Archives for category: Nature

This is the final part that will conclude my series on different ice movements captured this winter. In Pt. 1 you could hear ice building up during early winter. In Pt. 2 ice movements was captured in the depths of winter, from a couple of different perspectives.

In the third part you’ll hear a captured moment in the disintegrating process of ice, going from solid to liquid form.

Geek note: Aquarian H2a + Sennheiser ME64 -> Sound Devices 702

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Last week I had some chances to capture sounds of ice down by the lake, this time from some different perspectives.

First out is a recording I made last Saturday with my NT1-A’s in a stereo array. It’s recorded just after midnight. The conditions were good, with temperatures dropping to below -15° Celsius and no wind. The only disturbing element were an aircraft that just wouldn’t go away. I tried to wait it out for more than an hour but finally gave in and made the recording anyway, hence the low-frequency hum coming from the right. As in the case with my earlier ice recording this year I did some cut and paste this time as well, the original recording spans about 30 minutes. I really find some of these sounds to be very nightmarish.

Please use headphones

Geek note: 2xRøde NT1-A’s (ORTF, 17cm spacing, angled 110°)-> Sound Devices 702

The other three recordings were made yesterday. As me and Matilda were on our way home after a day of ice skating on the lake I noticed some intense ice movements. At home I switched the skating gear in favour of the recording gear and then headed back down to the lake. The sun was setting as I arrived and some guys that had been out ice fishing on the middle of the lake were leaving. So I went over there and used one of their holes to get below the sheet of ice with my hydrophone. These recordings are not manipulated in any way, the activity going on where so intense I could actually feel the ice moving underneath me.

First of is a short recording made with the hydrophone as a contact mic. As you probably notice the microphone’s self noise is very evident due to high gain:


Geek note: Aquarian H2a (+contact mic adapter) -> Sound Devices 702

In the second recording the hydrophone is lowered about 10 cm’s into the water, centering it in the 20 cm thick layer of ice. Be advised that some of the sounds in this recording are very loud.


Geek note: Aquarian H2a -> Sound Devices 702

In the last recording the hydrophone is lowered about 1 meter into the water, positioning it about 40 cm’s below the sheet of ice.


Geek note: Aquarian H2a -> Sound Devices 702

Of these three hydrophonic recordings I’m most fond of the last one as you’re able to hear distant sounds as well as close by cracks very clearly. It’s also a bit warmer to the tone than the second one. I just wish I had a second hydrophone for stereo recordings.

Snow and ice. Winter has finally come. I think that one of the more encouraging sounds to record this time of year is ice. Ever-changing through unending variations, ice always brings you new dimensions to listen to. This is evident through the captures of ice by the recordists working with BBC’s series Frozen planet. My contribution is a bit more modest:

You might need to turn up the volume a bit, use headphones for best result

Geek note: Aquarian H2a -> Sound Devices 702

The sounds heard above are all recorded using a contact mic on the frozen lake just next to our cabin. The original recording is about one hour, the two and a half minutes above is the result of some rearranging, cut and paste and a load of fades. No effects were added, except some slight hiss reduction in post as I had to crank up the gain quite a lot while recording. There’s one layer of sound playing at a time. Even though there where extended moments of “silence” during the hour or so I recorded there where also some very lively minutes with cracks and lots of ray guns going off.

Going out to the countryside for a relaxing vacation can be an unexpectedly noisy experience. The barn in the picture below is where my grandparents sheep are housed at night during the colder seasons, but it turned out to be far from deserted even this time of year. Swallows flew back and forth, kittens were playing in the loft, a couple of pigeons was going about their business and flies buzzed around.

Geek note: 2 x Røde NT1-As (ORTF, 17 cms spacing, 110 degrees) -> Sound Devices 702

By the end of last week the weather got more dramatic with hard winds blowing in from Skagerak, gaining their strength from the Atlantic ocean. I headed up on crest west of the farm, from where you have a nice view of the ocean below.

On the top of the crest is an old cairn in which I placed my stereo rig in protection from the wind.

If you think that the stereo width sounds somewhat flat it’s because the placement within the cairns sheltering walls. This location was the only option for making the recording as the gusts where battering down hard from all directions. Despite this I must say that I’m pretty satisfied with the results.

Geek note: 2 x Røde NT1-As (ORTF, 17 cms spacing, 110 degrees) -> Sound Devices 702 (Low-cut filter on; 80Hz – 18dB/oct)

Me and Matilda spent last week in and around Karlshamn where we took care of Stella, her parents dog, while they where abroad. The first couple of days we stayed at a friends place on a small island called Hallö, situated about 15 minutes by boat of the mainland. At first thought islands offer great opportunities when it comes to recording nature soundscapes as you don’t have to worry about cars ruining your set. On the other hand boats tends to be at least as noisy and sounds carries easily over open space. So to avoid disturbing noises I got up early one morning to record some dawn choruses as well as ambience down by the cliffs. The rumble that’s audible in the background in both recordings is waves that breaks further out at sea.

The recording of the dawn chorus below is made at the the south side of Hallö, where the vegetation was denser than on the rest of the island:

Geek note: 2 x Røde NT1-A’s (ORTF, 17 cm spacing, 110 degrees) -> Sound Devices 702

Down by the cliffs on the islands north side I got the opportunity to watch (and listen to) a fisherman emptying his nets some hundred meters out at sea. Trailing behind him where numerous of fish terns, herring gulls and sea gulls. This recording consists of some of the more common sounds that you hear when spending time in the Swedish archipelago.

Geek note: 2 x Røde NT1-A’s (ORTF, 17 cm spacing, 110 degrees) -> Sound Devices 702

Finally back on track with ten more hours of upload time on Soundcloud.

I’ll start out with sharing some recordings made in the forests of Blekinge an early morning a couple of weeks ago. After walking on a hiking trail about half an hour from where I left the car I found a fallen tree in a small beech forest surrounded by grassland. The tree made these lovely squeaking noises when the wind took hold of it. Despite efforts of putting the mics in cover I still had to use the high pass-filter to remove some of the rumbling caused by the fairly strong gusts.


Geek note: 2xRøde NT1-A’s (ORTF, 17 cm spacing, 110 degrees) -> Sound Devices 702

Below is a recording made the same morning of a small stream close by.


Geek note: 2xRøde NT1-A’s (ORTF, 17 cm spacing, 90 degrees) -> Sound Devices 702

These two recordings where part of the first test run I did with a used Sound Devices 702 I recently bought. And yes, the 702 is the main reason I couldn’t afford the Soundcloud upgrade sooner. All in all I agree with Audiofieldrecorders thoughts about it, a lovely piece of machinery that you will definitely hear more from.

Sandhammaren is a middle-sized nature reserve on the south-eastern tip of Sweden. Mighty dunes, fantastic beaches and perilous sand reefs stretching far out to sea is probably what this beautiful place is best known for. When me and Matilda went there earlier today I took the opportunity to record one of Sandhammarens more charactaristic sounds, what you hear when seeking cover from the wind behind sand dunes; rustling grass.

Geek note: Sony PCM-D50 internal mics spread 120 degrees

This will be my last post for a while as I’ve been running out of space on Soundcloud and can’t afford the upgrade to premium right now. A couple of weeks probably so I guess it won’t be much of a difference when it comes to regularity in updates here anyway.

Me and Matilda went out on a short hiking trip last Saturday to Sunday. The ambivalence that shows itself in nature being dragged back and forth between winter and spring truly is fascinating and beautiful.
Arriving at Listersjön, a lake in the middle of Blekinge, we decided to set up camp and go for dinner after which we set out exploring the surroundings while collecting firewood. The area consisted of several small frozen lakes framed by coniferous as well as beech woods.
Once back at camp we went to bed for what on my behalf would turn out to be a restless night. I was awakened several times by loud cracks and strange sounds I couldn’t relate to in my drowsiness. After a while I realized that the sounds were coming from the frozen lake just 20 meters away. At about 5.30 in the morning I got up just as the sun started to rise. Those of you who have been following this blog for the last month knows that I recorded a few sessions of cracking ice, but nothing I’ve heard before comes close to the sounds that the ice on Listersjön emitted. Have a listen at these extracts (headphones recommended for best results);

 

When finished with the ice recording many of the forests inhabitants had awakened. Birds where singing as the sun was rising so I grabbed my gear and went up on a small crest just behind camp to record some birdsong, in the meantime I took the opportunity to warm up in the sunlight.

 

Spring will surely prevail sooner or later.

About load and carrying

This is what I brought with me:

-Sony PCM-D50
-Rolls PB224
-2 x Røde NT1-As
-Aquarian H2a-hydrophone
-Sennheiser headphones
-Camera tripod with DIY-shockmounts for the NT1-As
-2 x DIY-windscreens for the NT1-As
-2 x Røde WS2 Windscreens
-Goniometer
-2 x socket wrenches
-4 x 9v-batteries
-8 x AA-batteries
+Everything else you need not to starve or freeze to death when hiking in temperatures sub zero.

As you can see this gear is far from portable in the sense that you would not like to carry it with you for longer periods of time. However when out trekking for just a couple of days you’ll be fine, even during winter when you need to bring a heavier sleeping bag, more clothes and so on.
What I did was to distribute the weight like this: On my back I had the backpack containing everything excepts the audio gear which I carried in a camera-bag on my chest strapped to the backpacks shoulder straps. This somewhat evened out the load even though the strain on my shoulders increased some.
When going out trekking later on this year I’ll probably try to fit my audio gear into the backpack as I think this will put more of the pressure on my hips where it doesn’t feel so burdensome. The downside of this will be a bulkier backpack as well as the fact that it will be harder to reach and assemble your gear quickly when needed.
Some of you reading this probably have vast experience trailing different kinds of gear around and I’d be more than happy if you want to share your experiences with me.

Despite bulky equipment I’m glad that I made the decision to bring all the gear with me as the memory of this audio intense spring hike will live on forever.

Geek note: Both recordings made with 2 x Røde NT1-As (ORTF position, angled 110 degrees 17 cm apart) -> Rolls PB224 -> Sony PCM-D50