Swamp, Rain, Umbrellas, Frogs — a more prose-like/ poetic version of this should become “Of Rain and Frogs”
David L. Ross
This anecdote pertains to the night upon which the recording which loads with this page was made. It was dark, it was stormy, but there were frogs in the offing.
It’s raining lightly, a thunderstorm is approaching, the site is the edge of a swamp lined with aril plants (Spathiphyllum background photo) and bordered by rainforest. While recording frog sounds with rain hitting the microphones does not work (pounding drum roll thumps on the microphones as raindrops hit, and water eventually shorting them out, also high humidity will stop the recorder) recording in the rain under an umbrella is sometimes worth a try.
This possibility –that of heavy rains in a rainforest, at the onset of the rainy season, was hoped, and planned for. The requisite gear, rubber boots, rain poncho, a large umbrella, (and in an attempt to reduce the drum beat of water dropping on a taught umbrella) a wool blanket, cut to a correct sized circle, with an umbrella spike hole cut in the center of it was at the ready.
The idea was that the sound of the droplets would be dampened, or softened by impacting the blanket instead of the umbrella.
Believe it or not, on a rainy night at the field station, just shy of midnight, this swamp, was my very own.
In this recording you can hear the sound of rain and droplets everywhere –wool covered blanket included, everywhere that is, except on the microphones.
There is a chorus of “cluck” sounds from (Agalychnis callidryas) (pictured in the banner above) followed by some thunder, and the addition of some higher pitch “eek-ek-ek” sounds from (Hyla ebraccata). (Leptodactylus pentadactylus) “whroop” from the distance, as lightning flashes illuminate the broad-leaved Spathiphyllum plants growing on the edges. Thunder rolls, and evening cicadas pulsate from the canopy. It is raining at the rainforest swamp. Several species depend on swamps and ponds without fish for reproduction and survival. In such a pond, with these heavy rainy season showers, the chorus will be soon be booming. For now however, patience, and dry gear are required.
At this congregation, the clucks, croaks, honks and whines of numerous male frogs of many forms and sizes, will be broadcast across the forest. A deafening cacophony will result, perhaps sometime after the rain stops long enough, to ditch this increasingly heavy umbrella.
About this page.
Author, photographer, sound recordist, web designer, D.L.Ross Jr.
(Photo editing with Adobe PhotoShop, web page composed with Adobe Dreamweaver, audio editing with Sony Sound Forge, and Sony Acid)
The header, is a rollover image created from one photo of an (Agalychnis callidryas),
With PhotoShop, the original scanned image was cropped and edited to have the same dark green color on the horizontal edges. A new image was created having the dimensions exactly 2X the width as the original. The original was then flipped horizontally to create a mirror image. The left and right images were pasted into the longer frame. This image was saved.
From this image a second image was created (this is my lightning flash image).
The PhotoShop selection tool was used to select the green areas around the frogs. Some frog limbs which were in too much shadow needed to be redrawn slightly. This green area was then filled with the lighter lightning flash green.
Also, the frogs themselves in the lightning flash image were adjusted. With PhotoShop, I simply selected inverse selection, than adjusted brightness and contrast, to make the frogs dark, but not total silhouettes. This image was saved.
With Adobe Dreamweaver, I then created a rollover image of these two identically sized, and frog positioned images.
Within Dreamweaver, I also added an AP divider (placement/ text box) between the two frog images. In this box I entered the text “Costa Rican Frog Stories” in a large font colored the same as the dark green used in PhotoShop.
Rollover images change from image 1 (normal frogs and text hidden dark green on green) to image 2 (lightning flash image). Against this image, the text “Costa Rican Frog Stories” shows up as dark green against light green. Coincidentally when you mouse over the text itself the image rolls back to dark green image one.
So to do this one better, it would load as a flash movie/ animation, that would flicker a second or two in advance of when the audio hit had thunder.
Gradient fill background image created with Adobe PhotoShop, top and bottom of image employs the same color at the edges, to facilitate repeating if ever needed.