By the frigid Danish seaside

Beaches, Denmark, Europe

This week I take a short trip to a scenic beach near Copenhagen in an attempt to get an epic beach photograph !!!


The freezing wind makes my teeth chatter, as I walk on the path by the beach. On a whim, I’ve taken a short day trip to Bellevue Beach, at Klampenborg on the northern outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark. The only problem, is that its December and not ideal beach weather. So I’m freezing as it gets increasingly gusty by the beach. I’ve come here hoping to capture a good photograph of some lifeguard towers or “lighthouses” by the sea. Though with the winds being what they are, I think I am going to have a tough time getting the shot, without my camera being blown off into the sea !!!

I’m in Denmark for a work trip, that I’ve extended to be able to spend a few days exploring the city of Copenhagen and also looking at good opportunities for some urban photography. The weather isn’t ideal, but I think I can make it work with some nice atmospheric moody shots of the city. While researching potential spots for photography, I chance upon Bellevue Beach, that has lovely lifeguard towers and is not too far away from the city.

One of Arne Jacobsen’s characteristic lifeguard towers
One of Arne Jacobsen’s characteristic lifeguard towers

The popularity of Bellevue Beach dates back to the 1930s, when it became one of the most popular vacation destinations in Denmark. Then the local municipality decided to develop the seaside into a resort with beach facilities to be able to support 15,000 or more visitors. The task of designing the new Bellevue Beach complex fell to Arne Jacobsen, a young architect, who would go on to become one of the leading proponents of the International modern style of architecture.

Jacobsen is said to have designed everything from bathing cabins to the characteristic blue striped lifeguard towers and kiosks to tickets and uniforms for the staff.

It was these rather unusual lifeguard towers, that I was hoping to photograph, overlooking a dark and distant sea.

My hotel is close to Copenhagen Central and makes a convenient starting point to begin my quick day trip to the beach. From Copenhagen Central, I catch the No.29 train to Klampenborg station, which is a good 21 minute ride over 9 stops. It feels nice to see the urban scape fall behind as the train makes its way towards Klampenborg.

The train finally reaches Klampenborg, and I make my way out of the station. From the station, it promises to be a short walk of 7-10 mins to the beach. After making it to the main road, I cross over and start walking along the footpath. The sky overhead darkens, and I wonder if it will start raining soon.

After about ten minutes, I have made it to the beachside, and get my first glimpse of the beach. The beach looks serene, with angry waves bashing on its calm shores. Being winter, there are barely any souls on the beach. I walk along the pathway on the beach , checking to see what might be a good vantage point to get a photograph of the towers.

After much walking, I’ve decided on a spot and set up my tripod, after a few quick test shots. As I’m getting my camera out, I hear my lightweight travel tripod crash onto the path !!!

The gusty winds have toppled over the tripod, leaving absolutely no chance of getting the long exposure shot of the seashore and the towers that I wanted.

The dark overcast skies over Bellevue Beach
The dark overcast skies over Bellevue Beach

I’m considering looking on the beach to find a few stones to weigh down the tripod, when the first drops of rain hit me. I then decide to pack up for the day, and luckily so, as the pitter patter of rain drops converts to a steady downpour, by the time I have stowed away my gear. Thankfully, I do have a lightweight rain jacket and umbrella, and that will have to do, as I make my way quickly back to the train station. The rain and the wind does make matters worse, as by the time I reach the train station, I’m freezing !!! I’m also thinking if I blew my opportunity for a nice dramatic shot, as I am due to leave for back home on the next day.

Bellevue Beach in the morning blue hour
Bellevue Beach in the morning blue hour

Since my flight back home isn’t until the afternoon, I think of making one last attempt and decide to head back to the beach before day break in the hopes of a dramatic early morning photograph.

I quickly pack up and leave my hotel before day break and catch one of the first trains to Klampenborg. I retrace my steps from the previous day. It is much colder now, but mercifully its not windy and it certainly doesn’t threaten to rain.

A few short ten minutes later I’m back at the location I had scouted the previous day. I set up my tripod and get quite a few shots with different compositions. I’m able to comfortably shoot till day break, on the calm and almost deserted beach.

Later on when I review the photos, I’m definitely glad that I took the extra effort to make it on the second day , by braving the cold and waking up at the insanely early hour.

The lighthouse
The final image of the “lighthouse” that I captured
Fujifilm X-E3, 20s. F/8 18 mm, ISO 200
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