TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor: Höst

I have no pictures for this post. Why? Because I didn’t take any. And more importantly, this about a review just published on TripAdvisor about our unlucky visit to one of Scandinavia’s more reputable restaurants; Copenhagen’s Höst.

Höst needs to hear our complaint and to take action so that other guests don’t fall into the same pitfall.

I’ve been a relatively regular contributor to TripAdvisor for quite a few years now. I feel the site offers folks a reasonably good opportunity to research and shine some light to whether a hotel, restaurant or tourist attraction is worthy their time and money.

You can’t trust everything on TripAdvisor (or, any other similar forum for that matter) and they certainly have their share of scam artists and contributors trying to game the system.

But if you read enough reviews, you’ll soon find that there are a great deal of honest folks spending time writing reviews that are well-meant – even if there not always well-written.

Here’s my review of Höst.

Dude Hawaii Hanalei Bay

The Original Dude

I met this fella near Turtle Cove northwest of Hanalei Beach on Kauai, Hawaii – a day or two before 2015 came to an end.

After an acid induced epiphany about the meaninglessness of working, he’d left all his earthly possessions in the Bay Area (S.F.) and bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii – carrying nothing more than what fit in a small backpack. He’d been living like a vagabond on the island more or less since arriving, back in 1975. A few shy of 75, he told me that in recent years, a monthly social security check afforded him a rented a room near Hanalei Bay and food from a local general store.

Don’t remember if he introduced himself, but after listening to a more or less coherent synoptic version of his life’s story, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of him. Not that I thought of it at the moment, but in retrospect, the old guy reminded me of a character from the classic Python film, Life of Brian.

Raboffs Silver Surfers California

Silver Surfers

While rigging a black backdrop in the studio today – for a shoot tomorrow – I stumbled onto the latest release from Prince, “HITnRUN Phase 2“, published last year. Maybe his funkiest album since, “Sign o’ the Times”. Really diggin’ it. At his best, Prince is as gifted a lyricist as he is a virtuous guitarist.

Now and then I’ve been working on new entries to my growing gallery of “Silver Surfers” and yesterday, I finally got around to publishing them on santamonicaimages.com – which I’ve admittedly neglected for quite some time.

Freedom Tower, New York City

RE-BUILD, RE-DESIGN, RE-LAUNCH, OH MY!

I’ve had a web presence since 1999 – using first the jlrmedia.com domain and a few years later, www.raboff.com as my digital homestead and showroom for my work. I hand-coded my first site and produced several versions using Flash and Shockwave (authoring tools produced back then by, Macromedia). In 2006, ten years ago, I started blogging using the flexible WordPress platform.

I mention this to you, dear visitor, only in passing as my new website has already been launched – without much fanfare or ado. When completed, this will be – by a long stretch – the most comprehensive version of www.raboff.com so far. As I don’t participate in the social cesspool of Facebook or any other social media, this will continue to be the go-to place to catch up with my latest work, travels and blog posts.

Venice surfer

FILTERING MY KING SIZE ARCHIVE

Slowly going through and choosing which photos to save from over a thousand high resolution images shot during three weeks of traveling. Tedious but satisfying work. It’s a selection process that takes place over a series of days – sometimes weeks.

Basically, I have three criteria to define if a photo survives or is forever cast deep down in the digital abyss.

Firstly, I ask myself if the image emits anything emotionally on an artistic level. Secondly, I think about its historical value – is it a time stamp that represents a significant moment in my life? Lastly, I look at the photo to see if there could be some monetary value, either as a standalone print, part of a collage or as an addition to my micro/macro stock portfolio.

Over the years, I’ve fine-tuned this process so that it usually only takes me a few seconds to filter an image. The shot above? It hit all three of my criteria – sometimes, a blurry subject has just the right focus.

Venice Beach

WHERE DID THE COLORS GO?

This is one of my last shots from Venice Beach. I took it just a few days ago, after a 3 hour surf session just to the left of these rocks in what is called, Backwater.

Now that I’m back in Scandinavia, it’s ever so gloomy. I seem to consistently negate how important color is to my well-being. After so many years, one would think that I’d be used to this grey and distressful, colorless environment. I don’t think I ever will. Today’s weather is what I’ve for years referred to as “classic DDR” – essentially, when the sky and sea are seamlessly joined and everything looks more or less lifeless. Erich Honecker is surely smiling from wherever Marxists go after they dematerialize.

Sad to hear about David Bowie. He was almost a generation older than me, but I certainly connected with his music during the early 1980s. Saw him live in concert once at Ullevi in Göteborg during the Let’s Dance tour. I think it was 1983.

According to an old NPR interview I listened to this morning, David Bowie enjoyed more of the creative process – writing music, drumming up events, designing alter egos – than he did standing on a stage performing the same songs over and over again. One tends to think of all musicians and performers as being pathologically extroverted and manic about wowing their audience to keep their egos afloat. The interview shone some well-needed light on this convention.

LAX Airport

FROM A DIRE HOTEL ROOM AT LAX

Kastrup – Los Angeles – Hawaii – Los Angeles – San Francisco – Los Angeles – Las Vegas – Los Angeles.

Arrived earlier today at LAX after a short but somewhat bumpy ride on a Southwest Boeing 737 from the neighboring state of Nevada where I partook in meetings at the massive CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas.

I’m not a gambler in the sense that I play poker, Lotto or any other game of chance where the odds are inherently  low. But at the airport, mostly to kill some time prior to my flight, I actually sat down, inserted a twenty into one of hundreds of slot machines and on my very last dollar, won $75. Perhaps a sign that during 2016, I may need to roll the dice more often…

I’ve been to the consistently idiosyncratic Las Vegas several times, but never experienced a trade show there. And certainly not one as sprawling or intense as CES. On some anthropological level, it was certainly interesting to experience first hand one of the world’s largest trade shows and all the folks that participate in such a spectacle, i.e. upper echelon executives, sales reps (in various stages of exhaustion), presenters trying to lure visitors into their booths with loud music and young female hosts in hot pants, sparkly skirts and towering high heels.

Stayed once again at Mandalay Bay at the head of the Strip. This time with a nondescript view of the resort’s closed, but nonetheless gigantic pool. If you stay there, make sure to stay high up and ask for windows towards Luxor and the Strip.

Sadly, I did not get a chance to ask someone at the front desk of Cesar’s Palace if it was the real Cesar’s Palace.

It’s soon time to return to the Swedish winter’s meteorological doldrums after many weeks with mostly sunshine, balmy weather and lots of surfing. Charlotte and Elle are home already, hopefully recovering from the horrid trans-continental, multi-timezone induced jetlag and ever so slowly sliding into everyday life.

As per usual, I’ve worked far more than I had anticipated. It’s still so hard to relax and let myself go numb and forget about work. When you enjoy what you do as much as I do, it feels darn close to being a curse.

Surfing Vencie

FINAL SURF FOR 2015

While Charlotte and Elle were out and about doing whatever they were doing, I retrieved my surfboard from the hotel’s storage room, screwed on the blue fin, waxed the board, slipped on my wetsuit and headed down to the ocean.

It’s hard to explain in a way that does the feeling justice, but after three hours and dozens of 2-3 ft sets, I left beach with a huge grin on my face a few minutes before sunset. I left behind me twenty or so surfers, still hoping to catch a few more waves.

Ironically, the surf in Venice was, if not better, than at least equally good and certainly more consistent to what was served up off the north shore of Kauai in Hawaii.

In the shower back at the hotel, It took me a good ten minutes to peel off my wetsuit. That’s how tired I was. But rest assured, it was a good tired.

I met a German couple among the folks in the water. They were stoked about the whole SoCal surfing experience and were seriously considering a move here. At least during the European winter. I sympathize entirely.

I can’t think of a better way to end the year than in the Pacific. And if I’m not too tired tomorrow morning, I may even start the new year the same way!

Happy New Year!

surfer girl

BACKING UP FROM HAWAII

As per usual during visits to beautiful places, we’ve now fallen madly in love with Kauaʻi. It feels downright sad that we have to leave today. Particularly Hanalei Bay where we spent many hours surfing in the friendly waves. Fortunately for me, we’ll be traveling to one of my all-time favorites; the crusty and salty L.A. neighborhood,  Venice Beach. Already looking forward to both surfing in Venice and adding new surf shots to my collection as well as producing what I hope will be a most inspiring video essay on the merits of winter surfing in Southern California for a client.

During our ten days here on Hawaii, I’ve shot many hours of HD footage and several hundred stills from all over the island. And for the first time ever, I’ve been able to successfully backup every clip and image to the cloud, in this case, my Dropbox account. I can’t give the folks  at Dropbox enough praise. There are many “free” alternatives, but none that can match the ease of use and reliability that Dropbox provides at a most reasonable fee. It’s really become a ubiquitous part of my workflow.

As an extra precaution whenever I’m afoot, after offloading each card to my computer, uploading the roughly sorted material to Dropbox, I’ll let all the video and RAW files remain undeleted on the SD/CF cards – until I get back to the studio (where everything gets backed up once more to my Backblaze account).

In addition to my primary backup – a five year old 17” Macbook Pro – I’ve also copied everything to a 1TB external HD. After all this, I sleep pretty well at night.

The new Canon EOS 5Ds has performed well. I absolutely love Canon’s new, rather dampened shutter sound, the handy intervolometer (finally!) and the focus tracking feature in the otherwise somewhat featureless film mode. In reality, the Canon 5Ds is basically a Canon EOS 5D Mk III with double the resolution, crammed into a full frame sensor.

As each RAW file is a whopping 50MB large, I’ll probably delegate the 5Ds to studio work and use the forthcoming 5D Mk IV (rumored to arrive next spring) for travel work.I’ve not even tried editing any of the hires video or time-lapse clips on my  almost vintage laptop. Just viewing a single RAW file in Lightroom takes far too long – even with the new 1TB SSD I added a few months ago.

The day is just about to break here on the south coast of Kauaʻi. I can here my young daughter breathing, almost in sync with the lapping Pacific waves below us. It’s time to make a cup of java and get ready for the year’s last journey – towards California!

Waimea-Canyon-Kauai-Hawaii

WAIMEA CANYON

From today’s excursion to Waimea Canyon here on Kauai, Hawaii. Shot this mystic view on the way down from from one of the wettest places on earth, Mount Waiʻaleʻale – a mountain with an elevation of 1,569 m and an average of 11,500 mm rain per year. Noticed that NASA has an observatory and what also may be a lab facility in the area.

For lunch, we thoroughly enjoyed succulent, seared Ahi (tuna) tacos with mango avocado salsa at the unassumingly styled yet ever-so aptly named, Island Taco in Waimea village. Can highly recommend a lunch there.

Got some really good footage today with a GoPro mounted on the front end of the hood of our Wrangler (jeep),

It’s raining several times a day – mostly short showers with light drizzles before and after. Lots of little fluffy clouds making for dramatic sunsets.