My plans for January were to travel and record in the Northern reaches of the Sahara desert, among other interesting places. Unfortunately, due to worrying developments I had to cancel everything and find a last-minute destination for a week-long recording trip. After checking the weather forecast I decided to travel to Romania where plenty of snow was to fall.
Time was limited so as soon as I landed I got in my hire car and drove to a well-forested stretch of hills that I had been to before. Unfortunately I was greeted by heavy snow and serious wind. I decided to at least go out for a recce, joined by my girlfriend. After a bit of driving and a lot of hiking in the snow, we were almost at the spot where I had recorded Owls before.
Then we see this guy. Jojo froze in her tracks a moment before I realized what was happening. My first instinct was to run back, but that’s usually a bad decision. Wildlife often have an instinctual urge to chase running things, so I started back tracking very slowly while I took out my camera.
At this point I would have also reached for my handheld recorder, but this beautiful European Bison (Bison bonasus) wasn’t making any sound. He just stood there eyeing us in a very passive aggressive way. I got a few shaky shots and then we returned to the car. Bumping into a ton of muscle with horns was enough adventure for one day so we returned to the lodge to hot soup and a roaring fire.
The next day we woke up to loads more snow and completely blocked mountain roads. Good thing I hadn’t left my rig out overnight as I was planning to. It would have taken all day to collect the mics on foot, not taking into account any more bison encounters. We reluctantly drove back to the city to wait the blizzard out, not before ending up in a ditch and being rescued by a snow plow.
After a few days I was able to go back, joined by a childhood friend. We managed to do an overnight session and even recorded the subtle sounds of snow falling. We did a handheld recorder shootout featuring the Sony PCM D100, the PCM M10, the Olympus LS-14 and the newly-released Sony PCM A10. A blog post about this will follow soon, accompanied by a video on my Youtube channel.
We saw even more bison, eagles, stoats, weasels and a good assortment of songbirds. We did plenty of hiking in freezing temperatures and more winter driving in deep snow. This almost ended badly when we remained stuck on very soft snow on a side mountain road. Luckily a local priest came to our rescue with his Land Cruiser and then I had to drive fast on a very narrow bridge. Fun times!
I didn’t manage to record ice as I was planning, since temperatures weren’t low enough and there was a lot of snow covering lakes and rivers. I’ll have to go back next year for the update to the Elements: Ice library.
Until then I have plenty of studio work to get done before my next trip. Speaking of trips, I recently announced this year’s sound recording Expeditions. Are you interested in joining me in Transylvania, Ethiopia and another exotic location that will be revealed soon? Check out the Expeditions page and get in touch. There’s only one spot left for Transylvania already!