Thankful November 9th: Music

There has never been a time in my life that hasn’t included music. I grew up in a family of seven (including parents), and all of us played at least two instruments (including parents). My dad’s mother was a piano teacher. She taught me for 11 years, and she was my biggest supporter when I chose to study music in college. I play the piano, and violin. In college, I studied singing and choral conducting. I started teaching piano when I was 18, and I currently have 15 students who do two to three recitals a year. I met my husband because I was the music director for a show at a local community theater. The show we were doing was written by a friend who asked my younger sister and me to arrange the music. I have written a little original music, but I mostly do choir arrangements (makes sense, see previously mentioned college path). I love music. I don’t know what life would be like without music infusing pretty much every aspect of it.


A Photo a Week Challenge: Orange


Orange is a really fun color to photograph. There are many things in nature that are orange: pumpkins, oranges, flowers. This little fellow really, really wanted to join his big brothers playing at the Christmas piano recital. Even though he was a little young to take lessons, he came all ready in his dapper orange sweater. He was also thrilled to get a chance at the 9′ concert Steinway grand piano after the formal recital was over.


Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ and “Photo a Week” tags.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Music

I couldn’t resist Cee’s challenge this week. I have been involved in music longer than anything outside of my family.

From a recital at my sister’s house. The performer is Larry Green, a professor of music at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.


Next, a black and white version of my piano student at her high school concerto night.


This one is of a very good friend, Kelly DeHaan, who is the resident music director for Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City, Utah. He was conducting a master class about picking the right audition song. In this picture, he is accompanying one of the singers he invited to perform for the class.


And finally, my nephew and his new wife (now my niece!) dancing the Macarena at their wedding reception with many of their family and friends joining in.


For more from this challenge, visit Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Music.

Selected as a Featured Post on Cee’s next challenge, Bathrooms and Outhouses. Thanks, Cee!


After Before Week 40 Challenge

This week is a standard After Before photo challenge from Stacy at Visual Venturing. I reached back into my bag of old photos to find one that I really wanted to do some crazy fun things to this week. Here’s the final result:


So, are you wondering what the original looked like? Here it is:


I love this image, and I’ve posted a black and white version of it here. When I opened the image in PhotoShop, I used these settings on the RAW converter:


These resulted in an image with heightened sharpness, colors, and contrast.


Next, I created a duplicate layer and selected the Polar Coordinates filter at 100%.


I love how the Steinway & Sons wrapped. Finally, I added a softening gradient fill layer using using the following settings:

  • Gradient: transparent to white
  • Style: Radial
  • Angle: 170.54
  • Scale: 100%
  • Reverse and Align with layer selected

And voila!


To see more examples from this challenge, visit After Before Week 40 Challenge.

After-Before logo

Click the image above for rules on joining the fun!

Steinway (and a new camera)

Steinway & SonsMy piano students had a recital last night. I love hearing them play, even if they don’t have a wonderful performance. I love that most of them enjoy performing.

I also just picked up the Nikon D610. Currently, Photoshop doesn’t support the RAW NEF files that this camera produces, so beware! But iPhoto does, and so does Aperture (which I’m purchasing today). I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside (again)

Inside a 9' Steinway concert grand pianoMy students had a recital last night, and I couldn’t resit posting this shot (similar to another of my Inside photo challenge shots). I took this after the recital, and my sisters are having fun trying out the piano. It’s new to the recital hall (they’ve only had it in here for two months), so it was the first time for everyone playing it.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Inside the piano

Inside a grand pianoI’ve taught piano for almost 30 years. These pictures are the inside of the Steinway 9′ concert piano my students play at recitals, thanks to Daynes Music Company in Salt Lake City. (The big black thing at the bottom left of the second picture is a mic that allows the store to record the performances and provide me with a nice CD I can copy and give to the students.)