Photographs, Travel

Aalborg on film

I brought my Pentax IQZoom 170SL with me to Denmark. It had a half-shot roll of Fujicolor 200 in it, and I brought a roll of Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow. I promised the fellow behind Kosmo Foto that I’d write a post for his site with the Agent Shadow images, and I’ll link to that when I get around to writing it and he posts it. Here, I’ll share some of the color images.

I made this image the day we landed in Aalborg. We were on our way to an event, but needed to have a bite to eat first. We rode the bus from our hotel to the city center and walked around a little.

Aalborg, Denmark

I wanted to capture the light and shadow on this house. The camera did only a middling job of it.

Aalborg, Denmark

We found a lovely little restaurant in the Møllegården, a small plaza in the city center.

Møllegaarden

Here’s Margaret at our table outside in the middle of the plaza. Notice the heater on the corner of the umbrella. Four square umbrellas spanned all of the outdoor tables, and there was a heater in each corner of each umbrella. We visited this same restaurant another day, which turned out to be rainy and chilly. The heaters were on, and there were blankets at every table to wrap up in. This was a typical setup for outdoor restaurant tables in Aalborg.

Margaret

The event was the DHL Stafetten footrace. Apparently, this is an event that happens in many places across Europe. In each location, local companies form teams of runners who run this race as a relay. Each runner runs 5 kilometers before passing the baton!

DHL Stafetten Aalborg

Each company was able to rent a space where employees could gather. Some spaces were under tents as in this photo; others were in the open. Each company brought food. The people of my company just catered in some sandwiches and beer, but a few companies went all out with giant grills and all kinds of meats.

DHL Stafetten Aalborg

This was a very well attended event — it was a sea of people.

DHL Stafetten Aalborg

Finally, here’s an image of our hotel’s huge back yard. Here in the US, American flags are everywhere and I hardly notice them. Similarly, Danish flags are everywhere in Denmark. But because I’m not used to seeing them, I really noticed them.

Danish flag

The IQZoom performed well and I was very happy to use its 170mm zoom. I wasn’t thrilled with the processing and scanning, however. This film was fresh, but everything just seemed dingy and brown. I was able to remedy that some in Photoshop, thankfully. I got much better results with the black-and-white Agent Shadow film, but you’ll have to wait until that article goes live on Kosmo Foto to see them!

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Travel

At Linfjord

Believe it or not, Margaret ran a 5K race while we were in Aalborg. It was in a park along the a fjord called Lin, which flows past Aalborg on its northern edge. Margaret asked me to run with her, but I declined. If you ever see me running, you should start running too, because something dangerous will be chasing me. While Margaret ran, I made photos along Linfjord’s bank.

Along the Fjord

Plenty of people were there that day for the race, but plenty of people were there that day for things other than the race, too. Lots of people kayaked in the fjord.

In the Fjord
In the Fjord
In the Fjord

Several boats passed by, farther out in the water, while I was there. I photographed this boat by this pier, where people would climb down to swim. Margaret told me that she was in this park one day while I was working, and watched two middle-aged women climb down those steps naked for their swim.

In the Fjord

I noticed this little stack of stones and tried to make more of an artistic image out of the scene.

In the Fjord

Finally, here’s Margaret finishing her race. I made this image with my iPhone, but the rest with my Nikon Df and the 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-G Nikkor lens.

Margaret finishing the 5K

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Photography, Travel

Aalborg on the Nikon Df

At work in Aalborg

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.

Walking in the Aalborg shopping district

This is Bispensgade, in the entertainment district.

Walking on Bispensgade

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.

Jomfru Ane Gade

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.

Bikes parked at Salling

Aalborg being a fjord town, of course there are seagulls. Huge ones.

On the waterfront near Jomfru Ane Parken

These are people who enjoy their waterway. We saw all manner of craft floating by in the fjord.

On the waterfront near Jomfru Ane Parken

I liked the look of this store that specializes in coffee and tea.

Kaffe & The

This it Utzon Center, the last building to be designed by Jørn Utzon, the architect behind the Sydney Opera House.

Uzton Center

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.

Jens Bangs Stonehouse

I love moving in close when I make photographs, and Aalborg offered me a number of opportunities like this funky frog fountain.

Frø springvand

This is more of a classic statue, but I’m not sure what to make of the grapes.

Statue: Man, child, 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.

Carlsberg Porter

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.

Liverpool fan

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.

Red Aalborg akvavit

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.

Hotel Scheelsminde

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.

Hotel Scheelsminde

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.

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Photographs, Travel

Aalborg from the rooftop

Aalborg from the Salling rooftop

In the northern Denmark city of Aalborg, you’ll find the Salling department store in the heart of the city center. One of its attractions is its rooftop with its commanding views.

As tourists, of course Margaret and I wanted to see. We spent a good part of a Saturday exploring the shopping district in the city center, which took us right to Salling. Inside, it was clearly marked how to get to their rooftop. I had my Nikon Df around my neck, with a 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-G Nikkor zoom lens attached. Here are the best of the photos I made up there.

Aalborg from the Salling rooftop
Aalborg from the Salling rooftop
Aalborg from the Salling rooftop
Aalborg from the Salling rooftop
Aalborg from the Salling rooftop
Aalborg from the Salling rooftop
Aalborg from the Salling rooftop
Aalborg from the Salling rooftop

The water here might look like a river, but it’s really a fjord; the Limfjord to be specific. That’s an inlet of the sea; this water is salty.

Near the end of our time on Salling’s roof, I turned my iPhone 12 toward us for a quick selfie.

From the Salling rooftop

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Hjelmerstald, which means horse stable, is a street in the city center of Aalborg, a northern Denmark city. Dating to the mid 17th century, this old cobblestone street and its buildings have been well preserved.

On Hjelmerstald

When this street was new, it was on the southern outskirts of Aalborg. Today, it’s well within the city center, near the shopping district and any number of little cafes.

But being a Thursday doors post, let me get right to the doors. I captured an even dozen of them, all in portrait orientation, so be prepared to scroll!

On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald

This short L-shaped street is best viewed long, however. It is charming.

On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald
On Hjelmerstald

I’ve found little about Hjelmerstald’s history but I’ll recount what I’ve read. Initially, stable buildings lined this street, hence its name. By the late 1600s, homes began to appear here. By the 1800s, Hjelmerstald was home to regiments of soldiers as well as the poor of Aalborg. By the early 1900s, this was a bad neighborhood, one you didn’t want to visit unless you had to. But since then it’s been turned around and today is as lovely as you see it here.

This post is part of the Thursday Doors community.

Nikon Df, 28-200mm f/3.3-5.6 AF-G Nikkor

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Travel

Thursday doors: Hjelmerstald

The beautiful doors of a historic street in Aalborg, Denmark.

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Travel

Boarding a plane like it’s 1962

Boarding a plane like it's 1962

Margaret and I spent the last nine days of August in Aalborg, Denmark. Aalborg is a far northern city in that small country in the south of Scandinavia, bordering Germany. The company I work for bought a small company there this year, and as we slowly integrate the companies the software engineers there came to report to me.

My boss said, “Would you like to go to Aalborg and get to know the team?” Why, sure! When I told my wife my boss was sending me to Aalborg, she said, “Correction: he’s sending us to Aalborg!” (Not at the company’s expense, to be clear!)

The flight over took about 14 hours, including layovers in Detroit and Amsterdam. Thank heavens we arrived at the Indianapolis airport plenty early, because we discovered there that one of our return flights had been canceled. The kind woman at the Delta counter rebooked our entire return flight on the spot, but it took about an hour to cut through a surprising amount of red tape.

We did not enjoy Schiphol, the Amsterdam airport. It was huge, signage was poor, and the queue to get our passports stamped was long and hot with attendants yelling at us to keep moving. At the gate for our flight to Aalborg, we were surprised to learn that we would not be boarding the plane there — instead we would board a bus that would take us to the plane. We boarded the plane via the pictured stairs. I’ve only ever seen that in old movies! Similarly, we deplaned via stairs in Aalborg.

I went to Aalborg primarily to work. Margaret took the opportunity to have a good vacation. We deliberately scheduled our time to include a weekend so that we could be tourists together for a couple days.

In days to come, I’ll have photos to show from Aalborg. I brought my Nikon Df and that 28-200mm zoom lens I bought recently, and my Pentax IQZoom 170SL point-and-shoot 35mm camera with a roll of Fujicolor 200 already inside (and partially shot back home), and a roll of Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow. I’ll have photos to share in the coming days!

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