Big Shot to capture Kodak Tower on Sunday

Photographers fine-tuning strategy to create nighttime image of Eastman Kodak’s headquarters

RIT Big Shot Team

RIT Big Shot No. 32 is scheduled rain or shine for 8 p.m. this Sunday, Sept. 18, when the photography team focuses its cameras on the iconic Kodak Tower, headquarters of Eastman Kodak Co.

Organizers of Rochester Institute of Technology’s 32nd Big Shot are fine-tuning plans for what will be one of the more technically difficult nighttime photographs the team has faced.

The RIT photo team is gearing up to capture a dramatic nighttime image of the iconic Kodak Tower, longtime home of Eastman Kodak Co., 343 State St., Rochester, N.Y., around 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, rain or shine. The event is free and open to the public.

Volunteers are asked to arrive no later than 7:30 p.m., bring either a flashlight or a camera flash unit, and wear dark clothing. Free parking is available in the High Falls Parking Garage, 240 State St., or in the Kodak lot at the corner of Morrie Silver Way and State Street.

RIT faculty, staff and alumni volunteers will provide instructions to the anticipated throngs of volunteers while the photo team perches itself across State Street above the expected crowds to improve the vantage point for the photo.

According to Michael Peres, associate chair of the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences and one of the Big Shot organizers, the team’s technical challenges stem from using several photographic technologies from past centuries to take this picture.

In addition, lighting a building with the shear vertical span of Kodak Tower is a major challenge. Long recognized as a landmark in the Rochester skyline and an icon in the world of photography, the building spans 19 stories high.

Among “special touches” to create a vintage photograph will be the presence of a Ford Model T car and a 60-by-40-foot large photographic print of George Eastman on the plaza.

“We wanted Eastman’s spirit in the picture,” Peres said. “We were thinking how we could recognize him. This is a celebration of Kodak and its huge influence on photography.”

Volunteers are welcome to bring pictures of current or former Kodak employees and make them part of the Big Shot, he added.

Often described as “painting with light,” the Big Shot relies on the participation 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.

Volunteers will join nearly 200 RIT students traveling from campus, faculty, staff and about 100 alumni. The Genesee Brew House is hosting an alumni gathering beforehand.

The Big Shot project has traveled to several national landmarks and twice crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Nikon Inc. once again is serving as the project’s premier sponsor by loaning high-end digital cameras to take the photo. Continuing the tradition of serving as a nighttime community photography project, the event will have Kodak, Monroe Community College, the City of Rochester, the Rochester Police Department, and Asset One LLC playing key roles on Sunday.

City engineers will supervise M.L. Caccamise Electric Corp. in removing light poles earlier in the day and turning off street lights near the time of the picture. Additional sponsor Profoto will provide specialized lighting equipment, including powerful battery-operated electronic flash systems to help illuminate Kodak Tower.

To learn more about the project and view photographs of past Big Shot images, go to or The project also can be followed on Twitter at @RITBigShot.

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