Throughout the 1940s, Dan Gibson (above, left) made nature films, including Audobon Wildlife Theatre, where he learned how to record wildlife sound. He helped design pioneering audio equipment, including the “Dan Gibson Parabolic Microphone,” which he used to record LPs in the 1950s and 60s. In 1981, Gibson started the Solitudes series, which is now run by his sons (Gibson passed away in 2006). Solitudes is more like New Age music with whale calls now, BUT, f you ever find one of the old LPs at the thrift store, buy it. The covers, descriptions of the environments they’re recording in, and the actual recordings are just wonderful. From the first volume of Solitudes, By Canoe To Loon Lake:
“Our starting point is a waterfall at the end of a portage. We dip the paddle into the gently flowing river. We drift awhile. We are watched. The ruby-crowned kinglet notes our presence in its territory. The Kinglet is the first wildlife voice we hear. As we drift downwards a spruce lined shore one of nature’s friendliest sounds keeps us company, the spruce forest rings with the song of the white-throated sparrow. … Up ahead we can see the white waters of the rapids thrashing up above the surface level of the lake. The canoe is drawn forward. Our microphones are mounted on the on the gunwales, soon you are plunging into ever quickening rapids until they are thundering all around you as you surge through the channels … then come at last to the placid reaches of Loon Lake. A slight evening breeze drifts us out into the secluded lake where the gray tree frogs and the spring peeper frogs provide their evening background chorus to the haunting calls of the loon.”
In 1994, Dan was awarded The Order of Canada for his environmental works, and in 1997, Dan was awarded the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at the Juno Awards.