#WhyCV Photographer Spotlight: Kim Steed

“To most this is just a photograph of a Badger, but to me it’s one of the most memorable times of my life and something I will never forget.”

Each month in 2020 we shine a spotlight on a local photographer, and examine the beauty of the world through their eyes. This month we focus on Kim Steed, an award winning and published nature and wildlife photographer residing in Carson Valley, Nevada. This pint-sized photography powerhouse is as unassuming as she is talented. Her family means everything to her, as you will learn from one of her stories below.

When she’s not working full time, Kim is driving around taking photos of anything that catches her eye. She loves wildlife photography, and capturing photos of events including the Camel and Ostrich races, Flat Track motorcycle racing, wrestling events, and even portraiture for families, engagements and weddings. We asked Kim to tell us about some of her favorite shots, and boy did she deliver. Scroll down to get the behind the scenes scoop through Kim’s eyes. 

kim steed photographer
I was watching a group of about six egrets on Muller Lane last Spring. One of the egrets flew off and I started taking a burst of photos. I am pleased with how well this one turned out because the white of the egret is not washed out and I love the added touch of the water droplets coming off its legs.
kim steed photographer
This may just look like a photograph of a badger but the story behind it is much greater. The following story is the journey that led me to this moment in time in capturing this photo.

Rewind to February 18, 2018. My mom and dad had to say goodbye to their beloved dog Sadie, a beautiful shepherd/hound mix they loved and was a member of our family for 13-years. She was my mom’s companion as my dad had worked in the Bay Area and came home on the weekends. They were heartbroken. Our family was suffering another devastating blow. My sister’s husband was battling a very rare form of cancer.

I was living in the Bay Area with my husband and our son. I would communicate with my family pretty much every day. My sister and I would look at dog rescue groups to see if we could find any dogs that would help my mom and dad fill that void and start to heal their hearts.

My sister called me one day in the middle of March and told me to look at a particular dog on Pet Finder. I looked her up and my jaw dropped. I knew this was the dog! She was a 4-month-old Shepherd/Bloodhound mix and her name was Sadie! She looked so much like the first Sadie it was crazy! And the same name…it was meant to be. I continued to read the description. She was located in North Carolina and it said LOCAL ADOPTION ONLY. My heart sank.

I sent an email and called and left a message for Caitlin with the Johnston County Animal Protection League. This was on a Friday and I waited by the phone all weekend, she HAD to make an exception, this was meant to be. I received a call early the following week. Caitlin could not believe the resemblance between Sadie 1 and Sadie 2. She had to be spayed still and they would not put her on a plane. I asked Caitlin, if we drove to North Carolina could we pick her up and adopt her. She said yes!

I don’t know if they really thought we would go through with this. How crazy does it sound that someone would drive from the West Coast to the East Coast to pick up a rescue puppy?!

I called my mom and said, ‘Pack your bags. We are going on a road trip to North Carolina to pick up Sadie!’ It was definitely a spur of the moment thing and I made arrangements to take a few days off that coincided with my spring break from work. I drove from San Jose to Minden on Friday. My 11-year-old niece said she wanted to go and we all thought it would be a great idea and a good distraction. My dad and husband helped us pack and on Sunday, three generations, my mom, myself and my niece embarked on one of the most memorable road trips of my life.

We had picked Sadie up and we were on our way back from North Carolina. We left Moab, Utah and were driving down the highway to Salt Lake City, when something caught my eye in the desert…It was something I had never seen before and I had to turn around to see what it was. I was driving slowly on the shoulder and we were all looking out into the desert when we saw it running the opposite way! It was a BADGER! I had never seen one in the wild before and I had to try to capture it with my camera. I pulled over and grabbed my camera and started running crouched down so it wouldn’t see me, down the highway. I think it was only a short distance but it felt like a mile! I raised my camera and took a photo. Once click and it looked up at me. I continued to take a series of photos and just like that it turned around and ran off into the desert hills. It was one of the most thrilling animals I have ever photographed and it never would have happened if it weren’t for taking a crazy road trip to North Carolina to pick up a rescue puppy.

We travelled across 18 states in 11 days covering 6,284 miles. We visited family, saw three National Parks, a National River, toured a Plantation and saw beautiful wildlife and landscapes along the way.

To most this is just a photograph of a Badger, but to me it’s one of the most memorable times of my life and something I will never forget.

Now you have to see her!

kim steed photographer
Original Sadie
kim steed photographer
Sadie 2
kim steed photographer
Sadie 2. She’s ridiculous!
kim steed photographer
I really enjoy astrophotography. It’s very challenging and I don’t get to go out and do it as often as I would like. I left for work a little early because I wanted to try to get a photo of the Full Worm moon. I was driving down 395 and noticed how beautiful the silhouettes looked against the full moon as it was setting behind the Sierra. I pulled over and took a few shots. I loved how it turned out and I can almost see Elliot and E.T. flying in front of the moon.
kim steed photographer
‘Wally’s Wagon’ I went out early one morning to try to capture some images. I never know what I’m going to find but if something catches my eye I will stop and try to photograph it. On this particular morning it was very cold, the sun was coming up and casting the most beautiful alpenglow on the Sierra. I was driving by David Wally’s Resort and the steam was coming off the water and it looked beautiful. I took a few photos of the wagon. I love the look of this photo…it almost looks like remnants of an old canon from the Civil War.
kim steed photographer
‘Finely Feathered’ American Kestrels which were also known as Sparrow Hawks are hard to capture. They usually take off if you get to close. This particular beauty was sitting on a perch off 395 and was really puffed up…probably because it was so cold! I took a few photos and went on my way.
kim steed photographer
‘Mr & Mrs’ One of my favorite photos of this beautiful Quail couple. I had pulled over to take photos of a bunch of small songbirds sitting in a tree. I noticed some movement in the corner of my eye and saw this quail couple jump up onto the fence post. It was beautiful watching them as the snow was softly falling. It’s hard to capture one so it was a real treat to see this sweet moment between the two birds.
kim steed photographer
‘Reflections’ This is a very popular spot to photograph. The reflection of the trees is absolutely gorgeous if you catch it at the right time. It had snowed a lot the night before and I headed over the next morning. If you look closely you can see the turkey vultures perched in the tree.
kim steed photographer
‘Watcha’ looking at?’ I love the intense look of this beautiful mountain lion at Animal Ark in Reno.
kim steed photographer
‘Winter Wonderland’ I was driving through Hope Valley on my way back from a little road trip. It was snowing and extremely windy! I had to pull over and watch how beautiful the snow looked as the wind was blowing it off the tree tops. It was swirling and it just looked magical. This photo almost looks like a painting. This was entered in the Nevada Artists Association Winter Show and took 2nd place.
kim steed photographer
‘Western Meadowlark’ They have the most beautiful song and this beauty was kind enough to sit and sing for me while I watched it and photographed it. I did some fun editing on this one as I was trying to get it to look like an old Audubon plate.

‘A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.’ -Maya Angelou

Follow along with Kim Steed Photography on Facebook, and give her a shout out.








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