Airplane Kissing the Solar Eclipse Wins Inaugural Photo Competition

A silhouetted airplane flies in front of a total solar eclipse. The dark disk of the moon completely covers the sun, creating a dramatic black circle framed by the sun's glowing corona and casting a luminous halo against the dark sky.
First place. Plane In Front Of Eclipse by Ryan Spangenberg.

Kolari Vision has unveiled the winners of its inaugural 2024 solar eclipse photography competition with an artistic shot of an airplane skimming the celestial event taking home first place.

The photography contest is centered on the total solar eclipse that took place on April 8 over much of North America.

“In honor of this momentous event, we launched our very first Solar Eclipse Photo Contest to educate photographers about how to safely photograph the solar eclipse, help them prepare before the event, and give photographers the opportunity to showcase their talent and win some Kolari prizes,” Kolari Vision explains.

A total solar eclipse with the moon completely covering the sun, leaving only the outer atmosphere, or corona, visible as a glowing halo. Some solar flares are visible around the edges of the moon's silhouette, creating a stunning contrast against the dark sky.
Second Place. Dark Day by Keith Double.
A stunning photograph of a total solar eclipse. The moon completely covers the sun, creating a dark circle surrounded by a glowing white corona. Subtle hints of red light are visible along the edge of the moon. The background is pitch black.
Third place. Moment Of Totality by Justin Castel

Part of the reason Kolari Vision organized the eclipse photo contest was to educate celestial shooters on the best practices when photographing the Sun.

On its dedicated web page to April’s eclipse, Kolari says: “Pointing your camera directly at the Sun can be dangerous for your camera. The bright, pointed light from the Sun focused through your camera lens can burn a hole straight through your shutter blades.”

It goes on to say that “Only 15-stop and 20-stop ND filters are capable of safely photographing the Sun. Lower ND strength filters are not rated for solar imaging.”

However, Kolari stresses that even if a suitable ND filter is attached to the lens of a DSLR it is not safe to look directly at the Sun through the optical viewfinder.

“These filters are not rated for your eyes, and your eyes will be damaged if you do this,” it adds.

However, it is perfectly safe to use live view or look through the EVF on a mirrorless camera.

A composite image showing various phases of a solar eclipse, with the total eclipse at the center. Around the center, multiple images of the sun are captured in different stages of partial eclipse, from initial contact to maximum coverage, forming a circular pattern.
Honorable mention. Total Eclipse Chrono by Joe Luther.
Three stages of a solar eclipse captured in a composite image: on the left, the eclipse starts with a thin crescent of the sun visible, the middle shows the total eclipse with the corona visible, and the right shows the end phase with a crescent reappearing.
Honorable mention. The Diamond Rings by Noah Cote / Noah Cote Photography.
A time-lapse image of a solar eclipse transitioning from beginning to end, set against a dark sky. The foreground features silhouetted tall grasses and a lake, while the eclipse phases are aligned in a sequence across the top.
Honorable mention. Eclipse IRChrome by Jonathan Sullivan.
A silhouette of a bird in flight is framed against a partially eclipsed sun, with the dark shadow of the moon covering a portion of the sun, creating a dramatic contrast against the dark sky.
Honorable mention. Phoenix by Thomas Streiff.
A total solar eclipse with the moon completely covering the sun, leaving only the sun's corona visible as a glowing halo against a dark sky. The image captures the dramatic moment of totality during the eclipse.
Honorable mention. Solar Glow by Travis Brooks.
An artistic composite image of a solar eclipse showing multiple phases from partial to total eclipse. The image captures the bright sun, the moon covering the sun, and the corona effect in a sequence against a dark background. The photographer's signature is visible.
Honorable mention. 2024: An Eclipse Odyssey by Mike Denison.

Kolari sells 15-stop and 20-stop ND filters which are rated safe for solar imaging.

“Our filters are optically engineered to be the most neutral filters in both the visible and infrared light spectra,” it adds.