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I got a grant to record nature sounds in the Vatnajökull national park from the association “Friends of Vatnajökull”. It was not a trouble free trip, but anyway it was very instructive and I recorded many hours of very interesting and lovely sounds. Most of the recordings are long and unbroken. Some of them are up to 6 to 10 hours long so they contains many things I have never heard until now when I am registering the collection and searching for material to publish.
In 22nd of May I spent most of the day near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. I recorded around three hours in the lagoon with hydrophones. I was located close to the ejection because there it was most likely to catch some wild life activity.
When I started following recording the current was flowing out of the lagoon. Three or five seals were diving nearby between the icebergs which slowly were moving towards the ejection.
It was stunning when I put the hydrophones in the lagoon.
What a sound! It was much louder than I thought and was both stunning and frighten.
The several thousand years old ice was melting with cracks, screeches and scratching the bottom of the lake. Sometimes I could detect a deep rumble sound in a distance, probably when icebergs were scratching the bottom of the 200 meters deep lake. Comparing to all those loud sounds, everything was peaceful above the surface.

Hljóðin í Jökulsárlóni. 1. hluti

Ég fékk styrk s.l. vetur til að hljóðrita hljóðvist Vatnajökulsþjóðgarðs frá samtökunum  Vinum Vatnajökuls. Það gekk á ýmsu á meðan á því stóð en á endanum var ég komin með mikið af áhugaverðu og skemmtilegu efni. Mikið af þessum upptökum eru langar og ósltitnar eða 6-10 klst langar svo ég hef ekkert hlustað á fyrr en nú þegar ég stend í því að skrásetja upptökurnar.
Þann 22. maí var ég staddur við útfallið við Jökulsárlón og hljóðritaði undir yfirborði lónsins með vatnahljóðnemum. Bæði hljóð og hljóðstyrkur kom verulega á óvart. Þarna var aldagamall ísinn að bráðna með hvellum og ískri um leið og hann skrapaði botninn á leið sinni að útfallinu. Öðru hverju mátti heyra drunur einhvers staðar utan úr djúpi lónsins og stöku sinnum mátti heyra hljóð sem hugsanlega komu frá 3-5 selum sem syntu ekki langt frá upptökustaðnum.
Það var óneitanlega mun háværara niðri lóninu en á yfirborði þess.

Download MP3 file (192kbps / 34,4Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: Aquarian H2a XLR
Pics: Canon Eos M (see more pictures)

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Life has been difficult for some seabird species in some places around Iceland. Puffin colony with around 3 million birds has almost disappeared within few years from Vestmannaeyjar island south of Iceland. Change in the ecosystem is probably the main reason for this dramatically changes. But it is not only Puffins; many seagull species have also difficulties to survive. These gulls are in big flocks where ever scraps can be found. We have also several stories about them hunting BQ from hot outdoor grills.
Last week I was in Garðabær, south Reykjavik region, when I noticed some different behaviors of the birds around me. I went there with my gear later that day if there was something to record. I was lucky. Just when I arrived, hundreds of Arctic Tern and Black-Headed Gull was catching something on a manmade beach. Tide was getting lower so it was something trapped in a pool on the beach. I am still not sure what it was, but probably was it Pollock juveniles.
Some minutes after I started recording a flock of Lesser Black Backed Gull arrive with lot of noise until some photographer came too close and they all flew away (at 13 min).
Other birds like Great Black Backed Gull, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Eider, Raven and even Great Northern Diver was around, or not far away.
This recording is my contribution to World listening day 2014.

Matarveislan í Hraunsvík

Það var óvenju fjölskrúðugt fuglalíf á Arnarnesvoginum þegar ég átti þar leið um miðjan júlí. Mátti meira að segja heyra í himbrima úti á voginum. Ég ákvað því að koma þar við með upptökutækin um kvöldið og hljóðrita herlegheitin.
Ég kom svo til alveg á réttum tíma. Kría var í tuga ef ekki hundraða tali að steypa sér eftir einhverju æti í manngerðri vík í Hraunsvík. Stuttu eftir að upptaka hófst þá kom flokkur máfa sem reyndi að fá hlutdeild af ætinu sem líklega voru ufsaseiði.
Þegar mest gekk á voru þarna margar fuglategundir. Mest var af kríu, hettumáfi og sílamáfi, en inn á milli mátti sjá svartbak, æðarfugl, tjald og hrafn .
Þessi upptaka er framlag mitt til World Listening Day 2014.

Download mp3 file (192kmps / 38Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 744
Mics: Sennheiser 8040 (ORTF)
Pics. EOS-M (see more pictures)
Overview above the recording place

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This spring I got several young rats in my garage. They have probably stayed there some weeks eating the bred I used to feed the bird with last winter. Now when it was finished it was time to clean the garage of all mammals.
I owned a very nice mouse trap, a trap that would not kill the mouse. It was perfect for that job because the rats I had already seen had the size of a mouse.
It took just 15 minutes to hunt the first rat witch I put in a hamster cage.
It took eight hours for the second rat to reach the trap. During that time I recorded the whole progress in the garage on four channels. Two channels over the cage with the first rat and other two channels near the trap.
The following recording includes the moment when the rat got stuck in the trap and what happened when it realize the situation. Later on the rat in the cage starts to activate but during the night it was busy trying to find freedom.
Note: Do not play this loudly in the beginning. The trap is very loud when it pop the lock.

Rottugildra

Hér er á ferðinni upptaka af því þegar rotta er fönguð í búr, eins sem sést á myndini hér fyrir ofan.
Það var þegar búið að fanga eina og var sú höfð í hamstarbúri.
Tekið er upp á fjórar ráisr þar sem tvær rásir eru á gildruni og tvær yfir búrinu.
Athugið að spila upptökuna ekki á háum styrk fyrr en gildran er búinn að fanga rottuna því smellurinn er nokkuð hávær.

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Recorder. Sound devices 744 + 302
Mics. Audio Technica BP4025 + Sennheiser ME66
Pix. Canon EosM

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In February I went to Geysir in Haukadal with my recording gear.  The plan was to record the sound in Geysir and other hot springs in the area with hydrophones. But when I arrived it was both windy and freezing cold so I did not make as many recordings as I expected.
Anyway, I got some recordings that I mixed together in one 20 minutes session.
It started with eruption in hot spring named Strokkur. It usually erupts every five to ten minutes and is one of the most attractive things in the area today.
Then, we dived down to the tube of Geysir. It is now some decade since it erupted automatically so now it is just a quiet deep hole in the ground full of hot water.
Then Strokkur erupted again before we dived into the “blue side” of the hot spring Blesi.
After several minutes Strokkur erupted again and we dived into the ”deep side” of Blesi.
Then we went to the surface and listened to two eruptions on Strokkur in a fellowship with two tourists.

Geysir, Blesi og Strokkur.

Í febrúar gerði ég mér ferð í uppsveitir Árnessýslu með upptökutækin. Var komið við á stöðum eins og á Geysi þar sem hljóðnemar voru brúkaðir bæði ofan jarðar og neðan. Vegna roks, kulda og myrkurs náðist ekki að hljóðrita allt það sem til stóð, en eftir stóðu þó upptökur sem hér hafa verið dregnar saman í stutta 20 mínutna langa hljóðmynd.

Download mp3 file (192Mbps / 29Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: Aquarian H2a-XLR & Sennheiser MKH8040 (ORTF)
Pics: Canon EOS M (see more pictures)

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The summer 1978 I got a job at Sogsvirkjanir power stations, about 50 km east of Reykjavik capital. There are three power stations close to each other in the river Sog south of Þingvallavatn lake.
This place was familiar to me because my grandparents lived at a nearby farm, Efri Brú.
For me, as a tanager, this summer was very important. It was the time to decide what I would like to do for a living; a technician, farmer, engineer, or something else. I was not sure.
My job at Sogsvirkjanir was miscellaneous, gardening, cleaning and painting. But what interested me most was working in the power stations when generators were shut down for cleaning and overhauling. As a thin, lithe teenager I was used to go into and work inside places in the generators where older, fatter and stiffer engineers could not access or work. Afterwards I think it was very damaging environment for my health. Working almost every day with 1,1,1Trichloroethane and other toxic liquids with useless mask. But in these days nobody took care of it, and I did not take care of it either.
All this machineries fascinated me so I decided to start learning electrician in the autumn 1978.
The following recording is a combination of five recordings I made in and around Ljósafoss power station the summer 2013. This is the oldest power station in the river and was built on my grandfather’s land 1934. The birdsong in the recording is from a nearby county at Laugarvatn which is my grandmothers’ birthplace. It reminds me of my childhood at my grandparent’s farm, especially in the swamp behind the cowshed, so it is worth to keep it with this recording.
Even though all these sounds gives me some nice memories, they sound also far in my mind. It feels like a memory from my “last life”, not something that happened in my life about 40 years ago. Every thing has changed fast in this county. My grandparents are long gone and almost all farming in the county too. Land in many places has been broken up in peaces for cottages. Farming and animals have disappeared.
Instead of narrow gravel roads, all roads now have asphalt. Fast driving, noisy traffic, day and night seems to be the only human activity.
Sadly, in just thirty years, this beautiful countryside has changed into “American style suburb”
The following recording gives you a flight as a ghost, or a spirit from my grandparents farm to Ljósafoss power station. Your flight goes above and through water, concrete and steel. It starts over the reservoir, then trough the intake, penstock, power house, transformer and to the outflow canal.
The flight ends as it starts with “quiet bird song” far away from the nosy power station.

Miningar frá sumrinu 1978.

Sumarið 1978 fékk ég sumarvinnu við Sogsvirkjanir. Þetta sumar varð mér heldur örlagaríkt, en þá tók ég ákvörðun um að læra rafvirjun. Eftirarandi hljóðmynd var tekin upp sumarið 2013 í og við Ljósafossstöð. Segja má að það sé í raun minningabrot frá sumrinu 1978 og þremur næstu sumrum á meðan ég vann þar við ýmis störf.

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 36,0Mb)

Recorder Sound devices 788
Mics. Sennheiser MKH8040 (ORTF setup)
Pics. Canon EOS-M (more pictures)
Rafn sigurbjörnsson’s picture gallery

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Last weekend in February I and my brother in law went to Skaftafell national park. Our sons were with us and we spent one night in a tent on the campsite. One of the reasons that we drove all this way from Reykjavík was to get in touch with the place where I will be recording the nature next spring and summer.
We were lucky with the weather. It was dry and the temp. about zero. But most of the time strong gust was blowing down from the glacier over the place.
This recording was made during midday on the campsite where the gust was blowing through the naked branches.

Skaftafell í febrúar 2014

Síðustu viku í febrúar fór ég með mági mínum í stutt ferðalag austur að Skaftafelli. Höfðum við syni okkar með því veðurútlit var gott og við ætluðum að tjalda. Var ferðin að hluta til farinn vegna hljóðritunarverkefnis sem ég fékk styrk til að sinna næsta vor og sumar. En styrkinn fékk ég hjá samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls.
Á meðan við dvöldum þar þá gekk á með hvössum vindstrengjum ofan af Skaftafellsjökli. Það var því kjörið tækifæri að hefja hljóðritunarverkefnið með því að hljóðrita vindinn sem geystist í gegn um kjarrið á svæðinu.

Download mp3 file (192kbps/37.1Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: RodeNT1a in NOS setup
Pix: Canon EOSM

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Around 4,000 people turned up to Austurvöllur square in front of the parliament 24th of February to protest the decision by the ruling Progressive and Independence Parties to put forward a resolution to withdraw from European Union talks.
Earlier this day police fenced off the parliament building with aluminum riot fence. It was great because in the bank crises five years ago people brought all kinds of “kitchen tools” to make noise during the protests. This time police brought the instrument, and the protesters played and kicked the fence. (More info)

Mótmælin í febrúar 2014

Fólk fjölmennti á Austurvöll framan við Alþingishúsið þann 24. febrúar sl. til að mótmæla slitum á aðildarviðræðum við ESB. Í raun átti að ganga svo frá hnútum að það væri allt eins ógjörningur að fara í slíkar viðræður í framtíðinni.
Fyrsti dagur þessara mótmæla var 24. febrúar og héldu þau svo áfram fram eftir vikunni eða þar til að stjórnarliðar sáu að sér og ákváðu að afgreiða málið með einhverjum öðrum hætti.
Meðfylgjandi upptaka var tekin upp á fyrsta degi mótmæla norðan við dómkirkjuna rétt fyrir kl. 16. Lögreglan hafði girt af Alþingishúsið með álgirðingu sem nýttist dásamlega vel til að koma óánægju almennings til skila inn í sali Alþingis.

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 31MB)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: Sennheiser 8040 (ORTF setup)
Pix: Nokia N82

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