Nikon & Rochester Institute of Technology Invite You to a Nighttime Photographic Event in Louisville, Kentucky, USA at No Cost: Light Painting at Churchill Downs on October 3, 2015

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is celebrating three decades of light painting which is a FREE community photographic project.

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

Light painting is a unique way to photograph and allows light to be shined on a subject from multiple directions over time. Produced at night thousands of lights are shined onto the subject and using a timed exposure, the result is created. Many big shot exposures have been 30 seconds and up to 2 minutes.

The Big Shot… involves hundreds of volunteers, armed with flashlights and camera flashes, illuminating a distinctive landmark during an extended photographic exposure. Past Big Shot subjects have included the Alamo in San Antonio, the Royal Palace in Stockholm, and the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York.

An example is given in following video, RIT Big Shot No. 29:

Snow and cold temperatures didn’t keep hundreds of people from descending on downtown Rochester to light up High Falls Sunday night and help make Rochester Institute of Technology’s 29th Big Shot photograph a wintertime success.

More than 500 volunteers, including about 60 RIT students and 150 alumni provided the primary light source for the Big Shot image while RIT photographers shot an extended exposure of one of Rochester’s natural and iconic spectacles.

This year’s final image is a 30-second exposure at f22 ISO 200 (see final event photo at the end of the video!).

“The Big Shot represents one of RIT’s signature projects, and we are absolutely thrilled with the outcome of this year’s nighttime photograph of High Falls,” said RIT professor Michael Peres, who led the event with colleagues Dawn Tower DuBois, Willie Osterman, Mike Dear and Christye Sisson. For DuBois, a longtime organizer of the event, this marked her final Big Shot.

Peres noted that capturing the image culminated many months of hard work, adding, “This is a community art project and we couldn’t do it without the support of our sponsors and everyone who came out tonight to brave the snow and the cold temperatures. We’ve created a once-in-a-lifetime photograph of Rochester, N.Y. What a night for RIT!”

CSX Transportation, Inc. provided two new locomotives and a string of intermodal cars that filled out the length of the bridge for the photo. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based corporation also agreed to hold all rail traffic during the picture’s capture.

“CSX shares a long and rich history with the Greater Rochester area, and we are honored to continue that legacy by supporting the 2014 Big Shot,” said Robert Rohauer, manager of community affairs and safety, CSX. “Through innovative projects like these, Rochester Institute of Technology is molding the leaders of tomorrow. CSX is proud to be part of this project and to move the things America needs every day in the safest, most efficient and environmentally friendly way possible.”

RG&E also played a key role for the event. The company’s hydroelectric operations team augmented the flow of water over the falls for the photograph and turned off all dam lights in the river. RG&E uses the water to produce hydroelectric power.

“RG&E and our parent company, Iberdrola, have long histories of supporting innovation, education and the arts in the communities where we serve,” said Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E. “We’re proud to support the Rochester Institute of Technology and the 2014 Big Shot which cleverly combines all three of these elements in a unique way.”

The City of Rochester darkened the Genesee River from the falls to the Broad Street aqueduct by turning off all street and sidewalk lighting along the river. The city also turned off lights on Cataract Street and the Pont De Rennes Bridge, where most volunteers gathered during the photo. The pedestrian bridge and viewing platform spans the Genesee River a few hundred feet from the base of the falls and surrounding gorge.

“The City of Rochester is proud to partner with RIT, Nikon, Profoto, CSX Railroad, and RG&E on the 29th RIT Big Shot project,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “I’d like to thank all of the photographers who helped us capture the beauty of High Falls, an often-overlooked gem in the center of our city.”

A longtime sponsor of the event, Nikon Inc., was among the corporate supporters again this year, loaning high-end photographic equipment and making possible memento prints for all who attended.

Profoto supplied six powerful battery-operated electronic flash systems used to light the falls during the picture, and also provided a grant to pay costs associated with the city’s work to turn off lighting around the falls.

The Big Shot is often described as “painting with light” because participants are asked to “paint” or shine their light source onto a particular exterior area of a landmark while the photograph is taken. The light sources are primarily either handheld flashlights or camera flash units. Participants were tasked with continuously “painting” their assigned area of High Falls while RIT photographers≤perched underneath a canopy atop the Genesee Brew House on Cataract Street≤shot an extended exposure. The photo was taken shortly after 7 p.m.

Since RIT started its Big Shot project in 1987, university photographers have captured such landmarks as AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium); The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas; the U.S.S. Intrepid, New York City; and the Royal Palace, Stockholm, Sweden.

RIT’s Big Shot event began as a way to teach students about flash photography. RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences is nationally recognized for its degree programs.

You can view the wonderful nighttime image of the RIT Big Shot No. 29 at .

Image extracted from video above

Image extracted from video above

Rochester Institute of Technology


RIT Big Shot No 31 Churchill Downs

FREE Admission

October 3, 2015, 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM:

RIT Alumni Reception: 6:00 – 8:30pm
General Public Arrival: 8:00 – 8:30pm

Break into teams and photograph: 8:30 – 9:30pm

Churchill Downs
700 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208

Registration is requested for the general public at

Registration is requested for RIT alumni at

Churchill Downs: Image Courtesy of RIT

Churchill Downs: Image Courtesy of RIT

The Big Shot is a FREE event open to both alumni and the general public! Join them as RIT brings this unique artistic and social event to Louisville.

  • The RIT Office of Alumni Relations and School of Photographic Arts and Sciences invite you to take part in the celebration of the 31st Big Shot at Churchill Downs.

Please Note:

  • Parking is FREE.
  • Please use the gate 10 parking lot and enter using Longfield Avenue.
  • Arrive no later than 8:30pm. Gate 10 will open at 8:00pm.
  • The Gate will close at 8:50pm.
  • Enter the Track using Gate 10.
  • Participants will be assigned lighting teams situated both in the infield and grandstands. Memento tickets and lighting instructions will be given out upon entrance.
  • Dress in Dark Clothing. Wear comfortable shoes as you may be standing for long periods of time.
  • Bring a hand-held light or lights. No laser pointers will be allowed. Using one may result in removal from the event.
  • No prior knowledge required
  • Participants will receive a high resolution file from the event.
  • Due to space limitations, unregistered attendees will not be admitted to the reception.

Questions? Call the Office of Alumni Relations toll free at 1.866.RIT.ALUM.

More info is provided at