It must be “promotion season” here at Backcountry Journeys because we have another one to announce today!
To be fair, this promotion took place a while back and went a bit ‘under the radar,’ to say the least (read: I failed to write this post in a timely fashion). That changes today as we raise a proverbial ‘toast’ to Backcountry Journeys’ Matt Meisenheimer, who recently accepted the position of ‘Educational & Video Program Manager.’
Many of you reading know Matt as a photo guide or are familiar with him from reading his blog articles, taking his Lightroom and/or Photoshop courses, or from the many webinars, he has produced and hosted for Backcountry Journeys. Matt is our resident ‘gear guy,’ landscape artist, explorer, Lightroom & Photoshop expert, and overall great human being. Did I mention he’s our resident ‘gear guy?’ Yeah, he gets stoked on camera gear, it’s true.
Although Matt is a very busy man these days, I was able to pin him down for a short interview so as to catch up with him and discuss the new gig!
Kenton: Hi Matt, thank you for taking the time today. How have you been? We talk nearly every day, which I’m sure is an unfortunate thing for you, haha, but this is the first time we have done so in this format since, when? I bet it was when we announced that you’d been hired at Backcountry Journeys. Feels like forever ago.
Matt: Hey Kenton. Yeah, I think it was when I came on in early 2018, and my first guided workshops were that spring. I’m good, given the circumstances. It has been a while; I think the last trip we guided together was Glacier National Park in 2019…could that be right!? It’s been too long. It seems like the last two years have flown by, though, and I’m super thankful to be a part of the awesome BCJ team. I’m excited for our workshops in 2021, we are leading a lot of great ones.
Kenton: How was 2020 for you? Did anything of note happen to you/for you?
Matt: 2020 wasn’t great, I think all of us are feeling that way. We’re ready for the pandemic to be done and to get back out there. We’re nature photographers with a desire to visit new places, create, and repeat. The pandemic has really made that difficult. And although I was very fortunate to pull off a few adventures in 2020, I had to cancel many, including a month-long trip to Patagonia that I’m still upset about.
But, 2020 did offer a bright spot for my wife and me. We welcomed a baby boy into the world in September and being a parent has kept me busy. It’s been a great experience so far, but very challenging.
Kenton: That is what it is all about, right? I suppose we should segue into talking about your promotion. Tell us about this new role at Backcountry Journeys. I know we’re late in announcing this. When did this happen?
Matt: Matt: Haha! I kind of just merged into the role, it only made sense with what we had been working on and towards. Let’s just say November. I think my new role is an extension of what I’ve been responsible for while working at Backcountry Journeys. Many folks reading this know me from guiding trips, but when I’m not in the field I am writing for the blog, or fine-tuning the instructional video courses we offer. Going forward, I’ll be doing all of that but I’ll also be managing our YouTube offerings. Myself, along with some of the other photo guides here, will be putting together vlogs, instructional videos, behind the scenes footage, gear reviews, cinematic videos, and more. The channel will be a great destination for those looking to learn more about photography, and to follow our adventures in the field!
Kenton: How did this come about?
Matt: Well, when the pandemic hit we were thrust into a situation where we were not able to run our workshops in the field, so we took up the next best option – webinars and video courses. With successful vaccines, it looks like we will be able to get back into the field sooner rather than later. So our hope is that we’ll be back to doing what we love most, and that’s guiding photography trips, but at the same time, there’s really no reason to halt the webinars, video courses, and video content that we started due to the pandemic. In fact, we’re actually going to ramp up the video content and create some really great stuff that, as I said earlier, will cover a ton of different photography topics.
Kenton: What sort of responsibilities and workload comes along with your new position?
Matt: Well, the biggest new focus for me will be in ramping up our video content. We are very fortunate to be able to guide photography tours all over the world, and in doing so to visit all of these world-class destinations. We spend a lot of time in the field, so why not take that opportunity to create some videos? As such, I’ll be spearheading that objective. I think it will be really great for everyone to see what goes on in the field, in the studio, and behind the scenes.
Kenton: Absolutely! This is big. It sounds like you’re taking what Backcountry Journeys has always done, run world-class photography tours & workshops, and adding to it by developing a valuable and accessible educational, instructional, and entertainment video component to the whole thing. Like wrapping it all up into a fantastic package with a big bow on top. What has been the most fun part of this so far for you?
Matt: Yes, absolutely. Well, honestly, I think the most fun part hasn’t happened yet. I’m really excited to get back into the field and start working on video content, as are all the guides who will be producing content as well. The coolest and most exciting part for me is that the video adds a completely new aspect to trips. You know, I’ve been to a lot of these places we run workshops over and over for photography, but now when I revisit them, I’ll do so with video in mind. For instance, Zion NP is one of my favorite places, I’ve been there a ton and have shots from some of the most iconic spots that I love. Now when I go back, approaching those spots through a ‘video’ perspective will give me a completely new outlook – I think it keeps things fresh.
Kenton: What are you most excited about?
Matt: I think I’m most excited about vlogging and creating cinematic video. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to get a great shot – and I’m excited to showcase that aspect of the photography process, as well as show off the incredible landscapes that I’m lucky enough to visit.
Kenton: I think it’s safe to say there are a fair share of folks reading this right now who are curious as to if you’ll still be a photo guide? Please say ‘yes,’ please say ‘yes,’ please say ‘yes!?’
Matt: Yeah, absolutely. Being in the field and leading workshops is something I love to do. It’s great to interact with like-minded people, and even better when you can show them a thing or two that helps improve their photography.
Kenton: It sounds like there is a lot on your plate, Matt. Combining these new challenges with a brand new baby at home, you are a busy man. Will your guide schedule change? Meaning, will you be doing more office work, less in the fieldwork?
Matt: Maybe, slightly, in the future, but I like the mix of office and fieldwork. Down the road I may take more time to create instructional video content during personal trips, but as of now, you and I both have a full slate for 2021, and I’m excited to be leading a lot of really great workshops with you, it’s always a pleasure.
Kenton: I totally agree! Can’t wait to get going out there again. Thanks, Matt! Best of luck with everything, see you out there soon. Let’s hear it for Matt! And, be sure to check out all of Backcountry Journeys’ exciting new video materials. Sign up for a webinar, and be sure to read the blog! We cannot wait to see each of you in 2020, behind the lens and in front of something magical.
Brown Bears of Alaska: Lake Clark
with Matt Meisenheimer & Kenton Krueger
Tuesday, Dec 29th, 2020
11 am – 12 pm (Mountain)
Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers, and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Katmai, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, as well as internationally in Costa Rica & Brazil. 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, and spent roughly five years writing and photographing for the award-winning Omaha World-Herald newspaper, out of his hometown, Omaha, Nebraska. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of trip leading and 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.