Big Ship!


Doesn’t this photo just exude cold?  It was December in Duluth, MN and it was freezing!  It must have been about  -20°F, and I was freezing.  I travelled up to Duluth from Minneapolis to try and record some big shipping vessels that run on the Great Lakes.  Duluth, MN is one of the major stops on Lake Superior (some called it Gitche Gumee) where ships pick up coal and takonite pellets.  Shipping on the Great Lakes has slowed considerably over the last 20 years, but the ships are quite a sight to see and hear.

In order for the ships to get in and out of the docks they have to pass under a lift bridge and make their way through a narrow canal.  On this day, the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. picked up some takonite pellets and passed under the lift bridge around noon.  If you listen closely you can hear the ship passing through ice sitting on top of the water, before the ship blows it horn (warning this is a very dynamic recording).  Once the ship passes you’ll also hear the voice of the maritime museum’s educator on an outdoor PA system, and the warning bells of the Duluth lift bridge sounds as the bridge descends.

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 in the freezing cold.  I also couldn’t have made this trip without the help of my loyal friend Johnny Vince Evans.

Photos courtesy of Johnny Vince Evans.

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Michael Raphael   September 23, 2009