(John Enman photo)
(John Enman photo)

(John Enman photo) (John Enman photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Teaching photography using video conferencing

This past month I have been introduced to a new way of discussing photography, well, new for me anyway, ‘Zoom video conferencing’.

I am sure most people have at least heard of Zoom. Zoom is a communications application that allows groups of people to join together in virtual video and audio meetings, with screen and file sharing.

My first introduction was with the Kamloops Photo Arts Club, their website states, “The Kamloops Photo Arts Club is currently meeting virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

I will admit that I was a bit nervous; the idea of an interactive lecture session with tiny faces on my computer screen was an entirely new experience.

My second Zoom experience was with the Kamloops Desert Hills Probus Club. The Probus club calls itself a ‘Fellowship’ of men and women in their retirement and semi-retirement years.

Both of these club’s members seem to have been using the Zoom program to successfully stay in touch during this time of lock-down and social isolation. It seems to be an excellent program that I expect many groups must be using.

I had my friend Jo join me and we set up in front of her computer for our presentations. The internet at Jo’s home is much faster than the satellite connection I am forced to use in my rural mountain location and the limited data I have is rather costly.

The first lecture dealt with using long exposures. I was pretty sure some of the Photo Arts Club members had mastered long exposures, nevertheless we got lots of questions and I think the discussion went well.

The Probus Club presentation was what I called “roadside photography for those that aren’t interested in walking very far from their car”.

Over the many years I have been lecturing to students I have learned to continually look at my audience’s faces and would change, repeat or emphasize parts of my lecture depending on individual expressions. I got pretty good at watching body language and knowing when to pause or quit altogether. However, all that experience is worthless when it comes to people staring at small screens in the comfort of their home.

Once in a while I could see a nod or squint or hand movement that I though I could interpret, but mostly there was no way I felt connected to my audience. Sure I was explaining, offering photos as examples, answering questions and trying to keep a momentum and continuity, but… I couldn’t be sure. All I could see was expressionless faces staring on the computer display and many of the camera club members had their images blocked. I could see names, but no faces.

I usually have a feeling about how I did and if people enjoyed my presentation or lecture by the interaction and watching the participants at my conclusion. I missed that.

One of the organizer’s from the Probus Club stopped by to thank Jo and I after the session and I asked her if she thought people enjoyed our presentation and if there were any problems. She was positive about our talk, but I’ve seen no one from the camera club. I think this new type of connection takes some getting used to. I do think it is a great way for people to get together, and will save hall rental costs and gas from everyone driving their cars to weekly meetings. As uncomfortable as I was, I am looking forward to my next chance to lecture with this modern technology. This is a new way of communicating and I think worth embracing.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week.

Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or emcam@telus.net.



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