Scottsbluff photographer shares his experience taking photos of the natural world – Scottsbluff Star Herald

Richard Teller stands next to his camper. An avid traveler and photographer, Teller has visited 46 U.S. states and has taken photos in most of them.
Richard Teller took several photos of hot air balloons at the 2020 Old West Balloon Fest in exchange for a trip on one of the balloons. Scotts Bluff National Monument can be seen in the background.
Chimney Rock near Bayard, as captured by nature photographer Richard Teller. He and his wife moved to Scottsbluff when they retired in part because of all the natural formations and parks to visit nearby.
One of the first questions people ask Richard Teller, he says, is why he and his wife Rosemary retired to Scottsbluff. “
We prayed and asked the Lord where we should go and he guided us,” Teller said.
The other reason can be seen on a map.
“We’re three and a half hours from Rocky Mountain National Park, we’re three hours from … the Black Hills. We’re seven hours from the Tetons and Yellowstone, we’re seven hours from Arches in Utah. Plus everything that’s around here: Cedar Canyon, Buffalo Creek, the ol’ Wildcat Hills.”
Teller is a nature photographer, and western Nebraska has tons of it.
“All most people know about Nebraska is I-80, what they see as they zoom across the state,” he said. “…I like to shoot in places where people don’t think there’s a lot of beauty, and show them there is beauty.”
Originally from Council Bluffs, Iowa, Teller has been a photographer as long as he can remember. He only started getting more serious with it when he retired 11 years ago. He has visited 46 U.S. states and most of the Canadian provinces, and has taken pictures in almost all of them.
“I’ve got pictures from Puerto Rico to Hawaii, from the Mexican border to Alaska, and tons of places in between,” he said.
The trick to traveling so often is to take inexpensive trips, he said. Instead of a lodge or hotel, his family sleeps in tents or in their trusty camper.
Over the course of his travels, Teller has photographed plenty. He’s a generalist, he said. He isn’t picky about his photo subjects, which include sunrises and sunsets, night skies and daytime vistas, mountains, prairies and wildflowers.
He’s also photographed snakes, insects, birds and “most all, the big game you can find in North America,” including elk, moose, deer, bears and coyotes. “Don’t have a wolf yet, that’s still on the list,” he said. “…I would love to be a wildlife photographer if I had the money and the time to really work at it.”
Teller also incorporates man-made structures into his photography if they help capture the beauty of nature, like a statue in a snowstorm or an old house catching the sun’s rays. He has even worked with the Old West Balloon Fest to capture images of the balloons.
“We did a little trading,” he said. “Last year, I traded them some photographs for a balloon ride.”
Nature is still his primary focus. Teller evaluates light and composition, waiting patiently for the right images to capture. Patience is a huge part of getting good wildlife and landscape photos.
Teller said people sometimes ask him what it takes to be a successful photographer.
“Shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot some more,” he said.
He recommended watching YouTube videos of experts presenting on their craft, particularly the B&H Event Series videos. He also recommended people analyze the types of photos they want to take.
“Go to the library, go to any place that has images of what you want to shoot and look at them,” he said. “Study them. Study art, because the same principles that artists use … go with a photograph.”
It takes some luck to snap good photos, Teller said, but even more important is dedication.
“There’s an old saying: a poor photographer with a very expensive camera will take poor images. A good photographer with a cheap camera will take good images,” he said. “It’s more your skill and desire than it is the actual equipment you’ve got in your hand.”
Teller has participated in photo contests himself and has even won some of them, but nothing major. It’s more about the experience for him than the accolades. Shooting a photo isn’t just about capturing an image, he said. It’s also about capturing a feeling.
“I want to help people experience the mood I’ve experienced: the peace, the calm, the quiet; gentle breeze, beautiful light. The artistry of a beautiful sunset.”
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Christopher Borro is a reporter at the Star-Herald. He can be reached at email at [email protected]
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Richard Teller stands next to his camper. An avid traveler and photographer, Teller has visited 46 U.S. states and has taken photos in most of them.
Richard Teller took several photos of hot air balloons at the 2020 Old West Balloon Fest in exchange for a trip on one of the balloons. Scotts Bluff National Monument can be seen in the background.
Chimney Rock near Bayard, as captured by nature photographer Richard Teller. He and his wife moved to Scottsbluff when they retired in part because of all the natural formations and parks to visit nearby.
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