Steve Richards: - Photographer - Visual Artist - Image Maker

KAHU Nature Photography

ABOUT Steve Richards & KAHU Nature Photography

Mmmmm, I can definitely see the family resemblance. Looks a bit like great uncle Yorick. (that's me on the right)

I brought my first SLR when I was 18 and it was the start of a life long love of photography. I was a a keen deerstalker and used it to record my hunting trips. We often hunted in the mountains and those vistas became my earliest images. I progressed onto the very small, lightweight Olympus OM1, which was my constant companion for 20 years. Then I brought a Leica R8, a very expensive camera, but I was suddenly realising the high quality of images I had taken only rarely before. My Leica R8 was now my landscape camera so when I decided I wanted to photograph wild animals I purchased a 100-400mm L IS Canon lens and an EOS 3, my first SLR with auto focus.

I initially looked at digital still cameras with some scepticism, and for a few years got into video, producing and marketing a couple of titles. My first digital camera was a Canon 10D; a six megapixel camera, that was bargain priced compared to most of the previous digital offerings. I was soon hooked, and never took another image with my film cameras and eventually gave them away.

Over the Xmas holidays 2010, a mate Tony (aka Boney Whitefoot and I did a lot of photography locally around Wellington and the Waikanae Estuary. Boney was an accomplished bird photographer, and his results impressed me. So I pulled out my old Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS USM to photograph some local birds. We went to Cape Kidnappers gannet colony, and the best bird images I got was from a EF 70-200mm F4L IS. When we did a 3 week photography trip around the south Island I got a EF 300mm F4 IS, because none of my lenses cut photographing birds and getting the fine feather detail, but I was hooked on bird photography.

At the beginning of 2012, I owned three businesses, Huntech Outdoor Clothing - manufacturing hunting clothing, DigitalDecor - a wide format digital printing company specialising in printed fabrics, and Forest & Stream NZ - a tourist retail business in Queenstown. I use to do the photography for our clothing catalogues and advertisements. The nature of my DigitalDecor business often meant we needed very large images for the large prints we did for our clients. A lot of my time was spent developing my panoramic technique, using tilt shift lens and panoramic tripod head to get a portfolio of images together for our clients to select from.

  In late January, 2012, I had a brain hemorrhage and my specialist told me in no uncertain terms, I needed to slow down. After  a lot of soul searching and sadness I sold the hunting clothing business, which had been built up for over 20 years.  I largely stepped back from the day to day work in my large format digital printing business, but being somebody who can't sit still I needed do something, so continued doing the fine art prints and canvases for the photographers and artists we worked with. 

I also decided I was going to take photography much more seriously, and develop a business opportunity I had been been thinking about for a while, utilizing my photography skills and all our large format printing capability. I decided to use Kahu, a registered trade mark I have owned for over 20 years, for the name of the photography company. Kahu is the Maori word for cloak, and is used in a clothing range we still manufacture and also Harrier Hawk which I felt was a great name for the photography enterprise. So started my full time photography career and Kahu Nature Photography.