SLV Steve 2019

I wanted to wait a month or so before writing about what this whole SLV Steve thing is about since getting the truck. But more importantly – I wanted to explain why I do this.

SLV Steve is Steve Kuehl (me), a dude that served a couple decades in the fire service in this county and a stint overseas, got into photography when the fire department photog before me retired in 1989…stuck with it ever since.
The fire service never left my heart, so after the store I had opened for a decade in the SLV closed, I changed the titling and headers to SLV Steve (from SLV Video) and kept a wholehearted support of the fire service through capturing moments. Five years ago, I started to store them online for others to see.
My picture habits and edits have changed through these years and people became interested in what I was doing. With over 5,000 followers accumulating on various platforms, with more threats of fires and more strains upon the emergency systems locally, and a definite need to educate the public properly in a digital age about what happens in our county, I decided to make this thing a full-time operation covering all of the agencies in the county of Santa Cruz.


I work hard to maintain a level of respect in covering these agencies that does not involve employment or money from any media, does not involve the stringer or nightcrawler mentality (as both are the battle I fight daily from those who are still learning they can trust me – and that I am not THAT guy). Unfortunately, there is one photog like that in Santa Cruz that creates so much heartache for the emergency services with his pictures and attitude…so even in this small county there is always a thorn in my profession.

Meanwhile, CalFire signed me on as a photographer for this ranger unit, the local school district cleared me for shooting any/all of their campuses and events, and the local law agencies chiefs have seen that I am genuine in wanting to help them with my work (I believe most fire groups already knew that).

I have a great many plans and ideas for how this thing will help, benefit and serve our agencies and our communities. And this truck was a big part of that. All of these pics were taken at various incidents while I was shooting. Plenty more to follow – but I wanted to start the conversation…

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