Posted by: recordingsofnature | December 30, 2016

Winter forest sounds, Christmas day

Audio nature recording from the winter forest of December 25th 2016, Brøndbyskoven. Recording starts around 9 am.

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Microphone setup at the recording location in Brøndbyskoven

Temperature 4C and barely no wind, rain slowly setting in. The forest is now leafless, greyish and transparent. Sounds are dominated by more distant sources, including church bells from Brøndbyøster kirke (400 m) and motorway noise (1.5 km), but also flocks of small birds and crows calling to each other can be heard from time to time. In the beginning you hear me walk away.

Download mp3 (~140MB)

Here in Denmark, Christmas (juleaften) is celebrated on the evening of the 24th, with church, rice porridge, pork roast/duck, Christmas tree and presents. The 25th is mostly a day for good relaxing and maybe a walk in the forest.

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | October 31, 2016

Autumn forest audio recording, October 29th 2016

This is an audio field recording October 29th in Brøndbyskoven on a sunny and pretty windy afternoon, about 10C, winds from NW.

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View from the recorder. Looking at the images the magnitude of wind rustling noise is surprising, and it also appears stronger on the recording than I remember it from the field. But is must be fairly correct, and the recording has not been processed in any way. Listen in headphones.

Download mp3 (~54MB)

The trees still have plenty of leaves and the forest now stands beautifully yellow and green.

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The canopy is however rapidly thinning out. Now is really the time to enjoy these beautiful autumn colors, and watch the forest’s fascinating transformation from magnificent shadowy green halls into transparent open areas.
The forest still has the sound of rustling leaves, but soon this will also be gone with hardly any sound from the wind, only leaving the traffic and other distant noises even more present.

It would be all dull, if not for the fresh layer of yellow crisp leafs on the ground, which also makes a great sound when walking through it.

Posted by: recordingsofnature | October 25, 2016

Sound of rain in a car

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.

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Download mp3 (~140MB)

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | September 23, 2016

Night recording Amager Fælled, September 2016

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.

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Amager fælled, september 18 2016. View from the recorder into the bush vegetation

 

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.

Download mp3 (NB ~700MB)

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.

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | September 12, 2016

Quiet rainy forest ambience, September 2016

Quiet forest ambience on a partly rainy Sunday, September 4th, Brøndbyskoven, Copenhagen. Early afternoon, about 18C.

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Tree-ears microphone setup can be seen attached to a tree trunk in the centre of the photo.

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.

Download mp3 (~50MB)

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.

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | August 12, 2016

Subjectivity of audio nature recordings

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.

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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.

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | July 4, 2016

Acoustics of Nature recordings

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.

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The dense canopy of a beech forest in summer will often create hall-like reverberation

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.

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | June 25, 2016

All-night recording from Vestskoven near Porsemosen June 17th, 2016

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!

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View of the landscape of the recording, evening. The tree-ears microphones are mounted on the tree to the right. Vestskoven June 17, 2016, 22:30.

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!

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | June 7, 2016

All-night recording from Sømosen, June 2rd 2016

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.

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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.

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Cue list:

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.

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | May 24, 2016

All-night recording from Vestskoven, May 21st 2016

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.

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View from the recorder in the morning, pointing in NE direction. Vestskoven May 22nd 2016. Click for larger version

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.

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