We’re all beaming with pride today (no pun intended!) following last evening’s immensely successful Big Shot. Isn’t the final image just stunning? About 500 people converged at Dubrovnik’s historic Pile Gate at 7:30 with their camera flash units and flashlights—some even used the cameras on their cell phones. Children from Dubrovnik, along with their parents and grandparents, came out. Don Hudspeth, president and dean of RIT’s American College of Management and Technology, brought his wife and three daughters. It was truly a family affair. And hundreds of members of RIT’s extended family—faculty, staff and students from the American College of Management and Technology—were out in force. All night classes at ACMT were let out early so everyone could participate. ACMT alumni came from all over Croatia to be there. Two Spanish tourists passing by Pile Gate got in on the fun for the making of the last two images.
RIT’s 12 photography students studying here this quarter were among the various lighting team leaders. There were a total of eight lighting teams, with each team varying in size depending on the size of area they had to paint with light. As a side note, the photo students have been studying at ACMT since March. They absolutely love it in Dubrovnik. I’m jealous they all have another month here. I, too, wish I could stay. The week flew by so fast. It’s been wonderful getting to know all the RIT students throughout this process, including the three hospitality and service management students studying here this quarter. RIT student Andrew Cabble, who is also a hospitality and service management major, flew over just for the week to be a part of the Big Shot. Andrew studied here in Dubrovnik in the spring of 2006.
OK, now back to behind the scenes of RIT’s 23rd Big Shot! Each of the eight teams had a lighting leader along with a Croatian speaking translator. Overall, communication was quite a challenge based on the enormous space that had to be illuminated. Most of the lighting team leaders carried walkie-talkies. Michael and Bill relied on their booming voices to yell out commands. Perched on scaffolding, Bill and Dawn shot the image four times. The first shot was not a keeper. A child in the crowd used a red laser pen to paint the gate. Oops! Once that situation was rectified, the cameras were reset and the painting with light process began again.
A group of volunteers was charged with painting the side of the stonebridge closest to the cameras. Upon reviewing the images on the computer screen, the side bridge was overexposed. For the fourth and final attempt, Big Shot organizers decided that particular team would bathe the bridge with light for only 30 seconds while the rest of the teams would continue to illuminate their areas for another minute. The fourth image was a keeper! The bridge looked picture perfect! This is the image on the RIT Web site and on page 3B of Friday’s Democrat and Chronicle. All the Rochester television stations aired the final image and video of the event. University News hired a videographer from Dubrovnik, Nino Ogresta, to gather video and sound with me. Nino, who worked last year with NBC’s Today Show for “The Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” segment, was wonderful to work with and very accommodating. R News is airing an extended piece today. Amy Young put together a story from the interviews I did last evening with Nino. He and I climbed the wall before the shot began to get several interviews. Luckily, I wore my sneakers. Here in Croatia, Croatian National Television, HRT, came out to cover the Big Shot along with two Dubrovnik television stations, Dubrovnik TV and RTL. We are expecting the image to appear in the Dubrovnik newspaper, The Press.
For all of you photography buffs, here are the final statistics on the image: It was a 90-second exposure at F11, using a Nikon D200 camera. RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences could not have pulled off this ambitious endeavor if it were not for our family at ACMT, the city of Dubrovnik, the Friends of the Wall, the Dubrovnik Travel Bureau, Dubrovnik’s Renaissance Group and Nikon Inc.
This trip has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I want to thank everyone for sharing in the journey with me. It’s been quite extraordinary. If you ever get the chance to visit Dubrovnik, do it! You will fall in love with the city and its people. RIT is blessed to have such a wonderful college here. Everyone was so welcoming to us and made us feel like family the moment we arrived last Sunday. I am sad to say goodbye to my new friends. I hope to return one day soon.