Photographer Captures Incredible Photos of Planes in Front of the Sun and Moon


In search of a difficult photo project? Try photographing airplanes passing in front of the sun and the moon. That’s what French photographer Sebastien Lebrigand set out to do earlier this year, and his resulting photographs are incredible.

In July of this year, Lebrigand took his Canon 500D DSLR and a special astrophotography lens out at night near his home near Paris. After setting up, he managed to capture a series of photographs showing airplanes passing directly in front of the moon.

The ultra-telephoto lens makes the planes look as though they’re spaceships on a lunar mission:






Here’s a look at what Lebrigand’s camera setup looks like. The lens is a i-Nova EDTF 102 Triplet:


A month later, in August, Lebrigand decided to try capturing the same type of photo during the day with planes passing in front of the Sun. It took two days of trying, but he managed to capture some amazing images at around 7pm on the second day:

BOEING737 (2)




Lebrigand tells The Daily Mail that the main challenge with the photographs was timing — the sun was blinding, and the airplanes were only seen in front of the sun for about 1/4 of a second during each pass.

If you want yet another ultra-telephoto challenge, try photographing multiple airplanes passing overhead in the same zoomed-in shot. Lebrigand has managed to captured a photo showing two…


…and even three!


You can find higher resolution versions of these photographs over on Lebrigand’s Flickr photostream.

Image credits: Photographs by Sebastien Lebrigand and used with permission

  • Banan Tarr

    Call me crazy but the white balance differences on the plane vs. the moon in the top shots are kind of… strange. I dunno, maybe it’s just a weird situation for lighting…

  • lidocaineus

    Er, you don’t think that the moon, just under 300,000 miles away, would have different light hitting it versus a plane that’s under 9 miles away that could drastically affect white balance?

  • Banan Tarr

    I guess the atmospheric effects are going to change the white balance when you think of it like that. Good point.

  • Jonathan A

    Be warned, NSFW images later in Flickr feed.

  • anon

    Thanks for the warning!

  • Gman

    thanks for the invitation… i mean warning.

  • Paddy

    It’s quite clearly sunrise or sunset, which it needs to be to get side-on shots of a plane (low to the horizon, unless it is banking). The moon is near the horizon at sunrise or sunset during its fuller phases.

  • MS


  • madmax

    For this kind of photography, using photo editing software you can get better results and more easily. I did something like this time ago, but it was only an experiment.

  • moonshin

    i contacted the photographer. the lens he used is actually a telescope. im amazed at how well the shots look. i know how difficult it is

  • Adam Cross

    I was photographing the sun recently, to identify sun spots, and got a plane in a couple of the shots, happy accidents – something that would probably never happen if I had planned to shoot planes in front of the sun

  • James

    Yeah, you didn’t even try and you got way better photos by just using photpshop! You rock!

  • James

    Yeah, you didn’t even try and you got way better photos by just using photoshop! You rock!

  • bob cooley

    Curious – what model telescope did he use? Is it specialized equipment, or one commercially available (like a Meade, etc.) – I see some other (but different) interesting applications for this

  • John Giroux

    Ummmm./… the special “astrophotography lens” is called a “telescope”.

  • John Giroux

    That shot was obviously with the sun low, about to set, so the light hitting the plane was mostly red, as you see at sunset. The Moon was higher in the sky, so not being filtered through red light. It’s a waxing gibbous Moon, so the Moon had risen and was visible well before sunset (and therefore higher in the sky).

  • John Giroux

    A 102mm f/6.5 ED triplet… 660mm focal length. BTW, it was only after I posted my first comment that I saw that it was identified; I knew it was obviously a telescope from the photo of the setup. There’s a dovetail base for mounting a finder scope plainly visible above the camera on the telescope’s focuser, as well as tube rings, and it’s on an equatorial mount. I’d hardly call 660 mm “ultra-telephoto”…