I knew about the kea birds before even coming to New Zealand. I discovered them on a BBC documentary show.
I was awed by these intelligent birds playing in the snow up in the epic southern alps described like the only parrot species to live in the mountains. I definitely had to meet them in their natural habitat during my trip. After hours of ascent of Avalanche peak track in Arthur’s pass national park, in the dense fog and the loud noise of the wind I finally heard the call. Two winged shadows emerged from the mist. The kea couple came straight to my feet. It was the beginning of a great photoshoot. I quickly had to change my telephoto lens for a wider focal length to be able to focus few centimeters away only.
I met a whole gang of kea, mostly very curious youth at nearly 2000 meters in the mountains.
When the mist disappeared, I realized how lucky I was to photograph them in their incredibly breathtaking environment. I was in the BBC Earth show for real. I had the opportunity to stay long hours with them, shooting my episode. I had only one camera and I had to improvise the whole shooting but I was surprised how I could easily tell a story when I was editing the video. They have different personalities and behave really different one from another. I almost had actors up there!
But mostly I was the subject of their extreme curiosity. I am sure that if they have had a camera there would have been more photos of me than photos of them. Kea are a national treasure in New Zealand and the Department of conservation is making great efforts to protect them.