October 3, 2015 9:00pm

A free nighttime community photographic project
Celebrating Three Decades of Light Painting

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. For a short video sharing one of our projects and how light painting works, follow this link

This website will be updated frequently as new information about the event becomes known. Please check back with us a necessary.

Registration is requested
For RIT alumni please click here:
For all other very welcome guests. Click here

Big Shot No 31 is made in  collaboration with Churchill Downs.
We are honored to have been granted permission to produce this once in a life time photograph of one of America’s iconic sporting treasures.
For more information about the Churchill Downs history follow this link.

Event Details
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
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.

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Nikon Inc. has been a longtime sponsor of the Big Shot and is among the sponsors again this year. The Big Shot relationship with Nikon began in 2006 and once again will be supporting the project by loaning high-end photographic equipment. The Big Shot photograph will be produced using four Nikon D810 bodies with matched 20mm ƒ/1.8 lenses.

Kristine Bosworth, manager for Nikon Professional Services Campus & Education Markets shared, “It’s a privilege to partner with RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences and its efforts each year with the Big Shot photo.”  “Our support of Big Shot and the photography programs at RIT gives Nikon Professional Services a chance to show off our latest technology—all while giving back to photo communities around the country. Personally, the RIT Big Shot is one of the events I look forward to year after year.”


Bill Gratton, the Regional Sales Manager of Profoto East, shared,  “The scope of the RIT Big Shot project and the unique subjects always presents serious lighting challenges. This is why Profoto is the perfect partner for the RIT Big Shot. Profoto has the power, light shaping tools, and portability to make the seemingly impossible, possible. For the upcoming project at Churchill Downs, our plan is to use at least eight Profoto B4 battery systems using magnum and telezoom reflectors. These products will be used to light the grandstands and  10-12 battery powered Profoto B1 500 Air TTL units will be located in the grandstands and spires. Profoto has a long standing relationship with Rochester Institute of Technology and we couldn’t be more proud of that relationship. It is a pleasure and honor to work with the RIT faculty, students, and alumni on such exciting projects.”  To learn more about Profoto follow this link



Murphy's Logo
Murphy’s Camera shared,  “We are thrilled to have the RIT Big Shot coming to Louisville this year. What an amazing opportunity for our photographic community to come together and create a completely unique, collaborative image! We believe this event will serve as an excellent compliment to the Louisville Photo Biennial.  We’re very proud to have Murphy’s participating as a sponsor of Big Shot No. 31 and can’t wait to see what we produce of our very own iconic landmark, Churchill Downs.” To learn more about Murphy’s follow this link

To learn more about Mohawk follow this link

It takes an entire community to make a photograph this way. The event is successful because of the participation of sometimes thousands. We are so appreciative of some new Big Shot partners who have volunteered to help us promote our event. Big Shot is like a bucket brigade and relies solely on a volunteer workforce.

For more information about the Biennial follow this link
For more information about the Festival, follow this link


For more information about the SPE regional meeting follow this link
For more information about the Gallery, please follow this link

For more information about the Gallery, please follow this link
For more information about the School, please follow this link

Want to share our poster, we would be grateful.

Tech Talk
Every Big Shot is unique and  No. 31 will be all of that. Each project seems to build on knowledge acquired from prior events. The scene we are lighting is HUGE and the cameras will be located on one of the infield betting booths. As such we want to be sure to create enough light on areas that participants who are assigned to the grandstands cannot. Profoto, a sponsor of the event has become the industry gold standard for battery powered location lighting equipment for professional photographers. We are appreciative of their continued support of our work. We recently tested their Profoto B4 systems using the RIT campus to estimate the 40 yard distance the light must travel. We learned a lot about power and where to locate the lights. Even at heights of 12 feet and aimed up, the foreground did receive light. We have now revised our plan to manage this. You will have to attend to see how we fix this problem  🙂
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The photograph on the left had a timed exposure of  30 seconds at ƒ/11. The photograph on the right used eight Profoto Pro-B4 kits and moved the ambient exposure of the buildings one ƒ stop at a distance of 40 years. Profoto lights were very helpful in contributing significant light for Big Shot No 29 of the High Falls located in downtown Rochester, New York.

Computational photography is a term that describes making new pictures from multiple cameras and image sources. This strategy may be familiar to some as gigapixel images that are digital images composed of one billion (109) pixels.

For Big Shot No 30, we wanted to try using 2 cameras to minimize magnification differences from the foreground to background. Our foreground distance was short from our roof top perch the building became smaller using a 16 mm lens. We felt we could have a photograph with a more normal perspective using two matched lenses and build a new file from the raw captured files.
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Our test indicated this would work well

RIT Big Shot No 30 looked like this. More than 3,000 participants attended.

Here is a snapshot of our rig as it was being loaded for a test last month.