Ambient Audio: Sounds from a Backroads Valley in Rural Tennessee (From the Podcast)

Ambient Audio: Sounds from a Backroads Valley in Rural Tennessee (From the Podcast)

This episode of the Fine Art Photography Podcast is all about the sounds of being in the field

What follows are ambient sounds from my recent backroads travels to photograph old barns and abandoned farmhouses. The sky was misty and wet. The air was still. I hope you enjoy this auditory experience.

Full episode transcript

In this episode — a field recording of the ambient sounds encountered along some very isolated back roads in the southern state of Tenenssee


Hey everybody Keith Dotson here – welcome back to another episode of the Fine Art Photography Podcast. As you already know, photography is quite a sensory experience. It relies heavily on vision of course, but being on location shooting activates all the senses — regardless if you’re a landscape photographer, a nature photographer, or an urban street photographer.

While shooting you experience the warmth of chill in the air; the breeze on your skin, the smells of wildflowers, green grass, or perhaps the smells of street vendors selling delicacies or perhaps the exhaust of city buses.

And of course there are the sounds — pleasant sounds like bird songs or running streams, or maybe unwelcome sounds like airplanes crossing overhead, or car horns and traffic noise. 

Occasionally it has been my practice to share some of the more interesting sounds from my photography locations, and it usually includes water sounds, or bird songs, but this time we have something different.

I’ve been actively shooting in the hills and hollers along some very isolated back roads of Tennessee. For those of you who aren’t familiar with U.S geography, which probably includes many US residents, Tennessee is a south-eastern state, largely rural even today. 

On these back road adventures, I find many decaying old farmhouses, often peeking out at me from a grove of trees veiled in undergrowth. One tiny clapboard house looked too small to have more than a single room, and after having been vacated, it was used for storage. In walking its perimeter I could see it was chock full of jumbled items — a rusty iron bed frame sat near one of the broken windows, and on the weathered planks of the back porch sat an antique iron cooking stove with a white porcelain finish that was far too tempting for some passer-by with a rifle — that marksman leaving the oven door riddled with bullet holes.

What follows are the sounds I encountered on some of my early morning excursions to a place not far away yet a world away. . . 

In these clips, you’ll hear the eerie sound of chickens and roosters crowing in the heavy mist of early morning, their voices reverberating through the enclosed valley.

Then you’ll hear the sounds of dogs, barking and howling at me from across a valley, as I crunched through a thick layer of crispy autumn leaves to photograph some abandoned structures on a wooded ridgetop. 

(Audio clips)

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