Setting the Bar Low Guarantees Success!
I went into this trip with very modest photographic goals: I just wanted to do better in Denmark, then I did in Spain last year, where after 10 days in Barcelona I came home with absolutely nothing. Not that I didn’t shoot, mind you—I just came home without one shot I’d show anybody. (My buddy Dave Moser didn’t believe me, so I showed him what I got in Spain, and his exact words were, “Ohhhh. Boss. What happened?”).

I had never been to Copenhagen, so although I did want to take lots of photos (and I only had 2-1/2 days to shoot), I didn’t want to see this beautiful city from only behind my lens. I wanted to experience it firsthand, and get to enjoy the people, the culture, and the history without feeling like I was only there to shoot it. I also wanted to visit with Terry as it’s not often where I get to spend a few days with him where we’re not both rushing off to teach a class, but of course with Terry being a photographer, we both never went anywhere without our cameras.

Awesome Architecture
I was really taken with the modern Danish architecture, and so I shot quite a lot of it, and even made special trips out to see certain buildings. Of course, I did take lots of touristy shots, too, of things like the boats in the harbor, and the Little Mermaid (well, I took shots from the boat), and your standard touristy snapshot stuff, but I don’t include that stuff in my photo book (captures of which you’re seeing here on the blog today). The softcover book was made using the latest version of Apple’s iPhoto, using one of their built-in book templates (Click on any one for MUCH larger views, plus I captioned most of them).

My Gear
I wanted to travel really light (I didn’t even check a bag), so I brought my Nikon D3s and just one lens: my new 28-300mm f/3.5-f/5.6, and honestly, it was so wonderful not having to ever change lenses, and yet never feeling like I had the wrong lens. That lens is so sharp and crisp—-I just loved it (though, if it were just 4mm wider; making it a 24-300mm, that would be my dream lens).

Terry brought one extra lens, a 10.5mm fisheye, and I did borrow it once to shoot the inside dome of an amazing church, but that’s it. I took 1047 shots total, including lots and lots of backgrounds for compositing (for me, and for a project Matt’s working on) and I shot quite a hot of 5-bracketed exposures HDR shots. When it takes five photos to create one HDR image, you can really crank through a lot of shots. I only kept a few HDRs in my photo book (three actually), even though I shot an awful lot more.

The “Other” HDR Secret
Today, the shooting and tone mapping of HDR images is actually fairly easy, but not a lot is said about the real art of HDR photography, which is knowing which types of scenes make great HDR images, and how to compose them so you get the most out of the HDR effect. RC talks about this quite a bit in his upcoming HDR book, and I think it’s where the art of HDR really lies. Well that and post processing the living daylights out of it. ;-)

My favorite story from the trip. Well, there were two
We rented a car and drove to Malmo, Sweden (which was awesome), because I wanted to see a twisted skyscraper that a guy on Twitter turned me on to. It was totally worth the short 30-minute drive (plus, Malmo itself was just beautiful). Anyway, after that Terry wanted to try out his new Navigon GPS for the iPad, so we programmed it to take us to “Hamlet’s Castle” back in Denmark, not far from Copenhagen.

We drove for about an hour, and I must say—the Navigon worked like a champ. Plus, I’ve never seen such a large GPS screen (GPS on the iPad looks HUGE!). It made me want to get a Navigon myself (I use Tom Tom for the iPhone, and love it). Anyway, we’re driving for an hour or so, and then it has us leave the highway, and now we’re driving through a shipping port. I said to Terry, “Does this look right?” and at that moment it says “Turn Right” and we do. We had to stop the car, because (wait for it….wait for it), it took us to a Car Ferry. One that had already left for the day. The gates were closed. Everyone was gone. Terry and I looked at each other, and we just started cracking up.

So, Terry went to his Navigon preferences and turned on the checkbox for “Avoid Ferry’s” and then we began our hour drive back to Malmo, and then onto the castle. We didn’t get there until like 6:30 pm, but we laughed all the way there, so it was worth the extra driving. What really cracked us up though, was the way the route showed our car leaving land and heading out into the ocean (presumably in the car ferry).  We were actually probably lucky, because I can’t imagine how much that car ferry would actually cost, because just the toll to cross the bridge into Sweden and back was $114.00. Yowsa!

The Other Story
I had nothing do to with this one, but when I heard it at dinner, I nearly shot Coke Light right out of my nose. Terry, Greg, and Jason (the Adobe Worldwide Evangelists) have been touring like this for years, but they had a new Evangelist join them on this tour—-a young guy named Paul. He’ a really nice guy (and obviously a very smart guy), except that he made the mistake of walking away from the breakfast table while leaving his iPhone on the table with his Twitter app open. Greg picked it up and sent out a Tweet to Paul’s followers as if he were Paul. It was just one word. “Pooping.” Then, to make matters worse, they got out their phones, and they all retweeted it. And their friends retweeted it, and so on. When I left Denmark, they were plotting to do it again, and this time they would use just two words. “Still pooping.’” I think I left Denmark just in time.

At Least I Beat Spain
Because you can see that I’m actually showing some of the images from my trip here, I feel like I did better in 2-1/2 days in Denmark than I did in 10 days in Barcelona. We had marvelous spring weather, and bright blue skies, and not a drop a rain the entire time. Terry is just a blast. Totally fun guy, up for anything (trains, cars, tours, weird food, border crossings, etc.). The Adobe guys were really fun, plus I even got to watch the first hour of their two-hour presentation, and I even picked up a few new things (these guys are really good).

My Thoughts on Denmark
I was really taken with their love of design. They care how everything looks, and there are lots of sculptures, museums, art, fountains, and incredible building, both ultra modern and very old. Danish design is absolutely top notch, and companies are willing to to invest heavily to create incredible offices and public areas.

The people were absolutely lovely. I never ran into anyone who didn’t speak English, and they spoke it very well. Plus, the entire country was very, very clean. Sparkling in fact. You’ve gotta love that! Lots of national pride there, and in Sweden. They two countries seem like they make great neighbors.

I visited the Tivoli Gardens amusement park which was a personal highlight for me. I had read about it for many years (it was the inspiration for Walt Disney to build the original Disneyland, and now I see why), and it was incredibly charming. Even better than I expected.

Funny aside: I went to the hotel concierge to ask about getting a train schedule to Malmo, Sweden, and he looked at me and said, “Hey, you’re Scott Kelby. What are you doing here?” He was a photographer, and retoucher, and he was really helpful. I had a guy come up to me in Sweden on the street, too who was currently reading one of my books. Those “It’s a small world” moments are really fun. I even ran into a NAPP member who spotted me in Copenhagen on the last day. People are sometimes embarrassed to come up and say hi (I’ve gotten emails from people who saw me, but didn’t say hi), but I always get a kick out of meeting people who read my books, or watch our shows, or have seen us live, so I’m always happy to meet them. Heck, I’m happy to meet anybody.

One more thing. If you’re planning a trip to Denmark, it wouldn’t hurt if you knocked over a bank before you visit. Well, a 7-11 at the very least, because it’s incredibly expensive. Everything is. Taxis, food, hotel rooms at a regular old Marriott, water, air, you name it. Bring your checkbook. But as expensive as it was, it was worth it. What a great place! I hope I get to go again and take my family (once I’ve had time to build up some money, just in case we want to go to dinner out one night while we’re there). ;-)

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About The Author

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books.