Meanwhile, in Venice Beach….

Here’s slew of scenes from Venice Beach that  I’ve edited together in no particular order. My only editing “rule” here was to keep each clip at maximum 1:00 second.

It’s surprising how long a second can be. If you ask me, one of the keys to really good editing is being able to identify and highlight the essential story in each scene. The expression, “kill your darlings” is a mantra I try to be mindful of in all my creative work. Shaving off excess “fat” takes courage and time and you’re either the brutal butcher and do it all at once – or, the slow torturer that takes painfully long time to drill down and cut away stuff that doesn’t add anything visually or drive the story forward.

climate change conundrum

Climate Change Conundrum

Elle and I took out the trash this morning and while sorting the contents of boxes and bags into relevant recycling bins, I noticed that much of our waste was various forms of paper packaging. It made me feel good that we didn’t have that much made of plastic to throw away.Which is not to say that I in any way, shape or form am a good environmental citizen.

These are confusing times. On the one hand, more people than ever seem aware of the planet’s environmental crisis. Yet the vast majority of us that agree drastic measures are needed to slow down the ensuing catastrophe – stemming from decades of arrogans, neglect and denial – are in essence ignorant about how we as a collective can contribute to make substantial change.

And even if climate science has been politicised and is used as arsenal in the war between conservatives and liberals, the trajectory of Earth’s population growth is compelling enough evidence that there is no way we can sustain our current lifestyle without fucking the planet up to the point of inhabitability.

I mean, once China (1.4 billion), India (1.4 billion), Sub Saharan Africa (1.3 billion) and South America (400 million) catch up with us in Europe (750 million) and in North America (600 million) and yearn for all the material stuff (furniture, cars, clothes), foods (meat, dairy + processed crap) and holiday travel we’ve come to define our quality of life by, we’re basically screwed. And even if overpopulation doesn’t get us, the natural resources needed to support everyone and everything will ineluctably dry up. I’m all for recycling and innovate ways to reduce our addiction to fossil fuels, but when most of what companies like Wall-mart, HM and IKEA sell are heavily dependent on plastics and synthetics, not to mention shipping, we’re still going to need more oil than Mother Earth has stored in her belly.

When all is said and done, I’m still an optimist, albeit a cynical one. Because though I might feel a slight pinch during my lifetime, like the Nobel Prize winning idea of a global carbon tax or an even bigger increase in the frequency of natural disasters and even more smoged cities, I will likely live out my terrestrial life way before the apocalyptic future arrives. Which is probably how most folks my age and older – and much of Gen X reason; “Hell, it ain’t my problem once I’m gone”, or, “I worked hard to get where I’m at, I ain’t makin’ no sacrifices”. #nonissue #whogivesaratsass #colonizemars

The image above is from the Bay of Pigs on Cuba.

Rosengards Fastigheter

Rosengårds Fastigheter

Of all of last year’s new clients, Rosengårds Fastigheter, a new residential property owner and developer, was by far the most engaging and inspiring.

I shot and edited four short portrait films of key employees, took a bunch of PR photos, navigated a drone to capture the neighborhood from way above and documented more than 30 individual properties. The other day, the company’s annual report arrived with a slew of photos I’d shot in it.

Rosengård is a Malmö neighborhood which has, mostly unfairly, come to represent the bulk of challenges facing the city in regards to integration and related socio-economic concerns.

There are obviously issues that need addressing. But Rosengård is actually relatively peaceful and flush with green and airy spaces. And thanks to being such an eclectic melting pot, I think you have to be really naive to not see that the area has huge potential.

I’ve visited plenty of places around the world that have metamorphosed over time. Nothing stays the same. So I’m convinced the tide will eventually turn for Rosengård. And Rosengårds Fastigheter will certainly play a key role in that transformation.

havana

Early at the Gym + Old Havana

Went to the gym early this morning. At 06:00 am, there were four of us patiently waiting for the janitor to open the entrance’s sliding doors. By the time I was done with my cardio warmup on the treadmill, five or six more people had arrived. I’m guessing here, but I’d say most of us early birds are a few years above fifty, but by the time I’d completed my workout at 07:01 am, a half dozen “old timers” had also arrived. For them, the gym is as much a social venue as a place that helps them get or stay fit. While I go through my program with rigorous focus and a podcast playing through my Airpods, the retirees take it nice and easy, spending plenty of time chatting with each other in between gym machines and stretching exercises.

The above shot is from a rooftop apartment in Havana, Cuba. I don’t remember the circumstances of how I got to this vantage point, but I do remember loving the view. One of the capital’s most famous gyms is located somewhere over to the right in the photo. I don’t know the current state, but last I was there, the workout equipment would easily have qualified for an exhibit at the Smithsonian.

Back to the scene above. There’s something indescribably beautiful and soulful about buildings so old they look like they could be or should be condemned. The dilapidation is surely not as appreciated by those forced to live in them. But for a photographer coming from the diametrically opposite environs – like Västra Hamnen – where every square centimeter is relatively new and shiny, and where there is very little, if any, soul to be seen or felt, places like Havana are nothing less than a visual bonanza. I hope to return one day. In the meantime, I’ve got a collection of images from my two visits here.

Palm Tree Seychelles

Back on Track

As interesting and inspiring as these last couple of trips have been, I have not been taking as much care of myself as I should have. I try to pick hotels that offer yoga classes, or, at the very least, has a sizeable fitness room or balcony where I can practice on my lonesome. It’s not as if I don’t get any exercise at all if I can’t practice. I do. Last week’s visit to Palma was one long walkabout where Timmy and I averaged 10k/day.

This morning was my first proper Qi Gong/Yoga session in over two weeks. For a stiff guy my age, a hiatus that long is, if not devastating, certainly detrimental. The great thing about yoga is that it’s so wonderfully forgiving. There’s plenty of variables within most poses to help ease your body back into a more fluid, flexible state. And where the body goes, the mind ineluctably follows.

The majestic palm tree above is from the Seychelles. More from that trip can be viewed here.

Palma de Majorca Beach Cas Catala

Palma’s Beaches

As much as I feel inspired by the patina that Palma offers, it’s really the close proximity and relatively easy accessibility to several small  and large beaches that intrigues me. I suppose this reminds of other familiar beach communities, like Santa Monica and Venice. I shot this particular beach scene the other day Cas Català, near the fancy Maricel Hotel and recently opened and Swedish owned café, Guapa Food and Coffee.

Palma de Majorca

The Swedish Boom

I’ve spoken to a few locals here, Swedes that have lived and had businesses for several years, decades even. The consensus is that there have never been as many Swedes living on or visiting the island as right now. With all the sun-depraved visitors flying in from Stockholm, Malmö, Göteborg and other cities, I suppose it’s not really surprising that Swedish seems to be the second most spoken language here in Palma. I don’t mean it’s a nascence (though you do have to watch what you say) – it’s just that after Bodrum, where we barely heard anyone from Scandinavia (but plenty from Holland and Turkey), it’s a little strange to hear so much Swedish chatter.

Aside from an absolutely terrible fish dish last night at an unnamed Swedish owned restaurant (but not La Perla), the food experience has been really good here.

Though much smaller, I could argue that the number of decent corner restaurants here in Palma is pretty much on par with what I’ve experienced in Barcelona. Like the ancient eatery El Puente, a new favorite place where we’ve already eaten a few times. Might even end up there tonight again. More images from Mallorca/Majorca here.

Cathedral-Majorca

Perfect Timing

I think this could be my 20th visit to Majorca and I feel reasonably at home in Palma. At least as long as I stick to the center, that is. As soon I venture beyond Cala Major, things tend to get a bit hazy and everything looks more or less the same to me. Kinda like 50 shades of beige. I’ve been doing a lot of walking since arriving and today was no exception with more than 12k. This is absolutely the best time of year to visit Palma. It’s warm but not balmy, sunny but cool in the shade and nowhere nearly as crowded as it will inevitably be in about a month.

Above is a shot from a few years ago of a church in Soller.

Palma de Majorca

Palma de Majorca

Just arrived in Palma de Majorca. It’s been less than a year since my last visit, but it’s always great to return to the island. Especially since when it’s sunny like today and about 10 degrees warmer than when I left Scandinvia at 06:05 am this morning.

The flight down with Norwegian was fairly smooth but I am experiencing a lot of less than smooth landings recently. Super impressed by how fast I got in to town. It’s Sunday morning, so there’s very little traffic. Still, 11 minutes flat is definitely the quickest I’ve ever covered the distance between the airport and Paseo Maritimo in a cab.

Shot the above image one evening during last year’s visit.

Vintrie by Hyllie

Vintrie by Hyllie

From earlier today over Vintrie, a small village adjacent to Malmö’s popular shopping Emporia and the region’s latest neighborhood, Hyllie. I was flying over the area capturing images for a client with several ongoing construction projects in the area. Tomorrow by this time of day, I’ll be in a climate much warmer than what we’ve got here.

Memory of an Old Tractor

Memory of an Old Tractor

I find it increasingly interesting how my memory works – especially so when it fails me. With my humungous computer archive (4TBs and counting), I obviously have the advantage of being able to recollect by looking through my images, videos and rereading articles I’ve penned.

I wonder if a day will come when I don’t recognize photos I’ve taken, videos I’ve shot or stories I have written.  Probably.

In an entirely different part of my memory, I recently find myself making these really interesting associations. Like for example, this old tractor we came across during our bike ride in rural Kos the other day.

As soon as I saw it parked on the edge of the field, I felt compelled to get off my bike and photograph it. But why? Perhaps because my maternal grandfather Eskil had a similar tractor back in the 1970s. I know I rode in the cabin with him a few times. And he might even have let me steer it, too. Don’t remember that level of detail, though. Heck, I don’t even recall what type of stuff he grew on the fields outside of Trollhättan. Wheat? Probably.

I wonder what a loaf of bread tasted like back then. Would it be more flavorful, healthier to eat and would the methods for growing the grain be better for the planet than what’s used today? Everything seemed less sinister in the 1960s and 1970s. Maybe I’m just naive. Probably.

My maternal grandmother, Eskil’s wife Agnes (which prepensely is Elle’s middle name) used to make a fluffy, yet wonderfully chewy flatbread that when eaten straight out of the oven and topped with home-churned butter and a generously thick slice of creamy cheese, put me in a state of calm that I’ve since never experienced.

Some mornings when I stayed with Agnes and Eskil, breakfast would consist of a slice of grandma’s delicious bread and a large cup of really sweet hot chocolate. I remember exactly where I sat at the small kitchen table with its wax tablecloth and window overlooking the road to the barn. To my left was grandpa, holding up the local paper and mumbling now and again about something he had just read. Rarely did Agnes take a load off and sit with me for breakfast.

There seemed to always be a ton of stuff to do in the kitchen, around the house or on the farm. Like making sure gramps had his lunch with him before he took the tractor parked out back and headed out in to the fields.

More photos from Bodrum and Kos are now available here.


Turkish Pool

From Charlotte’s and my afternoon pool session while in Bodrum, Turkey by the Mediterranean.


24 Hours in Bodrum

Shot this timelapse from our balcony yesterday. Not suffering from jetlag, yet I still wake up sometime between 4 and 5 am-ish, mainly for a pee, and can’t get back to sleep after that. So after yesterday’s awakening, I got the idea to capture a compressed 24 hours of our fabulous view.


Electric Ride on Kos

To add an excursion to our travel story about Bodrum, we ventured out to sea yesterday by jumping onboard a ferry to the neighboring Greek island of Cos.

I’ve been to Cos (Kos) before, but it was in my early twenties, so I just barely recognized myself. We rented a couple of electric bikes and rode them to Casa Cook, a boutique hotel Charlotte was keen on seeing live and which was about 25k northwest of Cos town. While there, we ate a pretty good lunch before returning along a beautiful coastal road that led us back. Before getting back on the boat to Türkey, we stopped at one of  many identical harbor cafés for an ice cream, coffee and a small glass of Ouzo.

Being that Türkey borders to Syria and several Greek islands, including Kos, still have refugee camps, there was a small but rigorous immigration procedure we had to pass through at each country’s port. No big lines, though and everything went super smooth. Not sure this will be the case once high season kicks in a month from now.

mjau

Putty Cat

Of all the cities, towns and hamlets I’ve visited throughout Europe, I can’t recall seeing so many cats as there are here in Bodrum. They’re literally everywhere.

Met the above Lazy Bones Jones furry feline absorbing today’s late afternoon sun which was pouring in from one of the windows in a shop down by Bodrum’s cozy little harbor. There’s no shortage of stores selling knick-knacks here. But we’ve also visited a few really snazzy boutiques stocked with a collection of quality apparel priced (according to Charlotte) at about 50% below what we’d pay in Sweden.

There’s more than just cats here. I’ve seen several dozen dogs. Big ones, too. No donkies, though. Not yet, anyway. We’re heading over to Kos tomorrow. So there’s a decent chance we might meet a few hee-hawas while there.

All-Inclusive

Bodrum, Türkey

Late last night, after about 12 hours of traveling, Charlotte and I finally checked into the Voyager here in Bodrum. It’s actually our very first time staying at an all-inclusive hotel and so, as part of the checkin process, we we’re both equipped with opaque, logo branded, plastic wristbands and politely encouraged to wear them at all time during our stay here.

Not that I have much experience from hospitals, but I associate plastic armbands with something they make you wear at a hospital. Mine fell off sometime during last night’s restless sleep, so I’ve now got it neatly tucked away in the left pocket of my white shorts. We just had breakfast and no one working the morning shift in the dining hall asked me to identify myself. Possibly because Charlotte’s plastic bracelet was clearly visible.

The breadth of the buffet was nothing short of magnificent and it wasn’t easy resisting overindulgence. Especially when I discovered the subsection of olives. The variety was extraordinary and in one of the many bowls I found one type that had a pit that in itself was bigger than the largest olive I’ve ever seen before.

We’re in here to research for a travel story for Charlotte’s popular site Hotell Addict about Bodrum – which has been on our destination list for at least a couple of years.

This is only our second visit to Türkey (adding a couple of dots to the ü is just too irresistible) with Istanbul being the first. We absolutely loved Istanbul.

The weather here in Bodrum, at least this time of year, is just how I like it, Californian warm and sunny. There’s even a few palm trees down by the beach. Photo: Charlotte Raboff

Little-Fishies

Confidentiality & Little Fishes

A friend pointed out the other evening – over a glass or two of summertime wine – that my climate change motivated intention at the onset of 2019 to travel less was failing miserably.

I thought of this while showering a few minutes ago. The warm water took a little longer than usual to arrive and I caught myself feeling impatient by the delay.

I could argue that unlike many other business travellers, or, as I like to call them, “corporate seagulls” who constantly fly from meeting to meeting and likely spend more time in airport lounges than they do with their families (let alone experiencing much of the places they travel to), my travels document destinations and I share my impressions – in words and visuals – with many thousands of people. Though I these days rarely produce much for Swedish travel magazines, once my work is published on, for example, www.airlinestaffrates.com under Travel Tips or on the site’s companion Facebook page, over 170,000 people can read it.

Conversely, one could argue that my travel stories only encourage more people to board fossil fuel burning planes, cars, buses and boats.

After almost 20 years of professional travelling, it’s going to be unimaginably difficult to change my ways. I am prepared, however, just as soon as I find the perfect place to settle down at. A place so immaculately beautiful, socially and ethnically heterogeneous yet remarkably affordable, warm and clean, that my need to travel will be forever quenched. Tips, anyone? Maui comes to mind…aside from the affordable side of that island (where it’s anything but affordable).

The little fishies above gave their lives to a sauce or stew at some streetside restaurant in Asia of which I have no recollection.

Strangle Fig Tree Cambodia

Strangler Figs in Cambodia

From last year’s re-visit to one of the astonishing “Strangler Figs” at Ta Prohm temple, near Angkor Wat in Cambodia. There’s something both spooky and frightful, yet also reassuring and comforting when nature reclaims manmade structures like this tree has.

I want to believe that everyone who has dedicated the current climate change debacle a thought or two, has felt similar sentiments. That no matter how hard we try, and boy have we tried harder than any other species on Earth, our planet will eventually loosen the stranglehold we’ve inflicted on it and evolve just fine without us.

More images from Cambodia can be viewed here.

Helthy Food and Yoga

Healthy Food and Yoga

Just finished an hour of twisting and bending. Got up at 05:00 am, about a minute before my alarm went off. Startting the day with qigong and yoga is like giving yourself a generous gift that keeps on giving all day long. Most of my aches and pains and any negative thoughts or seemingly insurmountable challenges I might perceive to have are gone by the end of the session – dispersed like clouds clearing from a worried sky.

I discovered yoga about two years ago and have been hooked ever since. It’s now my go-to remedy and keeps me honest and aware of my body’s current state. But you know what? I don’t buy into all the hokus pokus stuff often connected with yoga. Nothing wrong with spiritualism, just as long as it’s kept personal and not dictatorial. Heck I don’t even know most of the sanskrit names of all the animals I’m supposedly posing as. It doesn’t matter. In essence, Yoga is just a collective name for an ancient workout. No more no less. When anybody tries to tell you differently, their just preaching religion. And we’ve all recently heard about the tragedies in Sri Lanka and why we all need to stay clear of dogmas and mysticism…

After a relatively calm Easter with lots of tasty food in Göteborg and especially after yesterday’s “heavy” Easter dinner with a ton of herring, salmon and creamy sauces, my body’s yearning for lighter, plant-based food. Something akin to the salad above, shot with the Leica Q in Costa Rica during our visit 2017.


Göteborg

From the week’s two-day visit to Göteborg. I’ve wanted to revisit some of my old neighborhoods and places where I’d once lived. Just to refresh my memory and take a few snapshots for the archives.

On Thursday, I walked from the downtown hotel where I was staying and headed northeast along Friggagatan (lived there for a year), up to Redbergsplatsen and down to Gustavsplatsen (my first ever apartment for two years).

I then trekked up to Strömmensberg, down from there to Härlanda, through Kålltorp (where I lived for about a year with aunt Lillemor and her partner Karl-Erik when I arrived in Sweden in the summer of 1978) and Kålltorpskolan where went to 9th grade and finally, via Torp, Örgryte and Liseberg, up via Götaplatsen to Vidblicksgatan 5 in Johanneberg, which was the very last place I lived in Göteborg.

In all, it turned out to be a five hour, nearly 20km walk down memory lane.

The above little video doodle (shot handheld with my iPhone), of sculptor Carl Milles masterpiece “Poseidon” was from one of the very last stops before meeting up with a late but nonetheless well-deserved Easter themed lunch with old buddy Tommy Sahlin.