Dry Thunderstorm Bonus

Ambient Colorado
Ambient Colorado
Dry Thunderstorm Bonus

An interview with Jared Blake featuring a dry thunderstorm near Leadville, Colorado.

Episode photograph: Rainbow over Mosquito Pass, Leadville, Colorado (Arek Nowak / Shutterstock)


ANN MARIE AWAD: Today, we’re featuring the stunning sounds of dry thunderstorms in Leadville, Colorado, with Jared Blake, the founder of AcousticNature.com. Blake made a special visit to Leadville in August 2022 to capture these sounds, and he’s actually been all over the place in search of nature sounds. and joins us to talk a bit about his trip to Leadville.
Jared, thanks for joining us.

JARED BLAKE: Happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

AMA: What is Acoustic Nature?

JB: Acoustic Nature is a website where I provide advice and recommendations about everything field recording with a heavy focus on recording nature sounds. It started from me just wanting to record paying homage to one of my favorite hiking spots and being really unsatisfied with the audio quality. So I started doing research on how to record high quality audio remotely, and. There weren’t a lot of sources out there talking about field recording. So I basically just started explaining everything that I was learning on my website. And since then, it’s grown into a much larger resource about field recording. It’s also where I sell my sound libraries that I capture.

AMA: And can you talk a little bit about where your love of nature comes from?

JB: I think it all dates back to my childhood. I had two brothers, and a mom who really loved nature. So, we went on a lot of camping trips as a family, and there was no internet back then, so we spent our days outside in the woods, exploring, catching bugs, all those typical outdoor kid things,, and I just, I never grew out of it. I, to this day, spend a ton of time out in nature, exploring, hiking, recording, photographing, filming. I’m just in love with the beauty of nature.

AMA: Can you tell me a bit about what drew you to Leadville, Colorado?

JB: It was actually a conversation I was having with a friend and fellow nature field recordist, Matt Mickelson. And we were just catching up and talking about projects we were working on. And he mentioned to me that he was about to go to Colorado at the end of the summer because during that time of year, they have a lot of thunderstorms. And because the atmosphere there is so dry, they tend to be dry thunderstorms, which So, was something I had heard recordings of but never had experienced. I’m on the east coast here and it’s very humid and so it’s extremely rare for us to have a thunderstorm that doesn’t include rain. And dry thunderstorms do actually have rain, but because the atmosphere the rain is falling through is so dry, the rain evaporates before it hits the ground. So, he got me so pumped up, uh, about these dry thunderstorms that I just, I had the time and I booked myself a week long trip in Colorado,with the sole purpose of experiencing and capturing one of these storms.

AMA: Wow. Well, can you kind of describe the area you went to, Leadville? Like, where did you set up to record?

JB: So Leadville is a mountain town close to Aspen. I, I saw that there was going to be a thunderstorm there, and given the time of year and the atmosphere there, good chance it was going to be a dry storm. So ultimately I set up in the mountains above the town, which are called the Monarch Mines, which are abandoned now and really popular for off roading and ATVing. so I drove in as high and far back into the Monarch Mines as I could get, just to get away from some of the road noise that was coming from the town. And I ended up getting this amazing view, looking Down this valley, onto Leadville, and then Turquoise Lake in the distance.

AMA: How were you able to find sort of ideal recording conditions?

JB: I spent the whole day trying to find that location and really failing. A son and his father drove up, parked right next to me, and took out a drone, and it sounded just like a million mosquitoes. And there were a lot of mosquitoes there, as well. Actual mosquitoes. Actual mosquitoes.
So really I just was hoping that as the storm continued to build and the sky got darker and darker and Doom was upon us. I was just hoping that everyone was going to leave And they did,, which I was very thankful for.

AMA: How does that feel to sort of be the last guy left there, like, uh, standing in the middle of an oncoming thunderstorm?

JB: It was really surreal, to be honest. it was just such an epic scene, and to be there all alone, This was on my last day of the whole week trip of failing to record a dry thunderstorm.
It was a really special moment and was quite emotional.
And after the storm passed, to top it all off, there was a double rainbow over the town of Leadville.

AMA: Wow. Well, we are going to hear some of those sounds up ahead in a moment, but I’m wondering if you have future visits to Colorado in mind?

JB: I do. Ever since I left, I’ve been dying to go back. I mean, just even in the traveling that I did to get this storm, which was 1300 miles on the rental vehicle. Every single place that I went to was unique and had its own soundscape. And I’d love to experience all those throughout the different seasons and see how they change. But in short, yes, I am. Very much looking forward to returning to Colorado.

AMA: Jared Blake, founder of acousticnature.com Thank you so much for joining us today.

JB: Thank you.

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