Vitamin D Fortified: My Struggle As A Photographer Living In Denmark During Winter
The sun rises at 8:30 in the morning and sets sometime around 3:30 in the afternoon. I believe one of the hardest parts about living in Scandinavia is the darkness… It's not only the lack of sunlight that affects me the most, but also the disruption of my circadian rhythm because of the lack of sunlight.
I find it difficult to get up in the morning. Coming from a place where I would rise with the sun (Southern California), and moving to a place where the sun comes up sometime around 9 a.m. can get to a person.
Yes, it is cold. Yes, it is very windy (and the wind is painful), and it’s bitter cold on days when the sun is out and rains on days when you would prefer snow. The perpetual darkness isn’t something that bothers you right away… but it does start to bother you.
As I made my way through my very first winter in Copenhagen, Denmark, I noticed that the world around me started to light up as the sun slowly faded from view. Even though the darkness was heavy, there was still this inviting light shining all over. And as I started to feel drained from the lack of sun, I also felt this desire to seek out new sources of light.
Most of these images were taken between the hours of 3 and 5 p.m. on a 30-second shutter speed at f12 or f16. I set up my tripod on a street corner or somewhere I knew looked interesting in the daylight, focused on the light I could see, pushed my button and just waited. Often these locations are really dark with one or two street lights illuminating a path. But after allowing the light to flood the sensor for 30 seconds, an entirely new world filled with light would reveal itself in my camera.
This is how I mentally survived three winters in Denmark, and these images continue to be some of my most popular today.
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The old Bosch signs light up the front of it's new occupant, Bob's Bistro.
Neon lights create a rainbow on the front of this old building in Kødbyen.
A bus heads right at Rådhuspladsen.
A sculpture that remains hidden during the spring and the summer under thick patches of algae is finally revealed as the algae dies from the cold.
The Round Tower wears a crown of Christmas lights in the Inner City.
The Copenhagen Central Station during rush hour.
The swings spin quickly during the last night of the autumn season at Tivoli.
Dark And Empty
Traffic speeds by these abandoned storefronts in Christianshavn.
Nørrebro Station Perron
The platform at Nørrebro Station as a train zooms by.
Someone waits for the train at the Nørrebro Station.
A canal tour zips by on a cold afternoon in Christianshavn.
A full traffic light cycle produced only this much light on the road that passed the old stock exchange building, Børsen.
This heavily trafficked pedestrian street looks empty after a 30-second exposure was used.
Around February everyone starts to get bothered by the darkness. I took this long exposure after a particularly bad week of vitamin d drain.
Some friends smoke in front of a popular bar.
Nyhavn At Christmas
This popular harbor makes for an adorable little Christmas market.
Taken of The Lakes in the Østerbro neighborhood. This incredibly long exposure reveals a black swamp of water barely reflecting any of the lights from the dense city around it.
One of the most popular Instagram locations in Copenhagen, this park is a dark desert wasteland in winter.
If you ever want to do something awesome for New Year's eve, head to Copenhagen where they shoot fireworks without reservation.
A rare winter sunset over Vesterbrogade.
It's All Yellow
The heavy yellow street lights casts a heavy yellow color over everything.
After The Rain
The city streets glow from the light shining off the wet cobblestones after a rain.
Traffic speeds by the Axel Towers.
A city bus turns left off Vesterbrogade.
This image of a very dark and typically empty hotel reveals an interior still aglow with life.