Why Backcountry Journeys?

You have options when searching for the perfect adventure photography tour.

Run a simple internet search for “landscape and/or wildlife photography tours” and you’ll certainly be provided a lengthy list of tour companies willing and able to book you on a tour. In fact, there are probably more options to sort through than you’d ever want. It may even be a little overwhelming.

So many questions, like ‘why is this company better, or worse, than the other?’ ‘What sets these photographers’ companies apart?’ Which might be best for me?’

We at Backcountry Journeys recognize this, and while we can’t speak for the ‘other guys’ – surely they are all doing fine work – we are convinced that our photo tour experiences are simply flat out better.

Read on to learn our not-so-secret recipe.

We start by providing second-to-none photographic opportunities designed to get you into interesting and engaging locations. One of our wonderful guests, Robin Bagby, noticed this first-hand while on a recent Canyons of Utah: Zion & Bryce Tour. “All the different aspects (of the trip) were extremely well thought out and planned… The locations picked were great, and the times planned for shooting guaranteed us the best light.”

There’s a really good reason Robin noticed this attention to detail. It’s because our trips have all been designed with meticulous care and research by professional photographer, Russ Nordstrand. Years of experience accounts for a wealth of knowledge pertaining to locations, wildlife habits (that can change depending on a variety of things that only experience can provide insight upon), and timing for the best light -which is essential for photography, as we all know. The result of this careful consideration are trips where you’ll be sure to achieve a perfect blend of the shots you know you want, and some creative and maybe lesser known vantage points as well.

But it isn’t enough to simply get you to the spots. In our opinion, there is much more to a great photo tour adventure. So, our skilled photo guides add top-notch instruction so that you can develop your skills. Our trips are intended for all skill levels, so whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just starting out you’ll feel comfortable on any of our tours. “I came into this trip as a complete novice as I merely accompanied my spouse, who has developed a great interest in photography,” said Julie Silbert, who with her husband Scott, travelled recently with us. “I intended to simply enjoy the scenery and the hiking, with the hope to learn a few things about taking photos with my rented DSLR camera, which I had never used before. Due to the attentive and friendly instruction of our guides, I quickly became comfortable with the camera and learned much more than I dreamed possible about composition, use of the camera and even post-production techniques. I came away with an unexpected enjoyment of this hobby, which I hope to expand upon in future….an unanticipated and welcome outcome of this experience!”

In order to provide this level of personal attention to each of our guests we limit tours to small groups. Doing it this way also allows for some flexibility with each days’ plan, making it more easy to adjust to conditions as well as folks’ desires.

It’s just not enough to simply see and photograph a place. Our philosophy is that thoughtful information on cultural and natural history goes a long way in providing a unique connection to the amazing locations we visit. Many of our tours visit our National Parks, which are the crown jewels of our country’s heritage and landscape. Our guides come equipped with a wealth of knowledge of the area we are visiting. We feel this is the “frosting” on the proverbial cake. Imagine showing off your images to your friends and family back home, and being able to sprinkle in your own new knowledge of the landscape, or critter in the image, in order to add to your slideshow (trust us, your friends and family will appreciate it!). David Ward, a recent Backcountry Journeys guest said that he’s been thrilled talking with folks back home about his Zion and Bryce Canyon trip, as well as showing off his images from the trip. “People here seeing these photos are blown away,” said Ward. “The look on their faces when they first see Bryce (Canyon), or the night shots are priceless!”

The final ingredient is working diligently and constantly towards providing you a seamless travel experience. Backcountry Journeys trips include lodging, ground transportation, and most meals (while on the tour), as well as National Park entrance fees, expert guides, and other easily missed details essential to a successful trip. This means that once you are with us, all you have to worry about is enjoying your experience which we view as much more than just shooting photographs. We hope that our tours offer remarkable memories of time spent with nature, yourselves, and with the camaraderie of others. Things like cozy accommodations with great meals, good conversation and and easy registration process from start to finish go a long way towards simplifying things for you. Our tours are meant to be a chance to make amazing images, yet also lasting friendships and memorable vacations, too! “I get very psyched and inspired and get some of my best images because of the experience, the people, and the locations,” said Ward. “Not being anywhere as intimately knowledgeable of the two parks, I prefer to have someone more knowledgeable leading the way. As much as I’d like to be, I’m not an independent explorer, so having someone there to get me out my comfort zone and experience these parks the way we did was great.”

Silbert had a very similar feeling after finishing her tour. “The overall experience was just wonderful and indeed very easy to enjoy. I really loved seeing the natural beauty of the two parks and particularly appreciated the care that was taken in selecting the specific photography sites. I also truly enjoyed the hikes, which were a fun highlight. I feel we were very lucky to have an easy-going and fun group of like-minded folks, both guides and other guests, which really enhanced the experience.”

We encourage each of you to check out our Upcoming Photography Tours & Workshops Page, and register for a tour so that you too can find out for yourselves! Take care to choose not only the trip, but also the style that is correct for you. Remember, we have trips that are ‘hiker’ trips, and others that are ‘standard,’ meaning we hike very little. Our promise to you is that we’ll simply work harder to provide you with more of what you want: second-to-none photographic opportunities, top notch instruction and development with your camera, a unique connection to the cultural and natural history of the amazing locations you visit, and a seamless travel experience alongside your small group of fellow travelers and photography enthusiasts.

“This was my first photography tour and I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Bagby. “It exceeded my expectations.”

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’s 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 for the sports department. 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.

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