Jul 21 2011
You will remember an earlier post about the plovers nesting outside the bedroom window. Well, 3 of the 4 eggs have hatched, and they are running around looking cute. A few more weeks and they’ll be just as terrifying.
Jun 30 2011
Recently I drove North from Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills to Innamincka (1,120 km) in South Australia’s far North East desert region. Then, a couple of days later, North East from Innamincka to Eromanga (410 km) in Qld’s South West corner. (Got that?) From there I travelled South to Broken Hill in NSW and then South West returning to Adelaide and, ultimately, Hahndorf (35km East of Adelaide). A total of just under 3,200 km, the last 1,300 km of that in one day (Eromanga 06:30 to Hahndorf 00:15 (17 hours & 45 minutes)). For the math wizards amongst you, the missing 370 km was taken up by driving around the local areas.
The majority of travel was on outback desert roads, but these were in good (although bumpy) dry condition. Spending two nights at Innamincka, I managed to drag myself out of bed on one of the very frosty mornings. The clear night sky had allowed the air to chill to very close to zero. So I reluctantly got out of bed before first light and walked to the Cooper Creek causeway on the edge of town.
This recording was made near a small body of water about 30 metres from the main Cooper Creek. Due to mud from receding water levels, I was unable to get as close to the Cooper as I would have liked. The roaring sound to the right, is the water of the Cooper Creek flooding over the causeway about 200 metres distant. I have edited the recording to remove the clicking of my camera (I didn’t realise how loud it was even at a distance).
I made another recording two days later, in the late afternoon at Eromanga, while relaxing with a book on the shady deck of our accommodation. I’ll post that shortly.
Jun 27 2011
Plovers nest on the ground and, during nesting season, will often terrorise anyone trying to walk through a park, an oval or even crossing the medium strip of a road. If any of you have had the misfortune of being attacked by the Spur Winged Plover, their attack calls are something you never forget. For the last 16 years, Spur Winged Plovers have been nesting in our paddock. Each year, a pair nest within 10 metres of the year before. The image below shows the current nest about 3 metres from the bedroom window. In the night, their protective calls are the things nightmares grow from.
I found this photo on Wiki that clearly shows the spur on the leading edge of the wing. Being hit by the spur causes severe pain and the blood to flow quite freely.
They attack with a coordinated effort. One bird will fly up and swoop in from the front and the other, having circled around, will come in at 90 degrees to the first. They both arrive on target within a second of each other and from two directions. One calling, to distract you, and the other often silent.
In flying, pilots perform what is called a procedure turn. Fly away from an object, turn 90 degrees (in either direction) reverse the turn and continue for 270 degrees to come back at the object. Plovers have mastered this manouvre with ease. I’ve watched this happen time after time. Attack, swoop past, turn, reverse, attack. What a fantastic bird.
Mar 07 2011
It’s that time of the year again for the two day gathering that is the ‘Power Of The Past’ in Mt Barker. With another great display of stationary engines.
The sounds that emanate from them range from fast stacatto clicking, to slow clunking thumps, to asthmatic wheezing and arthritic groans.
Whilst this event has a lot of engines running at once, I’ve tried to capture individual engines without too much background noise. Not always successful, but still very satisfying.
Recording set-up consists of a Schoeps CCM4Lg & CCM8Lg in M/S configuration, inside a Schoeps/Rycote blimp. Tracked directly into a Sound Devices 702 (originally at 24/96 & converted to MP3 at 320 kbps)
Apr 02 2010
I usually have my blimp filled with a Schoeps CCM4Lg/CCM8Lg in M/S configuration. But it was suggested to me that ORTF is very good for ambient recording, giving a nice stereo image. So after a bit of thought I came up with a way to use ORTF in my Schoeps/Rycote stereo blimp. This blimp is usually supplied for the M/S rig by Schoeps. Using the theory that a picture tells a thousand words, here is a 13,000 word instruction manual on how to do it. Be aware that this method is only good for use when mounting the blimp on a tripod or stand because there is only one clip holding it. And the handle is still in it’s normal orientation.
Mar 06 2010
In March each year, there is two day gathering of collectors in Mt Barker. Old cars are polished and brought out for a drive, but the main attraction is all of the wonderful old ‘stationary engines’.
There are several hundred stationary engines on display and most are restored to working order. The sound of these beautifully restored bits of history are fantastic. If you get there early enough, the noise is bearable, as most people are still setting up and only a few engines are running. Too late and the sounds clash into an un-recordable chaos.
Recording set-up consists of a Schoeps CCM4Lg & CCM8Lg in M/S configuration, inside a Schoeps/Rycote blimp. Tracked directly into a Sound Devices 702 (originally at 24/96 & converted to MP3)
Oct 14 2009
Before heading overseas I looked for a solution to my backpack needs for recording. I eventually settled on a Kata 3n1 30 backpack. See here for photos of the modifications I made to it and a Rode blimp for my Schoeps CCM4/CCM8 MS microphone rig.
Oct 14 2009
Sep 25 2009
I’ve just returned from Ukraine where we stayed in a two bedroom apartment about 800 meters from central Kiev on Lesi Ukrainky Boulevard. Situated on the 4th floor, it’s the second balcony up in the photo. Directly across the street, a new extension to a hotel was being built.
Whilst the apartment was very comfortable and secure, we had to negotiate the elevator from hell. It was just big enough to get two people and bags into. You could be forgiven for thinking the elevator shaft and stair well were in a crack house.
Ukraine is fantastic. The people are friendly, but if you intend to go there, learn Russian not Ukrainian. It was a mistake we made but we quickly picked up a few Russian phrases to get by. Russian is actually easier than Ukrainian but that may have something to do with all the ‘Cold War’ films I watched in my youth.
We did the smart thing and hired a guide for Wednesday and Friday afternoon (Thursday we went to Pripyat & Chernobyl). Tatiana was a big help and it was great to be shown around Kiev by a native of the city. However, I think I enjoyed sitting and talking about our different lifestyles more than the site seeing. Over lunch we discussed religion, politics, books, films, relationships, travel, food, history and anything else that struck a common ground between our two very different cultures.
There is an interesting mix of old and new in Ukraine. Brand new Mercedes four wheel drives, Mazda 3′s all over and the local electric trams.
Without Tatiana, we wouldn’t have attempted the Metro. At around 157 metres, the deepest underground station in Europe is in Kiev. People sit down on the escalators like it’s an amusement park ride. It takes around 3 minutes to descend over 100 metres. If there was ever a fire in the station, I think there would be a huge loss of life. The Metro is very cheap, fast and frequent, however all the signs are in Cyrillic and, without a guide, we’d have been quickly lost.
Recording set-up consists of a Schoeps CCM4Lg & CCM8Lg in M/S configuration, inside a Schoeps/Rycote blimp. Tracked directly into a Sound Devices 702 (originally at 24/96)
Aug 18 2009
Lately I’ve been busy recording musical stuff. Brass & Concert bands for the two day Strathalbyn Band Festival (consecutive Sundays), and the SA Country Choral Festival at Mt Barker (on the Saturday between the two Sundays). I’ve neglected just recording ‘stuff’, so here’s a quick sound from a bygone era. Kerry was given an old phone as a gift and although it’s a bit larger than the phones of today, it’s very solid. We’re going to see if anyone can wire it up for use.