2020 has finally come to a close and I thought it would be appropriate to put up a year-end “All Decked Out for Quarantine” post. Like most sane people, I really haven’t been going anywhere during this pandemic, but have filled 2020 with random recordings from my back deck in suburban NJ. And to quote the great Harry Nilsson, “I can’t live if living is without you.” Sadly, Harry made some difficult life choices, but at least he missed a few pandemics! 1 And for this post, I also asked my friend and colleague, Rob Byers to record in his backyard (pictured above).
Here in NJ, I put the double ORTF rig out on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve and this 5 minute passage caught a fair bit of action, including some birds, a plane flying out of Newark Airport, a neighbor firing up his low-pitched Mini Cooper, another neighbor playing basketball, someone nailing something in the distance, and a distressed dog. Who says nothing happens in the ‘burbs?
Rob’s recording comes to us from Michigan and catches a different moment. Here’s what he has to say:
I live in Minneapolis but am spending the winter by a lake in northern Michigan. We are on the east side of this lake and are just a few miles from Lake Michigan — so it is windy and snows all the time. It’s very quiet in terms of people, but the wind and the lake always remind you of their presence. A calm day is a rare occurrence (and I’m constantly checking the forecast)!
This is a recording from an overnight test — I wanted to test some new batteries in cold conditions (they did great!). It was definitely not a calm night, and it was slated to snow, so the rig is under a porch to keep snow pellets from pinging the Rycote. At first, the recording sounds like a bunch of noise. But settle in and you’ll start to hear the rhythm of the waves, the intensity of the wind, and a few birds waking up to the sunrise.
MI: Recording Geek Note: Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5 mics in an M/S array (with MK4 and MK8 capsules. It was tracked with a Cooper CS 104 feeding a Sound Devices 744T. Yes, Mr. Fieldsepulchra himself got me on the Cooper train, and he’s not wrong!