Tag Archives: Copenhagen Street Photography

This photograph

Exactly a year ago, I posted a photograph I had taken a few weeks previously in Copenhagen. Truth be known it was a photograph I was not sure of. I had been trying to get the contrasts right in the image and just wasn’t happy with it. In fact, I was unsure whether I would post it at all. In the end I did share it on Flickr, but held off posting it on Instagram until it first had gone live as part of Apple’s shot on iPhone 6 campaign on huge billboards all over the world. It is such a funny thing how we can see our own photographs. The slightest flaw can deter us from sharing. Thankfully for me I got over that flaw and did share it on Flickr. A year on now, and I realise that had I not posted it, had I allowed my over-critical eye to rule, the most magical experience of my life would never have happened.

A year ago today I posted this photograph

A year ago today I posted this photograph

Copenhagen is such a cool city. I was there on a university exchange visiting the University of Copenhagen for a week. It was the first time I had ever used AirBnb and it was a really good experience. Peter, my host, met me on my arrival. He had everything ready for me and had gone as far as lending me his bicycle for the week and mapping out my route to the university. He also left me four bottles of local beer in the fridge. I knew it was going to be great week!

I arrived in Copenhagen on a Saturday. The day previous I had bought the new iPhone 6 on its release day in Ireland. The 6 was bigger than the iPhone 5 I’d had. I was unsure of how to grip it and very anxious that without a case I would let it slip out of my hand. Undeterred, I set about shooting in Copenhagen with it and very soon discovered the easiest way to shoot with it was to use the volume buttons as the shutter.

As the week went on, I was getting more and more used to it and had managed to get one or two good shots with the new iPhone. Prior to coming to Copenhagen, I had contacted a Flickr friend of mine, Thomas Toft, whose work I am a big fan of. We arranged to meet late Wednesday afternoon in the city centre and the plan was to cycle out to this park with those crazy curved white lines that I had seen in so many of Thomas’ photos.

Thomas Toft and myself

Thomas Toft and myself

It was an early autumn day in Copenhagen. The sky was clouded over, but it was not too cold. After about a 15-minute cycle we arrived at the park. Like many places you have seen in photos, when you get to see them and the chance to shoot it for your appears, at first you feel a little lost and apprehensive as to how you can interpret and present the scene. I knew I wanted to get the sense of movement of the lines, but I was unsure whether it would work best blurred or in focus. As it turned out, it had to be in focus.

It was great being with a fellow photographer. If I am asked to give advice to aspiring photographers, one tip I would always give is to spend time with other shooters. You need it. I find I discover a lot about my own photography as I am chatting with others. Being there in Superkilen Park in Copenhagen on the greyish autumn day with Thomas is a memory I will never forget. Our conversation rarely strayed from photography and we bounced ideas off each other on how we would shoot this place. After a while, we changed location to get a different perspective from the top of the hill. It was here that I knew I would be able to compose the shot I wanted. From this vantage point the lines flowed down and away from me. The sense of movement I wanted was there. Now all I had to get was a human element and as we chatted and waited people began to pass through the park. I took about 5 shots in total from this position. Later, back in the apartment, reviewing my images I saw that I had one or two that were OK. I really liked this one, and the other, the one that would go on to be seen all over the world – well, that was OK.

Last one to leave

October 31st, 2015, I posted it on Flickr and wrote this blog piece about the two images I was posting on that day. You can see that I wrote virtually nothing about the image. For me, it was, at that stage, just another iPhone photograph. But the really curious thing is the title I gave it. Now, I am not a religious man. I have a God-shaped socket, but no plug fits it. But yet, I gave this photograph the title: God will send a sign. When he does, be prepared.

God will send a sign. When he does, be prepared.

God will send a sign. When he does, be prepared.

So many times this year I have reflected and tried to work out what that sign might be and why I gave the shot that title. For me, titles either come or they don’t. If they do, it is swift. This was swift. Looking at the image, I recall feeling that the four people were all independent actors, unaware of and disconnected from each other, but at some moment something could happen that would cause them to be together, or to need each other and when it happened, they would need to be ready.

Of course, as things turned out, with Apple licensing the image and it going viral around the world and all the attention it brought me, I began to think of a personal meaning for this title. And you know what, I do not have a fully-formed idea about this, except to say that I believe it means that I need to push this as far it can go and to make the most of the talent I have been given.

Since the Shot on iPhone 6 campaign went live in March such brilliant, unimagined things have happened. Along the way, I have had many accolades and successes, visited new and exciting places, gained exposure and had the chance to showcase my work in so many different formats and areas, but the thing that struck me from the very beginning was the reaction of family and friends to my success and how supremely fortunate I was to be able to share it with the people I love. A good friend of mine, Liam, passed away after a long battle with cancer just weeks before this started. When we used to meet up, he wouldn’t burden me with how he was, but would want to know about what I was up to. I would tell him the little stories about my photography and he loved to hear them. The only regret I have about this year is that Liam did not live long enough to share this with me. He would have loved it and he would have loved taking the absolute piss out of me about it too.

At the moment, I am trying to put together a series of images of the billboards and posters from around the world that I am going to frame and hang at home. I was lucky to get to see billboards for myself in Milan and Tokyo and these will be great ones to get framed, but it will also be so cool to do the same with some of those sent to me from Flickr friends and also from people who I had never known before, but who took the time to get and send me a shot of the billboard in locations all over the world.

So much has happened in the year since I posted the photograph. So much unimagined adventure. And the amazing thing is that things just get better and better.

Kiss that future…

Brendan Ó Sé Mobile Photography Workshops

Brendan Ó Sé Mobile Photography Workshops

Posted in My own favourite photographs, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Photographing Tokyo

For a photographer, Tokyo is such a treasure. It is an electric city, buzzing with life and energy. It has some of the most amazing architecture and despite some crazy laws about taking photographs in public (you cannot silence the shutter sound on a smart phone, for example) the people are really friendly and respond really well to having their photograph taken. I love the city and feel that some of my very best photographs have been made there.

In my last little trip there in April, I did not have much time to myself and it never seemed to stop raining the whole time I was there. I did manage to get out at night and with the rain and all the neon lights, it makes for a beautiful environment to shoot in. Here are a few of the images I shot one night there.


Shibuya, Tokyo


Shibuya, Tokyo


Shibuya, Tokyo


Shibuya, Tokyo


Shibuya, Tokyo


Posted in photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , |

January 19 2015

Photographic processes. At times, mine is a little scattergun like. I shoot, I save in iPhoto and the ones that jump off the screen I drag into Lightroom and process and post to Flickr. I rarely have more than 4 shots lined up that I want to post to Flickr and when I do I get itchy and want to start something new. This has served me very well over the past few years, but now I feel I need to be more systematic about what I have done. I need to group and knit together the various little projects and themes I have worked on over the past few years.

This means I am doing some housekeeping on the images I took in 2014 and posting ones that have been sitting unloved and unnoticed in iPhoto. When this clearance has been done, then I am going to start a 52-week project; posting one image a week. I am endeavouring to do this to work on the skill of editing. Life is difficult when there is choice, as I always say, and discarding images in preference to others can be a challenge. Any time I enter a competition I struggle to select – to select a winning image 🙂 . It is hard. Just today a friend on Flickr told me the images I chose in my end-of-year review would not have been his choices, and I think if I was doing it again, I probably would choose 12 different images.

Anyway, let’s see if I can work in this direction.

Looking back through last year’s images, I found this one taken in Daegu, South Korea. I like the fact that in this image there is a reflection on the man’s face. It is like a little sign telling us not to intrude and at the same time serves as a mask for the man.

What you will see in me will not be anything new

What you will see in me will not be anything new

And talking of series: One of the ones I have been working on which is all about phun, is Trees need to cheer the fuck up. And you know they do. Shot was taken with the 1-hour Photo app and is straight out of the camera. Check the whole Flickr set here. 

Trees need to cheer the fuck up

Trees need to cheer the fuck up




Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

My favourite image of 2014

12 months of photographs from Wicklow, Dublin, London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Hong Kong, Seoul, Busan, Geochang, Tokyo, Kyoto, Taipei and the People’s Republic of Cork. Having gone back over the images I posted in 2014, the DSLR image I keep coming back to is this:


My favourite photograph of 2014 (DSLR)

I gave it the title Slow releasing melancholy. There is something so soothing about melancholy. In the distance, through the dribbling raindrops you can see Tokyo in the evening high up from Roppongi Hills Mori Tower. Tokyo does mood so well. The observation deck of this skyscraper had low lights and the gentlest of jazz music playing in the background. I could go on and write more about this image, but it is all yours. See what you want to see and feel whatever the image frees in you.

I posted an iPhone photograph of my son in the art gallery of the university I work in on the last day of 2014, not only because I love the image, but because I knew I wanted to have it posted in 2014 because it is my very favourite image I took with the iPhone in 2014. James is four now and a happy and healthy, little boy. He is curious, but quickly distracted and this image captures it all for me. The framed photographs got his attention for a few seconds. He scanned them and disregarded them and moved on.



My favourite photograph of 2014 (iPhone)

So here you go, here are the 12 images for DSLR and iPhone which stood out for me. Thanks for all the visits and feedback. Here’s to 2015! Everything will happen. Believe – achieve.


My favourite iPhone images of 2014




My favourite DSLR images of 2014



Posted in A Flickr Year, iPhone, James, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2014: My favourite images – December

And on to the final month of the year: December. This will bring a total of 11 images chosen for both DSLR and iPhone. 11 months as I didn’t post anything to Flickr in the month of April. My friend, Michael Veltman, suggested I should choose my favourite image of 2014 to make up the 12 photos for the year. So, tomorrow I will try to choose one image that is my very favourite from 2014. This will not be easy. Maybe you could help me. What is your favourite image of mine in the past 12 months?

In December, I had a short visit to Berlin to attend a conference and in the evenings I got out shooting. One evening I took a walk along one of the main shopping streets – a street whose name I cannot recall. This wonderful building lit up in white stripes to contrast with the black of the building was eye catching and I knew I had to get a few shots of it. I got a few of passersby blurred out as they crossed the intersection in front of it and headed up the street. Passing a black van and seeing how the lights of the store lit up on the side of the van got me thinking and composing. I stood on the side of the street and waited for cars and passersby to come. The results are below. Click on them for the large version. 

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And in this little series the one I like most is this:




December was probably the best month for images posted to the iPhone account. There are so many that I really like and choosing a favourite from this month is very difficult. I could easily choose any of the following images. Click on them for the large version. 

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Also, any of these could easily be my favourite:


15464030544_9fdb4b6fa8_m 16136906015_3a97b1608f_m 15810366590_02b5d4cc04_m







But the one which I like most is this taken in Copenhagen. Reflections are another way of seeing and so often they can transform the ordinary to the extraordinary. Any time I see glass or a shiny surface I am looking to see what it reflects. This old and dirty window in Copenhagen had not been cleaned in years and the grime gave such a beautiful texture. All I had to do was wait for someone to enter the scene and in what was a ready-made frame.

Reflections in a forgotten window frame


Posted in A Flickr Year, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2014: My favourite images – November

November saw more photographs from Copenhagen. Choosing my favourite DSLR for November is very easy for me.



I struggled with processing this image and wrote about it here in November. I posted other similar images in the month which I also like:

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November has been the easiest month for me to choose my favourites. This iPhone image stands out for me. It is a simple, straight-up street shot.



Only one month left and then to choose my favourite image of 2014. Thanks for all the visits.




Posted in A Flickr Year, Inspiration, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2014: My favourite images – October

October saw me visit Copenhagen for the first time and how I loved the visit. It is one the coolest cities I have ever been to. The people are calm, friendly and also very cool. In the week I was there I managed to get in as much shooting as possible and had some good fortune while doing so. Having cycled all my life, Copenhagen was a delight for me. The guy who I was renting an apartment from left me use of his bike for the week. This allowed me to get around the city with ease and to see as much as possible in a short time.

I really do not think I have ever visited anywhere and come back with so many images that I liked. With the DSLR, I loved these images taken on a sunny evening on the main shopping street in Copenhagen. You can click through to see the large images.







But the image which I like more than any that I got in Copenhagen has no recognisable features that can link it to the city of Copenhagen. It is a classic bokeads image. I have been doing fewer and fewer of those in recent times, and I do think it is something I need to get back to. I gave this one the title of “The weight of other people”. There is a theme of loneliness in these images, a yearning to be able to hide; hide from others and hide mainly from ourselves.  Other people should keep us buoyant. If they don’t, cut them loose.


As I was saying, I was so pleased with the images I got in Copenhagen and those shot with the iPhone were also great. Here are some of my favourites – you can click through to see the large images.







But the one I like most (even more than this one) again has no recognisable features of Copenhagen, but it is my favourite.



Only two months to go! What will be my overall favourite from 2014?



Posted in A Flickr Year, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

December 11 2014

Closing the series on Copenhagen today. It has been a nice ride and might revisit it later on. Thanks to all for the wonderful positive feedback on the images I have posted here.

Here is one of the first images I took on that sunny Saturday afternoon in Copenhagen. There is very little processing on this. I like the older woman looking off into the distance. We started with a young woman and close with an older one. From black and white to colour also. You can see the full set of images here.

Closing Copenhagen

Closing Copenhagen

And this image is one I really like; simple and to the point. It has the ubiquitous bike and that wonderful burnt orange paint on the brick of the houses. You can see the full set of iPhone images from Copenhagen here.



Copenhagen – wonderful. Definitely a place I would like to revisit! Thanks to all.

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

December 10 2014

Just discovered this is my 250th blog post. Wow! Thanks to all who come and read my musings and look at my photos.

Coming to an end with photographs from my October trip to Copenhagen. Without doubt, for me, this has produced some of my most favourite photography. I was very lucky with the sunlight and also having a bicycle allowed me to get out and about and see much more of the city than I could ever have managed if I had only been walking.

The iPhone image is one I really love. When I approached from the rear of this statue I knew exactly what it reminded me of – my bokeh heads. How cool! It is in fact a statue of Atlas with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Poor Atlas – reminds me of myself at times. This image has been brought to you by Snapseed.

We carry it with us

We carry it with us

And as we near the end of Copenhagen images how appropriate there should be one of a cyclist. What a wonderful city Copenhagen is! Being a bike enthusiast Copenhagen for me is heaven.

This image is brought to you by Lightroom.



Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

December 9 2014

December – what a bleak month. Dark mornings, dark days and Christmas!

Had a few days in Berlin last week when I attended the excellent Online Educa conference. It was excellent. HAve been to Berlin a few times, always to attend this conference and always at this time of the year. Not the best of times to see Berlin, I think. The sun rises late and sets early. It is cold and you don’t want to spend too much time outside. I like Berlin and would like to see what it is like in the height of summer.

As you can imagine, in my free time I tried to get in as many opportunities to get out and shoot. Will post some of these in the weeks to come, but there are still some Copenhagen photos I want to show. You can see some of the iPhone Berlin shots here on Instagram.

I love street art. It adds so much if it is done well and in Copenhagen it sure is. This is a street in Vesterbro. I got a number of photographs of this, both with the DSLR and the iPhone.



The iPhone shot took time. I wanted a human element for the composition, but had to wait for a passerby to pass by.

A Copenhagen Passerby

A Copenhagen Passerby

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |