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RIT inaugurates our nation’s capital to the revelry of Big Shot Events, Photography

Excitement is building as the hours tick down to the making of RIT’s 25th Big Shot photograph in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. I’m leaving Friday morning to fly to D.C. and meet RIT’s Big Shot photographers/organizers as well as the museum team.

museumI have not visited D.C. in more than 10 years. My last memories of the city are quite memorable! It’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to Hollywood “Big Shots.” After my colleagues and I checked in at the ticket counter at Dulles on our return home, we came around the corner to see actors Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock! They were filming a scene for the movie, “Forces of Nature.” I couldn’t contain my excitement. My colleague at the time, Allison Watts, who is now executive producer at 13WHAM-TV, can confirm that I lost my mind for a bit!

OK, so let me get back to RIT’s Big Shot. The museum will be the subject of the nighttime photograph with the Washington Monument in the background. The museum opened on the National Mall five years ago so this unique photograph will be a special way to commemorate its anniversary.

Many people from the RIT family are going to participate. About 100 RIT students, faculty and staff will board two buses on Friday night to drive through the night to D.C. I hope they can catch some zzzs on the bus. They will spend all day Saturday touring D.C. before meeting at the museum at sundown for the Big Shot.

Members of the RIT alumni team and my boss, Paul Stella, are leaving early Saturday morning. They rented a van. I’m sure Paul will have stories to share. What’s interesting is some of the cargo they will be transporting. Let’s just say they are bringing some of the “liquid refreshment” for guests to enjoy once the nighttime photo is complete.

Alumni from all over the country are coming in for the event. Paul Reichert, who works at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, is flying in with his wife. Paul’s parents, who live in Syracuse, are also coming. For alumni like Kevin Sheldon, he’s a Big Shot veteran. He’s participated in a handful of them including the Alamo and the USS Intrepid.

RIT President Bill Destler, his wife Rebecca Johnson and RIT Provost Jeremy Haefner will experience their first Big Shot on Saturday night. President Destler extended an invitation to the First Family, but they are unable to attend. With RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences nationally renowned for its photography programs, we were going to start early recruiting of Malia Obama. She’s a photography buff.

If you are in the D.C. area on Saturday night, come on out. Volunteers are meeting at 7:45 p.m. outside the museum. Bring a flashlight or an electronic flash unit and wear dark clothing. It’s going to be a lot of fun!


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