How was everyone’s weekend? Vaughn and I cannot complain about a lack of visual stimulation. Grab a coffee or tea, sit back and get ready… this is a long read.
As I mentioned, Vaughn and I were busy but we cannot complain at all! We were fully immersed in a bit of a marathon, a Zoom marathon that is. After reassuring information about improved security measures to the latest Zoom 5.0 update I decided to sign up for the paid version for May.
We had a full schedule already using Zoom Friday night, May 1st as well as Saturday and Sunday. We are so relieved to have moved ahead with the paid subscription. No more time-restricted meetings where we have to rush through images and potentially cut off someone in mid-sentence. Our Friday night meeting went smoothly. Anyone invited to the meeting enters a waiting room and the host (Anna) would admit each person registered. That put all of us at ease as the dreaded “Zoom Bombing” reports were on our minds all of April.
The meeting proceeded in a relatively relaxed manner. Anna had booked a 90-minute meeting just so we could ignore the alarm clock and chat at ease. It was almost as if we were in the same room together. Our theme was “Sabi” and a handout to those who had indicated interest and registered for the meeting sent in some great images. We shared, reviewed and chatted with more confidence than at our last two virtual gatherings. Social distancing has us reaching new heights and overcoming previous reservations and challenges.
Usually, at this time we insert a slide show with images here. But, due to the new interface WordPress has imposed we still have not figured out how to upload a slide show. We sincerely apologize.
If you are interested in pursuing the “Sabi” theme on your own, please refer to Part Five: Zen Aesthetics, Visual Haiku, Drala in Heart of Photography. You can find the full chapter on pages 93 – 113 in the hard-copy of the book. The chapter “Sabi” is on page 101. If you are so inclined and would like feedback please upload 5 – 6 images to our Flickr site where Vaughn and I will do our best and comment.
Speaking of the Flickr site (Nalanda Miksang Moose Jaw, and yes, you need to get approved to join), Vaughn took a few minutes at the end of our weekend virtual workshop to share some of the ins and outs of Flickr. We are committed to making comments on your images once again, especially during these times of social isolation. Please keep in mind, Vaughn works full time, and Anna has numerous creative irons in the fire that have been her primary focus and source of income for many years. So, exercise a little patience if we are taking a few days to comment.
And, here we are! We were very excited about our first virtual workshop classroom. We gathered Saturday and Sunday from 9 am till approximately 4:30 pm. Participants logging in were from Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Weyburn, Swift Current, Rouleau (aka Dog River), Toronto (with a connection to Saskatchewan and Moose Jaw), and Buffalo Pound Lake. Six creative thinkers (4 brand-new to Miksang, 2 photographers who had previously participated in a one- or two-day course) gathered every day.
Was it different? Yes, it was for us all!. However, what emerged when we asked for feedback everyone was full of praise with delivering the course in this format. Vaughn and I were surprised as there is usually someone who much rather come to an actual classroom
What we, the instructors/mentors, discovered was that the images submitted were well thought out and consistently met the objectives of the theme. Participants openly shared that this was a much more focused and cost-effective way for them to take the workshop, especially for those who would have had extra expenses with travel, hotel and meals. All around, the feedback thus far has been encouraging.
You may be wondering how the workshop was conducted. Here is a quick summary:
Anna and Vaughn prepared for weeks in advance with regular phone meetings and by creating detailed handouts covering the individual themes for the Intensive Level 1 & 2 Miksang course you all took three years ago with John or more recently with just Vaughn and Anna. We also prepared a detailed Course Outline with a time table to ensure we would cover the materials in an organized manner without going overtime at the end of the day.
Participants received their first handout on Friday night along with the login information for Zoom. 9 am sharp on Saturday morning we assembled! Each person was admitted into the meeting by the hosts and soon we were underway exploring the various Miksang themes from colour to more colour, light, pattern, texture and dot in space. A tired group (or should I say exhausted group) bid good night to each other around 4:30 pm on Saturday afternoon.
A new meeting invitation for Zoom was issued for everyone for Sunday along with the first handout for the second workshop day. We proceeded much the same as on Saturday. At 1 pm two Miksang members joined in for the last two themes. Handouts had been forwarded to them on Saturday evening with the Zoom login information.
With each individual introduction of a fresh theme, we provided a handout, a short verbal introduction, sample images as provided by John McQuade during our teacher training and time for questions and discussion. It was all very relaxed as the Zoom Meeting was scheduled for the full eight hours each day and nobody felt rushed or worried about taking too much time away from others. While participants logged out from their devices Vaughn and I made ourselves available to answer questions or for check-ins to clarify something. We were in front of the screen for most of these classroom hours. Were we tired? Without a doubt, but we were also experienced great satisfaction that we were able to be easily accessible for everyone who had committed to this workshop.
Our hearts are full of gratitude for everyone’s continued support. Let’s keep Nalanda Miksang Moose Jaw alive and moving forward during these times where physical distancing is highly encouraged. Welcome to our new members Jacki, Sharilyn, Gillian and Kim and thank you to Roberta and Marilyn for joining in for the full version of Level 1 & 2 despite previous workshop exposure.
Our next meeting takes place on May 23rd. Check back for more details closer to the date.