Dreamlike Photos of Planes Flying Past the Sun and Moon

Man’s relationship with space inspires the work of photographer Sebastien Lebrigand.

Man has been fascinated by space since time immemorial. The sight of the stars inspired monumental Aztec cities, the dreamy brushstrokes of Vincent van Gogh, and the prose of Robert Frost. So it is unsurprising that it has also inspired photographers to tilt their lenses to the sky.

When Apollo 11 landed on the moon in July of 1969, two worlds connected. This, says Sebastien Lebrigand, is the concept behind his work: man’s relationship with space, captured in a single frame.

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An airplane leaves a trail of exhaust in its wake against the bright yellow sun.

The 41-year-old electrician spends his evenings looking up at the sky from his garden in Crépy-en-Valois, France, where he’s studied airplane corridors for four years. Lebrigand uses a 600mm refractor lens and Canon 6D to capture the precise moment when airplanes fly past the sun and moon.

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Lebrigand uses a 600mm refractor lens with his Canon 6D to capture his detailed photos.

Because optimal conditions are rare, Lebrigand is only able to take one or two photos per month. The window of opportunity is fleeting, so if the shot is out of focus or the ISO is off, you’re out of luck, he says. His advice to other astrophotographers? “Patience and a minimum focal length of 500mm.”

Although Lebrigand spends a lot of his time watching the horizon, he says space travel is not in his future. He prefers the view from Earth.