Digital Recording Tools for Observing

Well, it snowed last night and this morning giving us about 3 inches of snow on the ground after most had melted away. I needed to put oil in my Pathfinder yesterday and I've had a problem with the oil cap getting stuck because it sits in a plastic PCV black pipe. So it wasn't turning so I cranked on it really hard with my arms and I tore the pipe off the engine block where the oil goes in! So its in the shop and the part will arrive tomorrow and get installed. On top of that I had a root canal done a year ago with a cap and because it wasn't cleaned properly, the tooth is reinfected, hurts pretty good and I have to go in a week from this Thursday for a root canal. There goes the extra money I was hoping to buy some more eyepieces with! Oh, add a cold to it!

So in this entry I wanted to share with you something that I will use when I want to focus on my sketch and in observing more than writing down on my log sheet. At these times I use my RCA Digital Recorder, model V5220-A that I got from Walmart for around $30.00 to $35.00.

This model comes with two jacks, one for a ear phone, one for a microphone, is not voice activated and has a red voice recorder on the side. It has a bright light on the upper right in this picture that I simply covered with a piece of black electrical tape. If you look closely you can see the edge sticking up.

Here is the red record button, the two volume buttons and the erase button under the record volume.

Here is the lock button so your recordings can't get erased when you done, and the microphone and the headphone jack. I do have a microphone for it and I often put the digital recorder in my left shirt pocket and then attach the microphone just below my neckline. It works nicely and if you search on my blog, have posted some earlier recordings here. It runs on 2 AAA batteries and they last for about 3 to 5 months depending on use. The only thing I dislike about this unit is the lack of voice activation.

Here are my three tools. My observing record, which I fill out after I get home, my observing card or cheat sheet and the digital recorder.

On my cheat sheet or observing 3x5 card, I simply filled out the 3x5 card with the items from my observing sheet, so that I would ensure I captured all the information I wanted on the recording. I then describe the object and then usually sketch the object. Moving forward I want to record my impressions as I sketch and why I choose the pencils I do, the paper, the details etc. I think that information could be helpful to others and would be helpful to me if someone wants to provide some input/feedback to me on my sketching process. I had the 3x5 card laminated so it will hold up in dew or moisture.

So nothing huge, but I thought some might find this method useful as they think about how they record their own observations. Oh yeah, there are still times I still just write it all down depending on my goals, how many objects I'm after etc.