Michelle is a Canadian Nikon Ambassador and was the first Canadian Geographic Photographer-in-Reseidence. She’s been telling stories with her camera for more than 30 years and has traveled to all continents in search of adventure. She is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, an International Fellow of the Explorer’s Club, a published author and founder of Project North. 

I met Michelle a few years ago while photographing a women’s fundraising event where she was the keynote speaker. During her talk, she showed images of humpback whales she had photographed underwater and I thought woahhh! Is anyone else seeing this?! I was blown away by the tales of adventure she shared.

At the time, I was teaching a Grade 10 Careers course and invited her in to share her experience and expertise with the class. There, I heard more detailed stories about skidooing in an Arctic blizzard in search of an evasive Muskox and how Project North, a non profit Michelle founded, creates education and sport-based opportunities for youth in Canada’s Arctic. It was so inspiring to meet someone who shared a drive to create and cultivate community and I’m quite sure I took as much as my students did, if not more, from her talk ;). 

Over time we remained in touch, would meet for breakfast, discuss photography assignments, business and life and soon after we offered our first photography workshop together. Here we are now, years later, and Michelle and I share a studio together along with Lindsey Gibeau and Miv Fournier at Westboro Studio in Ottawa, Canada. It’s been amazing to watch and be part of her life these last few years and it’s a pleasure to have documented one of our “COVID chats” on this week’s episode of Naturally Curious where we discuss:

– What we’re drinking 😉

– How to find opportunity in the face of challenges.

– Her favourite aspects of storytelling.

– The first, weirdest and scariest photoshoots she’s had in the last 30 years.  

– How community building has been an integral part of her business and life.

– For budding storytellers and entrepreneurs – how important using social media can be as a tool for growth.

– Wildlife adventures including swimming with Narwhal – yes! the unicorn of the sea!

You can follow along with Michelle’s adventures on Instagram and Facebook and for more details you can head to michellevalberg.com.

I love hearing what you’ve got to say and happy to answer questions on social media. Reach out @natcurio or @brittanygawley on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and don’t miss the next episode when I talk with Leah Brathwaite about what the heck a Soul Advisor is and how to go from feeling like you’re lost to living the life of your dreams. 

Until then, stay curious my friends!

Britt

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO SWIM WITH NARWHAL WITH MICHELLE VALBERG

Naturally Curious

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