Copenhagen


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Cynthia and I have booked the flight and the hotel for a week in Copenhagen. Should be very interesting around Christmas time. Much like our trip to Brussels last year it’s going to be cold. Average temperatures don’t tend to exceed 40° on any given day. There are only about 7-8 hours of daylight with the sun coming up around 8:30am and setting around 3:45 in the afternoon. Even then, the average amount of actual sunlight on any given day in December is about 1 hour total. So lots of gloomy gray skies.

In the above map you’ll notice the Oresund Bridge which is half bridge, half tunnel and runs across the Öresund strait, connecting Copenhagen in Denmark with Malmö in Sweden. That means we’ll be taking a day trip to Sweden, so this trip will involve two countries!

If you’ve been to Copenhagen and have any advice, please post it in the comments section!

Danish Kroner

Danish Kroner

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Danish Kroner

We’ve traveled to the U.K. so we’re familiar with the GBP aka Pound Sterling (£) and we’ve been to Europe a few times so we quite familiar with the Euro (€) but our upcoming trip to Copenhagen, Denmark will be our first adventure in Scandinavia. In Denmark they have not adopted the Euro, though this may change in 2011. For the time being, the currency in Denmark is the DKK aka The Krone (kr) and it’s our first time dealing with this currency.

The current exchange rate is 5.06648 DKK to 1 US Dollar. So that means we’ll be doing a lot of dividing by 5 to figure out just how much money we’re spending while on this vacation. Should prove interesting. We have pre-ordered some DKK so we have money when we hit the ground as is our usual modus operandi. There is nothing worse than trying to convert to some local currency after 15-20 hours of travel time.

Since I blog everything about the trip I of course had to photograph the kroner for posterity. When pulling the image into Photoshop to resize it for the blog an interesting thing happened.

The same thing happened when I photographed the Euros for our trip to Belgium last Christmas, but it still kind freaks me out a little.

I did my best to adhere to the posted rules regarding the legitimate reproduction of DKK linked in the warning message.

Soon, Copenhagen

Our second annual winter holiday trip is coming up. This year it’s Copenhagen, Denmark (last year it was Brussels, Belgium).

Currently the highs are in the low to mid 30′s and the lows are down in the mid 20′s (Fahrenheit) so it’s pleny cold there. Hopefully snow! We travel as light as we can, only carrying a backpack and a camera bag. This year my backpack is lighter due to the discovery of the fleece hoody

So warm! So comfortable! A few t-shirts, this hoody, a heavy coat with gloves, scarf and knit hat and I am good to go with the winter wear!

And I am not relegating the hoody to just cold weather travel. Oh no. I am going to pass on the cardigan sweater phase of my old age and just wear one of these to fend off the cold drafts, con sarnit!

Christmas Miracle In Copenhagen

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We’ve arrived safely, but not without incident in Copenhagen.

I decided to pack quite a bit of camera gear for this trip. The new A850, the Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 along with several fast, prime lenses for low light shooting and a variety of accessories including my nice flash gun and other sorted items.

Managing my heavy jacket, my backpack and this VERY heavy camera bag has been challenging, but something I thought I had well under control.

We flew from Houston to Atlanta where we caught our overseas flight to Copenhagen. Once we arrived at the airport we gathered our things and walked to the train platform where we waited a few minutes and caught the train to the Copenhagen Central Station where it would only be a 5 minute walk to the hotel.

All was going well as we boarded the train and struck up a conversation with a guy from Jutland who was headed into Copenhagen to meet with some family for the holidays.

When we got to Copenhagen Central Station I went to gather my things and noticed my camera bag was missing.

Panic.

I was sure I brought it on to the train but it was nowhere to be seen. Could the someone have lifted it on the train? Seemed unlikely. The bag is quite heavy and it’s not something you just pick up and casually walk away with.

We went to the information booth, hoping maybe we’d left it at the train platform at the airport and it had been turned in to lost and found or something. They checked, nothing.

Cynthia was in full panic mode. I was pretty dejected thinking I was not going to be doing the one thing I came here to do, which is take pictures.

We decided to catch the train back to the airport and I told Cynthia to pray for a miracle.

It’s about a 15 minute train ride between Central Station and the airport and the whole way Cynthia is crying I am thinking I am going to just throw up. How on Earth could I have been either stupid enough to leave the camera bag laying on the platform or unobservant enough to miss someone walking off with my precious camera equipment?

As we pulled into the airport I looked to the other platform and there was my camera bag, right where I left it. Just sitting there.

I ran up into the airport and back down and in my haste managed to just end up back on the arrival platform. I ran again and managed to get to the proper platform and grabbed my camera bag. Everything was there, completely untouched.

As I was running to get to the camera Cynthia stood on the opposite platform, watching our things and crying. Another traveller asked her what was wrong and she explained and he ran up and across to the other platform to rescue the bag, but I got there first.

I met back up with Cynthia and the other traveller came back and we thanked him for his efforts. We collected out wits AND all of our belongings and headed back to Copenhagen on the train and got checked into the hotel.

I am one lucky lucky man.

Copenhagen Day 1 Part 1

My catch phrase for this trip is “Every photo I take is a blessing” as an ongoing reference to the Copenhagen Christmas Miracle.

Once we got checked in to the hotel we decided to head out and do a little sightseeing. At this point we’re pretty jet lagged, but the adrenaline rush of the near disaster is still coursing through our veins and it is important to push on through to get the internal clock synched up with the local time.

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The room is very spacious and modern inside and we’re quite comfortable. The plumbing, specifically the shower, took some sorting out but we got it eventually.

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Our hotel is right across the street from City Hall Square and, as such, is VERY centrally located.

We noticed that things seemed rather tame. Shops were closed and there wasn’t all that much foot traffic, even on the Strøget which is the main shopping boulevard here in Copenhagen. It wasn’t until the next day that I snapped and realized that Saturday was Boxing Day.

We got the obligatory shot with the Hans Christian Andersen statue

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Everything here is VERY expensive. Cynthia made the comment while we were getting some snacks at the 7-11 that being here was “Like living in the airport.” 20 Kroner for a half a liter bottle of Coke. That’s over 4 dollars for a 16 ounce bottle.

I told Cynthia during the planning for this trip that I would be eating at least one Pølser during the trip.

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Also referred to as a “Dead Man’s Finger” they’re sold from carts all over town. They’re very tasty and I may have to have one more before we leave.

The sun comes up late and goes down early. Also mostly overcast with the occasional drizzle of rain. Not ideal photographically, but a challenge and…every photo I take at this point is a blessing.

Copenhagen Day 2 Part 1

Sunday in Copenhagen. Overcast with some light rain here and there. About 35 degrees. We bundle up and take off to wander around a bit in the Nayhvn area.

The lack of sunshine makes everything rather dull and drab. The photos are suffering! Still, I am happy to have my camera and I recognize that the pictures will be a true representation of our experiences on this trip.

It’s pleasant enough to be out and about, exploring a new land we’ve never been to before. And I’m not giving up on the photography. It’s taking a bit more effort, but I am getting some good shots.

After exploring the Nyhavn area we headed off to the Amalienborg Palace to witness the changing of the guard.

By the time we arrive there’s still about 15 minutes till the actual changing of the guard ceremony. The weather, and the fact that it is Sunday seems to be keeping the crowds down. That’s fine with me.

Right at noon the replacement guards march into the square and the ceremony begins.

Very regimental and punctuated by the sound of boots clicking together and rifle butts smacking the cobblestone.

After all is said and done, we head back to the hotel to take a load off our feet and recombobulate. Our plan is to go out in the evening for some night shots using the tripod.

Of course I continue my search for interesting photos. I was struck by these bikes

Copenhagen Day 2 Part 2

The goal for this night was to walk from the hotel down the Strøget to Nyhavn for some night shots and then down to the waterfront to see if the new opera house might be worth taking a photo of.

I loaded up the camera, some lenses as well as the tripod and my remote shutter release and we headed off.

The walk down the Strøget at night was pleasant. Cold but no rain. Musicians on the street and lots of people walking about.

We had spotted an interesting restaurant in our previous excursions that looked promising. Their menu offered Italian and Mexican food of all things. The pasta options had the most appeal to Cynthia and I’m always down from some Italian food. We like eating Italian just about anywhere we go and we like to find one restaurant and, if we like it, go back several times. We find that once the proprietors realize you are not just the typical tourist grabbing a bite and never returning they treat you really well.

This place ended up being delicious and the waiter and some of the other staff even spoke Spanish and were impressed when Cynthia started speaking Spanish. You could see that they were surprised to have American tourists who could speak more than one language. We’ll be going back to eat there again.

We finished eating and proceeded to Nyhavn. I scouted out a spot and proceeded to setup the tripod when I discovered that I was not yet ready to stop being absent minded and forgetful.

Wouldn’t you know it, I forgot the piece that actually lets me mount my camera to the tripod. It had to be detached to fit the tripod into my backpack before we flew over and I plum left it in the hotel room.

Ok, no big deal. It’s early and only a 20 minute walk back to the hotel. We hoof it back, retrieve the part and make our way back to Nyhavn. Only lost an hour in the process, but we’re now starting to wear out a little and the pleasant buzz from the food and the wine is wearing off.

I set up the tripod and take a few photos. They don’t really come out so great.

There’s just not good lighting.

Oh well, off the opera house.

As it turns out, the opera house is not well lit when there’s nothing going on. Drat the luck. I setup anyway and got a reasonable shot.

Hopefully there will be some operas this week and I can go back and get something even better.

By this time we’re pretty beat and head back to the hotel. I stop to grab a couple of shots and call it a night.

Coffee Vendor

Mannequin Prison

Copenhagen Day 3 Part 2

After our great day visiting the castle and seeing The Little Mermaid we rested for a bit in the hotel. Next on the agenda was Tivoli Gardens to see the lights and witness the fireworks show. The park opened on August 15, 1843 and is, with the exception of Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg, the oldest amusement park in the world.

Sadly, my shots of the fireworks didn’t pan out. We staked out a spot that was too crowded and also behind a giant Christmas tree which obscured the view. Still, the park is amazing. I can’t even imagine how people ride those rides in the freezing temperatures, but they do. The whole park is filled with screaming and laughter as the rides buzz, whirl and whoosh right over your heads. And everything in the park is completely covered in multi-colored lights.

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

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Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Copenhagen Day 4 Part 1

Today dawned bright and sunny. Still cold, but blue skies and sunshine. We had wanted to take the train over the Öresund Bridge to Malmö Sweden and this seemed to be the day to do it. Trains leave every 20 minutes or so and it takes about 30 minutes to get there.

We have no Swedish Kronier and we don’t have a map and we don’t really know what we want to do when we get there. My primary interest was crossing the bridge, which is half tunnel and is an architectural marvel. Plus I like the idea of making this a two country trip.

On the way over to the train station I grab a shot of an art installation on loan from Poland called the Tree Hugger Project.

We get to the train station and pretty quickly sort out getting out tickets and finding the platform to catch our train. There’s some confusion as there’s a train at the platform already, even though our train is not due for 15-20 minutes. We finally see a sign that says in three languages “Do Not Board This Train”.

The ride to Malmö is kinda of fun and exciting for me. For Cynthia, it is rather terrifying. She really hates being underground. And the recent London/Paris Chunnel passenger stranding which was all over the news didn’t help.

Malmö is quite charming. We set off toward the city center and explore our surroundings.

After walking for awhile I mention to Cynthia that I’d really like to see the Turning Torso which is an example of Deconstructivism architecture.

We could see if from the train coming in and I had a rough idea which direction it was, but as I mentioned before we don’t have a map and no Sedish Kroner to pay for a bus or a cab so we just walk. After a short time we spotted it in the distance.

We had hoped to walk a short distance and get a clear view of the building for a good photo, but it seemed no matter how far we walked, there was always some buliding or another in the way.

We kept walking and did eventually walk right up to the Turning Torso after traversing (on foot mind you) the industrial district of Malmö Sweden.

I will tell you this, it was worth the walk. I got some great photos!

Copenhagen Day 4 Part 2

As I noted in my previous post, I had not met with success in my efforts to capture the Copenhagen Opera House at night. When we had gone out to the waterfront it was a Sunday night and the building was dark. Checking on line I saw that there were performances all this week so on Tuesday night I loaded up the camera bag and the tripod and headed out to try again.

This time I got what I came for.

Copenhagen Day 5 – The Rundetårn

We headed off this morning to climb The Rundetårn (The Round Tower) which is not too far from the hotel. Cynthia really likes to climb things when we travel. Fortunately, the tower had a mildly sloping ramp that winds up most of the 130 feet to the top. There is a set of small stairs at the very top which are tight and difficult to manage when there’s too much two way traffic.

The fish-eye lens made for some really good photos inside the tower.

About halfway up we found this little alcove. The sign says Kissing Corner in Danish and there’s a piece of missletoe hanging from the ceiling.

Once to the top there’s a pretty spectacular view of the city

Another successful adventure!

Copenhagen Day 5 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

We’d heard good things about The Glyptotek but were apprehensive as Cynthia and I are not big fans of sculpture museums. They tend to be dim and crowded. The Glyptotek was a huge surprise. Everything is open, well lit and nicely displayed. I also discovered that my fisheye lens is great for shooting this type of setting and used it for about 50% of the shots.

Interesting to note, the museum was named after Ny Carlsberg, the brewery owned by the founder, brewer Carl Jacobsen. He added the word Glyptotek, ’a collection of sculpture’, to indicate the pride of place taken by that art form and in recognition of his debt to the older namesake, the Glyptothek in Munich.

One thing I really liked about this museum was the lockers where you could stash your coat and other cumbersome items, making for a much more leisurely walk about the museum

The first thing you see is The Winter Garden, a huge open space with plants and trees and a fountain.

Designed to attract more people into the museum, I could see myself visiting regularly just to sit on a park bench all day long.

The rest of the museum is just spectacular. Cynthia and I had a wonderful time exploring all the rooms and walking amongst the sculptures.

There’s even one of the over twenty casts of the sculpture “The Thinker” by by Auguste Rodin.

If you are ever in Copenhagen, I heartily recommend a visit. What follows are some of the better photos I took while visiting. I know there’s a lot, but it’s only a small portion of what I got during this visit. I have never enjoyed photographing a museum more than this one, and I have been to a LOT of museums!

Copenhagen – Happy New Year!

We had heard that there would be fireworks in the City Hall Square, but had no idea what to expect. There’s not an organized display. Instead, citizens (and I would assume tourists as well) armed with any number of different pyrotechnics roam the city and detonate at will. As the midnight hour approaches, more and more fireworks can be seen and heard about the city.

Every now and then someone sets something off in City Hall Square.

Cynthia is skeptical that there will be much activity. Copenhagen dies down after 8 or 9 pm from what we’ve seen over the last few days. I explain that new years eve is a global party and I bet her there will be a ton of people and a ton of fireworks.

The people DO in fact start gathering and before long the square is surrounded by people. Some waiting to watch fireworks, others there to actually set them off. Our hotel balcony gives us front row seats to watch the event. Here is a video I shot from the balcony about 30 minutes before midnight

Fireworks in Copenhagen from baldheretic on Vimeo.

My fish-eye captures some of the excitement.