Moruya NSW 2537 – Two Birds, One Field Recorder

IMG_4513Over the past couple of days I was lucky enough to get out and record some Australian birds. The man made kind and also the organic kind. Friends and family were out camping and travelling in Moruya, southern New South Wales. We took this opportunity to go and visit them and see what we could sonically find. Two birds with one field recorder. We hurriedly packed our ageing Suzuki Sierra, hoping that it would take us on one more trip. I charged the Sound Devices batteries, checked cables and chose just 1 microphone. This time it would be my RØDE NTG3b. I didn’t really have options since the rest of my stuff is still trapped in a boat somewhere in Melbourne… So, I strapped on my trusted if battered Sennheiser HD25‘s and off we went.

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of an impromptu field recording trip and the first moments of waking up in the morning at stupid o’clock, full of blind ambition of getting sonically lucky today. I kick started my love with all things organically sonic and the interesting battle with the ever encroaching audio pollution that modern life carries with it. Moruya offers a fantastic recording opportunity for both. Not only is it a naturally stunning place, of which there’s no shortage in Australia but there’s also a small local airport located nearby. Case in point really. Metal birds and feathery ones living side by side.

Being in Australia, I’m now filled with the wonder of all things new. Hence one must grab those moments when everything is fresh, the sights, the sounds, the smells, before they become common place, overly familiar and harder to see with these innocent eyes and ears. It’s a bit like travelling where everything seems unhackneyed, ‘…oh look they have funny bus stops here darling…’ ‘…yes dear, that’s lovely…’

So I spent 2 days wandering and trying to capture the local birdlife, predominantly Galahs, Australian Magpies and the large powerful Glossy Black Cockatoos. To compliment this we ventured over to the local airport to capture the metal birds of the REX flights. This delivered about 8 people to an airport in the middle of nowhere but they are ‘Australia’s largest independent airline’ according to their website. An interesting thing happened out here after the plane had taken off and I packed away my gear. One of the Rex ‘security’ guys approached me as I was walking away and questioned my motives, actions and ‘who was I’? I should’ve expected this, I’ve been approached countless times whilst recording by people asking similar questions. People are nosey, commonly thinking that you must be making a TV show. I often wonder if I had had a pair of binoculars or a DSLR camera would he have even bothered. We had an interesting chat, I asked if he’d like to hear my recordings and defused the situation from one of slight confrontation to one of interest. Coincidentally a local TV producer was travelling on a REX flight and knew the security guy. They had been in the departure office together when his fear and paranoia had been growing and I think that the producer must have said oh it’s just a mic in a wind jammer, nothing to worry about which probably stopped him running out whilst I was setting up and spouting something about not being able to record there.

Even out here post 9/11 paranoia still seems to seep in to peoples subconscious. I was foolish not to have popped in to the office beforehand and was angry at myself for being so silly. I just figured that out here no one would be that bothered or even interested, how wrong I was. In my experience if you’re just wandering about recording as long as you let people know that’s usually good enough. Clearly if you’re wanting to record somewhere specific clearance forms, prior meetings and the like are required. I just didn’t think this would be the case this time around. Note to self…

On returning home and to the studio, I was amped to copy over the files, start the edit and see what was really there. Had I captured anything actually useful? I certainly thought so but you can never be too sure until a little time has passed and you enter the Edit mind set. However there was one catch, there’s always one. On getting home and digging about I realised that in some state of panic or denial I had stupidly packed all my firewire cables. Sh*t. The file transfer would have to wait. At least I could play the audio back over speakers and take a good listen and I had backed up the session to the CF card so at least I had that. Another note to self.

I’ll post the sounds or at least a taster as and when I get my cables back. Sure I could just go out and purchase another but patience is a very useful skill that one always needs to practice. Get outside if you can, it’s always amazing what you find.