The Impact of Light Pollution – Light pollution can have significant impacts on the environment, human health, and our access to the night sky. This category also includes images of terrible lighting, glare bombs, etc.

●  The Bright Side of Lighting – Light pollution can give artificial lighting a bad reputation, but lighting that follows IDA’s Principles for Responsible Outdoor Light can be beautiful, healthy, and functional.

 ●  Creatures of the Night – Light pollution doesn’t only erase our view of the stars, scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on wildlife including amphibians, birds, insects, and mammals.

 ●  Deep Sky – For thousands of years, humans have looked to the night sky and wondered what is out there. Today, we can take photos of deep space objects from our own backyards. Share a photo of an object(s) such as nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters.

●  The Mobile Photographer – Share a shot from any of the above categories taken with a cell phone, tablet, or GoPro. No DSLR, mirrorless camera, or drone shots.

●  Youth – Share a shot for any of the above categories taken by someone 17 years old or younger.

Winners of each category will receive a prize package that includes a feature in IDA’s Nightscape publication, the IDA blog and social media, an IDA membership, IDA and Visit Utah swag, and a Peak Design Field Pouch. Additionally, one photograph will be presented with a “People’s Choice Award” based on votes by the public. This winner will receive a prize package that includes a $250 gift card to B&H, a feature in IDA’s Nightscape publication, the IDA blog and social media, an IDA membership, and IDA and Visit Utah swag.  

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