I recently posted this on Google+ but thought I’d share it here too.
It seems like the piano goes 24/7 in the house, which is a good thing when the music is Debussy, Beethoven Sonatas, incredible arrangements of the Pirates theme, beautifully improvised hymns, etc. Sometimes “The Little Indian Song” can wear on you though (a couple young ones are just starting out) 🙂
Having our own regrets about quitting music lessons and hearing so many others express those same regrets, we’ve always “made” our kids take piano lessons until they were 18 under pain of death and all that (for the record it’s never been a real problem to keep them going). They could learn other instruments too but piano was a must. Without exception our children (age 24 and down) have expressed great gratitude for our rigidness in this. I don’t believe any child actually kept up with lessons until age 18 but that was because proficiency, rather than an arbitrary timeframe, was our goal. All were quite good before age 18 and a couple even played in UT’s Bates Recital Hall. The daughter pictured here requested on her own to start lessons again even after we said she could be done — she enjoys it.
Some of our family and friends are acquainted with a family in Alabama which lost both their home and father in the recent outburst of tornadoes. A friend had the idea of putting on a couple of benefit concerts to raise funds for this family so over the last two weeks many people have put forth a lot of effort to organize and prepare for the events. More information at http://helpthelees.com.
There’s another concert tonight in Fredericksburg, TX. See the above link for more information.
Photographical stuff…The lighting was a challenge. On the one hand the stage was very well lit for an indoor venue. However, the dynamic range was huge and it was tough to strike a balance between the spotlight on the piano with the light on the singers. I really needed an aperture somewhere around f/8 or above to get the singers and piano in focus but I also wanted a decent shutter speed to avoid motion blur (you know how musicians sway and get all dramatic 🙂 ). I shot half in manual mode and half in aperture priority and tried to keep my shutter 1/125s or faster. An aperture of f/2.8 was good enough to barely keep the singers all in focus so I tried to stay around f/4. High ISO was a must…used ISO 4000 most of the night (the 5D mkii does a great job in that range). Processing was pretty much cropping, spot exposure adjustments in Lightroom, and noise reduction with Noiseware.
I’ve got Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” playing through my head these days. I haven’t heard the song since, oh, 1985 but I thought of it when I viewed the sunset above. When I saw those clouds (I didn’t even manage to catch them at the peak of brightness and color), the first thing that popped into my head was the phrase “fire in the sky”. The clouds looked like flames. My 3 year old asked me if the sky was on fire — even he thought it looked like fire. Frankly, the image doesn’t stand on its own but I thought the uniqueness of these clouds made them worth sharing.
An hour before this sunset the sky looked like this:
I figured we’d have a great sunset after seeing those clouds but I was busy throwing the football around with the kids so I missed the best part of it. I would have loved to zip over to a nice vista to take this shot but I settled for the back-porch version.
Smoke on the water…fire in the sky. Someone please make the music in my head stop 🙂