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Vatnajökull is the largest ice cap in Europe by volume (3,100 km³). Vatnajökull has around 30 outlet glaciers (icefall) flowing from the ice cap. Svíafellsjökull is one of them.
Glaciers are not a playground for everyone. They have its own weather system and the gravity force will destroy everything that get lost in the ice.
Two British students lost their lives 1953 in a storm which lasted for 10 days on the glacier. It was not until 2003 that some of their equipment was found, carried forward with the movement of the outlet glacier. No human remains were found.
Two German tourist have been missing since 1st of August 2007 when they were on a hiking trip on Svínafellsjökull. Nobody knows what really happened but it is most likely that they fell in a swallow somewhere on the glacier, but their equipment was found in a small valley, high in the nearby mountains.
All glaciers have been shrinking fast last decade. That can be easily seen at the end of Svínafellsjökull witch now has a big glacier lagoon that did not exist few years ago.
As glaciers the glacier lagoons can be also dangerous. Icebergs can suddenly fall off the icefall and make huge waves in the lagoon, also when icebergs turns around or brake down in a parts.
I got in touch of these forces when I was recording the lagoon under Svínafellsjökull, 23rd of May 2014. I hid the equipment from other tourist in a landslide nearby and about two meters above the lagoon surface. Two Aquarian hydrophones where placed in the lagoon and a pair of MKH20 was used to pick up the sounds above the lagoon. The idea was to record in two or three hours.
I was in another place with my second recorder to record a sound close by the glacier.
After one and half hour I suddenly hear a big „bang“ with a long powerful echo from nearby mountains. All the icebergs on the lagoon suddenly moved around as a beans in a boiling pot.
I ran to the recorder´s place on the other side of the lagoon. The bag with the recorder was floating between the Icebergs so it was no problem to locate it in the muddy water. I disconnect the battery and took it inside to dry it as fast as I could. But nevertheless, it had several malfunctions since this drowning.
I am not sure what really happened. The flood line does´t goes all the away to the recorder´s place. I think it is most likely that some icebergs pulled the recorder by the hydrophones into the lagoon.
Thanks to Sound Devices in US and the reseller in Iceland (Pfaff-Borgarljós and Bragi Kort) I got a new recorder for a very nice price. Most of the loss was then covered by the insurances.

Flóðbylgjan við Svínafellsjökul

Jöklar og umhverfi þeirra getur verið hættulegt þeim sem það ekki þekkjir. Jöklarnir eru síbreytilegir og hafa sitt eigið veðrakerfi. Því ber að umgangast þá með varúð. Skemmst er að minnast hvarf tveggja þjóðverja á Svínafellsjökli þann 1. ágúst 2007 .
Mér var það svo sem lika ljóst að jökullón geta verið hættuleg þann 23. maí 2014 þegar ég staðsetti upptökutæki við jökullónið neðan við Svínafellsjökul. Tveir Aquarian vatnahljóðnemar voru staðsettir ofan í lóninu og aðrir tveir MKH20 hljóðnemar ofan við lónið. Sjálfur fór ég með annað upptökutæki til að hljóðrita upp við jökulinn sjálfan.
En líklega er aldrei of varlega farið. Eftir u.þ.b. eina og hálfa klukkustund kvað við mikill hvellur frá jökulsporðinum sem bargmálaði í fjöllunum ofan við jökulinn. Stuttu síðar fór allt jökullónið á hreyfingu eins og iðandi suðupottur. Mér varð því ljóst að upptökutækið við lónið gæti verið í hættu. Hljóp ég því sem fætur toguðu að staðnum, en allt kom fyrir ekki. Tækið var komið út í lónið og flaut þar í tösku milli ísjaka. Eftir að hafa þrifið það og þurrkað kom í ljós að tækið hafði bilað varanlega eftir þessa sundferð.
Allt bendir til þess að ísjaki hafi dregið tækið í lónið á vatnahljóðnemunum því flóðlínan hafði ekki náð upp að staðnum þar sem tækið hafði staðið. En skaðinn var skeður sem leytist þó á endanum þokkalega farsællega þó tjónið hafi verið eitthvert. Með óútskýranlegum hætti vistaði upptökutækið upptökuna áður en það drukknaði. Það sem hér má heyra eru síðustu andartök tækisins.

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: Aquarian H2n-XLR & Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pics: Canon EOS-M (See more pictures)
Recording location: 64.007509, -16.883081
Weather: Calm, cloudy, around 9°C

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Jökulsárgljúfur canyon in Vatnajökull National Park is situated in the north of Iceland near the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. In the middle of Jökulsárgljúfur, between Dettifoss waterfall and Ásbyrgi canyon, is Vesturdalur valley.
Vesturdalur is mostly surrounded with steep cliffs with luxuriant flat bottom. Through the valley flows a small creek, Vesturdalsá, on its way to the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum.
The first week in June 2014 I arrived there on a foggy night and placed the microphones close beside the creek. The soundscape in the fog was particular. The rumble sound from Jökulsá River about 3 km away, filled the air with extreme murky mysterious power. But all around me was a beautiful bird song that followed me in to the sleep.
This recording is several hours long so it is most likely that more of this recording will be available online someday.
Thanks to the Friends of Vatnajokull who made this recording trip possible.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level.

Vestudalur við Jökulsá á fjöllum

Þann 8. júní 2014 eftir miðnætti kom ég í Vesturdal við Jökulsárgljúfur. Talsverð þoka var á svæðinu svo skyggni var fremur lélegt. Mikil frðsæld var í dalnum enda mjög fáir á svæðinu. Fjölskrúðugur fuglasöngur kom úr öllum áttum, en loftið var þrungið drungalegum drunum frá Jökulsá á Fjöllum í austri. Áður en ég lagðist til svefns fann ég stað fyrir hljóðnemana við bakka Vesturdalsár sem liðaðiðst hljóðlega um dalinn.
Um leið og tækið var komið í gang leið ekki á löngu þar til ég var kominn í draumheima með notalegan fuglasöng í eyrunum næstu klukkustundir fram undir morgun.
Þessa upptöku má þakka samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls sem gerðu það kleift að af þessari upptökuferð gat orðið.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á upptökuna í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk.

Download mp3 file (256kbps/51Mb)

Recorder: Sound Device 744
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pics: Canon EOS M (See more pictures)
Recording location: 65.933496, -16.555915
Weather: Calm, fog, around 6°C

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Everyone who has travelled on road no.1 between Höfn and Djúpivogur in the east Iceland know the road at Hvalnes- and Þvottárskriður. These places are a huge mountain landslide with cliffs above and below the road. Many days when the weather is bad, with heavy rain or strong wind it can be dangerous to pass the road trough this landslide. Some days the road is closed.
This road at Hvalnes and Þvottárskriður was built 1981, but before, the road lied through difficult valley, high in the mountain named Lónsheiði.
Until 1981 it was unusual to pass this landslide, even the beautiful coast below.
The north Atlantic ocean surf is heavy on the miscellaneous beach which has beautiful gravel beaches and huge cliffs and rocks.
Just below Þrottárskriður landslide is Stapavík, a beautiful gravel beach with high rock in the middle, like a huge stoned giant or troll. Along the beach are low cliffs where fresh water seeps out between the geologic age and wets the rocks.
The following recording was made near one of this place where the fresh water is dripping of the rock down to the gravel below.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at medium level.

Lindin í Stapavík

Fyrir neðan Þvottárskriður, austur af Hvalnesskriðum, er nokkuð löng malarfjara sem heitir Stapavík. Þessi vík eða fjara skartar gríðarstórum stapa sem minnir á steinrunnið tröll. Stapavík er meira og minna umgirt tiltölulega lágum klettum og skriðum. Þar má víða sjá ferskt vatn streyma undan jarðlögunum og niður klettana.
Upptakan hér fyrir neðan var tekin upp á einum slíkum stað í júní 2014 þar sem vatnið seitlar niður klettavegginn og niður í fjörumölina. Í bakgrunni, bak við malarkamb, má heyra í þungri úthafsöldunni þegar hún skellur á fjörunni í gríð og erg, eins og hún hefur gert á þessum stað í árþúsundir.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á miðlungs hljóðstyrk.

Download mp3 file (192Kbps/31,15Mb)

Recorder: Sound deivices 744
Mics: Audio Tecnica AT4022 (binaural)
Pics: Canon EOS M (see more pictures)
Recording location: 64.476665, -14.492781
Weather: Calm, cloudy, around +12°C

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The Jökulsá á Fjöllum river was a large obstacle in the past. River crossings on horseback were not possible so ferries were used at three different locations. The refuge hut was built at one of these locations, intended to house the travellers. The river was first bridged here in 1948. The road through Mývatnsöræfi was partially buried underneath the lava flow during the Mývatnseldar eruption in 1875. A few years later a new road was laid though this wilderness. The cairns indicate the location of this road, which is one of the earliest examples of a public road making. This was also used as a postal road.
The refuge hut was built in 1883 from dressed stone quarried from the surrounding area and bound with lime. A number of men participated in transporting the timber, lime and cement for the construction, all the way from Vopnafjörður, Húsavík and Akureyri. The low ceilinged cellar was used as a stable, its entrance having once been protected by a lean-to. The suspected haunting of the hut prevented a proper use of it.
The refuge hut at Jökulsá á Fjöllum plays a role in the novella Aðventa (The good Shepard) by Gunnar Gunnarsson.
Not only was this a period of intense volcanic activity, it was also a time of innovation in building techniques in Iceland, of which the construction of stone houses was a part. Prior to the construction of the refuge hut, stone houses had been built in a few places in the North-east. These included Þverárkirkja in Laxárdalur (1878) and a vicarage in Sauðanes (1879). The construction of the Althing Parliament House in Reykjavík in 1881 also had a considerable impact on the propagation of stone houses in Iceland.
The refuge hut was previously managed by the Icelandic Road Administration, but has been a part of the National Museum of Iceland‘s Historic Buildings Collection since 1988 (*National Museum of Iceland)
The recording starts under the hut´s wall. The wind gently wipes the surface around the hut when a lonely Snow Bunting gives a weak song to the empty black desert.
Then the recording slowly moves from the hut to the river’s bank, to a place that could tell many stories from the past if the stones could speak. The recording ends with a squawk from two Pink Footed Goose that overfly close over river’s surface on the way to the north.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low- to mid level.

Sæluhúsið við Jökulsá á Fjöllum.

Fyrr á öldum var Jökulsá á Fjöllum víðfeðmur farartálmi. Áin var hvergi talin reið og voru lögferjur á þremur stöðum. Sæluhúsið var reist við einn slíkan ferjustað en fyrst var brúað hér árið 1948. Þjóðleiðin um Mývatnsöræfi fór að hluta undir hraun í Mývatnseldum árið 1875. Nokkrum árum síðar var ráðist í að leggja nýjan veg um öræfin og var Jakob Hálfdanarson, síðar kaupfélagsstjóri kaupfélags Þingeyinga, valinn til að stýra verkinu. Vörður sýna legu vegarins en þessar vegleifar eru með elstu minjum um opinbera vegagerð á Íslandi en þetta var jafnframt póstleið.
Sæluhúsið var reist árið 1883 úr tilhöggnu grjóti úr nánasta umhverfi. Timbur, kalk, sement og önnur byggingarefni í húsið voru flutt alla leið frá Vopnafirði, Húsavík og Akureyri með aðkomu fjölda manna. Lágreistur kjallarinn var notaður sem hesthús og var inngangsskúr, bíslag, áður yfir kjallaratröppum. Notkun hússins varð þó ekki sem skyldi sökum frásagna um reimleika. Húsið er hluti af sögusviði Aðventu eftir Gunnar Gunnarsson, þar sem greinir frá ferðum Fjalla-Bensa, Benedikts Sigurjónssonar.
Gamalíel Einarsson var fenginn að byggingu sæluhússins sumarið 1883 sem aðalsmiður hússins en Sigurbjörn Sigurðsson, Jakob Sigurgeirsson og Friðrik Guðmundsson áttu þar einnig stóran hlut. Jakob Hálfdanarson mun hafa ráðið staðsetningu og útliti hússins. Landssjóður veitti fé til smíðinnar.
Þessi umbrotatími jarðskorpunnar var einnig tímabil nýrra hugmynda um byggingatækni á Íslandi og var bygging steinhúsa hluti af þeirri nýbreytni. Steinhlaðin hús voru tekin að rísa hér og þar á Norðausturlandi nokkru áður en sæluhúsið reis af grunni. Meðal þeirra voru Þverárkirkja í Laxárdal (1878) og prestsbústaður á Sauðanesi (1879). Bygging Alþingishússins í Reykjavík árið 1881 hafði einnig umtalsverð áhrif til frekari fjölgunar steinhúsa á Íslandi.
Sæluhúsið var áður í umsjá Vegagerðar ríkisins en hefur verið í húsasafni Þjóðminjasafns Íslands frá 1988. (*Þjóðminjasafn Íslands)
Upptakan hefst undir húsvegg sæluhússins þar sem vindurinn gælir við hrjúfa veggi. Einmana sólskríkja gefur tóninn út á eyðisandinn. Upptakan færist síðan hægt og rólega niður að árbakkanum á stað sem eflaust gæti sagt margar fornar raunasögur ef steinarnir gætu talað.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum- til miðlungs hljóðstyrk.

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 33,7Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pics: Canon EOS M (see more pictures)
Recording location: 65.638964, -16.224181
Weather: Cloudy, gusty, ca. 6°C.

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Nothing is closer to a perfect experience as being alone in the wilderness, as far from any machines or human activity as you can. And when it is in cold or high altitude with no, or very quiet animal spices, your sense of organ, automatically starts to detect many things you may have never noticed before.
This is one of the things that make field recording in quiet environment so exciting. When you ignore the noise in your head and start to use all your senses, you suddenly noticed another level of sonic world. As a former touring cyclist I spent many weeks every year on the Icelandic highland. I was mostly alone so I got a great opportunity to listen deeply to this quiet soundscape.
Most of this soundscape is just a sound of wind and water and sometimes birds, sheep and gnats in distance.
Following recording contains this typical Icelandic highland soundscape as I remember it. It is so quiet that even the best modern recording equipment can barely capture it and lot of people would not hear anything in such places.
This recording sounds really nice in full quality, but as in mp3 format I am not sure if it interest online listener. Most PC soundcards and headphones do not have the sufficient quality to make it interesting. But anyway it is now online. This is, by the way, my favorite recording material.
The recording was captured between 8 and 9 am 26th of June 2014 in Vesturöræfi moorland, a huge open landscape east of Iceland in 600-800m above sea level. It was “early spring” so there was still a huge of snow.
The beat, or ticking sound, is a drops falling of strew down about 1cm in a small puddle (the picture above).
Some of the pink noise in the background is coming from the waves on the lake “Hálslón” (behind the microphones) and other flowing water in the area, so it is not only amplified noise or mic noise.
Audible birds are mostly Dunlin and in distance Golden Plover, Whimbrel and Northern Wheatear.
Thanks to the Friends of Vatnajokull who made this recording trip possible.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level.

Droparnir falla á Vesturöræfum

Hér er á ferðinni upptaka frá Vesturöræfum vestan Snæfells. Þögnin var alger en þó mátti heyra í einstaka fugli. Það var tilvijun ein sem réði því að af þessari upptöku varð. Ég rölti um volteldissvæði nærri Klapparlæk rétt ofan við flóðlínu Hálslóns. Ég rak þá augun í vatnsdropa sem láku af strái í gríð og erg í lítinn poll þar sem þeir flutu og köstuðust til á vatnsfletinum í skamma stund.
Við að leggjast á fjórar fætur þá mátti greina taktfast ,,tikk” hljóð sem ég hlóðritaði í um klukkutíma.
Afraksturinn var að hluta til upptakan sem hér má heyra.
Fuglin sem helst heyrist í er lóuþræll, en í bakgrunni má heyra í lóu, spóa og steindepli.
Bakgrunnssuð er að hluta til frá öldugangi í Hálslóni og seitlandi leysingavatni í nágrenninu því enn var mikill snjór var á svæðinu þó kominn væri 26. júní.
Ekki er víst að allir geti notið þessarar upptöku þar sem hún þarf helst að hljóma í fullum upptökugæðum og góðum tækjum. En hér þó á ferðinni það upptökuefni sem heillar mig mest, það er það sem flestir mundu kalla ,,þögn”.
Þessari upptöku má þakka samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls sem gerðu það kleift að af þessari upptökuferð gat orðið.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk.

Download mp3 file (256kbps / 45,68Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 744
Mics: Rode NT1a (NOS)
Pix: Canon EOS-M See more photos from the highland recording tour
Recording location: 64.873400, -15.817833
Weather: Cloudy, about 5°C. Calm

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Ásbyrgi was most likely formed by catastrophic glacial flooding of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum after the last Ice Age, first 8-10,000 years ago, and then again some 3,000 years ago. The river has since changed its course and now runs about 2 km to the east. The legend explains the unusual shape of the canyon differently. Nicknamed Sleipnir’s footprint, it is said that the canyon was formed when Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, touched one of its feet to the ground. Legend also relates that the canyon is the capital city of the „hidden people“ (huldufólk), who live in cracks within the surrounding cliffs.
The area is covered in woodland consisting mainly of birch, willow and mountain ash. Several thousand recently planted pines also prospers.
At its innermost end lies Botnstjörn, a small pond surrounded by luxuriant vegetation. The pond is a home to a variety of waterfowl species like Wigeon and Red-necked Phalarope. Arctic Fulmar nest is on the steep cliffs, while many other birds prefer the woods and meadows.
The recording was made around two am the sixth of June 2014.
Thanks to the Friends of Vatnajokull who made this recording trip to Ásbyrgi possible.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at medium-low level.

Botnstjörn í Ásbygi

Hér er á ferðinni næturupptaka sem gerð var kl 2 eftir miðnætti á útsýnispallinum við Botnsjörn í Ásbyrgi þann 6. júní 2014.
Á upptökunni er helst að heyra í fýl ofan úr bjarginu, rauðhöfðaönd á tjörninni og nokkrum öðrum fuglategundum s.s. músarindli og skógarþresti innan úr skóginum. Þá steypist lítil lækjarspræna ofan af klettinum ofan í grjóturð framan við hljóðnemana.
Þessari upptöku má þakka samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls sem gerðu það kleift að af þessari upptökuferð gat orðið.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á miðlungs lágum hljóðstyrk.

 Download mp3 file (192kbps / 41.1Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 744
Mics: Rode NT1a (NOS)
Pix: Canon EOS-M
Recording location: 65.998393, -16.513573
Weather: Cloudy, about 5°C. Calm, light gust

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The 14th of September 2014 over 100 people met in a ceremony in Arnarholt, west of Iceland, to introduce the tree of the year. This tree is 105 years old European Larch (Larix decidua) so it is one of the oldest tree in Iceland .
The one hour ceremony included speeches, songs and valid measurements of the tree.
The tree was 15,2 meter high with 2 m circumference.
The following recording does not include the whole ceremony. The problem was that all the speeches were trough megaphone so the sound was awful. But the songs were ok and one speech about history of the tree too. The recording ends with another recording I made after the ceremony under the tree with binaural array and contact mics on the tree bole.

Tré ársins 2014

Í Arnarholti í Stafholtstungum var 105 ára Efrópulerki útnefnt tré ársins þann 14. september 2014. Hátt á annað hundarð manns mættu við hátíðlega athöfn og hlýddu þar á ræður og söng. Þá var tréð mælt með löggiltum hætti og reyndist það vera 15,2 metra hátt.
Meðfylgjandi upptaka er ekki lýsandi fyrir það sem gerðist við athöfnina enda upptakan talsvert styttri.
Menn töluðu þar óspart í afar slæmt hljóðkerfi sem ekki var áheyrilegt. Eftir stóð þó söngurinn og ein ræða þar sem stuttlega var sagt frá sögu trésins og þeim tveimur mönnum sem að gróðursetningu þess komu. Í enda upptökunar má heyra vindinn gæla við trjátoppana og hljóðin innan úr bol trésins tekin upp með „kontakt“ hljóðnemum.
Full lýsing á dagskránni þennan dag er annars ágætlega lýst í Laufblaðinu, Fréttablaði Skógræktarfélags Íslands.
Upptakan er birt með leyfi söngvara.

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 31,2Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: MKH30/NTG3 (MS config) & MKH20 (binaural) & Aquarian H2a-XLR
Pix. Canon EOS M
Rec. Location: 64.675469, -21.630393

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