28 June, 2013
In June of 2013 the Nature Sounds Society hosted the annual field workshop in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California. Preeminent recordist Lang Elliot was there to inspire us to great recordings and update us on his latest projects. Along with Lang, his collaborator Marie Read wowed us with her great images and stories of wildlife photography.
Dan Dugan, Steve Sargent and I put together the ever popular microphone directivity session (above) while other attendees were learning how to make their own windscreen with Sharon Perry. If you ever get a chance it is a weekend well spent.
I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo of the beautiful site at Yuba Pass, I was so tired, as soon as the mics started rolling I fell asleep:
All recordings by GT Weddig are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
15 May, 2011
I was on a scouting trip to the northeast corner of California, checking out the Warner Range and other recording opportunities. I was in Cedarville having a greasy breakfast a a local joint which had a little buzz going that morning, it wasn’t just the coffee. I found out that one of the large ranches was transporting 200-300 head of cattle to their Summer grazing grounds up in the mountains. This involved a cattle drive through the middle of downtown. Since by the time I got out of breakfast the herd was fast approaching, I pulled out the microphones and this is what I heard:
As I continued exploring the area I had several other opportunities to drive through the same cattle swarm. Good thing I wasn’t in a hurry.
MS, Schoeps MK21, SD 744t
26 June, 2010
This year was a bountiful one at the San Francisco State University High Sierra Field Camp. In addition to the wonderful location there were many recordists with diverse interests ready to record or try recording for the first time. A documentary film about the Soundtracker, Gordon Hempton, was presented by it’s filmmaker Nick Sherman, keep your eye out for it on the festival circuit. The film was an excellent portrait of one of the foremost nature recordists in the world.
Also John Muir Laws was in attendance providing a much welcome background and context about the natural world (which I sorely need). John is the author of the definitive field guide(s) to the Sierras. John introduced us to drawing techniques and suggested we look behind the names and explore the systems that work together to create the ecosystems that we live in.
All in all it was a wonderful weekend, many old friends and new were made and remade. Some other links from the weekend are below. For now enjoy a clip from Carman Valley:
Some photos I took: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gweddig/sets/72157624270428383/
These Carman Valley recordings by GT Weddig are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
6 June, 2010
Back in January of 2010 my daughter Eleanor was born. Amidst the excitement of labor and delivery I had a previous commitment to provide recording services for a concert of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus performing at the Harlen Adams Theatre on the campus of Chico State. The day after Eleanor was born I loaded into the theatre with fourteen microphones and a few direct lines. We recorded 16 channels of audio on a double system: one computer and one “Radar” for backup. Dr. Kathleen McGuire conducted the 100 member chorus to a capacity crowd. Everything was originally recorded at 24/96. Mark Speer mixed and Ashley Moore (AMOR Music Productions) mastered the project.
Here are some samples of the recording, the full recording seems to be out of print.
Make Your Own Kind of Music/New World Coming (Excerpt)
My Rising Up (Excerpt)
California Here I Come (Excerpt)
All samples are property of Golden Gate Performing Arts Inc. and used with permission.
6 May, 2010
- Photo Courtesy of t_camuti ©2006
The sound you are about to hear is one that fascinated me the first time I took a walk in Bidwell Park. In January I recorded it, reported to be the third largest urban park in the US, Bidwell Park is located within the city limits of Chico, CA near “Lake” Oroville and the Oroville Dam whose power travels along said lines. The crackling that is heard is an effect called corona discharge [Wikipedia] and is caused by the interaction of power and humidity or other particles in the air surrounding the lines (as I understand it).
As you can hear the city of Chico is on the right side of the image, it is somewhat heavily rolled off to provide a more pleasant listening experience.
MS, Schoeps MK21, SD 744t
29 January, 2010
On January 29th after 21 hours of labor (and about the same amount of compressed audio recording) we heard this very first sound:
Nicole and I are proud parents. I won’t share the rest of the recording with you. Surprisingly, none of the nursing staff gave me trouble about having a large microphone in the room, I guess it’s less equipment than those who bring video in. I think I would find video less intimate and actually easier to watch than listening to the sounds of a woman laboring and delivering.
It brings tears to my eyes hearing these first cries again.
Thanks for allowing this diversion from the usual content.
24 December, 2009
Happy Holidays (Chico State Brass Band & Vocal Duet @ Enloe Hospital Tree Lighting):
30 September, 2009
Apologies for a missed opportunity this post: in our haste to get to Lassen Volcanic National Park for a much needed weekend getaway we left the camera at home so you will just have to visit on your own or look around here. Well the weekend getaway nature of this trip put recording on the back burner but it was a good opportunity to scout the area before lugging recording gear in…but I decided to lug gear anyway. We headed out from the Warner campground, a dusty national park campground that seems lightly visited, it’s just a mile or so from the trailhead to the lake itself.
I situated the mics and myself between two bubbling mudpots, much to Nicole’s concern and encouragement. There were plenty of other footprints where I was setup so I wasn’t too worried, though I did notice that the ground was physically warmer in some places, weird. Shortly after hitting “record” a curious couple spent a long time exploring the relatively small area frequently calling out to find the other. A Spotted Towhee was foraging in the area some calls and wingbeats can be heard..
UPDATE: I decided to mix and post my recording at Terminal Geyser, which is not really a geyser but a steam vent, at first it was a little boring to listen to but once I mixed in the 154° (67°C) bubbling stream I decided it was worthy:
These Lassen National Park recordings by GT Weddig are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
28 June, 2009
This is part two of the Nature Sounds Society summer workshop field report:
Sunday Morning we had an early 4:30am start up at Yuba Pass, dawn chorus, there are a few pretty loud Song Sparrow calls (at 3:19-LOUD) early in the recording also woodpeckers, and many others that I have yet to identify. The microphone array you are hearing is ORTF, though I also recorded a rear Blumlein pair. Please post if you are interested in hearing it.
Late morning as the group dispersed we visited Madora Lake which seems to be a stream fed lake though it may be a man-made spring. This stereo track was derived from a 4 channel, double MS recording. There are American Coots, Red-winged Blackbirds, Bullfrog and a persistently chipping that seemed to be a MacGillivray’s Wabrler. After this successful recording location and a small picnic lunch the 2009 Nature Sounds Society workshop came to a close. The recording below was originally part of a double MS recording on the gregga tree.
These NSS recordings and photos by GT Weddig is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
27 June, 2009
At the end of June I attended the annual workshop put on by the Bay Area based Nature Sounds Society. Although this years workshop was lightly attended it allowed greater flexibility and mobility in selecting recording locations and activities. Dan and Sharon led us through through the expected amazing sessions that touch on art, education, listening, activism and hands on construction.
I have been to the workshops in past years but this year was a bounty of new recording locations surrounding the Yuba Pass/Sierra Valley area of Northern California.
Friday night we had a interesting presentation by hummingbird researcher Chris Clark on the tail noises that occur during mating.
Sierra Valley 4:30 am brought out a bunch of tired lightly caffinated recordists to the usual spot at Marble Hot Springs, the scenery did not dissapoint. Somehow I felt that the diversity of species was not a large as it had been in previous years but it was still an enjoyable morning. I think you hear in this recording Wilson’s Snip, Marsh Wren, American Bittern, Red-winged Blackbird among others. This is an ORTF soundscape using Schoeps MK-21 sub-cardioid capsules.
The time is 6:20, we are still in Sierra Valley at the Marble Hot Springs Bridge, the predominant callers are Cliff Swallows, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Bullfrog, American Coot, Western Meadowlark, and the domesticated cow (distant). This is an ORTF soundscape using Schoeps MK-21 sub-cardioid capsules.
After breakfast in a picturesque mosquito covered highway rest area we were off scouting a new recording location. It was reported that Carman Valley is in the process of having it’s wetland restored in collaboration with the local ranchers (and land owners). Most of the recording at this location is a pastoral morning soundscape, but the end of the recording the Scrub Jays were acting up, so that is what you get to hear. From my perspective this will be a popular stop on future recording trips. This is an ORTF soundscape using Schoeps MK-21 sub-cardioid capsules.
These recordings and photos by GT Weddig is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
26 May, 2009
I have been out recording the last several weeks, just not finding the time to post here. Because of it’s proximity I have been exploring Gray Lodge more fully. This time of the year it means getting up pretty early, even though I only live 50 minutes away it means leaving at 4:00am or so to capture the dawn chorus. Which is precisely what I have done this week.
Every time I visit I hope to find out something new, the second recording you hear is a reminder that the wildlife area is surrounded by working agricultural fields, which need to be seeded which in the case of rice is done by bi-plane, at 5:30 on a Sunday morning. I would assume this is a similar process to crop dusting.
The first recording is the earlier recording, there is some distant traffic, trains and you can hear the bi-plane begin. There are occasional Wild Turkeys and American Coot among the Red-winged Black Birds Marsh Wrens and others, if you can identify anything please let me know and I will update, thanks. This is an ORTF recording using Schoeps MK21 capsules.
The recording below is an Jecklin recording using DPA 4006 capsules.
Second Recording (caution loud planes throughout, unedited except for some rolloff):
12 April, 2009
This last weekend I finally made it out for an overnight trip to a local private ranch I have had my eye on. After obtaining permission from the owners I spent a beautiful night in California’s Coastal Range foothills. As you can see from the photos everything is still green from the spring rain, in a few weeks it will start to turn a shimmering gold. The oak trees show in these pictures The weather was partly cloudy and I was hoping to catch some frogs at the man made watering hole for the cattle that call this land home. In the evening recording you will hear some Pacific Chorus Frogs over a bed of Spring Field Crickets. This is an ORTF recording using Schoeps MK21 capsules.
I used the Gregga Array to support two stereo pair of mics the left side is a rear facing Jecklin disc and the right is a pair of MK21 Sub-cardioid micsin an ORTF configuration in a windscreen. Note how the wide stance of the tripod allows a very stable platform for the two arrays, no worries about cows tipping them over. In the background you can see my yellow GPS and weather station.
The next morning came too early after a fitful night of sleep, I had not counted on the moon being full and bright. The cooing of Mourning Doves and the territorial call of the Western Meadowlark. An early morning motorcycle broke the peace. This was recorded using the Jecklin disk barrier with some DPA 4006 omni mics.
These Flournoy recordings and photos by GT Weddig is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
15 February, 2009
I headed out this morning to scout an area known as Gray Lodge Wildlife Area
which is managed by the California Department of Fish & Game. The weather was pretty overcast on the way out and I was hoping for a bit of sun. I didn’t get any sun but I got to use my trusty microphone umbrella. Most of the migrating waterfowl that I had seen on my initial visit a few weeks before was gone, but the American Coots, Northern Shovelers and of course the Mallards were still there.
M-S MK21, SD 744t, Grace V3
31 May, 2008
This is a night recording I did a few weeks ago , but am only getting to post until now. There is a close squirrel (Eastern Gray?) and some other favorite friends, I picked up a touch of poison ivy fumbling around in the declining light, it has now pretty much healed but still, use caution recording at night.
Danny was also recording this night, we did hear some relatively close gunshots, but they didn’t continue long.
This weeks recording:
17 May, 2008
This night recording was done with the Maryland Nature Recordists in May 2008. I was at the Tubman Road Trail near marker #3. There were open water sloughs on both sides of me. The primary caller seems to be the Northern Cricket Frog, with Cope’s Gray Treefrog, Bald Eagle, Northern Bobwhite, Chuck Will’s widow, possibly the Snowy Tree Cricket, and the occasional Wood Frog filling out the soundscape.
ORTF, Sennheiser 8040, SD 744t
10 May, 2008
Foggy, rainy morning caused a rain out, I recorded about 20 minutes or so before the rain started growing more heavy. The undergrowth is filling out, as is the canopy. Again the whip-poor-will was calling when I arrived, in fact two or three of them were calling near the road before my hike in. I must try a night recording here soon. This recording was so nice I did cut out a short mid-section that I check how wet the mics were, enjoy.
ORTF, Schoeps MK21, 744t
8 May, 2008
The sun was just rising as I once again got out of the car at the trailhead to the sound of deuling whip-poor-wills. One night I will record them. This soundscape has a featured knocker, the piliated woodpecker was a prominent caller this morning towards the end of the recording, in addition to other birds that I haven’t yet ID’d.
While the air traffic was limited today, I did notice some sort of farm machinery in the distance, the recording location is less than a mile away from some agricultural fields and a pastoral farm. Usually they are quiet save for the occasional cock-a-doodle-do..
This weeks recording:
On the way out I noticed what appeared to be an albino plant, is this possible? See the photo below, does anyone know what this is?
26 April, 2008
I am trying to get up earlier to capture first light every week, but due to a number of factors I can only get so close.
This week we have a technical comparison between two sets of microphones. The first set is my standard Schoeps ORTF configuration, a set of MK21 capsules directly into the Sound Devices 744t mic preamplifier. The second set, a demo set of the Sennheiser MKH 8040 configured in ORTF. Keep in mind that the pattern of the two sets is slightly different: the Schoeps is a wide cardioid, the Sennheiser is a classic cardioid. I have done my best to match levels on these two samples.
The same part of the sound file was used for each sample. in about the middle of the recording you will hear me swatting a spider, I was recovering from a few spider bites from the previous week at the time.
ORTF, Schoeps MK21, 744t
ORTF, Sennheiser MKH 8040, Grace V3, 744t
20 April, 2008
This seems to be the quietest recording (in terms of wildlife) I’ve done here yet. The forecast was calling for a morning thunderstorms but it didn’t start to rain until we were leaving. The wind however was pretty constant. The trees haven’t started to fill in yet, they are only now starting to bud.
Jecklin, DPA 4006, 744t
12 April, 2008
A foggy, warm morning, after a thunderstorm, the first I’ve seen this spring, temp was about 60 degrees farenheit. It was dark when I arrived, but the Northern Cardinal just started to call. I was hoping to get there early enough to catch the owls, but all I got was a few eastern grey squrrels waking up (at about 15:50). I left most of the slate on this track. The transient pops you hear is water rolling off the trees close to the microphones. USE CAUTION, SOME OF THESE POPS MAY BE LOUD!
The smaller version is actually a continuation of the large recording, note there is a loud jet about halfway through the compressed version (at about 13:30).
Or a more compressed version for those with slower connections:
Jecklin, DPA 4006, 744t