The Aberdeen-raised Prince of the Galaxy talks to Kristy Wong about his passion for photography.
I grew up in a fisherman’s family in Aberdeen. I lived on a boat with my parents and grandparents. I still remember my mother tying me to the boat with ropes during typhoon season to stop me falling overboard.
There was no fresh water on board. We didn’t have a kitchen; we used a kerosene stove on the floor to cook dinner every night.
We traveled to mainland China everyday on our houseboat to catch fish. When I began kindergarten my family stopped fishing and moved to Ap Lei Chau so that I wouldn’t miss out on school. Besides, the earnings from fisheries were minimal.
I dropped out of my diploma programme and worked in Starbucks for a few years. My life was pretty ordinary until a spontaneous trip up to Tai Mo Shan one night. It was the first time I had ever been up high enough to see a sea of clouds underneath a entire sky of twinkling stars. Since then, I’ve spent three to four nights every week in the mountains, taking photos, camping and waiting for the sunrise.
One of my photos of the galaxy received thousands of likes on Facebook and I started attracting attention. I didn’t expect it as I was merely doing what I love. I decided it was time to quit my job and pursue my dream of being a landscape photographer. Another of my photos of the galaxy, taken at Lantau Peak, won the Most Popular award in Hong Kong National Geographic’s 2013 Photo Contest. The media gave me the nickname, “Prince of the Galaxy”, I was overwhelmed!
I spent 10 days in the wild on Lantau Island for the live TV show “Round the Lantau Island” – it was a fantastic experience! We explored the whole of Lantau Island, from Tai O to Tai Yam Teng, capturing the best photographic scenes and introducing different hiking routes. I hope Hong Kong people are more willing to step out of their comfort zone and explore nature. Just grab your camera and climb the mountains!
I never feel alone in the mountains. Often, I see other photographers waiting at the top of another mountain with their tripods and cameras, ready for the sunrise. The photographer community is strong as we share a passion. I started photography just a few years ago and even though I have never used a single lens reflex (SLR) camera, I am still able to capture wonders!
I’d like to think of myself as an artist, landscape photographer, blogger and freelancer. I’m slightly confused about my identity, but content with what I have. After all, I quit my job to chase my dream. My next goal is to go on a round-the-island bike tour of Japan!