Tortured Tree


shot today near Harawera, with Sony a6300 and EF100-400L lens via Metabones SpeedBooster

20 days 350.11GB

350.11GB accumulated data – sound, photos, video – during my 20 days travel in the South Island

5 Hours Underground

So one of my motives for the trip to the South Island last month was to do some ‘proper’ cave recording, for the upcoming HISSandaROAR Library… And by proper I really mean guided – I am not really the adventurous type but to record clean sound I knew there was no point joining a group guided party so I contacted the excellent people at Cave Rafting in Charleston and they instantly understood what I was after and introduced me to a local guide who works for them, and who had time to take me into the Nile River Caves!

Excellent!! So I got my gear together, reducing my kit down to Sound Devices 788T recorder and a 5.0 mic rig of MKH8040/8050/8040/8020/8020 and stands, and we drove into the start of Paparoa National Park and jumped on their small gauge train, which then winds its way a few kilometres through dense bush, vaguely following the Nile River


For helping me out I offered to shoot some drone footage of the train, and on another day flew about 1km up the valley, following the train… until I lost signal from my drone and had to patiently wait for it to start ‘return-to-home’ and get back into range so I could get control again…


From the end of the train line it was about a 15 mintue walk along the river, across a swing bridge & up the side of a mountain to the cave entrance


A short distance into the cave & we arrived at a locked steel door…


It didn’t take much walking through the cave to completely forget about the outside world, and to stop hearing it….


Five or ten minutes in and stopped to record at location 1, a lovely reverbant trickly waterfall…

Continuing on, the path we followed was generally very stable and access was good, with some passages requiring bending over, especially with concern for avoiding any damage to the cave itself…


Richard my guide was full of fascinating stories and facts, and it gave me a whole new sense of wonder at the age of this cave system, eg that a stalagmite or stalagtite can take up to one thousand years to grow an inch!


Nice drips here!


A few times I started to think that maybe the art director of the ALIEN films must have referenced caves like these… and then I decided to stop thinking about that – this place is freaky enough without starting to imagine such creatures living down here!!


After maybe an hour or more underground we started to hear distant river sounds & soon arrived at another exit, and the point at which the cave rafters jump in the water!


I set up and left the recorder rolling here – note the misty waterfall on the left of that photo above…


From here we basically slowed retraced our steps back to the entrance, stopping to record at a range of locations…


In total I recorded seven locations, each time recording 5.0 for 10 minutes… and each time I would set up the mics, hit record and then we would walk 100m or more away – some of the lcoaitons were so quiet I didn’t want my breathing to be present amongst the beautiful sparse sounds…


The strangest feeling was passing back through the metal gate and out into the open – for a moment my perceptions did a twist as I kenw iw as outside but it still felt like being udnerground… then I realised – it was now 8pm and night! We very carefully descended back down the steps, across the river and back to the train and headed home – totally buzzing from the experience and thrilled with the recordings!


The photos above do not do the cave justice – while I shot a lot of photos and video, I didn’t even stop to set up a tripod as sound was my absolute priority! I would love to do another such trip with my 5D and tripod, but I think then i would get frustrated at not recording the great sounds…

The next time I am on the West Coast I am absolutely doing the cave rafting trip – they provide a wet suit, with gloves & boots, and you carry a large tyre tube down into the cave… and then get into the underground river & float through the cave, eventually exiting & drifting down the river…

Full respect to the people who shot this timelapse in the same cave, of glow worms!

And while I know you’d love to hear the sounds, you will just have to wait… This is the fifth cave location I’ve recorded in, and later in the year I will finish & release the CAVE AMBIENCES Library… But this was 5 Hours of my life I will never forget!

Murphy GIF’d


Dunno what he is listening to exactly,
but I wish my ears could do that…

Lee Perry DVD in my mailbox = a good day!

love Kickstarters that eventually pay off!


interesting how much more the effect of it
a spammy email link vs a physical disk = ?
(me: a LOT when its unreleased online)