I was in Aalborg, Denmark, primarily to work. My company purchased a firm there this year, and I traveled there to do some work integrating the two companies. Here’s a selfie I made at the desk I was using in their office.
While I worked, Margaret ran around Aalborg on a bicycle she borrowed from the hotel. She made a lot more photographs on this trip than I did! But in the evenings and especially on the weekend in the middle of this trip, I brought my Nikon Df along. I purchased a 28-200mm Nikkor zoom lens not long ago with this trip in mind. I knew a deep zoom would be very useful, and it was.
I used this lens a lot before we left on the trip so I could get to know it, and I’m glad I did. Because the lens lacks image stabilization, I learned that I needed to hold the Df very steady when deeply zoomed to avoid shake. The more I practiced this, the more of my images turned out. Even then, after I got home and could look at my Aalborg images on my computer, a number of images suffered from shake. Some of them were bad enough that I just deleted them. Unfortunate.
But here are some images that did turn out. We spent Saturday walking the shopping and entertainment districts in Aalborg’s city center. This is Algade, a pedestrian-only street in the shopping district.
This is Bispensgade, in the entertainment district.
This is Jomfru Ane Gade, lined with bars and restaurants in the entertainment district. Because of the time of day, there wasn’t much activity here.
Bicycles were everywhere in Aalborg. Margaret and I joined in, borrowing bicycles from our hotel and riding all over. It’s common to find dozens of bikes parked in a clump. Bikes there all have a way to lock the back wheel with a key, which is how most people deter thieves. I saw few bikes locked to something so they couldn’t be carried off. I have never felt as safe riding a bicycle in traffic as I did in Aalborg, by the way, because drivers are so heavily conditioned to be aware of bicycles. Riding home from work every day I passed over an Interstate-style highway. There was an exit onto the highway there, and I had to cross it. Drivers unfailingly yielded to me.
Aalborg being a fjord town, of course there are seagulls. Huge ones.
These are people who enjoy their waterway. We saw all manner of craft floating by in the fjord.
I liked the look of this store that specializes in coffee and tea.
This it Utzon Center, the last building to be designed by Jørn Utzon, the architect behind the Sydney Opera House.
This is the Jens Bang stone house. Jens was in his day one of Denmark’s wealthiest people, and in 1624 built what is considered to be Denmark’s finest independently owned Renaissance mansion.
I love moving in close when I make photographs, and Aalborg offered me a number of opportunities like this funky frog fountain.
This is more of a classic statue, but I’m not sure what to make of the grapes.
I’m a giant fan of stouts and porters. Carlsberg, one of the two major breweries in Denmark, makes a superb imperial stout. I drank it everywhere I could get it. I don’t believe it’s exported, unfortunately.
We had stopped at a pub that Saturday to find it full of football fans — Liverpool fans, to be exact. I’m not sure why Liverpool finds so many fans in Aalborg! In the US, sports bars have TVs everywhere. This pub had two screens, one at either end of the space. Bodies were crammed into the pub, all on little stools pointed at one of the screens. Liverpool won by a huge margin, which caused everyone in the bar to break out in song. “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” in fact. Apparently that’s a thing with the Liverpool club. Anyway, as Americans of course we know the song and could sing right along.
After the game we wound up drawn into a group of happy, tipsy Danes basking in the win. We talked about all sorts of things together. First, someone bought us shots of akvavit, or “Red Aalborg” as they called it. Then someone had the bright idea of buying those little bottles of Underberg. I haven’t had that stuff since I was in Germany in the 80s, and as it is an acquired taste I can’t say I missed it. But we wanted to be gracious so we drank the bottles that were offered. All six or seven of them. I even bought a round for the table at one point. We bicycled home very tipsy.
Home was Hotel Scheelsminde, about a 15-minute ride south from the city center. I chose it because it had good ratings online and was close to the office. It turned out to be a terrific choice and if I go back, I’ll stay here again.
On one of our nights here we made a reservation at the restaurant for dinner. This isn’t the kind of restaurant where you can get a quick cheeseburger and then turn in for bed — it’s a fine dining establishment and you will spend hours here enjoying several courses. Various wines were a part of the experience, a different wine with each course. The hotel also laid out a lavish breakfast every day that was included in the price of the room.
I have mixed feelings about the Nikon Df on this trip. It’s a large camera. I bought a sling-style camera bag to carry it while riding my bicycle. I had to pack all of this stuff, and I was trying to travel light, just a carry-on and the backpack carrying my work laptop. But it’s not an unduly heavy camera for its size, and it wasn’t fatiguing slung over my shoulder all day. Still, there were times I wished I had just brought my workhorse Canon PowerShot S95 instead. It would have been a ton easier to pack and carry.
The S95’s 28-105mm (equivalent) zoom is nowhere as deep as what that 28-200mm lens offers, though. Many times I was very happy to be able to zoom all the way to 200mm, even though I risked shake. The lens is compact, which made it easy to carry.
In autoexposure mode, the Df biases to shallow depth of field. It’s great for portraits and when I move in close to a subject, but not wonderful otherwise. I had some luck counteracting that by using the dial on the front of the camera to choose smaller apertures. But I’d like it if I didn’t have to do that. I simply must explore my Df’s manual to see if there is a setting that forces the camera to choose narrower apertures for greater depth of field.