A lot of times when I’m out in the field, I like to just sit and listen to the sounds of nature. I enjoy this so much that I invested in a Zoom H4n digital audio recorder to take out with me and capture some of the natural sounds I encounter.
The Zoom H4n by the way is a remarkable recorder. It can record fantastic audio with it’s built in stereo mics but also allows you to plug in 1/4 inch and XLR mics as well.
My first experience recording with it was in Monterey, California. My hotel was right on the beach and at night I could listen to the waves and seabirds outside my window.
Returning back to Iowa I took the Zoom with me on my trips to a tall grass prairie about 15 miles from my home. I was working on my latest film, “The Prairie” for the UWOL film challenge.
It was late in the afternoon and I could hear owls hooting in the nearby forests, birds settling in for the coming night, frogs in the nearby pond, etc. But what amazed me when I returned home to listen to the audio was how much other sounds the Zoom had picked up.
The tall grass prairie is really out in the middle of no where. Yet, I could hear the sound of tractors out in distant fields, motorcycles roaring down roads far in the distance. There were airplanes flying over head and the rumble of freight trains as they made their way across the state. I could hear dogs barking from nearby farmhouses, cars traveling down the lone road that passes by the prairie.
What amazed me even more was that long after a plane flew overhead or a car drove past on the gravel road, their sound continued to be recorded. The pristine natural sounds of the tall grass prairie were being contaminated by a world that had seemed so far away.
No matter how much I felt as one with nature while I sat in the prairie it seems that the sounds of man are still there no matter how much I wish they weren’t.