• Alaska: Beautiful, Uncharted & RAW

    A Special Alaska Photographic Journey
    with Russ & Crystal Nordstrand

    Trip Dates: March 30th to April 11th, 2021

    Get on the List!

Explore Alaska with us!

Russ Nordstrand

Crystal Nordstrand

A few months ago Backcountry Journeys founders Russ & Crystal Nordstrand announced an epic 13 day tour-de-Alaska. This trip filled quickly however we now have two spots that have opened due to a cancellation which we are releasing this Friday at a 7am Mountain Time.

Springtime in the 49th state is a season of stunning photography, clear skies & best of all no crowds!

We’ll explore the dry interior in search of Northern Lights and dramatic alpine landscapes in 4×4 vehicles. We’ll ply the coasts off the Kenai Peninsula in a charter boat in search of Marine Wildlife and we’ll experience an Alaska generally left to the locals.


This trip will focus on Big Snowy Mountain Landscapes, Capturing Bald Eagles in Flight, Marine Wildlife & the Northern Lights. We’ll have an opportunity to photograph a multitude of different vantage points as we travel through three distinct mountain ranges, the Kenai, Chugach & Alaska Ranges and we’ll spend the right amount of time in each location so we can effectively utilize the lighting conditions to make excellent photographs – no rushing around here!

We’ll stay in several great locations throughout Alaska including Homer, Cooper’s Landing, Talkeetna & Fairbanks.

The wildlife focus on the trip will be Bald Eagles, Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, Mountain Goats & Caribou. We’ll also likely see Lynx & possibly Wolves – Moose are everywhere but they won’t have their antler’s this time of year.

Skies are generally clear and dark in March / April so the Northern Lights should be excellent!

What’s it like in spring? Or is it still winter?

Great question! The Alaska Range, Chugach & Kenai Mountains will still be covered in beauti.ful snow – a winter wonderland. However the roads are usually dry at this point (although snow can happen). Down on the Kenai Peninsula it is beginning to warm up and it’s one of the best times of year to photograph Bald Eagles out on Kachemak Bay. Temperatures will be colder in the interior and warmer near the coast. You’ll want a variety of clothing layers and we’ll supply a full packing list prior to the trip.

Small Group = Better Experience

We want this trip to be an amazing experiece that you’ll never forget (of course you’ll have the images to prove it!) but we find that smaller groups mean a better experience for all involved. More room in the vehicles & boats means more room for extra gear and just to manuever around with your camera gear PLUS you’ll get more one on one instruction with your guides (Russ & Crystal!) This trip is strictly limited to eight photographers.

Is this trip for me?

Are you an outdoor photographer or aspiring outdoor photographer? Looking for an Alaskan adventure with a touch of class and led by those who have been there before? Come join us. The trip is all-inclusive once you arrive and includes great local lodges that you put you close to the action and hand-picked local restaurants. Our trips attract a fun loving bunch of nature photographers and the camaraderie of exploring Alaska with like-minded individuals is one of the best parts of our trips. You’ll leave not only with memories & photographs – but new friends as well.

Alaska: Beautiful, Uncharted & RAW is suitable for all physical levels – you just need to be able to maneuver in and out of a small boat (we rate this one as a level 1 (easy / standard)- see our website for details on difficulty levels). Age ranges on these trips are usually between 45 & 75 with an even mix of men & women. Most of our guests come from the U.S, Canada, Great Britain, Australia & New Zealand however we’ve hosted people from all over the world and all are welcome!

Whether you’ve been on a Backcountry Journeys photography tour in the past or not you’ll love our small group travel experience and unique flexible approach. Our trips are designed for both amateurs and professionals alike – which means we can meet you at your level and ensure you come home with a wealth of new images of which you can be proud!

Travel / Logistics

We’ll meet in Homer, Alaska for the start of the trip (easy connecting flights out of Anchorage multiple times per day) and the trip will end in Fairbanks which has a variety of non-stop flights to places like Seattle on various airlines or you can connect in Anchorage to just about anywhere in the world. You’ll want a variety of gear / clothing on this trip and we’ll provide a full packing list of what to bring.

Day 1 (Travel Day)

Travel to Homer, Alaska for welcome dinner and orientation. We’ll photograph the setting sun over the beautiful Kenai Mountains & Kachemak Bay. Almost without a doubt we’ll have our first chance at Bald Eagles & curious Seals our first night. Dinner at the always excellent Land’s End Resort followed by a photo walk of historic Homer harbor. Fall asleep to the crashing waves outside your room at the ‘End of the Road’ on the Homer Spit!

Lodging: Land’s End Resort – Homer, Alaska

Day 2

Morning photo session on a remote beach near Homer. There are excellent landscape opportunities to practice techniques such as focus stacking with various tide pools & sea stacks with immense mountain backdrops. We’ll time our shoots based on the tide. After breakfast we’ll board our privately chartered skiff and head out across Kachemak Bay in search of all that Alaska has to offer! Our lodging tonight will be in the quaint & historic fishing village of Seldovia. We’ll enjoy local Alaskan hospitality at the boutique Boardwalk Hotel right on Seldovia Harbor. Sea Otters, Harbor Seals & Eagles are right outside your window along with epic mountain backdrops falling into Kachemak Bay.

Lodging: Boardwalk Hotel – Seldovia, Alaska

Day 3

Today we will focus on Bald Eagles as we traverse the bay in search of wintering convocations. This time of year is fantastic for capturing the action as they fish, dive and fly within a short distance of our boat. We’ll position ourselves well to capture dynamic shots of Eagles at close-range. Longer lenses are always great but the best lens here is – believe it or not – a 70-200mm!

Lodging: Boardwalk Hotel – Seldovia, Alaska

Day 4

This morning we’ll head out on our vessel early in search of mountain landscapes. Our unique Landing Craft has the ability to pull up on shore with it’s ‘draw-bridge’ so we can photograph the surrounding landscapes from a variety of different beaches, bays & coves. We’ll head back in and grab a hearty Alaskan breakfast at the Boardwalk Hotel before going back out on the water in search of more Eagles & Marine Life.

Lodging: Boardwalk Hotel – Seldovia, Alaska

Day 5

We’ll have one final morning to ply the coastal waters of Kachemak Bay in search of sea creatures before heading back across the bay to Homer. After checking back into the Land’s End Resort in Homer we’ll have an opportunity to share some of our images on a large screen projector and Russ will host an optional post-processing session for those interested. Tonight we’ll celebrate at one of Crystal & Russ’ favorite local restaurants in town (seafood anyone?) and photograph the Kenai Range at magic hour. Homer is a bit far south to see the Aurora usually but if it’s out the setting here is nothing short of spectacular and one of the best compositions in all of Alaska.

Lodging: Land’s End Resort – Homer, Alaska

Day 6

This morning we’ll have one last shoot in Homer before heading North along the Kenai Peninsula in our vehicles. The next few days will be dedicated to mountains – big, bold, snowy mountain ranges with absolutely incredible Alaskan scenery. We’ll spend two nights in Cooper’s Landing – completely surrounded by the Kenai Mountains. There is a plethora of vantage points here for serious tripod work and we’ll certainly leave this segment of the trip with stunning panoramics and grand scenic images for our portfolios.

Lodging: Eagle Landing Resort – Cooper’s Landing, Alaska

Day 7

Today we’ll spend a full day exploring the Kenai Mountains surrounding Cooper’s Landing & Moose Pass Alaska. Our accommodations are situated right along the Kenai River and we’ll have access to a variety of mountainscapes in this stunning wilderness playground.

Lodging: Eagle Landing Resort – Cooper’s Landing, Alaska

Day 8

This morning we’ll embark early as we head North towards Cook Inlet and the Turnagain Arm and begin venturing into the Chugach Range. We’ll explore several morning photo locations before venturing through Anchorage. We’ll stop for lunch in scenic Palmer, Alaska and if the conditions are right do some photography here in the Matanuska Valley. As we begin to get further North our chances for Auroras increase by the day.

This evening our accommodations are at the wonderful Talkeetna Alaska Lodge as we’ll spend the next few days focus on grand scenic of Denali.

Lodging: Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge – Talkeetna, Alaska

Day 9

We’ll spend the entire day photographing the mountain landscapes surrounding Talkeetna & searching for wildlife. Denali is an ever looming presence of this quirky & historic mountain town which features the best view in Alaska of North America’s tallest peak.

Lodging: Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge – Talkeetna, Alaska

Day 10

We’ll pack up early and head out in the Alaska Range for our sunrise photography session – this morning’s will be a good one! After passing through Healy we’ll make our way North towards Fairbanks where the goal for the next few nights will be Northern Lights!

Our excellent downtown hotel features one of the best restaurants in Fairbanks and is centrally located for excellent access to Aurora Photography locations. Aside for Auroras we’ll spend our time photographing mountain landscapes & searching for Caribou & Moose along the Chena River.

Lodging: Springhill Suites Marriott – Fairbanks, Alaska

Day 11

It’ll be a later start the morning and as we’ll have been out late in search of Northern Lights. This afternoon we’ll have an optional instructional session on post-processing techniques and have an opportunity to share some of our images thus far with fellow group members on our projector. Later we’ll head out to the world famous Chena Hot Springs for excellent Northern Lights viewing opportunities. We have access to a remote river cabin that has great foreground for photographing the Aurora.

Lodging: Springhill Suites Marriott – Fairbanks, Alaska

Day 12

Our last full-day in Alaska will be spent on images of the Alaska Range, working on Panoramic shots, searching for Caribou and in the evening photographing the Aurora. We’ll celebrate an excellent adventure at one of our favorite restaurant’s in Fairbanks. Expect to be out late tonight!

Lodging: Springhill Suites Marriott – Fairbanks, Alaska

Day 13

Ideally plan on sleeping in a bit after our late night under the Northern Lights but you can make flight arrangements at any time today out of Fairbanks.

Alaska: Beautiful, Uncharted & RAW

13 Days / 12 Nights

Trip Price: $8795

BCJ Tribe Members: $7915

Deposit: $2000

Fitness Level: Easy / Level 1 / Standard

Meals: Most meals included (see itinerary below)

Lodging: 12 nights lodging

Start: Homer, Alaska

End: Fairbanks, Alaska

Are you ready to join us on this one-of-a-kind unique adventure!? Click here to be notified as soon as the two remaining spots are released. Our special one-off departures sell out quickly and we expect these last two spots to go fast on this trip – if you are interested in this trip don’t wait or you might miss the boat!

  • The final two spots will be released at 7am (mountain) on Friday, January 1st
  • $2000 Deposit / Final Balance due February 15th, 2021
  • Are you a Tribe Member? You get 10% off all trips for life including this one along with a variety of other benefits! Sign-up here.

Our Guests Love Backcountry Journeys

At Backcountry Journeys we’ve been perfecting photography trips for years and have some of the BEST photo pros & Trip Leaders in the business. With one of the highest return guest ratios in the adventure travel space we’ve become the gold standard for what a photography tour / workshop should look like. Our commitment to our guests & personalized attention is what sets us apart from the rest – and it shows.

Backcountry Journeys “Tribe” community is one of the most active in the industry – and our guests come back year after year to experience new photo destinations – sometimes several times per year!

But don’t just take it from us! Our TripAdvisor page says it all – here are a few recent testimonials from some of our past travelers:

“What an amazing trip we had! Thanks to Ben and PJ, our very competent and patient guides, we saw a huge variety of wonderful vistas from delicate snow scenes in the first two days contrasted with the steam arising in places, to massive mountains in cloud and sunlight, magical pine forests and geysers. At all times we had access to Ben and PJ to ask for advice of needed and they offered suggestions for good angles for shooting landscape and wildlife shots. Among the wildlife we saw were many bison and elk herds, pronghorn antelope, bald eagles, grizzly bears (Mum with two cubs), chipmunks, Red-tailed hawk, coyote and even distant wolves! We were very fortunate with the weather which allowed us to see the landscapes in a variety of moods in snow, cloud and sunlight, all helping to give us a broad taste of these magnificent wilderness parks.

I can highly recommend these tours to anyone as they are great value for money, often exciting, educational and a lot of fun!”

“Glacier National Park is glorious! I highly recommend taking this Backcountry Journeys trip. It was our second trip (previously did Zion and Bryce with Russ and Crystal) and my husband and I were very happy with the results.

Matt Meisenheimer is a fabulous guide who really takes his craft seriously. He always made sure we were in the right place at the right time and was willing to put in extra time to allow us to see more areas within the park.

Matt taught me new functions and features on my camera that made me enjoy the trip even more. To be honest, you don’t get much sleep on this trip – up early and out until late, but the landscapes are so beautiful, you just don’t mind.

I can’t wait for our next two trips with Backcountry in 2020 – Yosemite and Grand Teton. I’m sure those trips will be equally awe inspiring and rewarding.”

“I went on a Winter in Yellowstone trip and was really impressed. We saw an amazing variety of wildlife, and while wildlife are not always cooperative, the knowledge of the guides about where to look and what might be out there really helped us spot wildlife in great locations to photograph. The guides were professional and fun. Safety and getting good shots were priority. I would definitely do another trip with Backcountry Journeys.”

“Great trip with a great guide. Everything was taken care of, hotels were great, food was great and our guide Ben knew all the best places to see the wildlife and he was super helpful with camera settings. This was my second trip with backcountry Journeys and I have already booked a third.”

“A well thought up trip in the Valley of Yosemite park… not only was the photography amazing the guides an food an enjoyment of being with other photographers that loved it as much as I did ..Is my 3 trip with back country Journeys an I have another trip planed this winter.. thank you to Ben an PJ for there help an leadership…”

“This 5 day, six night photo workshop on the Big Island of Hawaii was more then I had even imagined. Monumental exploding surf, plunging waterfalls and isolated beaches for sunrise and sunset. Our photographer guide always at the ready with suggested gear or a strong arm down a steep hillside.
All inclusive workshop had us at very nice accommodations and great food choices from fine dinning to quirky breakfast spots.
My second trip with Backcountry Journeys. Also a wonderful way for a photographer to see the right spots.”

Our Guarantee

We’re so confident that the trips we offer will not only meet but exceed the lofty expectations set forth on our website – if your trip experience does not 100% match the promises laid forth on our website we will gladly give you a credit toward a future trip. Natural events such as wildlife & weather are certainly out of our control but every aspect of the trip including logistics, accommodations, vehicles, itinerary & your expert trip leaders will match the lofty promises we’ve made on the site – we guarantee it!

Worry Free Travel

If there are still any COVID-19 related travel issues during any trip you book – rest assured you will be able to transfer your trip at no cost before your final payment is due. Our peace of mind guarantee to you!

On top of that we offer one of the most rock solid guarantees in the travel industry.

Ready for Alaska? Dust off your boots and grab your camera gear! Join Crystal and I on this once in a lifetime excursion and return with a wealth of new photographs for your portfolio and some great new friends. Your going to LOVE this trip.


Russ Nordstrand
Backcountry Journeys