February 23, 2010

IHF Photo Contest

I'm entering another i heart faces photography contest! This time the theme is hands... Here is a photo I took a few years ago. I really didn't know hardly anything about photography, and yet it still remains one of my favorite photos. You can read the story below.

Bird in Hand

I had received my own camera for my 16th birthday, and we were out one weekend just doing yardwork, burning brush, etc. and I had my camera on me, as usual. I was out in the yard, and my mom was up on the deck off the back of the house, when she started calling me to come up and bring my camera. This little bird, which we later identified as a Ruby Crowned Kinglet, must have flown into the window and was laying on the deck, stunned. I took a few shots and then mom put on her gloves and picked it up. It didn't seem nervous or anything, but just sat there, and I got this wonderful photo. After that it fluttered off and landed on my sister's shirt and camped out there for a while. :-) Apparently it wasn't too badly injured because later it left. I love looking at this picture because of that memory and just because I like the photo - I like how the lighting came out, and the gray tones. When I decided to enter this one in the contest I tried editing it with Photoshop, and it looked nice... but I decided to go with the original photo after all.

February 10, 2010

Review: My Favorite CDs

I love music. I really do! I love playing it and I love listening to it. My sister is even more of a listener than I am probably. We get in the car and we're not even out of the garage before she's asking, "Can you turn on the music?"

Today I thought I would share with you some of my favorite collections of music to listen to. Ready? Here we go!

The Baroque Harp

This is a perfectly lovely CD by Judy Loman, a master harpist. If you saw my last post, you will know that my musical love is the harp. This CD has a marvelous selection of music, ranging from bright and cheerful to slow and soothing. I would listen to this every day, but my sister gets tired of it (she's not as crazy about harp as I am :-) ). You can click on the album image there to buy the mp3 download of the album and you can also listen to samples! I just love the clear tones of the harp (some harp recordings sound tinny - not this one). Highly recommended and completely worth listening to!

What Wondrous Love

Unfortunately I do not have an image for this one. This is a beeeeautiful CD of hymns by the Eden String Quartet, a quartet made up of 4 sisters. Their music is truly uplifting. You turn it on and it really feels like you are being picked up and carried away. The music features the strings and a variety of other instruments play along on some songs, including penny whistle, guitar, and flute.

String Serenades

I got this CD from my dad. It's kind of special, because it has all the string serenades that we heard when he took just me out for a concert and dinner. This is more "intense" music than the two previous CDs but it is beautiful as well. It includes string serenades by Tchaikovsky, Elgar, and Dvorak, which are the three we heard at the concert, as well as two others by Vaughan-Williams and Suk. All of them are very pretty. You might think a serenade would be all very quiet, soothing music, but this CD has it's share of fast and, as I mentioned, intense music.

Music for Solo Harp

Please bear with me as I add one more harp CD. I only have two... so in the future, maybe you can expect to see more harp CD recommendations. :-) This is another fine collection of harp music. This one has more subdued selections, I would say, but certainly no less beautiful. I can only hope someday I will be able to play some of these pieces!

February 4, 2010

Tell Me Thursday - Harp Heaven

Lyon & Healy Harp Showroom

I posted this photo yesterday for Wordless Wednesday. Amazing isn't it? It's not everyday you get to see a whole room FULL of harps.

Last weekend some friends of ours whom we had not seen in 3 years came up for a visit! Hannah, the older of the two, is an amazing harpist. I'd love to call myself a harpist - perhaps I can - but I have only been playing just over a year and am teaching myself. I have a small 27-string lever harp, which you can see to the right there. I am borrowing it from my incredibly generous friend, Raeanne, who is letting me use it until I can save up for my own harp.

Anyway, back to our guests. Friday morning we somewhat spontaneously decided to make the trip up to visit the Lyon & Healy harp factory. What a place! Perhaps it's just that I am in love with harp that made it so wonderful, but this place is amazing. We toured the factory and got to see how the harps are made. Did you know it takes about a year to complete a harp?! Now I know why they are so painfully expensive. :-)

After touring the factory (no photography allowed - sorry!), we were taken to the harp showroom, which was my WW photo this week. Dozens of harps all lined up in every size, color and kind. We were given a "salesperson" and a little room to the side, and any of the harps we wanted to play, they would wheel in for us! And we could play as long as we wished (it was a good thing we got hungry for lunch or we would have been there a really long time! :-) ).

Hannah requested to play a pedal harp designed by Carlos Salzedo, a modern harpist. This is not my favorite harp from L & H for its looks, but of course I wasn't going to NOT play it! The sound was just amazing and as you see from the pictures, it is HUGE, especially compared to what I am used to playing!
Playing the Salzedo Harp

If you are wondering the difference between a lever and pedal harp, lever harps have - guess - levers on them, which allow you to play your notes sharp or flat. Pedal harps use - surprise - pedals to play flats and sharps, and you work them with your feet which frees your hands. You can play more complex music on a pedal harp, and they are much larger with more strings (concert grands - what I am playing in the photo - have 47 strings).
Below is a photo of my favorite harp. I would probably have to save up my whole life to buy this, but it was amazing to play it even if just for a while!

Lyon & Healy Style 85 Harp

The harp I am currently saving for is a 36 string lever harp from Harps of Praise. Below is a picture of it:
Want to help me get my harp? Of course you do! :-) If your blog needs a fresh look or maybe you are just starting a blog...or maybe you just need a signature to end your posts or a button; head over to Or you can check out the Maidens of Virtue Shoppe. You can know you are helping the harp fund. :-)
Thanks for visiting!

February 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Harp Heaven

Lyon & Healy Harp Showroom
Come back tomorrow to read the Tell Me Thursday for this photo!