It’s a project that might excite photography buffs, Guinness World Record seekers and people who just can’t get enough of Cowboys Stadium.Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences will set up its annual Big Shot light-painting event at the massive venue the evening of March 23. Organizers hope to draw at least 5,000 volunteers willing to shine a flashlight or camera flash while an extended-exposure image of the stadium is captured.The Big Shot, in its 28th year, has captured similar images at the Alamo, the USS Intrepid in New York, the Royal Palace in Stockholm, the Pile Gate in Croatia and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.Participants must register by Monday at www.rit.edu/bigshot. In exchange for about two hours of their time, they will receive a link to the finished product, said Bill DuBois, a professor emeritus at RIT who came up with the idea for the Big Shot with colleague Michael Peres in 1987.“Everyone participating in the event will have access to the final image,” he said. “It will be launched to the world media shortly after the last exposure. The final image will be published to a website for all participants to enjoy. They will be able to make prints from this file.”Organizers are in negotiations with Guinness to create a category for most people involved in a photograph.While reviewing the successes and failures of the 1986-87 school year, Dubois and Peres decided that a light-painting project might be a good way to teach electronic flash photography and problem-solving skills to second-year biomedical photography students.The idea for the Big Shot was inspired by a marketing program by Sylvania Corp. of the same name in the 1950s. At various landmarks, the Sylvania project wired thousands of their bulbs together and triggered them simultaneously, causing an explosion of light that was photographed.Cowboys Stadium poses special obstacles to capturing this kind of shot, DuBois said.“When we select a subject for the Big Shot, we are looking for a structure or space that has challenges that we have not encountered before,” he said. “The biggest challenge for this year is the glass skin on the stadium. Our lighting plan calls for all of the people assigned to Parking Lot 5 to light the concrete parking surface.”“If that is brightly lit, it will reflect in the windows, causing them to glow. If the volunteers, painting with flashlights or camera flashes, aim their lights at the glass, it will just have bright spots of light coming back to the camera.”The size is also a challenge, DuBois said.“We need teams of lighting volunteers, between 50 to 2,500 people each, to cover the details of the stadium. The resulting photograph will present a glowing stadium, a totally unique image,” he said.RIT students have raised more than $50,000 to pay for their travel, accommodations and sightseeing during their stay, DuBois said. Faculty and staff members and alumni will also make the trip.“The event is family-friendly and is truly a team-building experience,” he said. “All stadium and street lights will be turned off. The lighting volunteers alone will be responsible for how well that part of the building is illuminated. When they see the resulting photograph, they will recognize their accomplishment. With this image being made available to the world, they will have pride in their part in making it happen.”Patrick Walker, 682-232-4674 Twitter: @patrickmwalker1
A closer look
• The photo will take place after sunset come rain or shine.
• Registered volunteers should arrive at Cowboys Stadium no later than 7:30 p.m. and bring a flashlight or camera flash unit. Black or dark clothing and comfortable shoes should be worn.
• Arlington Camera, a major sponsor of this year’s event, will host Big Shot organizers as they discuss the project at two sessions the morning of the event. The event is free, but pre-registration is required. Call 817-385-6891.
• Online: youtu.be/z5tgQ-7eEJM