PhotoExploring: A walk in Copenhagen

Would you like to take a walk with Photo Exploring but don’t know what to expect? Then read on as Laura will tell about her experience in Copenhagen, where she explored historic Christianshavn together with Photo Exploring manager Anders Espersen and Marianne and Benny, two of our local guides.

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The Black Diamond library and one of Copenhagen’s cool bicycle bridges. | Photo by Benny Thaibert

It was a cold spring morning when I met Anders, Marianne, and Benny at a coffee shop near Kongens Nytorv, a large square bordered von monumental buildings like the National Theatre, Hotel D’Angleterre (Denmark’s only 5-star hotel), department store Magasin du Nord as well as the French embassy. One side of the square opens up towards the canal and Nyhavn, famous for its skew, colorful houses that are picture on about every second postcard of the Danish capital.

Nyhavn would be our first stop on the walk, followed by charming Christianshavn and all the history it encapsulates. Before we headed out into the chilly morning, we took some time to introduce us to each other while sipping strong Danish coffee to enjoy a few moments of hygge. All three guides were professional photographers who had spent years living in Copenhagen and were thus familiar with the city and its secrets. While there is usually only one guide leading the tour, I happened to be able to join a refresher tour where the three guides aligned on the content of the itinerary.

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Marianne is explaining how to frame the sailing boats and colorful houses at Nyhavn. | Photo by Anders Espersen

Seeing my city with new eyes

I was looking forward to the walk because, although I had been living in Copenhagen for over five years at that point, I knew that I had only scratched the surface. So we better got going! One last battery and SD card check, and off we went.

I had my Canon 60D and a 28-135mm lens with me, a sturdy all-rounder that I like to take on trips as I don’t necessarily need to change lenses. As most guests, I am by no means a professional photographer and was therefore looking forward to receiving advice by the professionals. And lucky me was able to go on a photo walk with three of them! I can already tell you that I was not disappointed.

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Photo Exploring Copenhagen

The Photo Exploring concept was born in Copenhagen – probably one of the best cities to explore with your camera. Clean modern architecture and crooked century-old buildings co-exist right next to each other. Add to that the blue canals in the city center that are buzzing with life in summer, the cycle paths on which you can always spot some extraordinary vehicle, greenery dotted throughout, and of course intriguing Christiania. Long story short, you will find plenty of things to photograph in Copenhagen, no matter if it is architecture, city scapes, or street photography. Our private Photo Exploring guides are here to show you the very best the city has to offer and will take you on a walk that you will remember for a long time.

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Picturesque Christianshavn

As soon as we reached Nyhavn, Marianne gave me some tips on how to better frame the big wooden sailing boats anchoring next to the colourful houses and suggested to try different camera settings. And that is although I probably already have a few hundred photos of Nyhvan and its canal as I snap a photo almost every time I cycle past – it’s just too beautiful!

We continued our walk over one of the new bicycle and pedestrian bridges, catching a good glimpse of the theatre and the opera house which are both located right at the waterfront. If you see Christianshavn for the first time, it will surely remind you of Amsterdam – for it is a small replica of the Dutch capital’s architecture. Danish King Christian IV was so fond of Amsterdam that he had Christianshavn modeled after its example.

Today, it is an idyllic and tranquil neighborhood where some of the cobble-stone streets have been preserved and where manorial buildings house the most expensive apartments in Copenhagen. It is a cool mix of 19th century houses, hipster cafés, old-school bodegas, and top-notch restaurants. The canal is lined with sailing, motor, and houseboats floating in the lazy waters – it’s an illustrious anchoring spot and not many can proud themselves with having “Christianshavn” written on the hull of their boat.

A few impressions from the walk. | Photos by Laura Graf

Benny had more insights on the yellow-colored buildings we passed as we strolled along the quay that were home to seafarers and Danish historical figures. Here we go, something I had no clue about although I had passed them nothing short of a hundred times. He also made me see the neighborhood with news eyes as he pointed out some intricate details on the face of the buildings and in the streets that I had never noticed before.

The majority of apartment blocks in Copenhagen, old and new, have a hidden yard in the center. They are often a little green oasis right in the middle of the busy city. Many of them are large enough to have trees, small playgrounds and BBQ areas with picnic tables. They are of course exclusively for the residents to use but if you have a knowledgeable guide with you, who knows his/her way around, you can go in to have a quick look around.

Remember to look down once in a while. | Benny explaining how to use the glass of the building to do lens flares. | Photos by Laura Graf and Anders Espersen

Two in one: sightseeing and photography

All in all, our walk was a good mixture of photography and “sightseeing”. I learned about public bathing houses, lens flares, the stories behind Christianhavn’s historic buildings, patterns in photography and much more. The three hours simply flew by and when we finally got back to Kongens Nytorv, I was slightly cold but happy.

Thank you, Anders, Marianne, and Benny for a really exciting morning, all the insights, tips and tricks, and the motivation to go out and explore some more of Copenhagen’s neighborhoods with my newly-learned skills.

Famous Nyhavn and one of Copenhagen’s countless bicycles. | Photos by Laura Graf

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Better Moments Photo Exploring is available in more than 10 destinations throughout Europe, North America, and Asia – and we are growing fast. Our walks are led by private guides who are professional photographers themselves and who will take you on a walk through their city to show you its hidden gems and beautiful sights. They know when and where to find the best light and angle for memorable photos. Should you have technical questions – don’t hesitate to ask. Anyone is welcome, beginners and professionals, smartphone photographers and camera users.

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