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Mount Moriah Cemetery Night Photography Workshop

Posted: 01st November 2014

Location: Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Philadelphia PA
Date/Time: Saturday April 4, 2015 6:00 - 10:00 PM
Cost: $130/ea.

The Workshop: During the workshop we will explore the cemetery from around sunset into the night. Since there will be minimal moonlight (as on the night the images on this page were taken), we will be working to take ambient light photographs using long exposures, practicing light painting, and a few lighted set ups depending on the interest level of the participants (I prefer ambient light, but I'm flexible). The Haunt of Mount Moriah will join us and share her knowledge of the area and its lore. While the grounds of the cemetery are open to the public, it is much safer to do night photography here as a group! 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. Please note it is very important that you bring a tripod and at least one flashlight!

The Site: Mount Moriah Cemetery, modeled after the New Burying Ground in New Haven, Connecticut; the Pere Lechaise Cemetery outside Paris; and Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia is arguably Pennsylvania's "Grande Dame" of the 19th Century rural cemetery movement. Seated in both Philadelphia and Delaware Counties, this bucolic hallowed ground was once herald as the largest privately owned, non-sectarian cemetery in Pennsylvania. It was chartered by the State Legislature on March 26, 1855 with an initial purchase of 54 acres, its rolling hills eventually expanded to a reported 380 acres.

Nestled in the recesses of the southwestern edge of the Philadelphia county line and originally stretching across what is now Cobbs Creek Parkway, Mount Moriah Cemetery is unique in that it has two national cemeteries contained within. Mount Moriah's original lodge and gateway, often referred to as the Old Gatehouse was designed by Stephan Decatur Button (1813 - 1897) in the Norman castellated style. The arched brownstone carriageway once had twin towers overlooking the expansive property. The structure is currently in disrepair due to a fire.

One hundred and fifty six years after its incorporation, the Mount Moriah Cemetery ceased operations. The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, originally formed in the late 1990’s, restructured and set its sight on preserving the cemetery. While it is estimated that their efforts have cleared 25% of the brush in the enormous cemetery, the remaining portion is overgrown, a continually changing landscape shaped by the Friends' war against the weeds. They will join us to answer questions and tell us about some of the amazing hidden spaces on the grounds while we photograph from afternoon to early evening. 50% of the profit will go to the Friends, who will use it in their ongoing effort to make Mt. Moriah a safe and accessible place for people to visit their ancestors' grave sites.

Rules/Safety: You need to be very aware of your safety. I encourage you to always pay attention to your surroundings. It is easy to twist an ankle or trip in some areas of the cemetery, and there are many ticks lurking in the underbrush so we recommend pants and a long sleeved shirt. As mentioned above, while we will not mandate you stay with the group, we highly encourage you to at the least partner with other photographers. The cemetery is easy to get lost in! A representative from the Friends of Mt. Moriah will be on hand and following their directions is critical. Showing proper respect for the cemetery is also expected. 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. Potential risks include uneven terrain, unstable monuments/tombstones, insect/wildlife bites, and potentially unsafe neighborhood. We do not advise attendees to leave valuables unattended in their vehicles. We will take precautions to ensure the safety of participants but by signing up for the workshop you are acknowledging that you accept risks are present and will not hold any organizations/individuals involved in the workshop liable for any injuries or damages that may occur. If you have questions, feel free to send them to me.

What to bring:
- a flashlight (the more/brighter, the better)
- a bottle of water
- sturdy boots that protect your feet
- your tripod (mandatory!)
- 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.

By signing up you agree to the following terms: 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 further details no less than a week prior to the event. You will need to sign a waiver to participate in this event, a sample of which can be found here. 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. Because of the extremely limited tour spots there are NO REFUNDS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES if you have signed up for the tour except in case of workshop cancellation by Abandoned America. 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. There is always a possibility that the workshop may need to be moved to a different date based on severe inclement weather or site manager's limitations. If this is the case notification will be given immediately and a refund will be offered if attendee is unable to make the alternate date. We cannot be held liable for travel, rental, or other costs incurred by attendee in the event of workshop cancellation. We do make every effort to ensure all events run on schedule. All sales are final.

If you have questions or are thinking about signing up, please read the Workshop FAQ Page! Send me a note at admin@abandonedamerica.org if you need to know anything else. If the PayPal link is immediately below this there are still open spots.



Photo comment By Bob D: Very nice photo's even though I am not a big fan of over-processed techniques, especially HDR, something I need to grow into. I am new to Photoshop CC and am having trouble finding good info or classes to attend. I need to get on board because I shoot alot of images and need a clean uncumbered work flow from downloading into Bridge and processing in RAW. Thanks!

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