With Chris Watson and Jez riley French

Following our previous highly popular sound recording trips to Iceland in 2013 and 2014, for 2015 we’re returning to this fascinating country, this time to the Selfoss region in the South for an opportunity to spend several days recording the sounds of spring in 24 hour daylight with Chris Watson, a leading figure in the world of wildlife sound recording, and field recordist and artist Jez riley French.

Our base will be Hotel Borealis, close to the largest lake in Iceland, Pingvallavatn, and surrounded by stunning locations including the Pingvallir national park and volcanic rift, the Gulfoss waterfall and the famous Geysir geothermal area. Further afield is the moon-like landscape around the geothermal vents of Krysuvik.

We’re also within a couple of hours of the South coast, with its numerous black sand beaches and the fishing villages of Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri, with its surrounding swamp-like waterways.

June in Iceland is a time of 24 hour daylight – so we’ll have lots of time for recording, exploring, discussing and, occasionally, sleeping …

We’re booking all rooms in the main hotel and two separate bungalow style buildings and as well as the friendly hotel staff there will be a French chef (who has lived in Iceland for over 30 years and is an expert in both French and Icelandic cuisine) and two minibuses to allow us the greatest flexibility for recording trips. The range of spectacular habitats will enable us to experiment with surround sound techniques, ambisonic microphones & software, hydrophones, contact mics, geophones, ultrasonic detectors, parabolic systems and a range of stereo and mono recordings. We will also have genelec speakers at our base for reviewing recordings and group discussions. It is expected that you will have some recording experience and your own equipment to bring (although we will have some extra gear with us that everyone is welcome to try).

Some of the many wildlife species we may encounter include: red throated diver, whooper swan, atlantic puffin, himbrimi, arctic fox, arctic terns, whimbrel, golden plovers… whilst we’ll also be hunting for fence wires, bubbling mud pools, abandoned structures, melting ice and spaces with unique natural acoustics.

Accommodation is in private rooms with wi-fi. Most of the rooms are in the main hotel (which we are booking in full) and each room has its own bathroom. Three rooms will be in 2 separate bungalows (each with one bathroom). Breakfasts and two course evening meals are included.

In an interview with Chris Watson in Music Tech magazine (Dec 2012 issue) when asked his favourite place to record Chris said: ‘Iceland! it’s a beautiful place, with great people and great culture. What’s more, it’s relatively noise-poluution free. It’s where fire and ice meet, of course, so there’s great sound potential there.


Day 1: Travel from Reykjavik to Selfoss – an approximate 2-3 hour drive in our two minibuses. We’ll break the journey for a rest and also to call at a supermarket for basic extra supplies. We aim to arrive no later than 6pm, in time for an evening meal and to settle in.

Day 2-7: Recording activities – places we are likely to visit include:

each day will also include a chance to listen to recordings, ask questions, hold informal discussions, share knowledge….and some time to relax

Day 8: Depart. We will set off early, after breakfast, for our return drive to Reykjavik, perhaps taking in one last stop along the way. We will aim to arrive in Reykjavik in the early evening.


Chris Watson
Chris WatsonSound Recording Tutor
Chris is a composer who specialises in recording the sounds of wildlife and the natural world. His freelance career in film, radio and TV has taken him to some of the worlds’ remotest places. Watson worked on David Attenborough’s Life and Frozen Planet productions for the BBC, which both went on to receive BAFTA Awards in the Best Factual Sound (click photo to read more).
Jez riley French
Jez riley FrenchSound Recording Tutor
Jez is a composer, artist & audio specialist whose output involves elements of intuitive composition, field recording (using conventional & extended methods) photographic images (including their use in photographic scores) and improvisation. He has performed, exhibited and had his work published widely across the world and also lectures in both field recording and the act & art of listening (click photo to read more).

Travel Information

Visas: Please check if you need a visa to enter Iceland (holders of normal British ‘European Community’ passports do not need one).

Insurance: It is essential you take out comprehensive travel insurance. Whichever insurance you choose please ensure it provides adequate cover for both you personally and also for any equipment you may be bringing with you.

Booking Information

UK£1,595.00 plus international flight to Reykjavik (which you book yourself – recommendations will be sent on booking). You may have to/wish to arrive a day or so early due to flight times, so you should also budget for accommodation to cover this.

Includes activities, local travel, accommodation and breakfast/evening meal each day.

9-16 June 2015 (This course is full. If you’d like to be added to a reserve list, and for alerting to future courses, please email courses@wildeye.co.uk)