Rad A. Drew Photography: Abandoned Gary, Indiana Photo Workshop

Continental Divide at Dawn

Continental Divide at Dawn
Continental Divide at Dawn

Abandoned Gary, Indiana Photo Workshop

Thomas Edison Concept Home, Gary, Indiana
© Rad A. Drew

Friday, August 10 - Sunday, August 12, 2018


Sally Meyer Wolf
Rad A. Drew 

Traditional and Mobile Photographers

Face in City United Methodist Church
© Sally Meyer Wolf

Our Connection to Gary and the Steel Mills
Abandoned but Secure
© Rad A. Drew

My father's side of my family hails from “The Region” in north western Indiana; the Crown Point area to be precise. My grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunts, and even my dad, all worked at the steel mills in Gary, Indiana, at different times. I've grown up hearing stories about the mills: the work, the people, race relations, and the times. So, as the steel industry in Gary all but collapsed and led to the loss of thousands of jobs and the abandoning of the city, I watched in awe, stupefied that such a giant could be brought to its knees.

In about 2012, I started photographing abandoned sites in Gary with my friend, Sally Wolf, who had already been shooting there for a couple of years. Sally and I began leading photo tours to Gary in 2013. It's been two years since our last tour in Gary and recently we've had a lot of requests to go back to photograph these collapsing historical sites, so we're excited to be going back and sharing this incredible area with you. – Rad A. Drew

Sally Wolf
My father was an executive in the steel industry in Pittsburgh; however, he began his career in the Hammond area at a small steel plant. I was born in “The Region” and shortly thereafter we moved to Pennsylvania. Junior year of high school, we returned to Hammond so he could do steel consulting as the industry was consolidating. More and more plants were being closed or sold off to US Steel, which still is producing today in Gary to a certain degree. I too, for many years, heard about the industry downsizing due to less usage of steel in the US and competition with foreign steel. It is very sad to see the industry that my father loved and the jobs that supported so many families, leave, transforming Gary from a thriving community to one in such a desperate situation. – Sally Wolf

High School Auditorium
© Sally Meyer Wolf

During the years that we've been photographing in Gary, we've watched with dismay as these structures – some majestic  community structures, some historic architecture, and some humble abodes – have fallen further and further into ruin. 

We invite you to join us in an exploration of Gary that includes community structures, historic architecture, homes, and industrial sites. 

Friday, August 10 - Sunday, August 12, 2018

$450 for two days of shooting in the City; Includes photography instruction in the field and photography permits purchased from the City for each member of the group.

Limited to 12 participants.

City United Methodist Church, Gary, Indiana
© Rad A. Drew


Caveat: Each time we've traveled to Gary, we've experienced different opportunities, therefore we cannot guarantee that we will see each of the locations listed on the itinerary. In fact, we've listed more on this list than we could see in the time we have. These are the places that we'll be scouting between now and our trip, and we will post an update prior to the event. 

We've sometimes returned to find structures suddenly restricted or torn down, and alternatively, we've found structures that were previously restricted now accessible. Each trip is an adventure in that sense. We will have access to shoot inside many locations, while others we'll photograph only from the outside. Our photography experience with our group will draw from this list below. Everything is subject to change.

  • Memorial High School Auditorium 
  • City United Methodist Church
  • Old Municipal Building 
  • West 5th Avenue Historic Apartment District 
  • Thomas Edison Concept Homes 
  • US Post Office 
  • Union Station 
  • Broadway Avenue 
  • Mercy Hospital 
  • Frank Lloyd Wight Home 
  • Michigan City Lighthouse 
  • Historic MarkTown 
  • Rail Yard 
  • Parry-Shaw Building

Daily Schedule

Friday, August 10, 2018
6 PM, CDT, Meet and Greet at area restaurant over dinner (TBD). 

Saturday, August 11, 2018, 
7:30 AM Depart from Denny's (arrive early if you want to get breakfast, etc.)
Lunch and Dinner to be determined. 
Sunset at Michigan City Light House, weather permitting

Sunday, August 12, 2018
7:30 AM Depart from Denny's (arrive early if you want to get breakfast, etc.)
Lunch TBD
5 PM Wrap-Up

About the Leaders

Sally and Rad have been friends for many years, shooting and leading workshops together throughout Indiana, The Palouse, and Cuba, as well as shooting on their own in locations around the world. Together they possess 50+ years of photography experience with a variety of cameras shooting all types of images from portraits to architecture to landscapes to still life. As a team they compliment each other’s skills in ways that are a huge benefit to participants. Rad is known for his iPhone, Mirrorless, and Infrared photography, and Sally for her skill in shooting a wide variety of digital and studio photography. 

Sally Wolf
Sally Wolf is a seasoned veteran of many types of photography and graphic arts experience. She holds a B.S. in Art Education from Indiana University and taught art in the public schools before working in her family’s corporate audiovisual business. There, Sally applied her graphics and photography talents to meet the needs of commercial and industrial clients. Since 2000, Sally has photographed weddings, and shot portrait sessions and commercial photography. In 2013, she and Rad began leading photo workshops to The Palouse, Cuba, Gary, and rural Indiana. Sally continues to work in the studio that she officially opened in 2010 in Arcadia, Indiana. She has won numerous photographic awards including the Indiana State Fair Top Ten in 2016, and recognition from Lafayette Art Museum, Anderson Center for the Arts, Honeywell Clark Gallery, and Kokomo Art Association. She’s been named Photographer of the Year by the Indianapolis Photo Venture Camera Club three times, and is also an active member in several other prominent Indiana camera clubs. For more information, contact Sally directly or visit her website, http://sallywolfphotography.com.

Rad A. Drew
Rad A. Drew is a professional photographer who lives with his wife, metalsmith, Nancy Lee, in historic Irvington, Indiana, on the east side of Indianapolis. Although a traditional camera photographer much of his life, in recent years he's earned a reputation as an iPhone photographer. His creative iPhone images have received numerous awards and have made their way into galleries and juried international competitions showing in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, New York, Toronto, Collingwood, Seattle, and Melbourne. He is author of the fine art books, In Good Light, Images of the Circle City and Rural Indiana, A Beauty all its Own, and is a contributor to today’s most comprehensive volume of iPhone instruction, The Art of iPhone Photography: Creating Great Photos and Art on Your iPhone. Rad is a frequent speaker at photography conferences and camera clubs throughout the U.S. His destination workshops to Cuba, France, Tuscany, and points throughout the U.S. including Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, PA, and locations on Cape Cod, are great ways to learn while photographing beautiful areas of the world. For more information contact Rad directly or visit his web site, www.RadDrewPhotography.com.

Accommodations and Ground Transportation

Each participant is responsible for meals, hotel, and air and ground transportation. 

We recommend you stay at one of the many hotels in Merrillville, Indiana, near the intersection of Interstate 65 and Indiana Highway 30. We often stay at the:

Red Roof Inn
8290 Georgia St, Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone: (219) 738-2430

It's not fancy, but it's inexpensive and clean.

We will depart for Gary each morning at 7:30 from:

720 E. 81st Street
Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone 219) 769-5449

If you'd like to have breakfast at Denny's, arrive early enough to be ready to go by 7:30! 

Fees and Registration

Cost: $450 for two full days days. A deposit of $150 will hold your spot with the balance due 60 days prior to the event. Registrations will be accepted on a first come first served basis. 

Cancellation and Refund Policy

We understand that attending our workshops requires advance commitment, and also that things can happen in life that may require you to cancel from a workshop. Based on cancellation date, the following terms apply:
  • 90-61 days before the start of the workshop: 50% refund of any payments made.
  • 60 days before the start of the workshop: 25% refund.
  • 30 days before the start of the workshop: no refund 
No matter when you cancel, if your space can be filled, we will provide a 100% refund of any payments made.

Select Payment Option