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I just got back from a week long road trip to Northern California with my girlfriend, specifically the area around Redwood National Park. While traveling around the area I managed to capture some interesting sounds and I wanted to share those findings.


Here are all different Field Recording rigs I used on this trip, I like to stick to more affordable rigs as sometimes I have to leave the rigs in the car and I don't want to be destroyed emotionally if they get stolen:

I also had my laptop and cameras with me so as a good solution for having those in the car I used a 1620 Pelican Case. Which can fit a back pack, a Field Recording bag and several other pieces of gear in it. For security I used a strong pad lock to keep the case shut and when I had to leave it in the car I used 2 thick wire cable bike locks to lock the case to the base of the driver's seat of my vehicle. It worked great as I felt more comfortable than normal having to leave it in the car for short periods of time. Mostly it stayed in the Air BnB but on some legs of our journey (on the drive out) I had to have it in the vehicle.

The following is a brief overview of the areas I found while I was down there and the nature sounds I was able to record.


The first leg of our journey began with a 10 hour drive from Redmond, WA to McKinleyville, CA where our Air BnB was.

The roads got very dicey towards the last leg of the journey as it turned into a one lane road at night with sharp winding turns. Add locals tailgating you and it is a recipe for a stressful drive. But needless to say we made it.


After sleeping off the 10 hour drive and having a hearty breakfast our recording adventures began.


Patricks Point State Park


First stop was Patricks Point State Park which has an amazing view of the ocean and a path to hike down to some rocky beaches. It was here that I almost lost my LOM Usi Pro Microphones and my Sony RX 100 camera to some rising tides and unexpected waves.


Ocean Waves on Rocks Recorded with LOM Usi Pro's and a Mix Pre 6 v2.

Fortunately the bumblebee covers that come with the Usi Pro's protected the mics from any salt water. Afterwards I left them in a bowl of rice just to be sure there was not any moisture stuck in the microphones that could damage them. You can really see the panic on my face in tat video because I love those mics for hiking and day to day use.


I also captured this recording of Ocean Waves crashing on rocks with a Wildtronics SAAM.


Ocean Waves on Rocks Recorded with Wildtronics SAAM going line in to a Mix Pre 6 v2.

After that my Girlfriend and I traveled back up the path and were greeted to this breathtaking view of the Ocean. We weren't sure but we believe we could see Whales in the distance.


Distant Ocean Waves on Rocks Recorded with Wildtronics SAAM going line in to a Mix Pre 6 v2.

After that we decided to visit an area near Trinidad, CA. Which is a bit ironic as my parents are from Trinidad and Tobago. I had no idea there was a place called Trinidad in California.


Humboldt Lagoons State Park


There we were greeted with a pleasant surprise, an empty beach with crashing Ocean Waves. You will see in more of the places we visited that the holidays is one of the best times to visit these areas, especially if you are into Field Recording as they all are pretty much empty. So you can really capture some nice nature ambiences.


Ocean Waves Crashing on a Beach Recorded with Wildtronics SAAM going line in to a Mix Pre 6 v2.

The sun was setting and the sky was pretty cloudy so it was time to end the day.


The next day was pretty rainy but we decided to soldier on and start it off with a short hike to see some Redwood Trees which are HUGE...


Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park


At this location I decided to try something different, I ran a pair of LOM Mikro Usi's through the sleeves of my jacket and into a Roland R07. I always wanted to try this but soon found out getting the rig ready to record in the rain was more challenging than I thought. Also the sound of the rain hitting my jacket did not make it any easier for me to capture clean sounds.


In the following video I share the recordings I got and some after thoughts about running a rig like this. I think I have some work to do to refine this a bit more to be honest. But I did get some decent sounds.


Various Water and Forest Sounds Recorded with LOM Mikro Usi's going into a Roland R07

We got absolutely drenched on this hike but it was alot of fun.


One of the best parts of this location is that there are a ton of Elk hanging out around this area. On the drive in there is an area you can stop and see some Elk just chilling eating food. I highly recommend not getting too close tho, they are pretty dangerous.


On the way out of there traffic was actually blocked by some that wandered into a nearby town.

Before we ended the day we stopped by off the 101 near the Freshwater Lagoon that had a beautiful view of the Ocean and quiet beach with intense waves.


Ocean Waves on a Beach Recorded with Wildtronics SAAM going line in to a Mix Pre 6 v2.

After that we decided to end the day and pick up recording/exploring the next day.


Avenue of the Giants


On the third day we drove through the Avenue of the Giants which is an amazing drive. There are a lot of giant Redwoods to see and areas to stop. I was actually surprised how quiet it was there so along the way we stopped to grab some Forest Ambiences.


Forest Air Recorded Recorded with Wildtronics SAAM going line in to a Mix Pre 6 v2.

This area was so quiet I stopped on the side of the road and I grabbed a couple recordings for the Field Recording Slack's upcoming Crowdsource Library: Debris. Having a 32 bit recorder helped a lot for these recordings as I had to be quick before a car (or airplane) drove by.


Rock Debris Recorded with LOM Usi Pro's and a Mix Pre 6 v2.


Wood/Branch Debris Recorded with LOM Usi Pro's and a Mix Pre 6 v2.


After the beautiful drive through the Avenue of the Giants we drove down one of the most intense road I have ever been on with a ton of potholes and washed out areas. Part of it was actually flooded but I managed to drive through it and made it to one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to.


Mattole Beach


When we first got to Mattole Beach I did not know what to expect. Huge sand dunes hid the beach from the parking area and all you could hear was the intense roar of the Ocean. As we hiked over the dunes we were greeted to the most beautiful view.

The rocks along the beach made the most satisfying sound as the Ocean Waves crashed against them. I have to admit the power of the Ocean was pretty scary here. It almost felt like like the edge of the world.


The drive back was one of the most stressful drives I have ever done. Thin, narrow one lane roads with potholes that wind around tall hills and cliffs. The first half is along the Ocean and it is truly intimidating, there are random cows on the road and no lights whatsoever. I highly recommend avoiding this drive at night. By the time we made it to civilization I was so relieved, I have never been that happy to see a gas station.


The next day it was time to start our journey back, we decided to visit a few sights along the way and spend the night in Eugene, OR instead of doing the 10 hour drive straight.


Since we were traveling back and most of my gear was packed up I decided to stick to my trusty Sony D100 for this day. It made it a lot easier to pop out and grab a recording as it can take about 5 minutes to set up SAAM or my Usi Pro's with the Mix Pre 6.


Patrick J Murphy Memorial DR


Our first stop of the day was a beautiful overlook of the Ocean. When you first park you are greeted with a great view but if you hike half a mile (warning the way back has a lot of elevation and can be a trek) you can really get to a stunning view of the area.


Distant Ocean Waves Recorded with a Sony D100.


False Klamath Cove


There is a stop along the 101 where you can walk down to a great rocky beach. I was surprised I was able to get a good recording considering how close it was to the 101 but the Ocean is just that loud. and the D100 was able to capture some usable source. I had a bit of trouble with wind, even with the Rycote dead cat for the D100. But I learned from my adventures on the Oregon Coast last year that in a pinch my Toque (or Beanie for you Americans) doubles as makeshift wind protection.


Ocean Waves on a Beach Recorded with a Sony D100.


Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park


Our last stop was Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, to get there you have to drive down a fun dirt road with tons of giant Redwoods. It is like something out of a movie. At the end of the road there is a nice half mile hike to see some of the biggest trees around.


While walking there you could hear some great crows in the distance but unfortunately it was too close to a highway to get a good recording. Halfway down the path we did find a hidden trail that lead to a river. So we hiked down there and grabbed some sounds.


Rushing River recorded with Sony D100.


Well that is the end of our journey. On the way back we stopped in Portland for Lunch. I strongly recommend that if you are ever there you visit Stacked Sandwich Shop. The food was amazing.

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Recently I got access to three prop guns and I thought it would be valuable to roll on them to get as much source as I could from them for weapon mech/reload sounds. I made this video to show some of the different sounds I was able to capture with them.

The sounds you are hearing in the video are from a pair of LOM Usi Pros (ORTF Configuration) going into a Mix Pre 6 v2. I also rolled with a Sanken CO 100K at 192khz 32bit.


They do sound a bit plastic like, but if you manage to layer a bit of metal on the start and tail of the sounds you could definitely get some heavier sounds with them.


I recently got the Sound Devices Mix Pre 6 V2 so that I could roll at 32 bit. 32 bit is a new game changer that the Field Recording community is quite excited about. It is available in the Sound Devices Mix Pre 3 v2, 6 v2 and 10T v2. Zoom also offers it in their F6 model which is quite popular.


If you are wondering what makes 32 bit recording so special check out this video from Sound Devices:

32 bit is awesome for recording source like Weapon Reloads because the sounds the Prop Guns produce are highly dynamic. The extended range stored in 32 bit files allows me to focus on preforming the sound rather than worrying about clipping part of the sound I am recording. I am extremely excited to have this new tool and workflow as part of my recoridng process.

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This is a bit of a different post than I usually do but I really think it applies to Field Recording and Sound Design.


This is the first in a series of blogs that I hope to do from time to time where I research how to stimulate creativity. And identify ways that I can help motivate myself to get out there and record more sounds or to become a better sound designer.

I found this video today that really had some good ideas on how to overcome creative blocks that happen from time to time. It is made by a visual artist but I really think it is applicable to people who record or design sounds for a living.

Here are some notes I took as I watched the video as to how I think this can work for both Sound Design and Field Recording:

Sometimes we need motivation to get started
  • Sometimes we just forget who we are and what we have achieved.

  • Sometimes we doubt ourselves and what we are capable of.

  • To combat these try seeking out simple ways to help improve your ability to get productive and be inspired.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves who we are and where we have been
  • Try reviewing your past work more often.

  • One of the benefits of maintaining an online demo is you can review your past work as a way to remember what you have achieved. It can be just as beneficial for you and your confidence as it is for getting a job.

  • Hopefully these reviews will get you to say to yourself “Oh yeah. I can design sounds” or "I did record some great sounds on that trip, I can totally see that being useful to other Sound Designers."

  • This might give you the confidence boost you need to get back in there.

Stimulate your sound design or field recording muscle memory. Try to reinforce a routine of experimenting with audio in ways that are fun and rewarding.

Sound Design:

  • Practice recreating sounds. Look at other’s work and try to figure out how they made that.

  • Make 10 - 15 second sound design sketches by grabbing short videos from YouTube and redoing some part of it’s sound.

  • Share it with others, get feedback, embrace that feedback (both positive and negative) and create a dialogue with them. Apply that feedback to the piece and send it back to them to see how they like it.

Field Recording:

  • Try setting a goal of recording a sound a day.

  • Clean it up and name it before that day is over.

  • Share it with others and get feedback, learn from that feedback and create a dialogue with them.

If you feel unmotivated try doing something you are good at first and then try something outside of your comfort zone. Boost your confidence before you dive in.
  • Try recreating a sound you have made in the past before starting work on something you have never done before.

  • Maybe open up a plug in you are comfortable with and process a sound to sound better with it. Then close that plug in and try one you have never used before.

  • It is similar to a work out at a gym. First you have to warm up your muscles before you start doing more strenuous things.

  • If you are interested in doing more Field Recording try starting small and working your way up. Use simple gear at the start and expand slowly to more complicated rigs. Start off recording something you are really familiar with, then go for something new.

Try doing something outside of your norm.
  • Use a different DAW to design or master that sound.

  • Use different plug ins that you have not used before.

  • Try a new or different approach. Design the sound the way you would usually do it and then try to make a wild card version of it using a completely different way of doing it.

  • Try experimenting with different genres of content or types of sounds to record.

  • If you only record in a Foley Room go on a hike with a small handheld recorder.

  • If you only record sound effects, try going out to record some ambiences.

Try doing something really outside your norm.
  • Spend some time doing something creative that has nothing to do with Audio.

  • Draw on a piece of paper

  • Paint

  • Sculpt

  • Make a video (yes it has sound but it still can work for this).

Find ways to break yourself out of your funk by placing yourself in a situation where you need to just make something. Maybe Join a community driven project.
  • Compete in Sound design challenges

  • Join a Field recording crowdsource/share (Like the one on the Field Recording Slack or Reddit)

Take time to tidy your environment or change you location. Freshen things up a bit.
  • A deep breathe of fresh air can bring you a new perspective and open up your mind for creative thoughts. .

  • Having the right light and atmosphere can stimulate creative thoughts and ideas.

Dedicate time to trying new tools (plug-ins or DAWs) and read articles or watch videos that other sound designers have made.
  • Never stop learning or pushing yourself to try new things.

Take care of yourself.
  • Meditate to relieve pressure and stress.

  • Clear your mind of negative or self deprecating thoughts.

  • Remind yourself why you want to do this and why it is important to you.

  • Exercise/eat right when you can. Having an outlet for stress can open up the rest of your day to welcome creative thoughts.

If something is not working try scaling it back a bit into a more manageable and achievable goal. Start small and then expand.
  • Whenever I need to record a set of sounds I always grab a small handheld recorder first and record some quick samples (in my apartment or Foley room) so I can hear how things sound right away. Then when I am happy with what I have collected I set up and do a larger recording session to better capture those sounds.

  • Record something quick then go back and get it better.

  • I do the same with my sound design. I lay down simple sounds that get me 60% there, cover everything I need to and then go back and revisit the sounds the next day to expand upon what I already laid down. And I do this over and over again until I get to the right sound and direction.

  • Often the first thing I do is the wrong approach, but just getting something going and feeling good is a great start to building my confidence that I will get to the right sound eventually.

Don’t be afraid to fail.
  • "You can never let your desire for perfection prevent you from finishing something that's good. Because to finish something even imperfectly is to learn from it and then you can move on and get closer to perfection." - Casey Neistat

  • I always admire you tubers and content creators like Casey Neistat, especially during his phase of producing a Video for YouTube a day. Seeing how skill can develop overtime with practice and repetition was truly inspiring.

  • Here is a video where he talks about Productivity vs Perfection:

Just so I can make sure I make this post about Field Recording here is a set of sounds I recorded for the upcoming Field Recording Slack Crowdsource Library "Gore"

As I mentioned earlier in this post I start recording small and build up to a bigger session. This is my attempt at experimenting with some veggie violence in my apartment. I think the verb kinda adds to the sounds I captured. :)


If you are interested in taking part in the Crowdsource Library for Gore and joining the Field Recording Slack contact me.


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