Read Caption
People stream down Haiphong Road, one of the fast-paced, neon-filled streets typical of Hong Kong's Kowloon area. (Photograph by @ermakova_photography)

Instagram of the Month: Hong Kong

Crazy Kowloon, Hong Kong.

A photo posted by Elena Ermakova (@ermakova_photography) on

Travel photographer Elena Ermakova (on Instagram ) loves to discover new places and share them through her lens. “I want to show all faces of our world: beautiful and ugly, weird and inspiring,” says the Moscow native.

Elena brought herself—and her great photographic eye—to our attention by tagging her photo of a vibrant street scene in Kowloon with #NatGeoTravelPic on Instagram.

Here’s a look at how she got the shot, and why she loves Hong Kong:

Tyler Metcalfe: How long have you been into photography, and what got you started?

Elena Ermakova: [I’ve been at it] about eight years. I saw the beautiful photos that other photographers [would take] and thought that I wanted to do the same or better. After a few years of experimentation in different styles, I understood that, for me, travel photography is the best way to show the beauty of life.

Do you make your living with photography, or is it more of a side hobby?

Travel and photography are the main passions of my life. Currently I contribute freelance work to different stock companies, but [the goal is] to make it my profession.

My dream is to travel the whole world with my camera. Now, I’m only at the beginning.

This shot was taken in Hong Kong. Had you traveled there before? What made you want to visit?

This was my second time in Hong Kong, part of a larger eight-month trip around Asia. The first time I visited was in 2012; I was amazed by the lively atmosphere of this megapolis. Hong Kong manages to mix modern and authentic ways of life, green parks and glassy skyscrapers, crazy neon and ancient Chinese culture. [The fact that the city is] always changing makes me want to return again and again.

This image is extremely vibrant and lively. Can you describe what is happening on the street? 

This photograph was made on one of Kowloon’s busy thoroughfares, Haiphong Road. There are a lot of shops, traditional Chinese medicine stalls, and cafés on this always-crowded street. I used the long exposure to show the vibrant hustle and bustle that defines this place, and so much of Kowloon.

Do you have any travel recommendations for people traveling to Kowloon, or Hong Kong in general?

Don’t limit yourself to the standard sightseeing fare. Get lost on the streets with the crowds; feel, smell, and listen to the spirit of Hong Kong. It’s important to see Kowloon and Central, but taking the time to venture beyond these popular places is the key to understanding the city’s complexity.

Tyler Metcalfe (on Instagram @TylerMetcalfe) is an associate photo producer on Nat Geo Travel’s digital team and manages the @NatGeoTravel Instagram account. 

Want to see one of your photos featured on Intelligent Travel? Tag your Instagram photos with #NatGeoTravelPic.