Sennheiser MKH 60
Last night we stayed in Wangaratta and then headed towards Echuca through the Rutherglen winery region. We stopped off at a winery and bought a really nice bottle of muscatel. None of the wineries in this area had tours of their facilities. I might have to track down a big winery sometime and get some recordings of the production machinery. The weather today was gorgeous and sunny; in fact we both had to make sure we had sunscreen on so we wouldn’t get burnt. I have become really cautious since I got badly burnt at the Avalon Air show last month.
As we were driving we came across a farm where they were burning off. This is very common in Australia as farmers want to keep their land clear of dried grass and leaves as this can become dangerous fuel for bush fires. It seemed a strange day to be burning off as it was pretty warm and quite windy. I thought there might be the risk of the fires spreading. I stood about 15 meters away from a large pile of branches that were being burnt. This was about the size of a small bonfire and I was amazed at how much heat was coming from it. A bonfire might be a nice thing on a cold winter night, but on a hot windy day it felt uncomfortable. It also gave me a small insight into how dangerous a big bushfire would be as this fire had flames about a meter high, whereas the bush fires in February had flames over ten meters high. I still have no idea how people fight fires of that scale. Even with the heat being produced the sound itself didn’t carry very well. I could hear the fire crackling, but the distance just seemed to be too much to get a strong signal to the mic. I didn’t want to jump over the fence so I’ll just have to wait for another opportunity to grab some more fire samples. Next we drove on to Echuca which is an old town on the Murray River.
The Murray River is the border between Victoria and New South Wales and in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was a major trade route. Echuca was one of the biggest ports along the Murray and is still home to a collection of restored and working paddle steamers. We went for a ride on the Emmy Lou which was originally built in 1912 and worked for many years along the Murray. The Emmy Lou still has her original wood fired steam engine, which was incredibly quiet considering the power it was putting out. In fact the paddle steamers were the quietest vehicles on the river, all the speed boats and jet skis were much louder, so technology and advancement don’t always make things more environmentally friendly. I captured some excellent material of the noise the engine did make, as well as the paddles pushing the boat through the water, and a few blasts from the boats steam whistle, which were really loud. This boat has overnight trips where you stay in cabins on board so I think we’ll need to come back for that sometime as it was a great trip for just an hour; sailing downriver all night and having dinner on board would be fantastic.
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Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences