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Dan Gibson; Recorder of Nature (GREAT Cathy Dunphy obit)
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Hyfler/Rosner
2006-04-26 01:12:47 UTC
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The Toronto Star
Catherine Dunphy
April 24, 2006 Monday



Capturing the call of the wild Dan Gibson shared his love of
nature with the world


He's the man who brought the loon into your living room.

Among other things.

Simply put - and simply put was how Dan Gibson liked things
to be - he was a man who loved nature, the experience of it,
the look of it and, especially, the sound of it.

At a time - the early '60s - when nature films were
accompanied by soundtracks of overwrought stringed
instruments or worse, he came up with the simplest of ideas.
Make it real.

And so he went deep into Algonquin Park, the part of the
world he loved the best, and recorded the sounds himself. He
was the man in the canoe, head cocked, wearing headphones,
dipping his paddle into the quiet lake, alert and listening
to the sounds picked up by the parabolic microphone he'd
adapted for nature sound recording.

He made it out of transparent plastic to enhance its
capabilities to capture low-frequency sounds, changed the
direction of the microphone to face into the concave dish to
pick up a fuller, richer sound and eliminate any extraneous
noises.

The patented black-handled Dan Gibson Parabolic Microphone
is still used at NFL and CFL games as well as in major
league baseball, a source of pride to the athletic Gibson.

He also possessed one of the largest sound collections in
the world, clips of which were used in many movies,
including the wolf call in Any Given Sunday.

"We know Dan's wolf calls," said his daughter, Holly
Stewart. She can do them too - all his children can. He also
taught them the call of the loon, the sound of a moose in
heat and what to do when confronted by a bear.

"We were afraid of the bears and so he lined us up and
marched us to the dump where there were four bears," Holly
recalled. Gibson ran right at the animals, roaring and
waving his arms; all four bears leapt up into the balsam
trees, which could account for his nickname.

In the early days Dan "Bear" Gibson would pack up the
family - there were four kids, Mary Jane or Kirkie, Holly,
Dan Jr. and Gordon - along with mounds of unwieldy sound
equipment in the station wagon and drive to their cottage on
fabled Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. He had met his wife,
Helen, not far from there when both were counsellors at
Taylor Statten camps.

They had honeymooned in the summer of 1946 in the shack he
and some friends built from trees felled for the hydro lines
that became the family cottage that grew into a family
compound. Nothing could keep him away from the park.

"He'd fill the Suburban to the brim," said his son, Gordon.
"He was at the cottage all summer making films and recording
sounds."

Gibson was a photographer, who made nearly 200 films and
television episodes - many for the Audubon Wildlife Theatre,
all celebrating nature and/or wildlife. He was the first man
to train or imprint Canada geese goslings using a
radio-controlled model airplane as documented in Wings in
the Wilderness, his award-winning 1979 film that thrilled
audiences with the first shots of the geese taken from a
camera mounted on that model airplane.

And then in 1981, when he was 59, he started Solitudes, a
company that produced a dozen albums of nature sounds, that
had Gibson out listening and recording everywhere from the
Florida swamps to Australian deserts. His timing was
perfect - it was the beginning of the green movement, the
days when New Age sensibility was on the rise - and Gibson's
soothing sounds struck harried nerves all over North
America. His records sold and sold, and then some, but
especially after 1986 when Gordon joined the firm.

Gibson loved music but his son had to convince him that it
would complement not compete with the sounds of nature.

Harmony was the first title in what became a series called
Exploring Nature with Music that has been heard around the
world. The company is now called Somerset Entertainment.
Gordon runs it with a friend and it employs 150 people.

Not bad for a Montreal-born city slicker who grew up on a
fruit farm in Grimsby.

Early on in his career, he founded Dan Gibson Productions,
which focussed on the Algonquin Park he had discovered
during summers at Ahmek, the camp where he was a camper,
then counsellor.

When war broke out, he had enlisted but was honourably
discharged when he contracted rheumatic fever. He
recuperated at camp, teaching some of the boys photography
and taking them on photo trips.

Gibson spent about 10 weeks every year at the cottage.
Neighbours told Holly Stewart they never felt the season had
really started until they saw Gibson on the lake in his
battered 50-year-old metal boat, sitting on an overturned
old wire milk crate.

He filmed Wings in the Wilderness at the cottage; Gordon was
the small boy running along the beach yelling "C'mon geese,
fly." The imprinting experiment had started with three
gosling which Gibson brought to their Forest Hill home in
1972. They swam in a big galvanized iron tub in the backyard
and the boys walked them up and down the sidewalk in front
of the house but it was Gibson whom they considered their
"mother."

Two years later he brought a dozen of the baby geese up to
the cottage to ultimately make cinematic history. "No one
had filmed geese from above," said his son, Dan. The film
opened at the Manulife Centre, where it ran for six weeks.
Children wept at the cinematic fate of one of the geese but
Gibson was already onto a new project.

He loved skiing, ice-boat racing, sailing. His knees gave
out about 10 years ago, about the time he received his Order
of Canada, but he still rigged up a switch beside a bed to
turn on a digital tape recorder attached to the parabola
he'd set up on the roof of the cabin whenever he heard a
loon. Four years ago, at 80, he began composing music.

He'd been planning another season at the lake when he died
March 18.

cdunphy @ thestar.ca

GRAPHIC: An intensely patient man, Dan Gibson would sit for
hours in his canoe in Algonquin Park, alert and listening to
the sounds picked up by the parabolic microphone he'd
adapted for nature sound recording.
s***@gmail.com
2018-10-30 14:39:13 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Hyfler/Rosner
The Toronto Star
Catherine Dunphy
April 24, 2006 Monday
Hello Cathy, I just came across this group. I am looking for heirs of Dan Gibson. Do you have any contact to the family? Dan left a significant amount of uncollected royalties. My company helps the family retrieve those royalties.
Many thx!
David Salas
Post by Hyfler/Rosner
Capturing the call of the wild Dan Gibson shared his love of
nature with the world
He's the man who brought the loon into your living room.
Among other things.
Simply put - and simply put was how Dan Gibson liked things
to be - he was a man who loved nature, the experience of it,
the look of it and, especially, the sound of it.
At a time - the early '60s - when nature films were
accompanied by soundtracks of overwrought stringed
instruments or worse, he came up with the simplest of ideas.
Make it real.
And so he went deep into Algonquin Park, the part of the
world he loved the best, and recorded the sounds himself. He
was the man in the canoe, head cocked, wearing headphones,
dipping his paddle into the quiet lake, alert and listening
to the sounds picked up by the parabolic microphone he'd
adapted for nature sound recording.
He made it out of transparent plastic to enhance its
capabilities to capture low-frequency sounds, changed the
direction of the microphone to face into the concave dish to
pick up a fuller, richer sound and eliminate any extraneous
noises.
The patented black-handled Dan Gibson Parabolic Microphone
is still used at NFL and CFL games as well as in major
league baseball, a source of pride to the athletic Gibson.
He also possessed one of the largest sound collections in
the world, clips of which were used in many movies,
including the wolf call in Any Given Sunday.
"We know Dan's wolf calls," said his daughter, Holly
Stewart. She can do them too - all his children can. He also
taught them the call of the loon, the sound of a moose in
heat and what to do when confronted by a bear.
"We were afraid of the bears and so he lined us up and
marched us to the dump where there were four bears," Holly
recalled. Gibson ran right at the animals, roaring and
waving his arms; all four bears leapt up into the balsam
trees, which could account for his nickname.
In the early days Dan "Bear" Gibson would pack up the
family - there were four kids, Mary Jane or Kirkie, Holly,
Dan Jr. and Gordon - along with mounds of unwieldy sound
equipment in the station wagon and drive to their cottage on
fabled Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. He had met his wife,
Helen, not far from there when both were counsellors at
Taylor Statten camps.
They had honeymooned in the summer of 1946 in the shack he
and some friends built from trees felled for the hydro lines
that became the family cottage that grew into a family
compound. Nothing could keep him away from the park.
"He'd fill the Suburban to the brim," said his son, Gordon.
"He was at the cottage all summer making films and recording
sounds."
Gibson was a photographer, who made nearly 200 films and
television episodes - many for the Audubon Wildlife Theatre,
all celebrating nature and/or wildlife. He was the first man
to train or imprint Canada geese goslings using a
radio-controlled model airplane as documented in Wings in
the Wilderness, his award-winning 1979 film that thrilled
audiences with the first shots of the geese taken from a
camera mounted on that model airplane.
And then in 1981, when he was 59, he started Solitudes, a
company that produced a dozen albums of nature sounds, that
had Gibson out listening and recording everywhere from the
Florida swamps to Australian deserts. His timing was
perfect - it was the beginning of the green movement, the
days when New Age sensibility was on the rise - and Gibson's
soothing sounds struck harried nerves all over North
America. His records sold and sold, and then some, but
especially after 1986 when Gordon joined the firm.
Gibson loved music but his son had to convince him that it
would complement not compete with the sounds of nature.
Harmony was the first title in what became a series called
Exploring Nature with Music that has been heard around the
world. The company is now called Somerset Entertainment.
Gordon runs it with a friend and it employs 150 people.
Not bad for a Montreal-born city slicker who grew up on a
fruit farm in Grimsby.
Early on in his career, he founded Dan Gibson Productions,
which focussed on the Algonquin Park he had discovered
during summers at Ahmek, the camp where he was a camper,
then counsellor.
When war broke out, he had enlisted but was honourably
discharged when he contracted rheumatic fever. He
recuperated at camp, teaching some of the boys photography
and taking them on photo trips.
Gibson spent about 10 weeks every year at the cottage.
Neighbours told Holly Stewart they never felt the season had
really started until they saw Gibson on the lake in his
battered 50-year-old metal boat, sitting on an overturned
old wire milk crate.
He filmed Wings in the Wilderness at the cottage; Gordon was
the small boy running along the beach yelling "C'mon geese,
fly." The imprinting experiment had started with three
gosling which Gibson brought to their Forest Hill home in
1972. They swam in a big galvanized iron tub in the backyard
and the boys walked them up and down the sidewalk in front
of the house but it was Gibson whom they considered their
"mother."
Two years later he brought a dozen of the baby geese up to
the cottage to ultimately make cinematic history. "No one
had filmed geese from above," said his son, Dan. The film
opened at the Manulife Centre, where it ran for six weeks.
Children wept at the cinematic fate of one of the geese but
Gibson was already onto a new project.
He loved skiing, ice-boat racing, sailing. His knees gave
out about 10 years ago, about the time he received his Order
of Canada, but he still rigged up a switch beside a bed to
turn on a digital tape recorder attached to the parabola
he'd set up on the roof of the cabin whenever he heard a
loon. Four years ago, at 80, he began composing music.
He'd been planning another season at the lake when he died
March 18.
GRAPHIC: An intensely patient man, Dan Gibson would sit for
hours in his canoe in Algonquin Park, alert and listening to
the sounds picked up by the parabolic microphone he'd
adapted for nature sound recording.
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