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RIT "Big Shot" captures Old Fort Niagara

Sep 30, 2018

RIT has completed another one of its “Big Shot” photographs, with the latest venue in Western New York.

On Saturday night, about 825 volunteers including 72 RIT students and 100 alumni traveled to Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, New York.

All of those people were needed to provide the primary light source for the Big Shot image while RIT photographers shot an extended exposure of the historic site.

Credit RIT

To give the photo a vintage look, the RIT photo team captured a firing cannon as a dozen reenactors—comprising a combination of fort staff and volunteers, including several from the Niagara Artillery—dressed in historic clothing for the photo. The fort includes the six oldest buildings in the entire Great Lakes region and is a link for Western New York to the Revolutionary War period.

“The Big Shot is a community photo project that represents one of RIT’s signature events demonstrating the intersection of technology, the arts and design,” said RIT’s Eric Kunsman, a Big Shot team member. Kunsman is a lecturer for the visual communications studies department in the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and an adjunct professor for RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (SPAS).

The Big Shot often is described as “painting with light” because participants are asked to “paint” or shine their light source onto a particular area of a landmark while the photograph is taken.

The photo team took four timed exposures before capturing the final image around 8:45 p.m.

Since RIT started its Big Shot project in 1987, university photographers have captured such landmarks as Kodak Tower in Rochester, AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington, Texas; Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky; and the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden.

RIT’s Big Shot event began as a way to teach students about flash photography.