Old Catskill Game Farm Photography Workshop
Posted: 15th February 2017
Location: Appx. 45 min. south of Albany or just over 2 hours north of NYC
May 7, 2017 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
October 8, 2017 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
The Site: Certainly one of the more unique locations I've photographed, this historic spot was once the largest privately owned zoo in the United States. It opened in 1933 and closed in 2006. At the time of its closure it held over 2,000 different animals and was situated on about 200 acres. Dozens of pens, kiosks, and other small to mid sized structures dot an extraordinarily picturesque property that would easily take more than a day to fully explore. The zoo has since been bought by a couple who hopes to keep the zoo intact while using it for camping and live performance events. We will have free reign during the time we are there to discover the myriad of photo opportunities onsite. A portion of the proceeds will go towards the owners' efforts to maintain and restore the property. This location and its history are also featured in a chapter in my book, Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream.
What to Expect: The property is huge and mostly filled with midsized and smaller structures. This is best suited for people who enjoy the outdoors and nature photography, and hiking about the grounds to discover fun details of the place. I will lead an optional tour of the former zoo, and am happy to spend as much or as little time working with you on your photography as you need. As the grounds are very large and cell phone reception is spotty, please anticipate that you may wish to either have a friend sign up also or stay with Matthew unless you are comfortable with exploring on your own. There are no known significant safety or environmental hazards except ticks during the summer months. You may wish to bring a snack and will definitely want bottled water.
The Workshop: During the workshop I will be on hand to help you get better shots - including a basic introduction to infrared photography (this is a perfect environment for it!) and 360 degree panoramas if you'd like to learn 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. As a trained architectural photographer I am able to help you get not just beautiful but technically correct images that you'll be amazed by. 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.
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, and there are many, many ticks lurking in the underbrush so we recommend pants, boots, a long sleeved shirt, and bug spray. 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 me or the property owners 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:
- A bottle of water
- Sturdy boots that protect your feet
- Your tripod
- A fully charged cell phone
- Extra batteries and memory cards
- 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.
REFUND POLICY: If you are unable to attend an event and notify me at firstname.lastname@example.org more than 30 days prior to the event, you will be issued a full refund minus a $40 processing fee. Because of the extremely limited tour spots, if it is within 30 days of the event there are NO REFUNDS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES except in case of workshop cancellation by Abandoned America. You may give or sell 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, safety concerns, 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 email@example.com - if the PayPal link is immediately below this there are still open spots.
October 8, 2017 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
By Maria: Intense. Love it. get a sense from viewing what it might have been like to be in the cages during its heyday
By Lance J: Having grown up in the Mohawk Valley, this was way downstate to us. I vividly remember going there in about 1967 at age 5. The most memorable part was the Rhinoceros's and the moat that kept them from wandering off.
By Paul evanko: My family an I would pass by the game farm every time we would go to our property we own in stamford,ny or to my cousins house in middleburgh ny do the new owners plan to open it again as a petting zoo/museum ?? So sad it's gone😞
By Melissa Harnett: This place was my childhood. It would be too hard to see it as it is now.
By Donna: Please restore as a game farm. Such incredible memories made there. Heartbroken it's Such a loss.gone.
By Janet: Oh, I loved this place. Many visits through the years, with family, friends, my Brownie troop, and then later with my children when they were young. I cried when they closed it, and have tears in my eyes today, as I see these photos. Such good times were spent there, wish they were still open. Love for my grandchildren to see it.
By Terry Hawthorne: Will you be adding more dates to the Catskill Game Farm this year? Thank you!!
By Anne Sullivan Miscoski: I remember going to the Catskill Game Farm when i was young, 1970 ish and it was great to see and get close to all the animals. Wow, i hope it can be resurrected for the younger generations.
By Kathy: Went here many times growing up. Always something new to see. So sad it shut down.
By Tom Murphy: I may be dating myself, but I haven't been there since the early 60s, and I don't remember much -- just that is was a favorite outing for my family that all us kids looked forward to. And I remember the petting zoo pretty well.
By Zookeeper Lakewood: Very interesting. We were watching American Pickers and saw a sign that was from the zoo. It sparked my curiousity since there was a zoo in our community that was the largest privately owned zoo as well. Lakewood Farm and Zoo closed in the 1930's. Check out the Getz Farm and Zoo! Glad to hear there are plans to get the Catskill Zoo in better shape. It'll be a treasure. Keep the history going, Once it's gone, it's gone. Way to go!
By Melissa: Hope to see another day this summer. I would love to do this.
By Kim Kafka: Please let me know if there 2 cancels... I wanted to attend but its sold out so fast
By fellows family: we would go here with our mother and father many years ago. i remember riding the fire engine around the park. as i got older and had my own kids and wife we would head there while camping in the catskills
By Claude: "I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream..." so long ago but I vaguely remember the sign by the bears! Great memories, sad it's gone.
By amy: Wow what fantastic memory's! Was there last in 1968..loved feeding the animals and the train.Hope a miracle happens with this place.went up to the Catskills every summer from when I was a baby to teenager..I feel blessed to have gone to Catskill game farm many times...
By Donna: Fond memories of going to the Catskill Game Farm when I was a child in the early 1960's with my parents & brother when we vacationed in Hanes Falls. My mother tells me a goat started eating at her pocketbook made out of straw!
By Patty: Is there a photography workshop schedule that I can look at
By Kathy Nelson: Please let me know when the next photography workshop will be. Would love to be able to spend hours walking around and taking pictures next summer.