This is a simple recording of the sound of rain from inside a car. Late evening, October 19th 2016, approx 9 C. Nothing special, just this subtle monotonous sound with varying intensity, which to me evokes some sleepy moods.
This is an all-night audio recording from Amager Fælled, 18-19th September 2016. Amager fælled is a very diverse and unique green area just 2.5 km from the centre of Copenhagen. That is why quarter chimes of the town hall are clearly heard. The area has various vegetation and biotopes; mainly shrubland with a mix of forest, lake, reed forest and old salt marsh with grazing cows, and it is mainly left wild. Due to its size of 2.5 km2 it’s a really good opportunity for the Copenhagen citizens to step out into almost wild nature.
There are present plans of using the old marsh areas for buildings, as well as road construction.
For the recording I found a spot aside from the main paths into some bush vegetation just at the banks of a water channel with reeds. I think the recording serves well to give a relaxing and authentic insight into the nature- and city night sounds of Amager Fælled, September anno 2016 before various construction work sets in.
The recording is shortened to span the hours from 22:00-3:00 in the morning, plus 5 minutes in the beginning when I leave the setup in the dusk at 20:00. As I am recording in mp3 I dont have any options to post process the audio, expect trimming and changing the volume (in Mp3DirectCut). Listen in headphones, medium-high volume.
Night temperatures about 14C, dry air with no dew in the morning and persistent winds from NE. Recorder pointing north.
Quiet forest ambience on a partly rainy Sunday, September 4th, Brøndbyskoven, Copenhagen. Early afternoon, about 18C.
The whole summer I have been thinking that the leaves of trees and plants this year are particularly dark green and heavy (at least here in Denmark). It is most likely due to a special combination of weather and temperatures during the growth season, but I’m also contemplating that the increasing CO2 concentration are stating to act as a fertilizer, substantially boosting the growth of green plants and trees. This concentration has increased by almost 30% since the 1950’s, so I think it could have a significant effect on plant growth, at least compared to 60 years ago.
On the recording you can hear the rain slowly building up. Initially dry conditions. At t=11:30minutes I skip into a more rainy part.
As usual with this forest, the resulting ambience is a combination of nature sounds and loud traffic rumbling. Recording is trimmed but otherwise unprocessed.
Evaluating the sound quality of nature recordings is a volatile and delicate subject. Though, in this small essay I will try to collect my ideas on why there is actually a good reason for that.
My personal objective of my recordings is to reproduce a fully authentic listening experience as if being out in the field. Sound quality has been a main driver for my recordings, but also a source of frustrations as it seems after many years of field recording, I sometimes don’t feel like having moved much forward.
In general the sound quality of field recordings appears to be more critical than for e.g. hearing music. I think the reason is that ambient recording/sound needs to match the listener’s personal hearing experience and expectations quite precisely, in order to trigger the special memories and feelings of being in an other place. Nature recordings seem to be balancing on a narrower path between sounding good or not.
Though, the main message here is that I believe there is a lot more to it than technical performance and specifications. Subjective matters will easily have a dominating part to play in the listening experience.
In continuation of the post on Road noise and weather factors, I’d like to share a few more thoughts and views on the topic of outdoor acoustics in audio field recordings, and attempt to give my guidelines on factors to consider when recording in the field. E.g. in terms of choosing the exact location of the microphones and planning with respect to weather etc.
In all, I think this is a very interesting topic which I am really just slowly starting to get a grasp of. There is no right or wrong recordings. When opening your ears to these acoustic effects it opens another dimension when listening to field recordings, like an ability to sense the surroundings, the environment and weather in a new way.
This is yet another all-night recording, this time from a beautiful calm, early summer night and morning in Vestskoven near Porsemosen June 17-18th 2016. Temperatures of 16-14C, pretty humid and with dense smells of green moist vegetation. Apparently also a perfect weather for mosquitoes. This part of Vestskoven is only accessible by bicycle or foot and lies up to Porsemosen, which is a large and rather undisturbed peat wetland known for a rich plant and wildlife.
The recording starts around 22:30, with the twilight rapidly falling. I managed to find a suitable tree trunk just by a small creek, where I could mount the tree-ears microphones pointing North East towards a small wetland.
It is now the shortest and lightest nights with sunset at 21:57 and sunrise at 04:25 – in every way a lovely time of the year!
I think the recording came out quite well, despite mostly quiet and distant sounds. The recording starts with a quick rain shower. In following the many hours a variety of delicate different sounds and activity can be heard in the area, including distant nightingales in the direction of Porsemosen, common grasshopper warbler, reed warbler, strange heron calls, fox barks, sky larks. In the morning hours the microphones get close range visits by singing yellowhammer, common whitethroat, wood pigeon and grey crow. Listen in headphones!
All-night, unattended audio field recording from Sømosen, near Copenhagen June 2nd – 3rd 2016, – the bog I have been exploring a few times earlier this year; February 15th, April 22nd and May 13th. My aim with these recordings is just to observe and document, in an authentic manner, the seasonal variation of the nature and nature sounds. I think the night recordings give a special opportunity to imagine one self into that given place, in an endless recording, hearing the same as if you were a fly on a tree trunk. Your eyes are of no use anyway.
The summer has started with a bang since the last days of May, with daily temperatures reaching 25C. Everything is green green green.Though, I think the warm weather has caused the bird song to decline and this particular evening was surprisingly quiet. Later in the night the activity seemed to return to normal as the temperature dropped to 15C. A distant nightingale was however active more or less throughout the night.
This time, I found a new spot for my tree-ears under a group of trees and bushes near the reed bed. I must admit, the place felt a bit creepy in the twilight, and I was not 100% comfortable when setting up the gear.
The recording starts 22:15 (almost dusk) and ends 5:35 am (1 hour after sunrise). Listen in (open) headphones.
0:15:00 (22:30) Dusk
Distant Nightingale partly active, can be head together with gulls, geese and other waterfowl from the wetland.
Lots of road noise to the right (East), which is also the wind direction.
Some rustling nearby, but otherwise not much activity
1:42:00 (00:00) Reed warblers on/off, frogs, nightingale very faint.
2:45:00 (01:00) Road noise greatly reduced, overall very quiet.
Light winds cause some relaxing rustling and quirking.
More reed warblers on/off
4:14:00 (02:30) Something nearby?
4:29:00 (02:45) First cuckoo in the morning.
4:37:00 (02:53) Nightingale closer
5:04:00 (03:20) Gulls and birds wake up
5:14:00 (03:30) Wren, black bird start signing
5:21:00 (03:36) Dawn. Nightingale close again
5:30:00 (03:45) Black cap starts singing
5:40:00 (03:55) Great tit, chiffchaff starts singing
6:20:00 (04:35) Sunrise
7:18:00 (05:33) Loud crow nearby !!!
Weather: Clear sky, pretty warm and humid, 15-20C, 80%RH. Light eastern winds.
This is an all-night recording from Vestskoven, a woodland just outside Copenhagen, 21st of May 2016. This time I found a location further west, about 50 meters into a very green and dense forest section. The visibility was only about 20 meters and I had no worries about any human finding my recording gear.
The forest is full of whispering and rustling sounds, from all around. It sounds like rain, but it is not (only shortly at t=5:12.00). I really don’t know if it is insects, the leafs growing or small baby frogs hopping around (I saw a few). It is just there the whole time and the surroundings seem very much alive. At times it appears to be larger animals (mice and foxes?) that sniff around.
Recording starts 21:25, (at sunset, hearing me walk away) and ends 6:15 in the morning. Listen in open headphones.
Sunset 21:27 (t=0), Dusk 22:20 (t=0:53:00), Dawn 03:52 (t=6:25:00), Sunrise 04:47 (t=7:42:00).
In my latests recordings, I have been concerned with low frequency rumbling from roads and machinery. So I decided that this time should be different, and therefore spend quite some time trying to pick the best location in Vestskoven in terms of distance to populated areas, and in terms of wind direction with respect to the motorway. And a night between Saturday and Sunday should also help.
But it all turned out to be an utterly failure. The wind from South, which was supposed to be shielding the motorway noise, was far from effective. Furthermore, it turned out that the area is home to groups of campers who enjoy partying and playing music the whole night and morning. So lots of deep rumbling this time, as well. All there is to say is I will try to succeed next time🙂
Weather: 14C, 80%RH, 3-5 m/s wind from South, heavy clouds, with showers drifting in from west. Dry asphalt.
This is an audio field recording of dawn in Sømosen (Friday 13.5.2016), the bog just outside Copenhagen where I have been recording a few times before. I am curious to know more about the night sounds of this wetland through the seasons. My last night recording was in February. Now, spring is well advanced, and the activity level much higher.
It was a night with a clear sky, no wind and 8C. Mist was developing over the water making the scene very picturesque in the morning.
I didn’t manage to do a full night recording, so the recording starts 3 am and ends at 4:45 am when the morning chorus had calmed a bit down. Listen in headphones.
The recording starts with me walking the last meters and placing the recording gear near the water. In the beginning, at 3 am, the only singing bird is a distant nightingale, but shortly with the first light, the colony of black headed gulls wakes up. Steadily, the sound level builds up with greylag goose, lapwing, cuckoo, redstart, wren, black bird, joining in. (Im still missing the balck cap, which was very active at this time last year)
Despite good audio recording conditions, I don’t think the recording turned out to be very sparkling. In the first half, the soundscape is mostly medium and far distance sounds from birds over the wetland, but (again) I experienced some persistent deep bass rumbling. This time, it appeared not to be from traffic, but humming from some fan or building ventilator. Though, I think the problem is also highly due to my recording setup being too sensitive to low frequency bass.
Morning chorus atmosphere in Vestskoven, early May (7.5.2016). The chorus is at its maximum around 4:30 am, when it is still dark. The recording is from about 5 am, where the birds have calmed down a bit and the light has set in. Some warblers, including the Nightingale are not yet present, but I’m sure they will on my next recording.
The early hours have a special atmosphere. Especially now when the very first light appears very early, and before the traffic noise kicks in. It is like the forest, for a moment, has forgotten all human presence. It sure sounds like the best part of the day.