Field recording on Shodoshima

That last Scattered Light photo reminded me of a sound I recorded on Shodoshima & never got around to posting, maybe because it was one of those sounds I found – I never specifically intended to record it, but I took my 744 and 8040s along with me on our trip to Shodoshima, just incase…

While there is a great pleasure in meticulously researching and planning a recording trip, there is a different pleasure again in packing your recorder & mics but not making any plans to record… If anything, on this trip to Shodoshima I was more thinking visually… We booked to stay the first night at a fairly remote resort, and you might wonder what my microphones are pointed at:


If it looks high up it’s because it was – we were on the second to top floor, on the righthand side of a hotel that looked like it was straight out of an episode of Thunderbirds


We’d chosen the hotel and the room based on the sunrise – I messed around heaps in the evening to get my camera set up to shoot a dawn timelapse, including moving a spare bed from a hidden cupboard out on to the balconey, to get the right height…


But I almost needn’t have bothered, because the sun didn’t bother turning up for dawn… We’d seen on the news that a Super Typhoon was on its way in our direction – turning on the news it looked like the apocalypse…



All I could think was how the cloud patterns reminded me of sushi plates we’d seen in Nara




So this was what greeted me at 5am for my dawn timelapse:


And after I shot a few hundred frames and the grey remained grey, I switched senses & suddenly realised that I was hearing quite a strange sound amongst the ambience…. So I quickly set up the mics, listened for a while and then went back to bed, to wait for the Typhoon to arrive… Have a listen:

SHODOSHIMA from tim prebble on Vimeo.

Turned out the Super Typhoon was tired out by the time it actually arrived to Shodoshima, and we took the fact that this guy was happy to stand out in the middle of the harbour fishing, that nothing too bad was coming….


We drove back around to the other side of Shodoshima, noticing how a lot of ships were parked up in the inlets, sheltering from the Typhoon…


And what exactly this is I don’t know, but I made a mark on Google maps on my iPad to revisit it next time and find out!


Some good travel info about Shodoshima is available here

6 Responses to Field recording on Shodoshima

  1. Yukiko Yamasaki says:

    Wow, amazing. I gather from your recording that this could be the sound of Larus canus. It sounds to me that they are chatting or maybe singing to each other, releasing the message to the world (or a man standing there at least) that the typhoon wouldn’t come to stir the ocean. I really enjoy your sonic journey. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Yukiko Yamasaki says:

    Do you have any sampling of the call to the gulls in NZ? It’ll be interesting to compare them.

  3. Chris T says:

    Haunting imagery. Beautiful article. Thanks.

  4. Yukiko Yamasaki says:

    Thanks. The call of the gulls in NZ resembles that of the crow in Japan.

    But watching this video (, I suspect that the call of the gulls may vary from one spices to another, and also depending on whether they are domesticated or not. The call seems to me a high-pitched “laughing” cry when they are eating foods given by human beings.

    Sorry, I can’t provide any scientific proof to validate my points. I so enjoyed your recording that I spoke directly from my senses. Thanks again for sharing.

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