Atlantic

It is impossible to sleep. What is the purpose, who thought of the idea, why can’t I have a seat that folds out completely flat. Lying downhill in an airplane is not comfortable. The only place I can imagine it is, is in a flowering meadow on a beautiful summer day and even then I’d long for even ground.

Soaring over the Atlantic. Returning home from the first trip of the year. San Francisco – Los Angeles – New York City. Nice trip, different from earlier. Stepping into new waters. Parallel to the industry I know. Very interesting. Can’t tell much, but I hope, one day, I will. I really do. It’s been a refreshing, alien, awkward, fun, curious and appealing experience. Looking forward to learn more.

I made an effort. Pushed the buttons, forcing my seat to fall towards the bottom of the plane. Almost. Fail. I remember the day, or better yet, the night almost a decade ago. Standing in Bangkok being told that if I could be so kind to change from the shorts I was wearing to the long trousers in my suitcase, I would get the piece of paper granting me access to the holiest of holy for any business traveler. First Class. I slept all night to London. Bitter sweet. The likelihood of repeating the experience is par with winning the lottery.

Until then, another episode of Mad Men on the iPad perhaps? Think so.

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NN@9AM

It’s been ages, and I really mean ages since I updated this blog. It’s not because of unwillingness to share, but the fact that I’ve been tremendously busy. I plan and hope to share more of the sights I’ve seen and experiences felt in the not too distant future, but until then, I want to tell you about another project.
- of the plethora of projects I do, plan or dream of.

The 9AM project.
http://at-9am.tumblr.com/

Interestingly, this project was started about the same time of my last blog post, during Easter in Prague. I’ve long looked at the various time lapse experiments, like the “One year in 90 seconds” by Eirik Solheim. http://eirikso.com/2010/01/04/one-year-in-90-seconds/

When considering this, I came to the conclusion that it would not be true to me, to who I am and maybe more importantly, where I am. I project with stills taken in one location would not work. I tend to move around… Therefore I decided to take a picture at 9AM, every day – where ever I am.

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Easter Prague

Why did it take me this long to get to Praha, or Prague, Prag, Praga – beautiful place with many names – and it is truly picturesque, a beaut for photographers.

On a quick four-day Easter break, and I must say we were not alone. I’ve never seen or experienced a place with that many tourists by sq m.  Maybe because we started like all, stampeding down the many narrow alleyways or the fact that the city is much smaller than I thought. A dense urban gem that, if you’re not careful, can easily give you an architectural overdose – so many beautiful buildings that it would be a damn shame to go blind to all the little details. And as we know, it’s all in the details.

I enjoyed Praha. Walking hours every day, covering the city corner to corner, from viewpoints above to cruising down the river. I of course, managed to sit on the wrong side of the boat, seeing all the choice photo ops, drifting past in the distance. The walks were wonderful, as soon as you get of the beaten tourist track. With only four days it was hard to cover all the places I wanted to see, but we gave it a good shot. One more day and we would have had time to visit the Bone Church in Kutná Hora, too. Oh well, have to save something for next time.

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Mother of all cities

After my super busy days in San Francisco and Austin I stopped by NYC on the way home. I had such luck, being invited to stay at a good friend and his wife’s new apartment in Brooklyn – the best of hosts during my too brief visit.

It was wonderful apartment, looking out over the city from the clock tower where they live. I got an awesome picture with my darling Tilt-Shift lens from the top of the clock tower one night (see below) I hope you like it too.

I was fantastically lucky with the weather. Spring was definitely in the air. Waking up with the sun, listening to the sounds of the city. Looking up at a clear blue sky and feel of the warm sun on my face, was just bliss. And perfect for long walks through the neighborhoods, letting impressions soak in. There can’t be a better way to feel the vibe and taste the culture of a city.

Manhattan wasn’t left alone though. I did my mandatory pilgrimage to B&H, ate lunch in the park, experienced some of the craziness on St Paddy’s Day, enjoyed the view of the city from the Top of the Rock and finally, I got to see the Tim Burton exhibit at MOMA. YAY!

I met old dear friends and made some new. I had some great food and drink and, of course, got a hint of sunburn. How it’s supposed to be.

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GDC+SXSW

Games Developer Conference used to be a conference for developers only. I remember back, maybe ten years ago. I was attending my first conference in San Jose and the language was definitely alien. It’s not that I was completely out of the loop. I’ve spent the past twenty years involved in the gaming industry. The last few years however, after the demise of E3 in Los Angeles, the show has become a very significant one even for Business Developers like myself. Maybe the most important conference of the year even after E3 got back on it’ knees.

So there I was, back in San Francisco where the show moved a couple of years ago. 40+ meetings penciled in over as many days with networking at nights to boot. It was a crazy busy, mad, interesting and very good week – but no time for photography.

After such a tiring week it was quite depressing to sit at the airport, watching my friends and colleagues preparing for their long flights home. My trip had just started. I was headed to Austin and SXSW.

I probably would not have traveled to Austin and South by Southwest had I not been invited to speak at a panel with some great peers in the industry. Once I got there though I’m glad I went. I’ve been to Austin many times before. I’ve written about this oasis surrounded by Texas and how I like the place. Something was different this time though. It was a different energy in town. It was buzzing with creativity. It was truly a great experience. Quite unique and I hope you have the chance to partake, have you not done so already.

I didn’t bring my camera to the streets at night. In a way I wish I had – to share the energy and life around the hundreds of concerts, film previews or interactive events – but I’m also glad I didn’t – so that I could enjoy the liveliness without shutter speed and aperture distractions.

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A new perspective

New York City will never be the same. A great place just got better.
One reason was my new tilt-shift lens.

I have always liked stories told with still images and try to find ways to add my own perspective and narrative. It’s not always planned, often a gut feeling. New adventures, light and temperature, people, cities and landscapes, sounds and smell trigger my senses and feeling of exploration.

These first images playing with the lens is very much taken in the spur of the moment. In review I can see so much more potential, a detail here and there. That said, it is true to that moment and I wouldn’t change what I captured. Rather, take it with me next time I venture out, where ever I go.

And New York, I hope we meet again soon.

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A good start

For once I was home the whole month of January (apart from a quick visit to London). It’s been nice, but the weather was so-so for my taste – very, very cold. Once again I confirmed that I’m not made for Nordic winters.

Being home it’s been quite interesting to follow the changes in the river running past the house. One evening it was just amazing to listen to the crackling ice. I wish I could record it for you all. I haven’t heard anything like it.

February is off to a very good start. Work is busy and interesting. Held a lecture at an event organized by the Embassy of Canada in Oslo on Wednesday and two days later I was at Cambridge University, holding a lecture at Judge Business School. The event in Cambridge was very rewarding. The passion, the interest, the curiosity, the participation, in general the vibe in and surrounding the different colleges is very inspiring and if I win the lottery something I would love to get better acquainted with. £50K is not something I just have laying around… :)

After a nice dinner with friends on Saturday night I enjoyed Oslo from its best winter side, cross-country skiing in Nordmarka with my dad and brother. On days like these I forget all about what I wrote earlier. It’s one of the best places to be. Sparkling white snow, bright sun a clear blue sky.

No pictures this time around, but I’ll make up for it in my next blogpost. In five days I travel again – going back to the more “natural” life of being here and there.

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Ping-pong

It’s been two months since my last post – two very hectic months. Now, on what feels like the longest flight ever, I do have plenty of time. So what has the past months been like?

NYC

In the end of September we traveled over the pond with tickets to Springsteen and E-Street band’s final concerts at Giant Stadium. That my birthday fell in the same week didn’t hurt either… :)

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I love New York. Every time I visit I wish I could stay longer. Had a great birthday dinner in Brooklyn with friends, strolled the streets of Manhattan and smiled at the sun up on High Line Park. Enjoyed Central Park as ever, and a rainy day at the Met. Ate very well and a few tall drinks. Had the usual stop, well two, at B&H, but managed to stay away from the big purchases. That said, all in all, we did our best to help the US economy with a healthy shopping spree. It was so great to take full week off in the autumn. Not done that since the late eighties. Scary.

The two concerts were great. Amazing atmosphere. It was nice to experience Bruce in his backyard before the old stadium was torn down. I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore fan, liked his music before the shows, but now I catch myself humming his songs more often than not. Curious that.

Seoul

Arrived home from NYC on a Monday evening, had a quick meeting at the office on Tuesday morning before heading back to the airport and the flight to Seoul with my boss. Three continents in two days, not advisable, not surprisingly it turned into a jet lag rollercoaster. Had a great time though. Met with our Korean partners for a few days. Very busy schedule.  Didn’t even find the time to take a single picture before we continued on to Beijing.

Beijing

It had been almost six months since I’d visited our team in Beijing. It was great to be back and to spend some time with them. It was the first time in the office not being directly in charge. A bit weird, but I still think of the studio as one of my babies.
It still amazes me how fast the city develops. Even when I visited more frequently I saw changes. With a half-year break it was just amazing. The area around our studio is completely transformed. Only three years ago I drove over an empty, bumpy field (the taxi made a wrong turn and decided to take a short cut over the grass – which turned out to be more rocks and potholes than anything). Now, at least ten skyscrapers were in construction on the same lot. Luckily, the little green oasis we have around our studios is still there, just surrounded by concrete.

The only bummer with this visit was that I didn’t find the time to visit 798. It was my boss’ first visit to the Far East, so we opted for the usual suspects instead. Unfortunately, we arrived at the Forbidden City ten minutes too late. It closed earlier due to the 60-year celebration. Tiananmen Square was packed with, I would guess, at least 200.000 people. Its on days like that you get an idea of the share number of the Chinese. We did get to see the “Egg”, the music hall, which was a first for me as well and I was very happy that we managed to stop by my favorite café in Houhai for a Tsing Tao. The planned trip to the Great Wall went down the drain too, but we did visit the “bird’s nest” and “water cube” at night.

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San Francisco

I spent ten days at home, before flying out again. This time I traveled to the West Coast and San Francisco, another favorite city. The weather was perfect, warm, and sunny. Waking up to a cup of tea at Samovar in Yerba Buena Gardens, having a great Sunday brunch at Mama’s and strolling along the Embarcadero was a great way to start ten busy days. I did of course burn my nose…

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Los Angeles

After a few days in the Bay Area we turned south to Los Angeles, to more meetings, dinners and more fun. Good drinks and company at Philippe and Roger Room. Gazing out over the Pacific in spare moments in Santa Monica. A pre-Halloween bash at the Hollywood cemetery was OK, didn’t bring any costumes on our trip which made us stand out quite a bit. So when we the following day were invited to Heidi and Seal’s Halloween party at Voyeur, we had to find something good. I ended up as an undead renaissance something…

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Seattle and London

The day after we continued up to Seattle. Stayed at the 1000. Brilliant hotel, you should try next time you visit. I’ll book it again for sure. It was a quick stop in the Pacific Northwest before we headed back east the following day, across the Atlantic to London. I must like cities, because this is another favorite.

Home

Coming back to Oslo was nice, even though November is the saddest month of the year. A joyous time of cold, dark, and wet, occasionally white, quickly turning into wet, cold sleet. After two weeks without much sunlight I found myself back on an airplane, and my first visit to Busan in Korea.

Busan

Speaking at ICON/G-Star, meetings, dinners and walking the show floor. A five-day visit. I managed to squeeze in a free day, on Saturday, taking a taxi to unknown destinations. I like it that way. Stepping out of a cab, not knowing what I’ll see or experience. My trusted friend, Nikon and I on yet another adventure.

I found myself in what I believe is a national coastal park area. All signs are in Korean only and all around me were locals. I saw a group of people walking over to a booth buying tickets. I followed their example, and before I knew it I’m on the kiddy-train. Driving 5km/h along the footpath… It was fun for 300 meters, where I jumped off and walked down to a pebble beach. And to my surprise I see someone I’d wanted to meet since I read an article in National Geographic Magazine years ago; the pearl diving grandmothers. Amazing women.

Stumbling along on the large pebbles I was almost blinded by the brilliant, incredible flat, white sunlight. Enjoying the gentle sound of waves until it was suddenly drowned by the weirdest, kitschy, Korean electro pop music I ever heard. As a perfect score in a Wes Anderson flick it blasted out from a tourist boat on the other side of the beach. What happened next is hard to describe. Standing there listening to that music, shielding my eyes I saw silhouettes of a crowd of old, small, Korean seniors rushing – on slow motion – down a hill to catch the boat. Such a surreal experience, and I loved it.

The walk around the peninsula was quite pleasant. After three hours I continued my journey into the unknown city. Stopped at different markets before heading back to the hotel to pack my bags, and an early night sleep before the long flight home the morning after. Or so I thought. Damn you, jet lag. In bed, wide-awake I counted down the hours till I had to get up. At 5:00 I finally submerged into dreamless sleep, giving me a full hour…

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In transit

I’m arriving in Frankfurt in a few hours, just one more flight left before I’m home. The journey will take me 23 hours door to door. Knowing that I don’t sleep on airplanes I figured that by the time I’m diving into bed I will have slept only one out of past 47 hours. I’m so looking forward to get to my bed.

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Delayed and graced

I was on my way home after a few days in Austin at an industry conference. I always enjoy Austin, especially South Congress, but I was so ready to go home. My itinerary asked for a stopover in Memphis and all went as planned until the obligatory flight check found an error on the machine that forced us, the passengers of NW 58, to spend the night in Tennessee.

A few hours late, in whole in the wall of a hotel, I tried to find my sleep. Airplanes were taxing past my window, so close it felt I could touch them. Not even in my year in the air force, living on a base surrounded by aircrafts, did I hear such a noise – every five minutes – in made for a perfect end to a shitty day.

The only positive with being delayed in Memphis is that it gave me the chance to visit Graceland. I jumped in a cab and drove to the world of Elvis Presley. I’ve wanted to visit for years, and suddenly I was there.  Walking through the front door of one of the most famous buildings in the world. All in all I’m glad I got the chance to visit Graceland, even if it only lasted for a few hours.

Long live the King!

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Weekend in the sun

I never learn. Years ago, in my mid-teens, I visited the Algarve coast with my family. My skin wasn’t used to the strength of the Portuguese sun and I received a serious burn on my face. Ever since my nose light up as a signal light every time the sun peak out. I’m usually good using 30 SPF on my face, but this past weekend, in Los Angeles, I forgot – again.

I was walking like I often do in the weekend. Saturday spent along the Pacific coast down to Venice. It’s been a while since I walked all the way down. Strolling with the alternative crowd. Window-shopping on Abbot Kinney, having a nice cup of coffee and enjoying Mew’s new album on my iPod.

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Sunday I headed north, on the bluff along Ocean. Up towards Pacific Palisades, an area I hadn’t walked before, just driven through. It’s nice. I enjoyed finding something new to explore. Headed back over to Montana and had a great lunch at R+D Kitchen while watching the Bills – Giants game.

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It was a relaxing, quiet weekend in the sun before the hectic week ahead.

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