Prosaic Paradise

Campaign for the Mundane

Me Ra Koh Workshop: Confidence Gained!

Filed under Photos by at 6:45 pm on Sep 29 2009

When I signed up for a photography workshop, I thought, who am I kidding? Then I thought, it doesn’t matter who I am kidding, because I am going to have fun and even if everyone else in this thing is some kind of professional with a $5000 camera, it will be fine because sometimes a steep learning curve motivates me better than easing in.

As it turned out, it seemed like we had everyone from me (total photography n00bness) to people with thriving businesses. The nice part about this was that our leaders were able to make all the information interesting and palatable to all of us, regardless of level or background. Not to mention feeling like I was learning from all the other participants.

This workshop was exactly what I needed, in terms of both a boost of confidence, a pathway to technical knowledge, and the ability to see how a professional photographer interacts with models. Although, I’d argue that Me Ra & Brian are pretty unique professionals.

I can’t pin myself down to just kinetic, aural, or visual learning styles. I can’t rely on just one but if I were going to rely on one more than others, I believe it would be kinetic. During Anatomy classes I would have to do little arm gestures and movements in order to remember many of the terms, not to mention having to touch my head to remember the name of some of the parts of the brain.

So what this workshop was able to do for me was to wrap up all three of those things, most importantly kinetic and aural, allowing me to get a much better feel for my camera and for all of the details that are happening when you’re moving beyond just snapping photos. Imagine me reading a website about photography with the camera in my hand – it seems like information doesn’t stick or make sense. By the next day, the whole concept is gone. But surrounded by other humans, listening, writing down notes, and manipulating the camera – suddenly using the metering tools in my camera is a piece of cake when before it was an inscrutable menace.

That’s just the nuts and bolts. There is a whole other thing going on at Me Ra’s workshop which helped me over the course of the weekend, and that’s Me Ra and Brian’s excellent attitude. It’s been said before but I’ll say it again: What a wonderful, novel thing to be taught by people who are open and empathic and take a humanist tack towards teaching. Who are forthcoming with their own troubles and open about how they conquered them. I’ve been to lots of technical training sessions over the years for my work to the tune of way more than this workshop and if those guys could just borrow a fraction of the inclusive, helpful technique that happened to me a week and a half ago, they might find it much easier to reach new generations of engineers. And maybe there wouldn’t have to be so much punditry about why the lack of female engineers still persists.

But I digress. I am still going through my 20 pages of notes I took over the course of two days trying to make sure that everything I learned sort of gels. But I also know that to make it work, I need to get out and shoot. So, anyone need an, um, book jacket portrait? Christmas card family shot? Based on the business discussions had in the workshop, I’ll only be cheap for so long*!

Check out what some of the other participants had to say about the workshop: Aileen Reilly & MammaLoves. The best of the 500+ shots I took over the weekend are in this flickr set.

* Actually I have zero interest in monetizing this hobby, unless my idea for a coffee table book about bedrooms comes to fruition.

17 Responses to “Me Ra Koh Workshop: Confidence Gained!”

  1. 1 Heatheron 29 Sep 2009 at 9:57 pm

    I saw the main write-up of the post on her blog and I swore that was you—glad to know I wasn’t seeing things. So glad to hear it was an awesome time.

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    Yup that was me! I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 weeks now. I am very blessed to have been able to go.

    [Reply]

    Sasha Sadana Reply:

    I am thinking of signing up for Me Rah Koh upcoming workshop in May. But it is $800 for 2 days. Isn’t that a bit steep? What did you learn that you cannot learn on say youtube? Is it really worth it?

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    It is very very steep. It is a very good experience, and I learned a few very valuable skills about focusing my camera the way I want to and using Lightroom. They are definitely things that could be learned from watching videos on Youtube. But the hands-on guidance and the atmosphere of learning and fostering your growth as a photographer is what I figured I paid all that money for. I don’t regret it but if the opportunity came up today, I would not spend that much money (of course I am not employed like I was then, is the main reason).

    [Reply]

  2. 2 Beckion 29 Sep 2009 at 11:35 pm

    OH, mememe! Of course, there’s that pesky problem of a couple thousand miles.

    Love the photos and the writing.

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    Next time I come to PDX I will bring the camera. It will happen someday.

    [Reply]

  3. 3 Joni Brownon 30 Sep 2009 at 2:05 am

    <3

    [Reply]

  4. 4 chibaon 30 Sep 2009 at 6:47 am

    Sounds really cool, I would really like to MAKE THE TIME to do something like this. I haven’t approached my camera seriously in years!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    You and I share so many interests. It’s spooky.

    [Reply]

  5. 5 Jenon 30 Sep 2009 at 9:49 am

    I *do* want to have a Christmas card picture some year of me and the cats…but the hard part wouldn’t be the photography, it would be getting Oz to sit still while you took a picture!

    Sounds like a great experience, and I’m glad you had it!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    We’d definitely have to work our way up to that particular shot. :) I’d have to be there for hours before he would even come out!

    [Reply]

  6. 6 Aileenon 30 Sep 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks for the link, and what a wonderful description of the workshop. So true. Great shot of the little girl too. I love her expression there. Awesome capture. It was great meeting you. We’ll have to do a DC Workshop meet-up photowalk or something like that!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    Thank you! I know that Jo and I were talking on the last day about getting together and doing some kind of photo walk. With fall coming I know finding the time to shoot in good light will be more limited, but you’re right, I think we should do it!

    [Reply]

  7. 7 Amie aka MammaLoveson 30 Sep 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Count me in for a photo walk. I know a few other DC women who would be into it to. Maybe a trip to Mt. Vernon or some fall festival?

    I think it’s so interesting that we both took a while to process our thoughts from the workshop. My head was spinning for days.

    So glad we got to share this experience!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    I am free October 25th… it’s a Sunday. Thoughts?

    [Reply]

  8. 8 Christieon 01 Oct 2009 at 6:12 am

    I’d love to try a family shot for a Christmas card! Just let me know when you’re free and I’ll make sure Fred and I have freshly dyed hair ;)

    Plus, I would love to see you and hear more about the workshop in person.

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    Seconded, I would love to see you. Think about what you guys might want out of a Christmas card photo! For the next 3 weeks I have class from 9-1 on Saturday and 12-3 on Sunday, but I would probably be interested in getting late-afternoon sun anyways.

    Do you have any kaleidoscopes that prominently feature red and green? :)

    [Reply]

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply