Yoga by Louise

I shot this for Health & Training Academy and Kockum Fritid in December. I’ve been a fan of Louise Hedberg’s yoga classes since day one. She’s soft spoken and has a really smart pedagogical way of getting you to challenge yourself. I’m still struggling with some of the tougher poses, cow face and I will likely never be BFF, but I’m still hopeful for the crow pose.


Midwinter Morning in Malmö

It’s the middle of January and we’re in a pocket of gray and cold right now. On mornings like today’s, I need four cups of industrial strength coffee to bolt me into production mode.

Once there, however, creatively, for all intents and purposes, this is a really good time of the year. And since returning to Malmö from Costa Rica, I’ve set in motion a few new audacious goals – which always feels supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, in a Mary Poppins, carefree sort of way. ÷


Instagram

Using a really old handle, Kim Raboff, I recently joined the legions of hyper active patrons on Instagram. Not exactly sure how to make the best use of this photo centric social media channel, but so far, I enjoy sharing some of my imagery there. Like this shot from Paris. You can follow me by clicking here.


Santa Teresa in Costa Rica

A selection of scenes from our recent trip to Costa Rica. Produced for Charlotte’s extremely popular site for folks in the airline industry, www.airlinestaffrates.com Most of the footage was shot on my iPhone 7+ and for the aerial shots, we used the DJI Spark minidrone. For the beach, surf and sand scenes, I used the now almost ancient GoPro 4 Silver which I’m finding increasly hard to color grade. Time to buy the new GoPro 6 as they’ve lowered the price by close to a €100.


Back in Malmö

Santa Teresa – San José – Newark – Zürich – Copenhagen

We were a little uneasy about flying in the same type of small aircraft (Cessna Caravan) after the Nature Air mountain crash a few days before we left Santa Teresa. But to be totally upfront, I felt slightly more trepidatious when we boarded United’s vintage 737/800. After the captain pulled us up over the clouds and we hit our cruising altitude, I calmed down. At least until we landed at the always inspiring Newark Airport where chilling cold weather and the usual chaos welcomed us. Like New York City’s subway system, the state’s airports (I’m including New Jersey’s Newark here) are in really, really bad shape. I don’t get how you can let three airports and one of the world’s greatest city’s subway systems just fall apart until their current state of dilapidation.

Come to think of it, I actually do understand how that can happen – and anybody that knows me well enough will also get what I’m talking about here. Nudge, nudge. Anyway, it’s called neglect and its pathology stems from an unwillingness to recognize or acknowledge that action must be taken for things to get better and not worse.

The flight with Swiss to Zürich and then with Lufthansa to Kastrup were both uneventful. I slept through latter and watched and really enjoyed the latest Tom Cruise flick, “American Made” during the cross over the North Atlantic. Maybe it wasn’t the best movie to watch whilst on a plane as there were a ton of daredevil scenes (performed by Cruise himself?) in a small turboprop.

So, we’re back in Malmö now. It’s been amazing weather since the taxi pulled up here Sunday afternoon. Foggy at night, though. A prerequisite for fog is however that there’s barely any wind – which is unusual here where the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic converge.

Speaking of the Baltic Sea…

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be visiting an old friend and revisiting one of my favorite islands in the world, Gotland. I think Gotland is nothing short of magical. Yes, even this time of year. I lived, worked and studied there off and on for 5 years. So I’m obviously biased. Hope they have some snow when I get there. A snow covered Visby is about as pretty as can be.

I shot the above photo of our neighborhood yesterday, Monday afternoon with the help of a little flying friend we call Sparky. Want to see more images from Västra Hamnen here in Malmö? Then click on over here.


Travel Photography with the “Q”
This visit to Costa Rica is my first serious travel assignment with the Leica Q as my main camera. I’m impressed with just about everything; dynamic range, focus speed and battery usage.
I’ve tried to use it as a film camera and make every shutter release count. I would of preferred a 35 mm lens for portraits, but the 28mm is so versatile in other situations that I didn’t really miss any other focal length. Only a handful of times did I miss having a longer lens or the convenience of more megapixels. The Leica Q will likely be my go-to camera for a long time.

A long flight home

Shot the above image through the window of a Cessna Caravan as we flew past the airport here in San José on our merry way to the coast.

Three weeks have passed by in what seems like light speed. Time to leave Costa Rica behind and fly back through time and space to catch up with reality. Our reality, anyway.

Yes, we’re impressed by this country. For sure. Would love to see more of Costa Rica’s rain forests and perhaps test the surf on the Caribbean side.

Though much of the roads outside of the capital are in desperate need of repair and pavement, the country as a whole seems to work just fine. In 1948, Costa Rica dismantled their armed forces and has since invested heavily in education (96% literacy rate, about 10% higher than the US), in healthcare and environmental protection.

It’s cool in San José this time of year – cold even – and we’ve been wearing sweaters for a few days now. Though after my workout at the hotel’s gym this afternoon, I went for a swim in the heated pool and thoroughly enjoyed a few laps.

Our flight home will be somewhat masochistic. All told, it’ll take about 27 hours from door to door – with plane swapping in both New York and Zürich.

In the future, airline staff at the airport will gently put passengers – whom will be lying down in full-length sleeper capsules – into a medically induced coma. After their flight, each passenger will be awaken as soon as they’ve arrived at their hotel. Everyone will feel relaxed and rested. And probably really, really hungry.

As I write this from a comfy king sized bed in our hotel room, just a few minutes from Costa Rica’s International Airport, I can’t wait to climb out of the taxi on Sundspromenaden in Västra Hamnen/Malmö, take a long, hot shower, unpack my dirty laundry, brush off my sandy camera gear, back up my media files, eat a crunchy, homemade salad and then, finally, jump into bed and hope the jet lag won’t be too bad.


Sloths

Photographed my very first sloth earlier today at the Toucan Rescue Ranch outside of San José. The ranch’s 40 some specimen are either rescued from poachers, traffic accident survivors or orphaned baby sloths. Apparently these distant relatives to anteaters and armadillos move much faster in captivity than in the wild and I was a little surprised at how agile they were. And yes, they’re extremely cute, too.

During the afternoon visit, we we’re given an extensive tour around the ranch and saw several two and three fingered sloths as well as spider monkeys, parrots, owls and a few other animals in various stages of recovery.

According to Wikipedia, “…sloths are so named because of their very low metabolism and deliberate movements. This is an evolutionary adaptation to their low-energy diet of leaves, and to avoid detection by predatory hawks and cats who hunt by sight”.

San José

So, now were in San José. A place I have some mixed feelings about. I like it here. But it’s not really that likable.

San José is livelier [yet much, much safer] than Guatemala City. It’s quieter than Havana and architecturally speaking, an almost unfathomable patchwork of pleasing and displeasing styles, materials and hues. Come to think of it, the Costa Rican capital’s almost comically wide array of architectural styles isn’t too dissimilar from that of Malmö. Aside from the mostly well-kept Art Deco buildings on display here.

Barrio Amon, a few blocks with the epitet “old town” was interesting but took some time to find. During our quest, we almost got ourselves into a precarious situation with some shady dudes whom wouldn’t have been entirely misplaced if transplanted to a street corner in L.A.’s South Central.

Like on the coast, folks here are extremely polite and genuinely friendly. And it’s certainly not hard to find interesting subject matter.

Tomorrow we’re going to visit a sloth or two.


Last Iguana Breakfast

Finally had an opportunity to capture one the hotel’s many chillin’ iguanas today during breakfast. Lizards are fascinating creatures and we’ve seen a lot of them here along the coast.

The Raboff’s are heading back to San José later this afternoon and hope that we have a safe flight. It’s been 10 very pleasurable days of surfing, practicing yoga, Qi Gong and enjoying a very agreeable climate. I’ve also worked a few hours on most days and eventually, I’ll cut together an inspiring video about our experiences in this relatively untouched/unexploited part of Central America.

Looking forward to exploring Costa Rica’s capital to see if I can find something intriguing or challenging to photograph and thereby counter San José’s reputation as a lackluster destination.


Morning View: the Pacific Ocean

My morning view from just outside our hotel as 2017 comes to a close. The Pacific Ocean has always and will likely always hypnotize me. It’s the combo of salinity, color and smell that puts me into some kind of spell.

As much as we’ve unreservedly savored our visit to this stunningly beautiful beach, and I think I can speak for the entire family here, we are now yearning for a less sandy existence.

A day after 2018 arrives we’ll depart this unforgettable coastline and fly back to San José where we’ll stay for a few days. On the agenda in the capital is a visit to a famous coffee plantation and a much anticipated tour at a sanctuary for sloths.


Tropical Yoga

Shot this during yesterday’s yin yoga class here in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Amazing weather and the perfect location for yoga.


Beachlife: Surfer Dude

Met this meditating fellow earlier today on Playa Carmen. Gratifying to know that I’m not the only middle-aged surfer dude on the beach here.


Koh Samui & Costa Rica

We’re almost a week into our first expedition to Costa Rica and I’m flabbergasted at how under-developed the beach communities along the coast are. No large resorts, high rise hotels or a single fast food restaurant or convenient store. That’s right, no 7Eleven or burger joint by the clown or king.

I find myself being reminded of Koh Samui, circa 1988, a few years before the airport was built and when both Chaweng and Lamai beaches were still dusty fishing villages which were mostly populated by transient backpackers. There might have been maybe two hotels on the entire island back then and only a few dozen dodgy bungalow resorts. I worked at one of them, the Golden Sand.

I remember how hard it was to find a restaurant on Koh Samui that served decent western food and that you had to drive a motorcycle or take a flatbed truck taxi ride to the ferry town Nathon and there wait patiently in line at Koh Samui’s only post office to make a collect call to wherever.

That was thirty years ago.

Santa Teresa is similar in a few ways and undeniably different in others.

Like on Samui three decades ago, we mostly have the beach here to ourselves. You pass maybe 20 people during an hour’s long walk up and down the coast. Half of them are surfers. This despite it being absolute peak season.

There are perhaps a dozen hotels scattered along the beach and a few bungalow places located on either side of narrow, unpaved lanes just above the main road.

Unlike Samui ´88, there are a plethora of really good restaurants here. We’ve enjoyed very tasty Japanese, Lebanese, Thai, Mexican and some seafood during our week.

We’re a little surprised at how expensive it is, though. So far, we haven’t been able to spend much less than $70-80  for a dinner for three. Which is almost as expensive as in Europe or even the US.

Then again, Costa Rica has been popular among affluent American families and well-to-do college kids for decades. So the high prices are likely a reflection of an upper middle class tourist demographic.

The thick, unmistakable smell of ganja is prevalent almost everywhere – especially on the beach just before and after sunset. Just as it was on Samui wayback when.

For a photographer and travel writer, there’s plentiful of things to be inspired by here. Including the dense jungle just a few steps beyond the beach and the large flocks of pelicans that soar majestically in fluid arrow formations just above the tree tops.

The weather has been great so far. Cool mornings with temperatures in the lower 20s and middays in the mid 30s. It’s a dry heat, though. Nowhere nearly as humid as in Thailand but significantly hotter than on the Hawaiian islands.

Finally, I think one of the main reasons why Costa Rica is enjoying increasing popularity is in no small way thanks to the friendly atmosphere among locals and guest workers alike.

It’s pura vida all the time.


Morning Surfride

Since arriving and renting a couple of surfboards, Elle and I have been catching the early morning breaks before breakfast. There’s a narrow surf spot just outside the hotel, but we usually opt to walk towards Playa Carmen where there’s less current and more importantly, less rocks.


Sunset, Christmas Day 2017

The view from our room on Santa Teresa Beach in Costa Rica earlier tonight.


Christmas Eve in Costa Rica

Haven’t been in this part of the world in several years. Last time was during an elaborate press visit to Guatemala which is a country (Nicaragua) north of here.

Of what I’ve seen so far here in Santa Teresa and during yesterday’s flight from the capital San José, Costa Rica is as beautiful as I thought it would be and then some.

The weather so far has been perfect. Not too hot or humid (as in South East Asia) and yet cool enough to warrant a shirt at night.

The lush flora reminds me of Hawaii (Maui and Kauai), the unbridled, kamikaze traffic along the main road is similar to Sri Lanka and the shape of the Pacific waves along our beach are only distant cousins to those in Southern California.


Today’s Turning Torso View

Here’s what my view looked like late this afternoon from the 53rd floor of the Turning Torso. Though I’ve seen it from this vantage point for more than a decade, I’m still mesmerized by how high up in the sky this amazing building reaches.

I’ve had an affinity for long exposure night images for many years. Several years ago, I took a series of New Year’s images from the roof of the aforementioned skyscraper. Some of which you can view here.

Freezing a fraction of time is one thing. Capturing movement over the course of several seconds – minutes even – takes some practice and the right gear.
I shot the above image with a Canon DSLR, but I could of taken it with the Leica and enjoyed similarly pleasing results. My only gripe with the “Q” is that the user interface is nowhere nearly as easy to configure. At least not by default.

The Last Jedi

There is no logic or rational reason in the universe to buy into most of our contemporary culture’s offerings. And being so infinitely busy with my own more or less remarkable creative endevors, I rarely take the time to discover even that which might actually be worthy of my focused attention.

But there are exceptions….

Likely because I was partially raised in Los Angeles, arguably the most culturally superficial place in the known universe, I still get extremely excited for each new instalment in the Star Wars franchise.

And so, tonight, Charlotte, Elle and I will be seeing The Last Jedi at a theatre in Malmö, Sweden. A place far, far away from my very first introduction to the operatic saga by George Lucas at Groman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard a long time ago in 1977.


Travel Map 2017

 

Here’s my interactive travel map for 2017. The year isn’t quite over yet, and I’ve got a couple of trips (one really short and one long-ass) before 2018 is upon us.

I’ve been traveling professionally for about 15 years now and was often on the road way before that. My first transatlantic flight was 1967 (LA to Gotehnburg) and I’ve so far been to 53 countries and 289 cities and seen many wonderfully interesting places and met some truly remarkable people all over our planet. I’ve also eaten more airplane food than I wish to remember…

I can’t think of anything I could buy or do that would give me as much long-lasting satisfaction as traveling does. Some call it rootlessness, but I prefer to look at it as a combo of plain ol’ curiosity and an ineptitude for dealing with boredom. For a comprehensive map with all the countries and cities I’ve visited for the last 20 years or so, click here.


Santa’s Workshop

Each year, Santa gathers his helpers and together, they work day and night to prepare for Christmas. Here’s a short behind the scenes video of the workshop 2017.


Vegan Dogs & Mash

Once a week, often on Tuesdays for no particular reason at all, the Raboff’s side-step the usual cuisine and splurge like there’s no tomorrow.

See, a couple of months ago, we discovered a package of smoke vegan hot dogs at our local grocery store and life on Tuesdays hasn’t been the same ever since. I know, technically, hot dogs have to be made of some kind of meat. But as most smoked foods taste decent regardless really of what they’re made from or of, I knew these dogs were going to be pretty tasty. At least when compared with ordinary vegan sausuges – which taste slightly better than wet wool socks (as if I actually know how wet wool socks taste like…), the smoked dogs are absolutely delicious.

The sausages we eat are organic as is the potatoes, mustard, ketchup and dry roasted onions. My recipe for delicious mashed potatoes? A squeezed clove of garlic, a few generous pinches of salt flakes, teaspoon of finely ground black peppar, a dash of nutmeg and a cup or so of almond milk and finally, a few tablespoons of organic olive oil.


Expression Session

After closing my studio this summer, I thought I’d miss shooting in an environment where I could control light, background and other variables of my choosing. Didn’t happen.

On the contrary, I’ve felt liberated by the freedom from less gear and challenged by relying on my imagination and creative/technical savvy to deliver whatever vision I or my client have had.

Yesterday, however, I rented a relatively large studio near Kastrup International Airport and shot model Diviana for a photo project I’ve been thinking about producing for a while: a series of facial expressions.

Not sure how many different expressions we managed to capture yesterday and it actually proved to be quite demanding to convey the at times small, almost granular nuances that define adjectives like, angry/irritated, embarrassed/shameful, seductive/interested and tired/bored.

The project’s genesis stems from my fascination with body language and how much of what we say – and how we look when we say what we say – is determined by the culture we are captive of.

The above video is a collection of some of the many facial gestures Diviana exhibited during yesterday’s “expression session”.


Froggies
Shot these poor froggies at an open-air market somewhere. I’ve eaten grilled frog legs a couple of times and, yes, they do taste like chicken. I will likely never eat any amphibian creature again.

I’ve always felt compassionate about all living creatures. Even those that are displeasurable to look at, that pose some kind of threat or that don’t seem to contribute anything meaningful to our habitat. Which they probably do, but I’m ignorant about exactly what.

Though I as late as last night enjoyed a hearty sushi/sashimi meal before going to a movie, I feel an increasing urge to take the plunge and delve into a fully plant based diet.


Yogaism

These silhouettes are part of a series of studio shots I took of the extremely elastic model and yoga enthusiast Tora about a year ago.

I was intrigued by the beauty of yoga and had started brooding with the idea that practising yoga and Qi Gong together regularly might actually prove to provide me with physical flexibility (and energize my mind) without overstraining my body in the process. The ultimate equilibrium.

I’m nowhere where I want to be, hope to be, someday. And needless to say my poses aren’t nearly as refined and visually appealing as Tora’s. But I’m now at a point where only a few of the basic poses are still really hard to achieve.

So it’s unequivocally clear to me that I’m heading in the right direction.