Gordon Hempton

Gordon Hempton is an acoustic ecologist and Emmy Award-winning sound recordist.  For nearly 25 years he has provided professional audio services to musicians, galleries, museums, and media producers, including Microsoft, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Discovery, National Public Radio, and numerous other businesses and organizations. He has received recognition from the Charles A. Lindbergh Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rolex Awards for Enterprise. He studied botany and plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin. His sound portraits, which record quickly vanishing natural soundscapes, have been featured in People Magazine, a national PBS television documentary, "Vanishing Dawn Chorus," which earned him an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Individual Achievement.” Hempton has now circled the globe three times in pursuit of environmental sound portraits. His new audio series--Environmental Sound Portraits--is the first new work to appear in more than a decade. He lives in Port Angeles, WA.

Books by this Author

One Square Inch of Silence

Assets & Images

To download a file to your computer right-click on the link and choose 'save file as'.

High Resolution Images

My Life in 8 Words

Author Revealed

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. The universe is only half made.—John Muir

Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

A. That would definitely be John Muir, "Want to go for a long walk?" Hopefully we'd be magically transported to a place in time that was unfamiliar to both of us.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

A. Not saying, "Ahh, what the heck, why not?" so often.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. I can’t help but think that this question also implies that happiness is more important than anything else, if for no other reason that it is the first question listed in this section. I once read graffiti scratched on a telephone booth that said, “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” That always struck me. It is a choice to be happy, not as a condition of other things, but as a condition of gratitude for life. But I also believe that happiness is over rated and the search for it, rather than the way of it, consumes too much time and energy. I’d much rather do something meaningful rather than simply be happy, but in the end, I guess it often does wind up being the same. How would I describe perfect meaning?—There is a God.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. Do you mean a job that I could never have? Dangerous waste of time but let me give it a try: recycling airplanes and ATV's into hearing protection

Author Voices

December 19, 2008

I live on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state in a rural location that affords beautiful views of both snow-capped mountains and wilderness beaches, so when I have time off there is always a choice between the two.  If it weren’t for my surfing buddy Nick Parry, I would probably divide my free time equally, but every Saturday, religiously, rain or shine (or this time of year snow), we turn on the surfer tunes and make the drive along highway 112 that traces the coast of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

It keeps me sane, hanging out with a true friend like Nick who has heard it all and accepts me no matter what I might say.  Our... see more