U.S. Pond Hockey Championships

The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships took place this past weekend in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Over the course of the weekend, thousands of players hit the frozen ice and breathed in the frozen air.  It was -5F or colder for most of the tournament.  I don’t have much hockey sounds in my library, so I thought it would be a good time to freeze my ass off for some decent recordings. I dragged my buddy Mitch Hanley along so I wouldn’t be the only one with frostbite at the end of the day.  

Before games each team had to shovel their own rink to the get the ice game ready.  No Zambonis in this crowd!

The teams play without goaltenders on a much smaller ice surface and instead of a traditional goal they have to shoot the puck into two small holes on either side of a wood rectangle.  It is not easy. Listen for that puck banging into wood sound.

While recording I played around with various perspectives. First, I tried a stationary perspective along the center line of the ice, and then hand held the rycote to track the action.  I posted the tracked action below.

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It was a challenge to stay warm and not introduce noise through my giant extreme cold mittens.  I learned how quickly your hands can get cold if you don’t move them inside the gloves.  There were other noise hazards to watch out for.  I had to be very careful not to crunch snow with my boots once we began rolling. I was concerned about how my Sound Devices 744 recorder would hold up in the cold and it performed perfectly.  The only issue I experienced was diminished battery life from the lithium-ion batteries, but I expected that.  I had a bag full of spares to keep me going. The one bit of noise that I couldn’t control was airplanes flying over the lake throughout the day. Unfortunately, Lake Nokomis is right in the flight path of MSP.  If you are into that sound there are plenty of houses right around the lake.

Recording Geek Note:  Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5 setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid.  It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.  Everything was really cold.

More photos after the jump . . . 

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Machine Shop Action

This recording dates back to 2003 and was one of my first paying gigs.  I was making radio for a little while and after I bought my first pair of Schoeps I got the occasional odd call.  This gig got me hooked on recording unusual sounds and exploring the sonic universe.  Another radio pal hired me and we set off to record a bunch of big metal machines built in the 1940s and 1950s that were used to repair turn of the century steam engines.

The following recording is of a metal grinder with a several different surfaces.  It is not an amazing recording, but it holds fond memories for me.

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The guys who worked in the shop were damn funny and they had a blast making noise for us all day.  I tacked on a little interaction with the guys at the end of the file.  They were actually quite musical.  I got “lucky” when a chuck flew off a vertical lathe and hit me on the foot.  Ouch!  We still had more than half the day to record and I was afraid to take off my shoe with the fear I wouldn’t be able to put it back on. Thankfully, none of the little piggies were broken and we had a blast the rest of the day.

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Waterfowl at Crex Meadows Revisited

The above photo was taken on October 19, 2008 at Crex Meadows wildlife area in Grantsburg, WI.  I visited once before with my friend Rob Byers and the recording was good, but we knew it could be better.  The first time we went to record it was 4:00 AM, pitch black and we were forced to guess on a good location.  We guessed well, but I knew if we went back the recordings would be more detailed.  Armed with fresh coffee in our “grab and go” cups we headed out at 4:00 AM, moved about 200 feet from the original location and ended up in a location with Sandhill Cranes, Mallards, Wood Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails and Ring-Necked Ducks.

The Sandhill Cranes are the most dominant in the recording; they only got more vocal as the day wore on.   Around 8:00 AM the hunters arrived.  Hunting season just opened and gunshots echoed all around once the sun started to rise.  The birds on the recordings are the lucky ones – they managed to find their way to the refuge!

The first file below is from 5:00 AM and is relatively quiet.

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The second file is from 8:00 AM and is more active.

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Recording Geek Note:  

Schoeps CMC5′s in an MS configuration on a stand approximately 7 feet high.  Recorded directly to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.   More Photos if you keep reading.

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Two Harbors, MN in December

 

This is the view out the back of a cabin in Two Harbors, Minnesota that I rented with some friends in December.  We originally planned to record a train down in Duluth but the weather did not really cooperate.  We were snowed in all weekend and we were lucky to get back on the road by the end of our weekend.  We saw about 13 inches of snow, but after the 8th attempt up the steep driveway of the cabin we made it out.  

Once I realized that we weren’t going to get out to record the old train I had to find something else to record. The porch on the ground level had a couple of nice features:  a few wind chimes, blowing snow, and a grill covered with a tarp that seemed to like to flap in the wind.   You can see one of the wind chimes in the upper left of the above photo and Gitche Gumee on the right.

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For the recording geeks out there, this was recorded with Schoeps CMC5′s in MS configuration.  The gusts of wind and snow were very strong; the recording gear hit the deck on more than one occasion!  The Rycote windjammer needed heavy blow drying when then day was done.

There are a few more photos of the surroundings if you continue reading.

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