Have you ever geared up, walked into the wilderness, and found yourself surrounded by bland nature sounds?
You wouldn’t be the first. Why is this happening?
The Fickle Sound of Nature
Despite richness of sound in nature, it’s common to find yourself in an utterly silent wilderness soundscape. Why can you hear your own heartbeat in a dense forest? How come an alpine meadow appears void of birds and animals? Well, it’s likely your presence is scaring away most of the wildlife.
A recent video from nature field recordist George Vlad presents a novel solution to this problem. To ensure his movement, sound, or even scent doesn’t scare away timid animals, birds, or insects, Vlad uses what he calls drop rigs: “set-and-forget” portable field recording set-ups. His cleverly-arranged mini-kits are designed to withstand the elements, animals, and other disturbances to capture the most evocative and pure field recordings that happen only when every human presence has departed.
George Vlad’s technique is not merely setting aside a recorder and walking away. He has a thoughtful approach to what gear he selects and why. It includes:
- Sony PCM-D100 ($775), D10 ($499), or A10 ($219).
- LOM mikroUši microphone (€80).
- Bubblebee windshields ($44.95).
- Tupperware containers to protect the microphone before shooting.
- Silica gel to draw out moisture afterwards.
- Electrical tape to fasten gear.
- Dry bag for the entire kit.
Vlad discusses how this setup works in the wild as well as in mixed environmental conditions. What I found interesting were his comments on how the gear package affects his technique by focusing listening and considering risk and reward, all with the side effect of making the practice more enjoyable, too.
Learn more in his YouTube video below:
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