ARLINGTON, Texas – The Rochester Institute of Technology’s 28th annual Big Shot photography project went to Arlington on Saturday night to shine a new light on Cowboys Stadium.
The Big Shot relies on participants to provide the primary light source on an image, which in this case was Cowboys Stadium, while an RIT photographer perched atop a construction lift 40 feet in the air shot an extended exposure of the scene.
It’s a signature event for RIT and is led by the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences. 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 while the photograph is taken.
“Because it’s glass, it creates different problems for us than we might otherwise have encountered,” said Michael Peres, one of the founders of the Big Shot project. “That’s half of the fun, how to address things that have never been undertaken with such a complicated and huge structure.”
The light sources, which included handheld flashlights, camera flash units and cell phone flashlights from more than 2,430 volunteers, helped “paint” the exterior of Cowboys Stadium, illuminating the largest domed stadium in the world. The participants knew when to shine their lights as indicated by a white light on the lift.
The photo was taken around 8:45 p.m., shining an otherwise completely dark stadium and scene. This marked the first time since the building was built that all of the lighting was turned off.
“With your own eyes you won’t be able to see it,” said social media strategist Jenna Deutsch. “But when the shutter's open for that long for a minute, any light that is in the area will record. Think about writing in air. If you were to take your phone, wherever your phone went with the light, you’d be able to see it, because the shutter's open for that long.”
Deutsch, a senior at RIT, said the Big Shot’s a well-known event at the school, and participating in the event had always been on her bucket list.
Peres said it all began by trying to teach students how to solve complicated problems with easy equipment. The project began in 1987 in Rochester, N.Y., and since then has traveled to several national landmarks and twice crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
Among the many landmarks the Big Shot photographers have captured are 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 National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.
Peres never could have imagined what the project’s turned into when it began in Rochester.
“This is beyond my wildest dreams,” he said.