Words & photos by Justus Hirvi / MELU
Finnish summer is so short and briefly over that, you don’t want to skip it by going on trips abroad. Most Finns prefer to stay in homeland during that special period between June and August, and so do I. But as always, there are some exceptions. My annual exception is CPH Open (former CPH Pro), a great event held in Copenhagen Denmark, less than two hours flight from my hometown Helsinki.
CPH Open is much more than a skate competition. It is a week-long skateboarding carnival where the gnarliest street skating meets the insanity of the best bowl skaters around the world. Add tons of different side-events around the city and you have one of the craziest events that can happen in public, urban space. This year I got the opportunity to visit CPH Open, thanks to the main sponsor of the event, Monster Energy.
While in Copenhagen, cycling is simply the best way to get around the flat, cycling-friendly city. Also, remember that you are in Scandinavia. Take something waterproof with you, like a rain jacket to cover you and your brand new board against the refreshing summer showers.
Within cycling distance from almost everywhere, the Wonderland of Christiania is a great place to spot skate legends, art and just to enjoy the unique atmosphere during the night-time and especially when it rains.
The competition itself was held in few different skateparks, indoor hall and street spots around the city. The level of skating (as well as the skaters) stayed high during the whole event. Different types of street spots gathered a great amount of audience, even by passers were gathering around in massive crowds. It seemed that simple obstacles in special locations were the most interesting ones and had the best vibes.
Previous years in CPH Open I’ve carried my Canon 5D Mark 3 with a bag full of different lenses. This time all I had was my iPhone 7 and a power bank (which is a necessity while shooting with your phone). For my iPhone 7 I had two lenses that I’ve found out to be great for shooting events like this: Black Eye Tele and Black Eye Full Frame. I’ve used the same lenses for shooting Helsinki Helride, so I knew how they would work in events like this.
This years event seemed to be even more popular, more crowded than the previous years, if that’s even possible. Big crowd always makes shooting photos a little bit more challenging, especially when working only with your phone. I decided to find the angles either from above or clearly from down below. This was the best way to get the perspective where the skaters could stand out from the crowd.
The amount of photo and video footage produced from events like this is absurd nowadays. Live-shows, social media and all that makes the communication so fast, that working straight with your phone is a good option to capture it. You can take the photos fast but also edit and share them immediately to the channels you are working on.
Getting the right angle and style for the skate photos was very hard to find so I decided to focus on the side-events within the CPH Open. It was great fun to capture people who tried their best to see even a flash from the actual happening. The joy of photography and skateboarding is the same: it is in the details.