PHOTO News Image Hong Kong Project | Michelle Valberg
A Dream Destination!

When I was asked to join the PHOTO News Image Hong Kong photography team, I immediately thought “dream job!”

This week-long adventure, a unique collaboration between PHOTO News magazine and the Hong Kong Tourism Board, with sponsorship from Vanguard and Nikon, would be my first opportunity to visit Hong Kong. It was a wonderful assignment with Kristian Bogner, a fellow Canadian Nikon Ambassador and Michael Defreitas, a travel writer/photographer as well as Jacques Dumont, the publisher of the magazine. I have travelled around the world (including all 7 continents) but I had never visited Hong Kong. It was clear right from the start that this was going to be an amazing experience full of exploration, learning and collaboration.

We had numerous outings brilliantly planned for us by Hong Kong Tourism, who made sure that we had ample opportunity to photograph the diversity and beauty of the city and countryside.

The weather forecast gave us little chance of blue skies, so I had to shift my mind’s eye to be creative with rain and fog. I had decided that I would primarily focus on colour, lines, patterns and textures.

On our first day we went up the tram to "The Peak" and got caught in a downpour. We could see that the fast moving clouds were going to lift, so we stood in the rain with our umbrellas while everyone else went inside. In one instant, the sun peaked through and the colours became brilliant as the buildings began to emerge through the clouds. This created a breathtaking view of the city and Victoria Harbour and demonstrated why Hong Kong is known for its magnificent skylines.

One of my favourite spots was a small fishing community called Tai O. This is the home of the Tanka people, who for generations have built their houses on stilts above the tidal flats of Lantau Island. The fog and light rain created an atmosphere that lent itself to the colours and textures around us. I particularly loved how the colours popped as you can see in my photo of a fisherman working on his nets.

I was thrilled to be shooting with the new Nikon D5 camera. The ISO capability surpasses anything I ever imagined in a camera and the clarity and colours it produces are brilliant. This camera exceeds all expectations. With the D5 I would switch between the 24-70 and 14-24mm lenses, while my Nikon D4S would most often have a longer lens like the 80-400mm or 70-200mm.

Hong Kong is an incredible place made up of diverse arts and culture, wonderful people, and stunning skylines with extraordinary architecture. I hope someday to have the opportunity to go back as I know there is so much more to discover.