RIT’s Big Shot project lights up the night along the Erie Canal

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RIT School of Photographic Arts and Sciences

More than 600 volunteers pitched in for this year’s Big Shot along the Erie Canal in Pittsford.

A popular RIT project offered a “flashback” to life along the Erie Canal in the 19th century. On May 8, the world-famous waterway along Schoen Place in Pittsford became the subject of RIT’s 24th Big Shot, often described as a “painting with light” photograph.

The Sam Patch, a replica of a 19th century packet boat, is positioned in the foreground of the photo and models dressed in period costume posed along the deck. Various businesses in Schoen Place, housed in converted barns, mills and canal side structures, fill the background of the photograph.

Faculty from RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences as well as the National Technical Institute for the Deaf led more than 600 volunteers in creating the nighttime photograph. RIT students, faculty, staff and alumni joined other members of the local community to illuminate the subject area using flashlights and camera flashes. RIT photographers then created the image using a 30-second exposure. Every Big Shot requires hundreds of volunteers to make the event successful.

“This is one of RIT’s signature projects, and we are thrilled to be part of a community-wide event that brings greater visibility to the canal,” says Victoria Schmitt, president of Corn Hill Navigation. “RIT has selected sites all over the globe for its Big Shot photographs, and the Erie Canal is a world-famous site right in our own backyard.”

Nikon Inc. sponsored this year’s Big Shot project and will provide participants with a memento print of the final photograph.

Past Big Shots have highlighted historical places including Pile Gate in Dubrovnik, Croatia; the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden; the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas; and the World War II aircraft carrier, the USS Intrepid.

For more information, visit the Big Shot Web site at www.rit.edu/~bigshot.