Chances are you’ve heard the saying, “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” This will certainly be true when Rochester Institute of Technology’s longtime community photography project known as the Big Shot captures a spectacular nighttime photograph of Cowboys Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas, on March 23, 2013.
The Big Shot project relies on the participation of hundreds of volunteers to provide the primary light source for the image while RIT photographers shoot an extended exposure. It’s a signature event for RIT and is led by the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, which is nationally recognized for its degree programs.
The Big Shot is often described as “painting with light” because volunteers are asked to “paint” or shine their light source onto a particular area of the landmark while the photograph is taken. The light sources are either handheld flashlights or camera flash units. Thousands of volunteers are expected to come out to participate and “paint” the exterior of Cowboys Stadium, illuminating the largest domed stadium in the world. Cowboys Stadium will be RIT’s 28th Big Shot.
“This is an amazing opportunity for RIT because of the technical challenges to produce a nighttime photograph of a landmark of this size,” says Michael Peres, one of the organizers of the Big Shot. “We are excited to capture the beauty of the architectural nuances of Cowboys Stadium from the domed roof to the glass façade. We invite all of Texas to come out on Saturday, March 23, with their flashlights and be part of something really special.”
Residents will join RIT students, faculty, staff and alumni in this “painting with light” endeavor. The photo will be taken after sunset on March 23 rain or shine. Volunteers should arrive no later than 7:30 p.m. and need to bring either a flashlight or a camera flash unit and are asked to wear dark clothing. Volunteers will then be broken up into lighting teams and placed around the exterior of the stadium.
“We look forward to being a part of this unique photo experience with RIT at Cowboys Stadium,” says Charlotte Jones Anderson, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president. “From our past experiences with the arts and education at Cowboys Stadium, we believe the North Texas community will be very supportive of this project and embrace the opportunity to be part of a unique community event like the Big Shot.”
RIT is working with the Arlington Chamber of Commerce to recruit various businesses and universities to participate in the Big Shot.
“We see ourselves as an intermediary when great ideas like this come to our attention,” says Henry Lewczyk, vice president of marketing and member business development for the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. “The chamber is delighted to connect RIT with organizations and businesses in the Arlington area to help make the Big Shot a success. We believe this event will draw thousands of people.”
Since RIT started its Big Shot project in 1987, the event has hopscotched to several national landmarks and twice crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Through their viewfinders, Big Shot photographers have captured such landmarks as The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas; the U.S.S. Intrepid, New York City; Pile Gate, Dubrovnik, Croatia; the Royal Palace, Stockholm, Sweden; and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.
Nikon Inc. has been a longtime sponsor of the Big Shot and is among the sponsors again this year.
“It’s been a privilege to help the Big Shot photo project evolve over the years,” says Bill Pekala, general manager for Nikon Professional Services. “This concept of ‘painting with light’ is special. Nikon continues to partner with RIT on the Big Shot because it is a unique educational event that brings people together across an entire community to make a photograph. This is our way to give back to the photographic communities across the United States.”