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Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream / Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences

Workshop FAQ Page

Here are answers to most of the questions people ask about workshops:

Q: I am a beginner/expert in photography. Is the workshop a good fit for me?
A: Workshops are designed to accommodate all experience levels. I spend the time working one on one with attendees to improve their technique. I love working with beginners to help them improve so if you know very little, don't feel intimidated asking! If you are a more experienced photographer, I encourage you to come with questions or areas you'd like to work on. If you just want left to photograph and don't need help, that's OK too!

What equipment do you recommend/use?
A: There is so much different equipment out there that it is hard to specify what will work best for you, but I can tell you what I use.
Camera Body: EOS 5D Mark II 21.1MP Full Frame CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Canon USA) (Body)
Lenses: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens (my favorite of the lot and the most used), Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras, Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L Tilt Shift Lens for Canon SLR Cameras (will sell if you're interested), Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras (will sell in you're interested)
Tripod: Legs: Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 055 Aluminium 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column (Black) (heavy and clunky but very sturdy); head: Manfrotto 498RC4 Ball Head with Quick Release Replaces Manfrotto 488RC4, also very sturdy.
Flash/Accessories: Flash unit: Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash for Canon Digital SLR Cameras; Wireless flash transmitters: Yongnuo YN622 Wireless ETTL Flash Trigger Receiver Transmitter Transceiver - note that I use these very infrequently in abandoned locations but they are invaluable for events.
Extras: Panorama head: Giga Pan Systems Epic Pro Robotic Gigapixel Camera Mount; Infrared filter: Fotga 77mm 77mm Infrared Infra-red IR Filter 950nm 950; Bag: Tamrac 5549 Adventure 9 Photo/Computer Backpack (Grey/Black) (been using this for years and it has taken a tremendous beating and still is functional. Highly recommend); 3d Point & Shoot: Panasonic digital cameras Lumix 3D shooting black DMC-3D1-K (will sell if interested)


Q: How do these workshops contribute to the sites they take place at?
A: Each site I work with is paid a fee (varying between 30%-75% of the profits, typically in the neighborhood of 50%) for legal access throughout the day. Site owners cooperate with Abandoned America to create a fun, hospitable environment where people can focus on taking their photographs and improving technique in otherwise often very difficult to access locations. Fees paid to the owners are requested to go towards maintenance and/or restoration of the site. As of January 2016 over $80,000 has been paid out to properties like the Historic Lansdowne Theater Corporation, Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery Inc., the SS United States Conservancy, and dozens of others. While the workshops are a business, their goal is to give back to the locations they are held at in a meaningful way. This is part of the reason that we are allowed to access places that can otherwise be difficult to secure; contributing to the well-being of the site and building strong relationships with owners and community groups are very important to us.

Q: What sort of respirator do you recommend?
A: There are a lot to choose from, and your needs may vary depending on whether you have allergies, respiratory problems, etc. I think a good one to start with is the 3M 6000 Series Half Facepiece Respirator, Medium; it's great at filtering out particulate matter and isn't terribly expensive.

Q: How can I tell if there are spots available for a workshop?
A: If the Paypal link is at the end of the workshop page (before the second set of images) there are spots available and you can sign up through it.

Q: How many people attend workshops per session?
A: Typical group size varies based on location size. I try to keep groups small so as to allow people more room and give more individualized attention. For smaller locations like theaters, it's usually around 10-12, for larger locations 20-25.

Q: Do you set up private events?
A: Yes, but usually there is a minimum requirement for attendees of 10-15 people depending on the location. Property owners have their own fees and because of the time/travel involved I usually can't set up events for small groups. If you have a group that would like to join please email me for more information.

Q: I'd like to share my photographs from a workshop with others. Any suggestions?
A: Yes! I've set up a Facebook Abandoned America Workshops group that you can join and post your photos from the workshop to and socialize with other workshop attendees. It's always helpful to get feedback and see how other people approach situations, and it also can be a great place to see what people came up with on a workshop you're thinking of attending.

Q: Do you provide transportation to events? Any info on carpooling?
A: Attendees must provide their own transportation to workshops as well as meals and lodging unless otherwise specified. If you would like to try to arrange carpooling you can post on the Facebook workshops page and see if anyone would be interested.

Q: I signed up for a workshop but am unable to attend.
A: If you are cancelling 30 days or more before the event, your fee will be refunded minus a $40 cancellation fee unless otherwise specified on the workshop sign up page. If it is less than 30 days before the event there are no refunds, although you may sell or give your spot to someone else. Please be sure to alert us if you do so.

Q: What is the policy regarding workshop cancellation?
A: Cancelling a workshop is always a last resort and never a decision that is taken lightly. There are some circumstances where it may be necessary, which include (a) medical emergency, (b) severe inclement weather (primarily outdoor workshops can't be held in torrential downpours, for example), (c) minimum attendance numbers not being met, or (d) changes in site safety/accessibility.

If a workshop is going to be cancelled we will do our best to make sure attendees know as soon as possible. If a workshop is cancelled attendees may request a full refund or may transfer the credit towards another open workshop. If a decision to transfer and a specific workshop are not selected within one week from the date of the notification a refund will be automatically processed. By signing up for a workshop you acknowledge the possibility that a workshop may have to be cancelled and rescheduled and agree not to hold the site owners or event organizers liable for any costs incurred related to changing plans.

Q: I have a friend who is not a photographer who would like to attend. Can they come for free or a reduced rate if they are not attending the workshop?
A: Guests are welcome but they must pay the same fee as workshop participants.

Q: I am not interested in a workshop but would like to contact the owners of the property. Can you put me in touch with them?
A: No.

Q: I would like to have a model attend. Is this possible?
A: At most sites it is impossible to accommodate model photography. In certain situations exceptions can be made but there is a fee for the model to attend.


Any other questions? Feel free to email me.