Backcountry Journeys: Who We Are & What We Do

Founded by acclaimed photographer and wilderness guide Russ Nordstrand, Backcountry Journeys has always had a focused mission – to provide the best nature photography workshop experience. 

Several years back, Russ, along with his wife, Crystal, launched a small sampling of photo tour locations at Backcountry Journeys. Fast forward to 2020, and Backcountry Journeys now boasts a full staff of professional guides and offers 60+ workshop itineraries each year to both domestic and international locations. Want to know where? Click here

As photographers, the intrinsic value of the environment is so important and all of us at Backcountry Journeys strive to capture the beauty of nature and show others, so they may also be inspired to protect and preserve the areas we love so much. Backcountry Journeys is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of all wilderness areas and wildlife species. 

What Do We Do?
So, what exactly do we do at Backcountry Journeys? Well, first and foremost, we offer photography instruction, but our tours & workshops are more than simply workshops, they include a seamless adventure travel experience offering a hassle-free way to travel with photography as your main focus. Backcountry Journeys tours & workshops come in all shapes and sizes, from lodge-based standard trips and hiking trips to full-on immersive camping trips in remote locations. Most workshops have a specific nature photography focus, some take place in beautiful scenic areas ideal for landscape photography and others focus on wildlife photography. There really is something for everyone with our 60+ offerings.

All Backcountry Journeys tours & workshops are all-inclusive, meaning most meals, lodging, ground transportation, National Park entrance fees, guide fees, and other items essential to a successful trip are included – so once the workshop begins all you have to worry about is pressing the shutter button.

But, what exactly is a photography workshop? Our workshops range from four to 13 days. During those days, the focus is on photography. Everything is coordinated and planned around photography – that means guides ensure that groups are in the best locations at the best times. That could mean being in the best location in a national park for sunrise or doing an evening game drive in an area a grizzly bear has been frequenting. 

During the day when light is harsh and wildlife are less active, presentations on techniques and post-processing are often offered. 

We combine all of these photography ventures with excellent lodging and meals because we believe that those details add to the overall experience we look to provide. What’s better than getting some amazing shots during the day and going back to the lodge for a gourmet meal?

The quality of our guides and the provided service has been backed-up by TripAdvisor, as they have awarded Backcountry Journeys with a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ for five years and counting. We believe this comes from Russ’ experience in the industry, where he has worked for 20+ years. He knows what makes a good guide, and what makes a GREAT trip! Backcountry Journey guides are not only experts with the locations in which they guide, they are also professional photographers who are industry leaders, brand ambassadors, and award-winning. 

Join Us
Joining a Backcountry Journeys photo tour & workshop is embarking on the trip of a lifetime. It’s like no other kind of journey – on our tours, you may find yourself waiting for that magical dawn on a cold, dark morning in Yosemite to photograph El Capitan at first light with mist rising from the valley or you might be working on capturing that perfect moment when a Katmai brown bear locks its jaws on a spawning salmon. Coming on a trip with us can honestly change your life, our guests have said so themselves!

Backcountry Journeys is set apart by our commitment to offering the finest outdoor photography travel experience in the industry. We are dedicated to bringing you an unsurpassed travel experience with impeccable attention to detail. We’ve got you covered from the moment you first contact us, to our fine-tuned photographic itineraries, the excellent lodging we select for our trips, and our goal of ensuring you are at the right place at the right time. We’re in the business of making it easy, and fun, for you.

Take a look at our workshop offerings, and join us for not only excellent photography in wild places, but also great food, comfortable lodging, and some fun laughs. You will not be disappointed! 

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 National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many 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



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