As the dust settles from RIT Big Shot No 32, the question about what will the next Big Shot project be seems to be the elephant in the room. Let us be the first to tell you, we do NOT have a subject for the next project. 🙂 We are always seeking the next great idea and we do enjoy hearing all of your great suggestions. Please keep them coming.
Last week, Big Shot shared a post featuring the members of the photographic team. We included some interesting behind the scenes views of the team at work. The Big Shot committee is so talented and creative. We have learned over the years that because of the size of the image displayed on a computer, or phone screen might be small, everything we include in the scene is NOT easy to see on screen. We thought you might be interested in seeing a few of the special elements we included in this impressive undertaking up close.
The Kodak sign is very old and the letters are neon. After conducting several evening exposure tests before the event, we determined the correct exposure to maintain absolute sharpness of the letters that make up the neon tubes would need to be 10″ seconds. Kodak assigned one of it building engineers to operate the sign that allowed us to achieve this precise time. Jim ( and we will get his last name) stayed on a cell phone call with Big Shot groupie Leah Peres who communicated with him. Leah told Jim when the exposure started, and then counted off ten seconds, informing him when to turn off the sign. This process was repeated during each of the four exposures.
You may also notice the roof was lit, too. The metal roof was lit using three million candle power flashlights located at the camera position. They were used to produce a hint of detail on the roof’s surface separating it from the sky. It is impressive what three very powerful flashlights from the right location can do.
There were people in the building when we were photographing the Big Shot. Kodak, excited about hosting the Big Shot, organized a VIP party on the 18th floor of the Tower. The attendees were invited to observe the event from the balcony if they wanted. If they chose to be on the balcony, they were asked to become statues during each exposure. We always like to include people in Big Shot photographs to provide a sense of scale. It is amazing to see how much detail the Nikon D810 sensor can delineate. You can almost see people’s eyes at this very high magnification crop from the entire sensor.
You will also notice in this photograph, the office lights in many of the offices are on. We wanted to the Tower to look alive and full of energy. To achieve this outcome, each office had its room lights turned on prior to the event and they remained on during the four exposures. In some cases, blinds were also managed to help us manage the exposures from inside the building.
Shared above is a terrible screen shot, but Big Shot wanted to introduce a special hero from the event. Unfortunately, one security light remained on in advance of the photograph and was not turned off prior to starting. The light was located on the portico or roof leading to the main lobby. The security light was shining directly into the cameras. This created significant image flare and became more apparent to the photographers as the sky darkened. Once informed, Kodak sent a person up onto that roof using a ladder to cover up the light using black garbage bags. At the time, no one who was available or present who knew where that light switch was located. You can see our hero in his striped shirt managing the” bagging” of that troublesome light.
George Eastman’s legacy of inventing, and manufacturing dry plate film that revolutionized photography in Rochester and America is well documented. Big Shot wanted to include his likeness in some way as part of the picture designed to celebrate photography, Kodak and the role Rochester, N.Y played. These organizations played a huge role in transforming wet-plate photography into a method that could be practiced by the masses. To include Mr Eastman in the Big Shot, a 60’x 40′ print was created in sections and assembled on the MCC plaza. We wanted to use the plaza – almost a football field in length – effectively to support the photograph.
The above shared photograph, provided by Dick Bennett, captures the effective of discharging a magnesium flash powder tray by George Eastman Museum photographic process historian Mark Osterman. Mark generously donated his time and expertise to our event. Big Shot also was able to work with Mark to include his 1919 Model T in the picture. Dr Anne Kress President of MCC was able to sit in the car during the photograph. We are delighted with how much energy the discharge added to the photograph. The Tower was finished in 1914 and we thought having this car and photographer on the plaza would provide a time reference to the photograph.
Kodak opened in 1888, employed tens of thousands of people during its long and important history. Big Shot and Kodak wanted to include the faces of Kodak by inviting people to hold portrait prints of former Kodak employees or loved ones that worked for the photographic giant. More than 75 people signed up to participate. Shared below is one of the enlargements that was included by the participants. This image was supplied by Kodak.