Meet the Crew

Hey all!

We hope that everyone is making the best of whatever late winter is “gifting” you, wherever you may be.

Whether it be rain, sleet or snow; or maybe freezing cold temperatures combined with seemingly unending darkness (think Chicago -no offense), or even a tropical paradise, weather provides -as we all know- outstanding additions to our photography.

My apologies for the run-on sentence, but it just had to go that way this time.  

If you’ve traveled with Russ prior, or are familiar with the Backcountry Journeys webpage, you may have noticed some new names and pictures popping up on different trip pages on the website.

My name is making those same kind of rounds, too! Who the heck am I, right?

Its true! Backcountry Journeys has bulked up, adding some additional guide muscle, so to speak.

We’d love for you to meet each of our new talented photography guides. On this blog and the website first, then, hopefully out on one of our award-winning tours!  

So, here they are:

Crystal Nordstrand

Crystal Nordstrand grew up in a family of outdoor adventurers. Her mother, in her early 20s, lived in a treehouse built 50 feet above the ground and later worked as a National Park ranger and a commercial river guide. Her father, Michael, has been guiding rivers worldwide for four decades. Naturally Crystal followed in their footsteps, but set out on her own path, in her own way. Eight years ago she began pursuing outdoor guiding as a career, but she has felt the draw of nature since she could first walk. Her first serious outdoor hobby, horseback riding, grew from every little girl’s fantasy to a competitive passion. She was lucky enough to begin her world travels at age seven. Her father was the director of several campuses for the School for Field Studies in sustainable resource management. So, Crystal’s family spent semesters abroad in places like Kenya, Queensland, Australia, South Caicos Island, and on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. During college she expanded her cultural and linguistic knowledge by attending Universities in both Spain and Puerto Rico. Later she received Bachelor degrees in Parks and Recreation Management and in Spanish from Northern Arizona University. Over the past several years she has been introduced to the the fantastic and complex world of outdoor photography by her husband, professional photographer Russ Nordstrand.  She has since expanded her travels considerably while pursuing landscape and wildlife photography in exotic locations like Costa Rica, and the infamous Katmai National Park, in Alaska. Her most alluring, and also challenging, task as a guide is balancing the protection of the resource base while facilitating a high quality of visitation. She believes her chief duty is to educate people about the fragility of our shared environment and how intimately it connects to their lives.

Matt Meisenheimer

Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image. Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali and Mount Rainier National Parks as a biologist. He also spent six months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many truly beautiful places around the world. As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.

You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com.

 Steven Kazlowski

Steven Kazlowski earned a degree in marine biology from Towson State University and worked briefly in the Florida Keys as a marine biologist before setting out for Alaska to pursue his true passion – wildlife photography. His photographs have been featured in Audubon, Backpacking, Canadian National Geographic, National Geographic For Kids, National Wildlife, Sierra and TIME magazines, and he has published several books: Alaska’s Bears of the North, Alaska’s Wildlife of the North, and Alaska Wildlife Impressions. He is the only wildlife photographer to date who has extensively photographed the Alaskan polar bear and its critical Arctic coastal habitat, something he wishes to continue throughout the international Arctic – an area rapidly being affected by climate change. He is known within the photography community for his skills of observation and his determination to capture an image even in extreme weather conditions. Kazlowski lives and travels frequently from Washington to Alaska, photographing the natural world.

You can see Steven’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.lefteyepro.com.

Russell Graves

 If you’ve read any Texas-based magazines over the past twenty five years chances are you’ve seen some of Russell Graves’ photos or read some of his words. Since 1989, he has been traveling the state telling authentic Texas stories with his camera and his words – both written and spoken. A graduate of Dodd City High School and East Texas State University, Russell was an ag science teacher in Childress, Texas for 16 years where he was named Texas Agriscience Teacher of the Year on three occasions. After leaving that career in 2009, he continued to photograph, write, and speak about his experiences and the people he meets and in 2010, he began delving into television production.  His first documentary film, Bois d’Arc Goodbye was filmed entirely in Fannin County and chronicled he and his brother Bubba’s canoe journey as they traversed the creek before a lake forever changes the landscape.  The film aired three times to a prime-time, national audience. Recently he’s worked with such celebrities as the Robertson Family from Duck Dynasty television show, T. Boone Pickens, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Pat Green, and Tracy Lawrence, but he insists that regular people are his favorite subjects. Currently, Russell lives in the country north of Childress, Texas with his wife Kristy and their two children Bailee and Ryan but still manages to spend a considerable amount of time near his boyhood home north of Dodd City. 

You can see Russell’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.russellgraves.com

And then there is me…

Kenton Krueger

Kenton Krueger

Kenton Krueger grew up and spent the first 33 years of his life in the corn country of Omaha, Nebraska. After studying aviation at the University of Nebraska Omaha Aviation Institute, he “conned” his way into the newsroom at the award-winning Omaha World-Herald where for 3+ years he wrote and photographed news articles on a variety of topics such as community events, travel and even mixed martial arts. Yet something was missing. While on backpacking trips to Grand Teton and Grand Canyon National Parks in the mid-2000’s he was quick to realize that the wild lands of the western United States stoked a fire in his heart like nothing else could. This realization led to relocation to Flagstaff, Arizona, and he hasn’t looked back. He has spent the past several years guiding guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks, as well as in the Grand Staircase Escalante in southern Utah. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, newspaper photographer and writer. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.

We’re so pleased, and feel quite lucky, to have all this additional talent on board!

The 2018 season is underway and excitement levels here at Backcountry Journeys are at an all-time high!

We’ll see you out there, in the field, behind the lens. Soon!

Kenton Krueger

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks as well as in the Grand Staircase Escalante in southern Utah. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, newspaper photographer and writer. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.

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