Abandoned School Workshop – Saturday, September 9, 2023 (Afternoon Session)


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Date: Saturday, September 9, 2023
Time: 3:00p-7:00p
Cost: $125
Max Participants: 12
Location: Shenandoah, Pennsylvania

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I am also hosting a morning workshop here on the same day!

Come along as we explore one of the coolest sites I’ve photographed in Pennsylvania. The semi-abandoned  J.W. Cooper School served the community of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, for more than seven decades after being completed in 1917 and also briefly served as a hospital and morgue during the Spanish flu pandemic. While portions of it have been restored, much of the building remains as it has been for years.

Locations inside the school that can be photographed include the auditorium, several classrooms, an empty swimming pool, the original gymnasium, and much, much more.

Abandoned school in Pennsylvania Photo Workshop

It’s worth noting that this is a four-story building with no elevator. Steps and stepping around debris are required during the workshop. Much of the building has no heat, so dress warmly if it is a cooler day. Because of these hazards, the minimum age to participate is 15. Anyone 15-17 will be required to stay with a parent or guardian at all times. All attendees must purchase a ticket regardless of whether they will be shooting or not.

Previously, I’d advertised this particular workshop as a secret location. However, the property owner is now letting me tell you ahead of time where this spot is. We do have permission from the property owner to conduct the workshop and a portion of your payment will go towards restoring the site.

Abandoned school in Pennsylvania Photo Workshop

During the workshop, we will take a tour of the building. For those that would like instruction, we will then proceed into the workshop portion of the event, talking about composition, how to tell a story with your images, and the basic camera settings needed to get the optimal shots. If you prefer, you may skip this portion of the workshop and have more time to photograph the building. I will be available throughout the day to answer any questions or provide assistance to anyone that needs it.

Since all cameras are a bit different, I’d recommend bringing your manual in case we need to figure out how to change a setting on your camera. I also HIGHLY recommend a tripod as not having one will greatly limit your potential shots, though we can work around it if you don’t have one.

Abandoned school in Pennsylvania Photo Workshop

Generally speaking, workshops will go on even if there is a threat of inclement weather. However, if we must cancel the workshop, we will try to reschedule it. If you are unable to attend the rescheduled date, you can apply your amount paid to another photo workshop or receive a full refund.

This workshop also has a minimum number of participants required for it to go on. Should that minimum not be met at least 10 days prior to the workshop, all monies will be refunded.

Note regarding Covid: All participants will be required to sign a waiver to participate in the workshop. This waiver will note the inherent risks of participating in a workshop during the current pandemic. Unless required by local regulations, masks will not be required.

While masks are not required, you are welcome to wear one, and the conditions of the building do make the overall air quality less than ideal. The instructor will have his own mask and will put one on when working one-on-one with you if you would like him to.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus, have tested positive for Covid-19 within 5 days of the workshop, or meet the CDC guidelines for quarantining, we ask that you not come to the workshop. We will provide a full refund if you are unable to come due to a Covid-related issue.

Note that we will always follow local regulations regarding Covid, so these policies will be changed if necessary should the rules change.

If you have any other questions, read our FAQ page. You can also message me using the form below.

About the Instructor

Jim Cheney of UncoveringPA is the instructor of these photo workshops. Jim Cheney is the writer, photographer, and creator of Uncovering PA. He is an award-winning photographer that has photographed all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. Jim’s photography focuses on creating unique images utilizing long-exposure shots of waterfalls, sunsets, sunrises, and cityscapes. He also has an interest in abandoned photography.

You can see more of his work on the UncoveringPA Instagram page or on his personal Instagram, JimCheneyPhotography.

Click here for a list of equipment used by Jim.