I completed several courses and workshops in 2019, including two weeks in Durham, North Carolina for documentary studies intensive workshops, but in 2020 I surpassed that. I started the year out focusing on photography with a photo a day challenge. In the past, my philosophy was to take images that were good “out of the camera” but I finally realized that even Ansel Adams spent a fair amount of time post-processing. So I focused on learning Photoshop, Lightroom, and a number of other tools. Given that I was at home, I tried to develop skills in still life and macro, as travel wasn’t possible. (Image: The Center for Documentary Studies in Durham, North Carolina.)
The Center for Documentary Studies went to online, so I was able to pick up another 16 credits towards a documentary studies certification. And then, after weekly wine session with friends (via Zoom) I decided I should buckle down and learn something more about wine than simply to drink it. The courses I took through Napa Valley Wine Academy were challenging—lots of history and memorization which are not my strong suits. Yet, I persevered, learned a lot and even received the Napa Valley Wine Expert certification which allows me to put an honorific after my name. Perhaps one day I’ll be able lead wine tours! (Image: Certificate earned from passing NVWE exam.)
I love Irish music, so I continued lessons with the Online Academy of Irish Music, to which I’ve subscribed since 2019. This year, in addition to penny whistle, I dusted off my guitar and learn accompaniment for a variety of pub songs. Then I put my guitar into “Irish” D tuning and learned a few fingerpicking songs. I ended the year by starting lessons on the Low D whistle, which has a much more mellifluous sound than the higher penny whistle. It’s also suited for haunting melodies. (Image: Logo of the Online Academy of Irish Music.)
When I’ve traveled to Spanish speaking countries, I’ve regretted not knowing Spanish. I don’t pick up languages easy unless they are computer programming languages, so I decided to try the Pimsleur method. I made it through level 1 and am three-quarters of the way through level 2. By the time I get to travel, I might actually know enough Spanish to use it.
A musician friend of mine in Los Angeles encouraged me to join the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC) as an associate so that I could attend their webinars. After sitting in on a few live, interactive sessions, I was inspired to take film scoring and composition courses. Not that I am planning to start scoring films, but just to understand the business and maybe to doodle out a few tunes for my own amusement.
This list below is fairly complete except for the “grab-and-go” learning I did through watching specific how-to videos on You Tube..
Film Making Master Class with Werner Herzhog, in progress.
Traditions, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University. An 8-week course on the history and practice of documentary, online with teacher and student discussions and assignments.
Wine Fundamentals, Napa Valley Wine Academy. A six-module course on winemaking, wine regions of the world, wine tasting, storing, and serving. Passed exam.
Napa Valley Wine Expert (certification), Napa Valley Wine Academy. A five-module course on Napa history, appellations, climate, terrior, grape growing, and wine making. Passed exam and awarded certificate.
Phenols and Tannins, Andy Schweitzer. A fascinating look at the molecular chemistry behind tannins and why some are desirable and some are not.
Corks, Andy Schweitzer. An in-depth look at the cork industry, the details of making corks, what causes cork taint, and other options for closing wine bottles.
Irish Guitar Accompaniment, Online Academy of Irish Music
Penny Whistle, Online Academy of Irish Music
Low-G Whistle, Online Academy of Irish Music, lessons in progress
Soundtrack Composer Masterclass, Udemy, Chester Sky.
Composition & Film Scoring, Udemy, Jason Allen, course in progress.
The History of Photography, Photographic Society of America. A 16-lesson course with weekly assignments and feedback from the instructor.
Sill Life Photography, Photographic Society of America. A 6-lesson course with weekly assignments and feedback from the instructor.
Unlocking the Magic of Photoshop, Click Photo School, Mickey DeVries
Edit Photos Like a Pro in Lightroom & Photoshop, Matt Kloskowski
Advanced Texture Cleanup Using Frequency Separation 2.0, ProEdu, Earth Oliver
Global Landscape Photography, Frank Smith
Artistic Floral Photography Webinar, Jackie Kramer, PSA
Nature Photography in High-Key Style, Lisa Langell
Wabi Sabi, Lisa Cuchara
Macro and Close Up Photography, Shiv Varma
Anonymous: How To Shoot Street Photography Without Revealing Your Subjects , Valérie Jardin
Light Painting and Drawing at Night, Jürgen Lobert (PSA)
The Power of Hubble in Your Camera Bag, Scott Donschikowski (LGSCC)
Adobe MAX conference, attended various presentations
Spanish, Pimsleur. Level1 completed. Level 2 lessons in progress.