Photographer of the Month: Ted Nelson

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Feb 16, 2018 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Ted Nelson is an outdoor adventure travel blogger based out of Chicago who runs the travel blog Traveling Ted. He specializes in cross-country skiing, canoeing, hiking/backpacking, and international budget travel. He prefers to count jungles, rainforests, and national parks visited instead of countries and states; however, the latter count is 30 and 42. 

His work is inspiring, taking us to the great outdoors in all kinds of weather. He showcases natural beauty in such an honest and true way that we feel as if we are right there with him. Presenting the work of photographer Ted Nelson...

heodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota. Photographer Ted Nelson
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Chase Rapids, The Allagash River, Maine. Photographer Ted Nelson
Chase Rapids, The Allagash River, Maine

How did you get interested in photography?
On my first hiking trip, I went with my dad and my dad's friend to the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I was nine. My dad's friend was a professional photographer. I think I was inspired by him, so my dad soon got me my own camera, and I have been taking pictures ever since.

From first hike ever in the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan when I was nine. Photographer Ted Nelson
From first hike ever in the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan when I was nine

Church on a rural Wisconsin road in winter. Photographer Ted Nelson
Church on a rural Wisconsin road in winter

How long have you been a photographer?
I have been taking pictures of my outdoor adventures since I was 10, so this would be roughly 38 years. My pictures have graduated from blurry specs in the skies to birds and animals you can actually make out.

Moose crossing on the Allagash River in Maine. Photographer Ted Nelson
Moose crossing on the Allagash River in Maine

Thumbs up in Baxter State Park - Maine. Photographer Ted Nelson
Thumbs up in Baxter State Park, Maine

What is your favorite place or thing to photograph?
A picture of the hiking trail, river, or cross-country ski trail are all favorites, but I have a soft spot for taking pictures of birds and animals. I am not all that good at it, but sometimes I get lucky. Two years ago was one of those times. I was camping by myself in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia when a bobcat appeared at the other end of the swamp.

Bobcat in the Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia
Bobcat in the Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia

Anteater from Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica. Photographer Ted Nelson
Anteater from Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse - Rockland, Maine. Photographer Ted Nelson
Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, Rockland, Maine

How can photographers be a part of change in the world?
They can inspire people to travel or to get interested in the natural world and join the campaign to help protect it.

Canoeing the Sugar River in Wisconsin. Photographer Ted Nelson
Canoeing the Sugar River in Wisconsin

 Snowy Owl - Montrose Beach, Chicago. Photographer Ted Nelson
Snowy Owl,  Montrose Beach, Chicago

Do you have any trips planned for the future, and if so, what are you looking forward to?
My next big trip is Nicaragua in March. I have been to Costa Rica three times, but I have never explored the other Central American countries, so I am looking forward to this adventure. I plan on checking out Granada, Leon, volcanoes, and rainforests.

I have several smaller trips I am also looking forward to. I participate in the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski Marathon every year in Hayward, Wisconsin. It is the largest cross-country ski marathon in the U.S. with over 10,000 participants. Every year in late February, the Hayward/Cable population multiplies by five.

After the Birkebeiner cross-country ski Marathon in Hayward, Wisconsin. Photographer Ted Nelson
After the Birkebeiner cross-country ski Marathon in Hayward, Wisconsin

In March, I am going canoeing on the Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri. This consists of the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers. In April I am going to Nashville for a long weekend and then back to Tennessee for some trout fishing in the eastern part of the state in May.

Autumn color in Baxter State Park, Maine. Photographer Ted Nelson
Autumn color in Baxter State Park, Maine

Canoes on the Current River in Missouri. Photographer Ted Nelson
Canoes on the Current River in Missouri

Any photography tips you want to share?
I use a GoPro 6 for most of my pictures. I hardly even use my phone anymore. The quality of the pictures and videos keeps improving, and it is so compact with so many mounts that it is perfect for what I do. While outdoors, I almost always have one close by or attached to me to catch the action quickly. I also use a Sony A6000 for my animal and bird pictures.

Photographer Ted Nelson kayaking the Boardman River in Traverse City
Photographer Ted Nelson kayaking the Boardman River in Traverse City

If I excel at getting photographs, it is because I go to places many are not willing to go. For instance, the bobcat picture was taken after a ten mile canoe trip through narrow channels in alligator thick waters. I then camped on an elevated wooden platform above a swamp where 16 alligators were chilling below me.

Hawk in flight, Corcovado National Park. Photographer Ted Nelson
Hawk in flight, Corcovado National Park

It is not necessary to be an adventure nut to take good pictures, but it helps. When you spend 24 hours in the wilderness, it opens up a lot of photographs that are not available to someone who drives a car around a park for a couple of hours. If you are not into canoeing into swamps or hiking and canoeing for multiple days in the wilderness, I would recommend at least to go car camping. When you are outside all day, you get the whole lighting spectrum of the day to take photos in.

Fly fishing on the Colorado River near Vail. Photographer Ted Nelson
Fly fishing on the Colorado River near Vail

Traverse City, Michigan. Photographer Ted Nelson
Traverse City, Michigan

When it comes to photography, I am not that technical. I still have a lot to learn. Another tip for Instagrammers is to use Snapseed and this tutorial from My Life's a Travel Movie.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
My motto is adventure on!

ABR Ski Trails in Ironwood, Michigan. Photographer Ted Nelson
ABR Ski Trails in Ironwood, Michigan

Find Ted online:

Blog: https://travelingted.com
Instagram: https://instagram.com/travelingted
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/travelingtedtv/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/travelingted

Sunset in Greensboro, Vermont. Photographer Ted Nelson
Sunset in Greensboro, Vermont

All photos courtesy and copyright Ted Nelson

 

 

 

 

 

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