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About Nelson Stegall

My passion for photography takes second place only to my love for the outdoors. As a kid growing up in a regular neighborhood, I was lucky to have undeveloped woods just a short walk away. I basically lived in my parent’s backyard camping out and in the woods just around the corner.

The Boy Scouts entered my life around age 12 and I was introduced to the world of backpacking. By the age of 16, I had spent countless weekends on a multitude of trails, weeks on the AT, a two-week backpacking trip in New Mexico, and was taking a 2-week road trip to climb Mt. Rainer in Washington State. I reached the rank of Eagle Scout with an abundant wealth of outdoor knowledge; logistics became second nature to me.

I continued my formal education with a degree in Forest Resource Management and attending the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Wyoming. After working for  North Carolina State Forestry, I move to the wild and wonderful West Virginia to continue my forestry career. The New River Gorge is in West Virginia, and let’s just say forestry took a back seat to a raft on the New River. I sold everything, loaded up my truck with climbing, backpacking, and river gear to start a new adventure living out of my truck. I worked my way up through the ranks to become the director of an outdoor education program that worked with all types of youth. By this time, I had acquired an extensive background in wilderness medicine, outdoor education, and logistics to manage multiple trips, guides, and customers.

I did settle down for a few years, but then I found myself in Alaska. I moved to Seward to work as a logistics manager for a sea kayaking company the first summer, and later to Anchorage for a winter job as an EMT for a transport company and a case manager in a youth shelter. Spring gave me the best of both worlds when I learned the Alaska Division of Forestry was looking for an Intern Coordinator for a 17-week youth intern program. My outdoor education continued to grow with ongoing education in wildland fire, Alaska search and rescue, and countless days in the wilderness.

After five years in Alaska, I moved back to North Carolina to be close to my family. I met my now wife shortly after moving back and we started a website called Yukon and Bean to share our adventure stories. Turns out, people were very interested in our adventures and we ended up on the local news, speaking at REI and other events, were profiled in newspaper stories, and in a documentary film about our 13-day French Broad River trip.

Somewhere in all of this, I ran a construction business for 11 years that was wearing me down. Because of that, we decided to sell it all, buy an RV, and hit the road. We traveled for about a year and a half from Florida to Alaska and from North Carolina to California. This is where my lifelong dream of becoming a professional photographer starts coming true.

Want to join me on an adventure?

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"My days in the wilderness will live with me always. Everything there was so alive and familiar. Whoever gains the blessings of one mountain day is rich forever." - John Muir

By now, I am sure you are wondering what any of this has to do with photography?

It is all well documented with photographs. I have photographed my life’s journey, countless rolls of 35mm film and digital files turned into a reminder of all the places I have been. For the past 40 plus years, I have been traveling the backcountry to fill my soul while taking pictures along the way. Now I am exploring the wilderness with a new set of eyes and taking people along to share in an experience worth photographing.

I want to tell you a story with pictures and a few words. I want to inspire you to think about everyday things in a unique way. I want you to see what I see, capturing forever that brief moment in time. I invite you to come along on an adventure with me. Let’s take your family portrait where the family enjoys spending time. Let me unobtrusively document your family’s special events, and let’s start a conversation of everlasting memories, one photograph at a time.

All my photographs are offered for sale in a variety of formats. I also hope my landscape photography inspires you to support conservation and education around our public lands because these wild places matter so much. Please feel free to reach out and say hi, ask a question, or meet me on the road. I would love to hear from you!

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