There has never been a better time to stay home and explore your own country. That is what I did and what I found was incredible!
We have a saying in Denmark that our country is beautiful, but for many years I had a hard time describing it as photogenic. I had an outward look and all the epic landscape photos I saw on the internet, that I could only dream of photographing one day, inspired me. Epic vistas from the U.S., Iceland, Norway, the Alps, and many other exotic locations were all I saw and in that way influenced me to think of Denmark as small and boring. Denmark is also the most cultivated country in Europe. This can give the impression that the landscapes are rather monotone and it is easy to accept the narrative that the country is just hills and fields. However, by traveling a lot, I have rediscovered my home country and by photographing a lot outside of Denmark, I have honed my skills as a landscape photographer and I am now able to recognize the good photograph within my own borders.
Why It Is Fantastic
As I have spent quite a lot of time in both Iceland and the Faroe Islands for landscape photography, I have been used to mountains, waterfalls, epic cliff sides, glaciers, northern lights, black sand, and everything else popular on social media. Denmark does not have these kinds of epic vistas. However, what we do have are forests, endless beaches, areas with big dunes, many kinds of cultivated landscapes, long rolling hills, areas with very flat landscapes, photogenic architecture, and all kinds of seasonal European vegetation growing in the temperate climate zone. Many of these landscapes are not what you would define as “epic”, but most of them still have something beautiful about them. Be sure to check out the gallery below to see what I mean.
We of course also get all the different types of weather and lighting conditions known from the temperate zone. Everything from warm summer days, over autumn colors, snowy winter periods, and spring bloom. It is these seasonal and weather events in combination with the many beautiful areas and non-iconic specific locations, which can make for some incredible photos. Just like in the rest of the world! Check out the video above to see what I have in my backyard.
This is of course not “landscape photography rocket science”, but it did still require some experience for me to reach the point, where I could see the potential in my local landscapes. Furthermore, awaken an interest in photographing the local landscapes, as it was the epic vistas that got me into landscape photography in the first place.
Why You Will Never Visit
Denmark gets many tourists, especially from our neighboring countries (Germany, Norway, Sweden, and The Netherlands), but for landscape photography, Denmark is just not particularly unique. Yes, we do have a few unique places like the lighthouse being swallowed by a dune and maybe some special trees here or there, but dunes, forests, beaches, long rolling hills, and cultivated landscapes can be found in many places in the world both close to and far away from Denmark. Obviously, countries without oceans do not have beaches, but they likely have something else that I would consider exotic. That could be desserts, mountains, or waterfalls.
Despite all this, my portfolio from Denmark is fast becoming my favorite and in many ways also my most unique. I do not rely on the “epic” and iconic location in itself, but many other factors such as season, weather, light, composition, exploration (to find those special and beautiful places of photographic interest), and sometimes that secret ingredient where everything just comes together. Denmark (and almost all other countries) are fantastic exactly because they contain “common” landscapes and thereby the possibility for unique photos – you just need to put in the work.
That is what I want you to take away from this article. Your country might not be anything special to you. It might not be anything special to the rest of us but it is your photographic skills, which makes the heavy lifting when it comes to incredible and unique landscape photography.
If you are interested in more inspiration and photography tips and tricks from beautiful Denmark, which you can apply to your own, be sure to watch my series “Photographing Denmark”. There is a link to my latest and greatest episode above.
you put Denmark on the landscape photogaphy map!
Thanks a lot, Hans! Come visit :D
Hah! Jokes on you. I've been there one time :)
Haha, well isn't that a gorgeous shot of Rosenborg!
Mads, you are The Master of the Mists! I so enjoy your videos, but that one shot of the sunrise coming through the tower was just stunning! Well done!
Hehe, thanks a lot, Willy :)
Does it open for tourist this December? You know, covid stuff?
The rules seem to differ from country to country. Technically I am allowed to travel outside of Denmark, but it is recommended to stay home. The issue is more whether I am allowed into other countries.
Wow Great. I will try to find out what need if flying from Germany. I hope to visit your country soon
Love your insight Mads! My wife was an exchange student from the US to Denmark and we visit her host gamily as money allows. They have a summerhouse on Fur. Here are a couple images early in my photography journey. Love your work and Denmark! Peace and safe travels.
That's as danish as it comes! Cheers, Jerry! did you see the episode of my videos where I visited Fur?
Can't believe I missed it! Will sit down with a nice cup of coffee and enjoy every minute. I've learned so much from your youtube channel. Keep up the great work! Cheers!
It's the one with seven Myths :)
Fantastic episode on Fur! The Sky Mountain was amazing as well!
Thank you, Jerry! :)
I was supposed to fly to Denmark on March 21. Thanks for rubbing salt in the wound! :D
I had to stay in my home country of Switzerland, which isn't too bad I guess! :)
Yeeeaahh... haha, it isn't too bad, Switzerland is stunning!
A magnificent photographic travel through Yutland (jylland)! Thanks. I miss though a few urban accents: Aarhus, Aalborg, and many more. I find the architecture just so magnificent.
Yeah, I have a few cityscape photos, but not really something I've spend too much time doing :)
I have been and loved it. Beautiful country. Interesting history and great food.And for some reason everyone is beautiful.
Thank you very much. We definitely have an interesting history :)
Mads, I hope you made a deal with the danish tourist industry to get a piece of the cake when the tourist tsunami will come!
Although I would say, you're already reached the elite of the landscape photographers worldwide, this is even a step further "Where no man has gone before". Local landscape photographer has many advantages: unique shots, less crowded and "polluted" places. Now, we wanna see some macros from your garden! ;-)
Hehe thanks a lot, Jens. Those macro's will have to wait - it is not really my thing. At least not yet ;)
One of the unintended consequences of lockdown, is that I ma been forced to explore my local environment more than I normally would. What i have discovered is that the rewards are far higher in finding the hidden gems in your local environment, rather than take the easy path and head to the obvious places, where you will only be competing and copying the many millions that have been there before.
That said, I love Denmark as a country and a people and I would love to explore it more outside the major cities. Hopefully when life returns to normality it will be something I can do again, and these images only increase that desire
Yes, I can definitely nod to the reward of getting an original photo, which is fully on par with my international iconic location photos :)
Great images Mads. Your YouTube channel is excellent. Visually lovely to watch. Great to see you covering your home country which is a great place. Keep up the good work.
Thanks a lot, Hector. Happy you enjoy it! :)
I am awestruck! The photographs are amazing and i'm being completely honest.
I don't have the skills to photograph landscapes but i do try to photograph birds and sometimes i TRY taking casual landscape photographs with my puny smartphone. We have a small river near our home and there's a place i love to visit whenever i'm free. Here's a photo of that place from my side.
P.S. I am from India.
Ahhh, very nice. So different from Austria. Where your highest "mountain" wouldn't even be noticed here, you certainly have a big advantage when it comes to photos from beaches or the sea. No chance for me taking those at the moment.