Nature Sound of the Month: Beneath your feet

A huge thank you to everyone who took part in the challenge last month. I hope you’ve enjoyed capturing your sounds as much as I’ve enjoyed listening to them. Check out the round-up of sounds from parks in the previous post today.

Theme of the month: Beneath your feet

Rain has been falling over the UK, turning earth into mud. Every walk includes the sound of water and wet ground squished under boots. But elsewhere the sun shines, drying the earth providing a hard clunk under foot. Whatever the weather around you, it will affect the rhythm of your steps and the sound beneath your feet.

The weather will also decree the extent of wildlife on the ground. Snails will not venture under burning suns, but crickets will. Birds will always hop about in search of food and rabbits will always dig burrows for their homes. If we take the time to look down, we’ll discover a rich life under our steps.

So this month I’m asking you to record the sounds beneath your feet.

What is it about?

There are many challenges out there to help you make the most of the outdoors, but more often than not they focus on what you see rather than what you hear. Visuals can certainly be stunning but they are not always present. Close your eyes and the scenery is gone. This is not so with sounds. You cannot close off your ears. You can ignore the sounds but they are here nonetheless and some part of you are registering them. So this challenge focuses on sounds, specifically nature sounds, and asks you to get out there and record them.

How does it work?

On the 1st of every month, I’ll publish a post with a prompt for what to listen to. This prompt is aimed to help you open your ears to nature and is by no means a rule to follow. You can record something else if another sound picks your interest.

How do I capture sounds?

You can get all technical and purchase a recorder and microphones for field recording, or you can use your phone. All smartphones have some kind of voice memo app. Use it to record the sounds. There’s also plenty of apps available if you search for ‘recorder’ or ‘voice recorder’.

Where do I post my sounds?

There’s SoundCloud and Dropbox. If you want to add a video or some photos, there’s Instagram, YouTube, and Vimeo. Or you can (usually) host your recordings on your blog (if you have one).
Note that those websites are only suggestions. There’s plenty more you can use.

Guidelines:

  • Wind is your enemy. Even if it’s a light breeze it can ruin your recording. Use your body and the environment as a wind shield.
  • Listen and monitor what you’re recording (if you can). Using a set of earphones (headphones tends to be better) while you’re recording will help you make sure you’re capturing what you want. A microphone doesn’t hear like you do.
  • Record for a couple of minutes. Give yourself time and let the sounds unfold at their own pace.
  • Be still and avoid movements. Your clothes might rub or a rock might fall and make an unwanted addition to the recording.
  • Switch your phone off when recording and make sure anyone else with you switches off theirs or you’ll be likely to record phone sounds and interferences.
  • Find more tips here.
  • Post your sounds online or send them over to me. If posting them online, don’t forget to share a link in the comments.
  • Post as many sounds as you like during the month.
  • Interpret the prompt any way you choose. Feel free to add a bit of text to accompany it. Or not.
  • If you choose to make a blog post about your sound/experience of listening, link back to this page so other people can join in the challenge.
  • Most importantly, have fun 🙂
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