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Abandoned America Photography Workshop: Scotland School for Veterans' Children

Posted: 01st August 2010

Location: Scotland School for Veterans' Children, Scotland PA
Date/Time: August 24, 2013 10:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Cost: $135/ea.

The Site: According to a state website, "Founded in 1895, SSVC is the only residential school in the nation specifically designed and accredited to educate and care for the children of Pennsylvania military service veterans. Over 10,000 graduates have gone on to distinguish themselves in a wide variety of careers and endeavors. The school curriculum includes a JROTC program, strong academics, caring homelife program, accomplished sports teams, and alumni and parent support."

State budget cuts closed the 185-acre campus in 2009, leaving 70 buildings that include a school, library, gym, pool, theater, rec hall, housing, a chapel, machine shops, and a stunning administration building to the same fate as many other large closed state facilities: slow deterioration. As of 2013, many of the buildings were in pristine condition, but several were showing signs of deterioration.

Unlike many such stories though, this one has a happy ending: in 2013 the Winebrenner Theological Seminary finalized a $1.8 million dollar deal to purchase and rehabilitate the campus. Work is already underway to return buildings to use, and the Seminary is planning a multipurpose restoration that will include senior care facilities, classrooms, and partnerships with other schools and agencies.

Attendees of the workshop will have access to multiple campus buildings including the chapel, administration building, rec hall, cafeteria, gym, pool, and perhaps a few others as well. The campus itself is spectacular, and the buildings offer a nice mixture of very well kept spaces that are full of remnants of the school's glory days and others that have decayed somewhat. As the buildings are being returned to use by the Winebrenner Theological Seminary it is unclear if there will be future workshops at this site. Minimum attendance is 15 for event to be held. To see the full gallery of images from this site, click here.

The Workshop: During the workshop I will be on hand to help you get better shots - these environments can be pretty tough to navigate photographically and I encourage you to come with questions. You will have five hours to explore the factory as you wish - there will be a tour and a photography demo lesson, but you are not required to attend them. I know some of you are just taking the tour to see the location, and if that's the case I'll stay out of your way and let you do your thing. Learning to use a tripod, what file format to shoot in, how to compose shots better, what ISO, F-Stop, and shutter speed affect, and how to do things like exposure bracketing are very important to your results. Don't feel afraid to ask me even questions that may seem silly to you. I want you to leave with pictures you're proud of. I've been doing this for a while and want you to learn from my mistakes and successes.

Safety: You need to be very aware of your safety. I encourage you to always pay attention to your surroundings. A site manager will be on hand and following their directions is critical. If you do not you may be asked to leave the site. You will be asked to sign a waiver before you enter acknowledging that you are entering a potentially unsafe environment and that you will not hold either the owners or myself liable for any harm that may befall you or your equipment. Obviously the first priority on the trip, even before taking great pictures, is making sure that you are safe - but you will need to be the one looking out for that.

What to bring:
- respirator/dust mask (recommended)
- a bottle of water
- sturdy boots that protect your feet
- your tripod
- a fully charged cell phone
- your camera manual if you're unsure how to change settings. I can help you find the information you need in the manual but most cameras have their own ways of accessing features and changing settings and that makes things a lot easier.
- It's not necessary but a remote shutter switch is a nice thing to have and you can get a cheap one on Amazon for about $6 depending on your camera.

Refunds: Because of the extremely limited tour spots there are NO REFUNDS if you have signed up for the tour except in case of workshop cancellation. You may give a paid spot in the workshop to someone else if you are unable to attend but admission may not be transferred to another event. All sales are final.

Any questions? Send me a note at admin@abandonedamerica.org


Important: Please make sure you check the email associated with your Paypal account for confirmation/updates! Your Paypal receipt is your confirmation, an email will follow with a day or two with further details. By signing up for this workshop you agree not to use information attained before or during the workshop to illegally trespass or set up alternate workshops/events.


Photo comment By Gloria Ray: Thank you for this site. I was a student at Scotland and you have done it justice. It was like you know it was our life and it was sacred to you as it was to us. It is good it is going to good use but it will never be our home again. It is definitely missed. Thank you again for your work on this. Your writings are absolutely beautiful.
Photo comment By Deanne Shaw: I went to Scotland and I appreciate you for caring about our school as much as we do. I thank you for the pictures and your writings! That was our home and we miss it, but I am so glad that the campus will be used. Thanks again!!!
Photo comment By penny sites mathis: tas a scotland schank you
Photo comment By jeff sweigart: loved the pics u took of our once great school for the children of Veterans as I was one of those children that attended SSVC from 1966 - 1975 I am following u on facebook and there are many alumni of SSVC that are on facebook. Hope to see more of ur pictures of our great school to keep our memories alive

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