If you enjoy Abandoned America, check out the book series or follow on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook

Abandoned America Photography Workshops

When I started my business teaching photography workshops, one of the core principles was that I wanted to use them to help the places I love. A portion of the proceeds of each workshop is paid for property rental to site owners to help with maintenance, taxes, and restoration. While this will never be enough in itself to save a site, since April 2013 I have paid a total of over $100,000 to the various places I've worked with, including the Historic Lansdowne Theater Corporation, SS United States Conservancy, National Museum of Industrial History, the Old Game Farm, the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery Inc., and more. Through the workshops photographers gained legal access into otherwise hard to visit locations, and I worked to teach people how to take better photographs and encouraged a greater appreciation for these amazing spots.

During workshops I am on hand to help you get better shots - poorly lit environments can be pretty tough to navigate photographically and I encourage you to come with questions. All levels of experience, from beginner to expert, are welcome. I've been photographing abandoned buildings for 10 years, and am a trained architectural photographer. In addition I have taught photography, including at Rochester Institute of Technology where I earned my MFA in Imaging Arts and Sciences. I want you to leave with pictures you're proud of and no question is too simple or complicated.

If you have questions or are thinking about signing up, please read the Workshop FAQ Page! I also recommend joining the Facebook Photo Workshops group, where you can see images from each place and ask other attendees questions directly. Visit this page to see past photography workshops.

Scranton Lace Company Workshop

Location: Scranton Lace Co., Scranton PA
Date/Times Available:
November 5, 2017 10:30 - 3:30 PM Spaces Available!

The Site: Established in 1890 and incorporated in 1897, the Scranton Lace Factory was once one of the premier producers of a variety of textiles ranging from tablecloths, napkins, yarn, lace, laminates, and many others. During World War II they provided parachutes, tarpaulins, and camouflage netting to the allies. Scranton Lace is an enormous complex that once employed 1,400 people and boasted its own gym, barbershop, theater, four lane bowling alley, and an infirmary for its employees. Risky investments and advances in technology led to a slow decline in the textile mill's prominence. In their final days the staff had dwindled to fifty (given the size of the buildings, one wonders how often they even crossed paths) and had average annual sales of about six million. In 2002 they finally shut their doors, and thus an era of prosperity and pride for many of their employees ended as well. As of January 2017 over $12,000 has been generated through the workshops for the site.

For more details, click here.

Mount Moriah Cemetery Night Photography Workshop

Location: Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Philadelphia PA
Date/Time: Saturday October 21, 2017 6:00 - 10:30 PM - SPACES AVAILABLE!
Saturday September 30, 2017 6:00 - 10:30 PM SOLD OUT
Cost: $115/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.

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 profits 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. As of July, 2015 nearly $1,900 has been generated through the workshops for the site.

For more details, click here.

Old Game Farm Photography Workshop

Location: Appx. 45 min. south of Albany or just over 2 hours north of NYC
October 8, 2017 11:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Cost: $140/ea.

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 over 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 be the first official group allowed on the site and 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. As of January 2017 over $7,500 has been generated through the workshops for the site.

For more details and to sign up, click here.

Trolley Graveyard Photography Workshop

Location: In PA, roughly 2 hrs west from Harrisburg, 2 hours east of Pittsburgh
Cost: Varies; see info page
Dates/Times Available:
OCTOBER 14, 2017 4:00 PM - 9:30 PM: Spaces Available!

The Site: Situated on a little over two acres, there are dozens of trolleys and train cars from PA, MA, KS, and more in various states of decomposition to photograph including some very old specimens. Participants will also have access to an otherwise locked storage area with very well preserved relics including a car from 1912. As of January 2017 over $9,000 has been generated through the workshops for the site.

For more details, click here.

Klotz Throwing Company Workshop

Location: Lonaconing, MD
OCTOBER 15, 2017 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Cost: $160/ea.

The Site: The Klotz Throwing Company was a major victory for me when I finally got permission from the owner to photograph it in 2011. I can truly say that finding a textile mill with fully intact 1940s-50s era machinery is unprecedented, and the details - down to the 'fire suppression system' consisting of buckets hung from the posts - are amazingly photogenic. Since I set up the first photography workshop there to raise funds to help maintain the building, it has become a popular spot for photographers. I could spend days here, and you will absolutely walk away from a workshop here with some impressive shots of a very rare and fascinating window into America's past. As of January 2017 over $1,500 has been generated through the workshops for the site.

For more details, click here.

Bodie Night Photography Workshop

Location: Bodie, CA
Cost: $900/ea.
Dates/Times Available:
August 18 AND August 19, 2017 SOLD OUT
Approximately 6:30 PM - 12:30 AM each night

The Site: Founded in 1859 as a small camp after the discovery of gold in the hills east of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Bodie never really found prominence until 1876. A larger deposit of gold ore drew more settlers and by 1879 the town had grown to 5,000-7,000. Other strikes drew miners away and by 1910 the number of inhabitants had dropped below 700 and it was called a 'ghost town' as early as 1915. A few residents remained into the 1940s, and the property was made into a state park in 1962. Visitors can visit the site most days now and see a rare and precious example of what life was like there over 150 years ago.

The Workshop: This two night workshop takes place at one of the best preserved ghost towns in the United States. We will have exclusive access to the park for six hours after it normally closes during which we will be able to get amazing night photographs of the structures plus the Milky Way overhead. The public is not allowed in the park during these hours.

For more details, click here.

Carrie Furnaces Photography Workshop

Location: The Carrie Furnaces, Rankin PA
Cost: $150
June 10, 2017 3:30 PM to 8:30 PM

The Site: The Carrie Furnaces were built in 1881 as part of U.S. Steel's Homestead Works, a sprawling 400-acre complex that spanned both sides of the Monogahela river. They produced up to 1,250 tons of steel a day until 1978 when they were closed. While the majority of the site was razed for developments that never materialized (and a shopping center that did), the 100-foot high furnaces still stand; now they are an extremely rare example of pre-WWII ironmaking technology. The furnaces were designated as a national historic landmark in 2006 and preservation efforts are underway. During workshops we not only get access to areas otherwise not part of the tours for the public, but since it is a small group it is much easier to get shots uncluttered by others. Check out the gallery of images on my website. As of January 2017 over $2,400 has been generated through the workshops for the site.

For more details, click here.

A Vanishing Countryside Photography Workshop

Location: Sites in Eastern PA and Northwest NJ (meet at Pocono Environmental Education Center)
Date/Time: APRIL 1, 2017 11:00 AM - 4:30 PM SOLD OUT (MORE DATES COMING SOON)
Cost: $140/ea.

The Site: We will begin our journey at the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) where we will be guided in their vans to various undisclosed locations in their vicinity. These locations will consist of abandoned barns, farmsteads and homesteads dating from the late 1700’s until the mid-1900’s. Not only will you be fascinated by the landscapes, but also in the traces of human element that paint the stories of the people who lived at these sites and how they worked with the land. A representative from PEEC will accompany us and can give us more details on the history of the land and the people who lived there. Due to regulations, many of the places will be shot from the exterior only; having visited this area beforehand I can attest that the scenery and locations are so breathtaking that you will get lovely photographs. As of January 2017 over $3,000 has been generated through the workshops for PEEC.

For more details and to sign up, click here.

Yellow Dog Village

Worthington, PA
Dates/Times Available:
June 24, 2017 3:30 - 8:30 + cookout
Cost: $165/ea.

The Site: Yellow Dog Village is a beautiful little former mining community in the hills about an hour north of Pittsburgh with over a dozen abandoned homes to explore. The current owner is working to restore the property and a portion of the funds will go towards preserving the site. There is plenty of room and many areas to photograph, and you can meet the owner and learn more about why this small neighborhood vanished.

As of January 2017 $1,500 has been generated through the workshops for the site.

For more details, click here.

Historic Lansdowne Theater Workshop

Location: Lansdowne Theater, Lansdowne PA
February 11, 2017 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM - SOLD OUT
February 19, 2017 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM - SOLD OUT
Cost: $115/ea.

The Site: According to the Historic Lansdowne Theater Corp., "The Stanley Warner Company and Herbert Effinger commissioned renowned and prolific theater architect William H. Lee to design a 1300-seat movie theater in the heart of Lansdowne’s Central Business District. Based in Philadelphia, Lee designed more than 80 movie houses one as far away as Hawaii. Designed in the popular Hollywood Moorish style, the $250,000 theater was opened just before the advent of the “talkies” and harkens to the days of romantic silent films. Visitors moved through the front doors, up an incline, and into a Moorish style courtyard with fountains at each end. Large lighting fixtures hung in the lobby, which opened to the grand auditorium. With its elaborately painted ceiling, grand chandelier,balconies, and large proscenium, the theater is a feast for the eyes.

As of January 2017 over $6,000 has been generated through the workshops for the site.

For more details and to sign up, click here.