Land Shark

This post definitely falls into two categories: “misadventures” and “wish I had a picture.” I’ve been hanging out on the social sound design forum lately and there have been a number of great posts about field recording. A while back the community was asked to share some of their strange experiences while out recording. I originally thought my baby ostriches were among one of the stranger things that I have recorded over the years, but a funny memory came to me in a dream.

What you’re hearing is a “land shark.” Also known as a rocket that has malfunctioned, landed on the ground, ignited, and then started to head toward a group of people at a very high speed. If you listen carefully at the :11 mark, you can hear the rocketry organization’s president yelling, “We got a land shark! We got a land shark.”

That was the first or second launch when I was setting up to record large scale amateur rockets. The rocket sputtered off the launch pad a few times and then ignited on the ground. I’ve never seen so many people run so fast in my life. Unfortunately, a car and someone got pegged by the rocket and it was at that moment, I thought to myself, “What they hell did you just get yourself into!” Luckily for me I survived the day and left with a ton of killer rocket recordings, which can be found here.

Under Waterfalls

A few weeks ago I drove 3 hours north of NYC to a waterfall that sits on the back of a relative’s property, who was kind enough to let me drive up and record with my hydrophones. The location has so many features where the water changes speed and pitch as it moves across the rocks. The recording below is one of my favorite water flows from that day.

I was surprised by the low frequency content because the water is not that deep, but it has really great low end gurgles. One of the key challenges of this type of recording is turbulence.  It is relatively easy to overwhelm hydrophones when placing them in the flow of heavy currents.

I have yet to completely master the technique, and I suspect I am going to have many near-misses in my continued experiments with hydrophones, but luckily for me, this one turned out okay.

Recording Geek Note: Rig consists of Aquarian h2a hydrophone tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.  I was also trying not to take my 744 for swim while recording!