Sunday, March 24, 2013

The lights went out and we all started to shine

Shine your flashlight
For a spring evening in Texas it was cold, and granted there were a lot of events happening on Saturday night, along with the NCAA March Madness, but some of us had to come to Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and shine a light on the world's largest indoor stadium.

A year ago when they started planning the event co-founders Bill Dubois and Michael Peres had hoped to have 20,000 and set a Guinness Book record for number of people participating in a photograph, (and then Guinness World Records rejected the category) but the 27th BigShot by the photo students at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York had to work with  2400 volunteers to light the building on a cold foggy, more Rochester like weather, on Saturday, March 23rd 2013.

Some of us came with shoe-mount strobes, but many simply brought flashlights. Then there was the guy from Dallas ("nakedlens" is his name) who had a backpack fitted with four studio strobes that he fired with the shoe-mount flash he pointed behind him. Who needs 2000 volunteers when one guy can do it? I'm not sure the folks at RIT let him shine.
NakedLens brought lots of light 

Signing in we got assigned to various groups setting up along the southeast corner of Cowboy Stadium. I was assigned to Lighting Team 7B at the far right under one of the two big support girders. Other people were assigned to the parking lot along side the stadium, all around the roadway and even back in the distant parking lot where the elevated camera took four shots.

Wanting to control all the light they asked Cowboy Stadium to turn off ALL the lights inside the building and outside in the parking lot. The moon could be seen poking out every once in awhile behind cloud cover, so it was dark and all those little flash lights don't put out much light. But they said it "looks good."

RIT students flew down Friday morning were also stationed 25 feet apart with their digital cameras around the service road saying that they plan on stitching all the images together to make a super panorama. They got a tour on Friday and one student showed me a neat app he has on his iPhone that let him create and scroll around 360-degree view he took in seconds during the tour.

Using the siren on an emergency rescue van, they opened the shutter for about a minute, with my shoe-mount flash and fresh batteries I was able to fire off two times and once using the flash on my Olympus Pen camera. Folks with flashlights were told to keep moving and move the light around.

I wonder what the picture will look like? They say we can download a file after April 15, 2013 from

RIT called it "painting with light" and the faculty members coordinating the event said the stadium size and glass exterior  posed the biggest challenges for the annual project since they started in 1987. They have previously lit up the Alamo, the USS Intrepid, the Pile Gate in Croatia and the Smithsonian National Museum of Native Americans in Washington D.C.

Cowboy Stadium will host the NCAA Final Four in 2014 and maybe the RIT photo will help everyone know where they are going. # # #