Dark Sky Photo Contest

People's Choice Winners:

Category Winners:

About the Contest:

In celebration of International Dark Sky Week, SLV GO! is hosting its 3rd Annual Dark Sky Photo Contest! This contest raises awareness about light pollution and celebrates the night sky. SLV GO! and partners through south-central Colorado are partnering to preserve our night skies through long-term planning, the adoption of responsible outdoor lighting policies, and through community outreach and education. Our goal is to establish the Sangre de Cristo International Dark Sky Reserve! An International Dark Sky Place is a certification earned through a rigorous application process as part of the International Dark Sky Places Program under DarkSky International. One small, but very important requirement for a dark sky place is to substantiate the quality of the region’s dark skies, and part of that is through imagery! Help protect our dark skies by capturing a photo of the starry, night sky!

Photographers of all skill levels are invited to submit up to 3 images across categories to the competition! SLV GO! staff and judges of the competition are restricted from entering.

Entries may be submitted as digital files online via our photo submission form. All Entrants will be prompted to provide the photographer’s name and contact information, the approximate location of the photo taken, and any additional photo details you’d like to include. Entrants will then upload a maximum of 3 photos across categories. You do not need to upload all photos at once. You may return to the live form during the photo contest entry period and enter your contact information again and upload your photo.

Competition opening date: Saturday, April 1st
Competition closing date: Sunday, April 23 at 11:59 PM
SLV GO! has the right to extend the photo contest duration if necessary.

Entries will be mounted on the walls of Milagros, a coffee shop in Alamosa, for the month of May for public viewing and People’s Choice voting! You may decline the opportunity to be in this award category by stating so in your photo submission form. SLV GO! will host a reception for a meet and greet with artists and for the announcement of the People’s Choice award on the evening of Monday, May 29th. Time TBD. An announcement will also be made on SLV GO!’s social media on FB and IG, and on our website.

There are two categories in the SLV GO! Dark Sky Photo Contest: Deep Sky and Nightscape. Each category will have one winner and one runner-up. All other contestants that don’t win within the categories will automatically be entered into the People’s Choice Contest (unless otherwise noted in your entry submission form) in which the public will vote to select one winner and one runner-up.

Deep sky: Photographs of deep space objects in and beyond the Milky Way, including stars, star clusters, super nova remnants, nebulae, galaxies, galaxy clusters, etc.

Nightscape: Photographs of landscapes in which the night sky or twilight sky is a prominent feature.

  • The SLV GO! Dark Sky Photo Contest is free and open to the general public.
  • All photos must be original work, taken by the contestants.
  • Contestants may submit up to 3 photos.
  • Photos can be taken any time and does not need to coincide with the contest time period.
  • To substantiate the sky quality within the proposed Reserve, the photo must be taken in south-central Colorado and within the boundaries as follows: as far north as Poncha Pass, as far west as the City of Alamosa, as far south as New Mexico’s state line and as far east as La Veta. The San Luis Valley east of HWY 17 and the Wet Mountain Valley west of HWY 69 are appropriate guidelines.
  • The subject matter of the photo cannot be altered, including but not limited to removing, adding, reversing, or excessive distorting subjects within the frame. Normal processing is allowed such as color correction, cropping, exposure correction, dodging/burning, white balance, sharpening, etc. Use of multiple exposures for noise reduction, star trails, exposure balance, and panorama-type images is also acceptable (see Technical Requirements)
  • Entries will be judged by a panel of photographers appointed by SLV GO! All decisions are final.
  • SLV GO! reserves the right to disqualify any entry that is deemed inappropriate or does not conform to stated contest rules.
  • SLV GO! will collect contact information about Entrants at the time of registration. Any personal information of Entrants will only be used and, where necessary, disclosed to third parties (such as media partners) for the purposes of running the competition and marketing the Dark Sky Reserve.
  • By entering the contest, contestants agree that photos submitted can be used by SLV GO! for public engagement and marketing purposes with photos being properly credited.
  • Submissions will not be accepted once the deadline lapses.
  • Prizes must be collected by the winner and is nontransferable.
  • The photo contest hosted by SLV GO! is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram.
  • SLV GO! will appoint a panel of judges to select the winning photos.
  • Judges will consider images according to technical skills, artistic merit and originality.
  • Where there is reasonable doubt if a photograph meets the entry criteria of the competition, the organizers reserve the right to disqualify the image.
  • The panel will select a Winner and Runner-Up for Deep Sky and Nightscape Categories, and the public will select the Winner and Runner-up for the People’s Choice Award by submitting their votes through our online voting form.

Deep Sky Prizes:

Winner: A two night stay at 400-acre, Rancho Bendito near the Dark Sky Community of Westcliffe, CO with an Astrophotography Experience in a private observatory, astrophotography manual, and SLV GO! Swag! Limits: Weeknights (Sunday – Thursday) only and subject to availability.
Runner-Up: $100 gift card to Mike’s Camera and SLV GO! Swag!

Nightscape Prizes:
Winner: StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ Telescope and SLV GO! Swag!
Runner-Up: $100 gift card to Mike’s Camera and SLV GO! Swag!

People’s Choice Awards:
Winner: A two night stay at the KOA Campground in Alamosa near the Great Sand Dunes International Dark Sky Park (a perfect base camp!), Stargaze Recliner Chair, and SLV GO! Swag! Dates of stay subject to availability.
Runner-Up: $100 gift card to Mike’s Camera and SLV GO! Swag!

Category winners will be announced on social media and at www.slvgo.com, and selected and notified via email and/or phone by Friday, April 28th.

Read the full contest guidelines here for technical requirements and more!