October 1st, 2020 Virtual Meeting Reminder and Theme

Hello members,

Can you believe it? Autumn is in full swing and the colours are changing fast! Vaughn and I have put our heads together to select a theme for you. Let’s explore “The Ordinary Magic of Nowness”. You can find a short chapter on this concept in the “Heart of Photography” pgs. 24 – 27 in the hardcover version. If you have not picked up the book perhaps consider purchasing a copy to your Kindle reader. Here is a direct link.

Here is a direct quote from the chapter that may provide a quick insight into the theme we will explore: “…Magic is seeing that the world is always already gold. The phenomenal world, our lived experience, is rich, vibrant, and intrisically beautiful. We simply need to connect with that on the spot, which is easily said and often not so easily done. …It is important to not confuse nowness with immediacy, the immediate content of the current circumstances. …Nowness is a constant newness: the only now is now. Nowness is the suspension of time within time. Nowness is the timeless moment…”

This is a good start but please take the time to study the entire chapter. Then go out and explore your surroundings. Right now everything is changing so fast. From one day to the next the colours intensify and then, all it takes is a strong wind gust and the glorious colour display has shifted to the ground… We invite you to embrace the moment, right now! Perhaps you would like to make images of one view from your living room window. Do so over different times of the day, the week. Consider different lighting conditions… Have fun and enjoy this assignment.

Send up to 6 (six) images to Vaughn on Wednesday, September 30th. Please indicate how many images you are sending so he knows right away if one or more are missing.

For the ZOOM link please email Anna on Wednesday, September 30th to request the link. With email requests coming in throughout the week it has been difficult to get the correct link to everyone over the past couple of meetings. Please consider this: If the link does not immediately work for you (which has happened a couple of times now) do not sign off right away. Text Anna(306.631.8539) so she can reissue the link for you right away. We hate to have you miss out on the review as they are small teaching sessions. We have also found that if you log into the meeting early we can keep to the allotted time of about 90 minutes better. Anny usually logs in at least 10 minutes early to address issues members might encounter.

Vaughn and Anna are both immersed in some time and energy consuming activities so please keep to the September 30th date with requesting the ZOOM link and submitting your images.

Thanks so much! See you all on October 1st at 7 pm!

Avonlea Badlands Outing Sharing Session

Hi Moose Jaw Nalanda Miksang Group members! This is a special opportunity for everyone to view the images made during the Avonlea Badlands Outing. It was a small group that ventured out with Cathy but we know that those who were unable to participate would love to see the images as well.

So, mark your calendars for a special ZOOM gathering on Thursday, September 17th at 7 pm. Click here to get your ZOOM link . If you are curious, please make time for this session.

Those who were fortunate enough to participate, please forward up to 10 images to Vaughn by Wednesday, September 16th at 6 pm if you have not already done so.

We look forward to this special sharing session open to all members.

September Meeting Reminder

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Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 3rd at 7 pm.

Please submit up to 8 (eight) JPG images to Vaughn by Wednesday evening at 6 pm. The reason for early submission has several reasons: It seems that every time at least one person has encountered difficulties in submitting. Some images do not arrive in Vaughn’s inbox. It appears that sending images from your phone works most times. If you are downloading your images from your camera ensure you downsize them in your favourite photo processing program, then attach them to an email. If you downsize to 1000 pixels on the longest side the images will be just fine for sharing during our session and they will not bog down yours or Vaughn’s internet connection. Please remember, do not send more images than we ask for. We will only select the first 6 – 8 that you submit.  Please share in your email how many images you are sending so Vaughn is aware and can contact you if not all images have arrived. Thanks for being considerate, everyone.

Our theme for the assignment is “Visual Haiku”.

What is a visual haiku? What is a haiku for that matter? John McQuade in “Heart of Photography” says A haiku is a contemplative literary and poetic form that provides a written equivalent of clear and true perception. (…the pedagogical form in the English language for this practice is seventeen syllables in a five/seven/five sequence. Haiku should also include a reference to the season and nature…) Please read more about this topic in “Heart of Photography”, pgs. 21 – 23 in the hardcopy version.

How can we implement the haiku into our Miksang photography? “Heart of Photography”, Part Five, Assignment 6, pgs. 104 – 107 provides some insightful and easy to understand readings to guide you in your exploration of Visual Haiku.

Last, but not least, please click hereto send Anna an email to confirm your participation. She will forward the new ZOOM link directly. Please remember, do not respond below in the comment section as those messages often end up in Anna’s spam folder… the highlighted click here will set up an email form for you.

See you Thursday at 7 pm.

Anna and Vaughn

Miksang September Meeting Reminder

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Hello everyone,

Last week’s outing saw a small group of members venture into the Avonlea Badlands to explore the magic of ancient geological formations shaped by centuries of erosion by wind, water and temperature fluctuations. The jury is still out if we will organize a sharing session for everyone’s favourite images. Those who participated, please get in touch with Anna and Vaughn and let us know how you feel about sharing.

It’s time to turn our attention to September and our next meeting. Yes, we will continue to gather via ZOOM. Vaughn and I have repeatedly discussed returning to meetings at Carol’s Cafe & Catering in Moose Jaw but with the Covid19 cases not levelling out anytime soon we will use the online resource we established early on. ZOOM is the most effective way to communicate right now and we have recognized how much more economic this form of connecting is. Yes, at the same time we realize how important personal contact is ultimately we have seen significant growth in everyone’s Miksang photography as you navigate these times on your own with virtual guidance. Our group hails from near and far in Saskatchewan and even into Ontario (many would not travel to Moose Jaw for a Saturday morning gathering because it would not be possible).

On to the details for September: Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 3rd at 7 pm.

Please submit your images to Vaughn by Wednesday evening at 6 pm. The reason for early submission has several reasons: It seems that every time at least one person has encountered difficulties in submitting. Some images do not arrive in Vaughn’s inbox. It appears that sending images from your phone works most times. If you are downloading your images from your camera ensure you downsize them in your favourite photo processing program, then attach them to an email. If you downsize to 1000 pixels on the longest side the images will be just fine for sharing during our session and they will not bog down your or Vaughn’s internet connection. Please remember, do not send more images than we ask for. We will only select the first 6- 8 that you submit.  Please share in the email how many images you are sending so Vaughn is aware and can contact you if not all images have arrived. Thanks for being considerate, everyone.

And what is the theme for September? With the recent heatwave, we are not really thinking of fall and a change of seasons, yet the signs are all around us. Keeping these seasonal changes in mind Vaughn and I put our thinking caps on and chose “Visual Haiku” for your assignment.

What is a visual haiku? What is a haiku for that matter? John McQuade in “Heart of Photography” says A haiku is a contemplative literary and poetic form that provides a written equivalent of clear and true perception. (…the pedagogical form in the English language for this practice is seventeen syllables in a five/seven/five sequence. Haiku should also include a reference to the season and nature…) Please read more about this topic in “Heart of Photography”, pgs. 21 – 23 in the hardcopy version.

How can we implement the haiku into our Miksang photography? “Heart of Photography”, Part Five, Assignment 6, pgs. 104 – 107 provides some insightful and easy to understand readings to guide you in your exploration of Visual Haiku. The short chapter is brimming with the most concise information on the topic. If you do not own the book yet consider downloading it to your Kindle app for under C$10.

Here are a few pertinent excerpts from the chapter by John and Miriam to get you started: Of all the traditional contemplative art disciplines, written haiku is closest to our contemplative photography practice… Haiku also includes a season word. This could be something as simple as stating the season – autumn – or something subtler, like a phenomenal feature of the season – red maple leaves representing autumn… what is visual haiku? Since visual haiku is not a literary form it does not retain its literary structure… it works with deeper contemplative features of direct perception, sensibility, insight, and season… we tune into the tension of impermanence and poignancy… for example, an out-of-season oak leaf still clings to the branch, then blows off and lands on the snow, then there is a light snowfall and some gathers on the leaf…

Our recommendation is this:…do not go out looking for Visual Haiku. That will yank you out of the contemplative mindset and plop you into a hunting mindset. This balance is always tricky in Nalanda Miksang, but especially with Visual Haiku. it is better to simply head out and explore nature. You will recognize a visual haiku when you see it if you tune into these sensibilities but not by looking for it…

As a group, we have explored Visual Haiku a few times in the past. Feel free to click on the link below to watch the slide show we shared a couple years ago to gain a better understanding of the concept. It was an April shoot, so the images will cool you down but they are a good starting point, especially for our newer members.

April 2018

Looking forward to connecting with you all in early September. I will post a reminder closer to the date and will encourage you then to indicate your participation and send me an email for the ZOOM link for September 3rd. Sharing it this early will just have you lose it. Meanwhile, go out, explore, be inspired and perceive the subtle changes in nature! Happy Miksang practice. Anna & Vaughn

 

 

 

Avonlea Badlands Outing Reminder

The outing to the Avonlea Badlands is scheduled for August 14th (this week Friday!) at 6 pm for the Golden Hour Shoot and again for 10 pm for the Milky Way tour. The cost per person for the tour is $15. This is reduced to $10 if we have at least a group of six. Cathy has kindly agreed to offer both tours for the price of one. Thank you in advance, Cathy!

Thank you to those who have already emailed Anna with their decision. Please email Anna as soon as possible if you plan to attend. We need a headcount so Cathy knows how many to expect.

Meeting Reminder and New Date for Avonlea Badlands Outing

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Hello lovely people,

Just a quick reminder that we are gathering via Zoom tomorrow night. We realize it is the middle of summer and you may have better things to do. Thus far we have only heard from Jacki, Bonnie, Wade, Sharilyn, Lynn and Kim. A Zoom link has been forwarded to those indicating participation. See you tomorrow night at 7 pm. It’s not too late to participate with images gathered in our Open Shoot theme. Click here to send Anna an email to request a secure link for your participation.

I recently received a new date for an outing to the Avonlea Badlands from Cathy. She has scheduled us in for August 14th at 6 pm for the Golden Hour Shoot and again for 10 pm for the Milky Way tour. The cost per person per tour is $15. This is reduced to $10 if we have at least a group of six. We will chat about this briefly tomorrow night during our meeting.

Happy shooting, Anna and Vaughn

July 22nd Virtual Meeting Recap

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Thanks to all the members (Patricia, Bonnie, Sharilyn, Marilyn, Gillian, Kim, Lynn, Jacki, Colin, Terry, Wade, Vaughn and Anna) who submitted great images for the Heaven, Earth and Man assignment. It was great to gather on July 22nd to review the images and discuss them. With our members experiencing so many different environments (Saskatoon, Weyburn, Buffalo Pound Lake, Moose Jaw area, Tisdale area, Swift Current, Toronto, Katepwa Lake area, Rouleau area) our sharing session was a feast for the eyes.

With summer marching on and no sign of change regarding social and physical distancing in sight, the next virtual gathering will be on Thursday, August 6th at 7 pm. Please submit your Open Shoot images to Vaughn by 6 pm (or before) on August 6th. And let Anna know that you are participating to receive a secure ZOOM link for the meeting. We look forward to receiving your images and can’t wait to connect.

Vaughn and I really appreciate your continued interest in support! Enjoy the great weather and the upcoming long weekend, everyone.

 

 

Golden Hour Tour Cancelled

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Hello Members,

Just a quick note: The Golden Hour Tour into the Avonlea Badlands has been cancelled due to this week’s hot weather and subsequent low interest.

We are negotiating with Cathy to set a new date which will also provide an opportunity to extend the photo session in add a Milky Way tour with light painting.

Sorry for the short notice. We hope you stay in touch and keep watching for the new date and outing info coming soon to this site.

Many thanks for understanding,

Anna & Vaughn

Our next review…

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…of the Heaven, Earth and Man theme takes place this coming Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 at 7 pm.

Vaughn and I would like to remind everyone of a few important points:

– Keep your submission to 6 images (we will only use 6 of your images in the review slide show no matter how many you submit). Evaluating your images on your own and selecting those you deem most suitable or most in need of a review is part of the learning process in Miksang.

– If using a DSLR ensure your images are in jpeg (jpg) format, not raw.

– If using a DSLR please do not use a wide-angle lens and/or a filter as this will distort the image and often render more vivid colour than we see in reality. We realize that a wide-angle image looks more impressive, but in Miksang we try to capture what we see and we do not see wide-angle.

– Vaughn will receive your submission by 6 pm on Wednesday to include them in the review session. Here is his email.

Hope this helps with preparing for Wednesday. Please email Anna if you are participating in this week’s review so she can send you a secure link to the Zoom gathering

Thank you for your continued interest and support,

Anna & Vaughn

Quick Recap, Monthly Theme and Upcoming Outing Info

IMG_7637Was it only a week ago that we met via ZOOM to review the images from the Open Shoot Outing (Lovering Lakes and in situ images for those who could not join us)? Time flies.

The feedback from the last meeting has been very positive despite going longer than the usual duration. Besides the outing images, we also reviewed July’s main theme, Sentient Beings. The images submitted were just breath-taking and provided a good opportunity to introduce new members to themes that have not been explored by them. And, my worry that we went too long was quickly dismissed after receiving great feedback on this blog and in personal emails. Thanks to all members who keep us moving forward in our learning journey. It makes overall efforts and time investments worthwhile. You are the reason we continue to keep this group active during Covid19.

For the rest of the month, we set the theme to explore “Heaven, Earth and Man”. We assured you that there is a section in the “Heart of Photography” book, we were mistaken… our apologies.

Here are is a definition that will get you on your way:

“‘Heaven, Earth and Man define a general concept from the dharma arts. In Miksang, ‘Heaven’ is the basic space or backdrop; ‘Earth’ is the second element/principle, also spacious but not as large as ‘Heaven’; ‘Man’ is a phenomenal element (a person or man-made thing), something small and temporary – a moment in the space of Heaven and Earth. ‘Magic’, according to Chögyam Trungpa, arises naturally from true perception – seeing beauty in the mundane.”

And here are a few sample images:

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On another note: The request to plan another outing (it was made by a couple of members) has been heard. We tentatively discussed this option for September during the meeting. However, Cathy won’t be available in September due to harvest season. She checked her calendar and urged Vaughn and me to book something earlier. Here it goes, the decision has been made:

Avonlea Badlands Golden Hour Outing:

Who: Nalanda Miksang Moose Jaw Members (with spouse and or a close friend)

Where: We meet at the Avonlea Heritage Museum in town

When: July 24th, 2020, 6 pm (arrive 15 minutes early)

What (else do we need to know?): Tour is conducted by Cathy (an employee of Avonlea Heritage Museum. Fee per person $ 15, cash only, please. If we have more than 6 participants the fee per person will reduce to $ 10 per person).
Bathrooms are available at the museum. They will be disinfected before our group arrives and after we depart.
Physical distancing applies throughout the event. There is lots of space as we make our way to the Badlands Site. Please wear appropriate footwear. The approach is across some undulating terrain and sandals are not recommended.

Why: Because you asked for it…

We are excited to meet up in Avonlea! Send us an email if you plan to attend so we can provide tentative numbers to Cathy. Email Anna or Vaughn

Enjoy summer! Anna & Vaughn