GREAT ALASKAN BEAR SAFARI
ALASKA PHOTO TOUR
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BCJ EXCLUSIVE DATES
July 11th - 17th, 2023
July 13th - 19th, 2024
TRIP DETAILS
All-Inclusive Lodge-Based Photo Safari
ONLY 4 SPOTS LEFT FOR 2023
SAVE 10% IF YOU'RE A BCJ TRIBE MEMBER
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Dates
July 11 - 17, 2023
July 13 - 19, 2024
Start/End
 Anchorage, Alaska 
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Price
$10,995
TRIBE PRICE: $10,995 $9,895
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Deposit
$3,995
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Availability
10 spots
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Photo Pros
Russ Nordstrand
Russell Graves
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Fitness Level
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Single Supplement
$300 (Anchorage Only)
 Special Trip Departures are valid for new trip reservations only (no transfers) 
TRIP OVERVIEW
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Join us on a journey into the heart of the Alaskan wilderness to photograph the highest densities of brown bears in the world!

This exclusive bear photography safari in Alaska offers the ultimate experience for capturing the perfect shot of these magnificent creatures in some of the most scenic places on Earth.

We have exclusive, on-call access to bush planes and boats, we'll take you to the most remote and untouched locations on the Alaskan Peninsula, offering you a chance to see and photograph bears in ways that are not possible on traditional tours.

We go wherever the bear activity is best, utilizing our fleet of planes and boats. Each day, we have over 120 locations to choose from - that includes Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks, Brooks Falls, McNeil Bear Sanctuary, and more!

The best part? We'll be able to experience the wilderness of Alaska and photograph bears in prime locations, all while enjoying the cozy accommodations of one of Alaska's best bear lodges.

Whether you're a professional photographer or an amateur with a passion for wildlife photography, this safari is perfect for you. You will have the opportunity to photograph bears in a variety of settings and scenarios, from chasing salmon in rivers to clamming in front of massive coastal mountains.

This is your chance to capture the beauty and majesty of Alaskan bears in a way that only a few will ever experience.

Book now and reserve your spot on the most exciting and exclusive bear photography workshop in Alaska.
 Special Trip Departures are valid for new trip reservations only (no transfers) 
WE GO WHERE THE BEARS ARE
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We will have unparalleled access to the best bear viewing areas on the Alaskan Peninsula.

Seaplanes, bush planes with tundra tires, boats, and rafts will be standing by, exclusively at our service.

Each day, we will assess bear activity and choose from over 120 locations. In all, we have coverage over a 30,000 square-mile area, including Katmai and Lake Clark National ParksBrooks Falls, McNeil Bear Sanctuary, and the Bristol Bay Watershed. Over the years, the lodge's aircrafts have conducted over 170 aerial wildlife surveys to document prime bear viewing areas.

That's what we mean by unparalleled access. We go where the bears are, and have the ability to access locations few people will ever see.

At Backcountry Journeys, we have guided wilderness and lodge-based brown bear photo tours for almost a decade. We understand brown bear photography at the highest level, and can help you achieve world-class images, while feeling safe at all times. This is our specialty.
ALASKA'S WORLD RENOWN BEAR LODGE
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Located between Katmai and Lake Clark, our hand-picked lodge is nestled in the heart of one of the most populated brown bear areas in the world.

The lodge will be private to Backcountry Journeys over the course of our departures.

It is family-run and environmentally friendly. The owner has been running a photography-focused operation since 1978.

That's 45 years of experience - the lodge does ONE thing, provide wildlife photographers with the best bear experience in Alaska. Each day, there will be over 120 different locations that we can choose from to photograph brown bears.

During your stay at the lodge, you'll enjoy comfortable accommodation, modern amenities, delicious meals, and breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness. All while visiting some of the most remote areas in Alaska to photograph brown bears.

Over the years, a select list of guests to the lodge have included Galen Rowell, numerous National Geographic and BBC photographers, two former Presidents of the United States, and four United States Congressmen.
ITINERARY
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DAY 1
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Travel to Anchorage, Alaska.

You can arrive into Anchorage at any time during Day 1. Many flights get into Anchorage in the evening hours, sometimes late.

There will be a hotel awaiting you when you arrive. Once you settle in, get some rest and prepare for orientation the next day.

DAY 2
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We will meet as a group at 11 AM for introductions, orientation, and a group lunch.

After lunch, we will pack up our gear and travel to the airport to prepare for our flight across the Cook Inlet to our bear lodge.

We will fly from Anchorage to Iliamna Airport, arriving to Iliamna in the late afternoon

Upon arrival, we will be greeted by the lodge staff and transferred to the lodge. We will settle into our cabins and then return to the main lodge for a safety and orientation meeting with Hor d’Oeuvres.

There will be fittings for waders and wading boots, all supplied by the lodge. These items will keep you dry and allow flexibility for all photography situations.

We will then share a gourmet dinner, and discuss the plan for the next day. We'll cover our planned locations, departure method, and what gear to bring.

DAY 3-6
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We will enjoy a hearty breakfast at the lodge and then depart to photograph brown bears.

A typical day will consist of utilizing a seaplane or bush plane, and/or boat to access Katmai or Lake Clark National Parks, McNeil Bear Sanctuary, the Bristol Bay Watershed, or any location where bears are active.

We will photograph brown bears non-stop and seek out the best possible photography scenarios, with considerations for light, background, behavior, and location.

Depending on our schedule and conditions, we will either eat lunch at the lodge or enjoy packed lunches that the chef prepares.

Every evening, we will sit down for a multi-course meal to discuss the plan for the following day.

DAY 7
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On our final day, we will venture out for a morning and afternoon session.

We will then pack up our gear and prepare for transport back to Iliamna Airport. We will fly from Iliamna back to Anchorage, arriving back at around 6 pm.

Once back in Anchorage, the trip will conclude and we can arrange transfers to the airport or nearby hotels.

TRIP LEADERS
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Founder/CEO of Backcountry Journeys
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Russ Nordstrand is an award winning wildlife and landscape photographer based in Homer, Alaska. His fine art prints are hanging in private collections throughout the world.

Russ is the Founder and CEO of Backcountry Journeys. He has been hiking, backpacking, photographing and guiding people in the wilderness areas, deserts, canyons and mountains of the world since 1997. He has logged thousands of miles on the trail and for many years in the past decade over half of his nights were spent in a tent in some far flung outdoor destination.

His photography reflects an awe and admiration of the great, wide and still wild world we live in. Often his subjects include towering canyon walls, mist shrouded mountain lakes or wildlife in their natural habitat. It also reflects a commitment to preserving these places for the health of our world and for those who come after.

It would be a lie to say he does it completely from an altruistic standpoint. Like any great outdoor photographer he loves the thrill of wild, remote places and the accomplishment of nailing that shot after waking up three hours before dawn and hiking in the dark!

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If you’ve read any Texas-based magazines over the past twenty-five years chances are you’ve seen some of Russell’s 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 his 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 the 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.

What's Included
All group meals and non-alcoholic beverages during the workshop
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All transportation during the workshop
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All lodging during the workshop
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Professional photography guiding and instruction
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Planes, boats, and any other method of transportation used to photograph bears
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Gratuities for lodge staff and pilots
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Waders and wading boots
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What's Not Included
Flights to and from Anchorage, Alaska (ANC)
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Excess baggage fees for flight to/from Iliamna Airport - 50 lbs allotted
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Meals and lodging outside the workshop dates
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Alcoholic beverages (must bring your own)
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Souvenirs and personal items
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Trip Insurance & Medical Evacuation Insurance (required) - see plans here.
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TRIP ENROLLMENT
Our team of Photo Adventure Specialists will guide you through onboarding and enrollment when you book a trip.
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ALL-INCLUSIVE
All logistics are taken care of from trip start to trip end - that means lodging, transportation, meals, and activities.

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AWARD-WINNING PHOTOGRAPHY
Expect excellence; from guides, to locations, to instruction. Our photo workshops are award-winning photography experiences.
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BCJ COMMUNITY
Become part of our family - interact with BCJ guides and new friends. Share images, ask questions, talk about everything photography!

Backcountry Journeys Photography Trips are World-Class
Don't take it from us - we're 2022 Travelers' Choice Award Winners on TripAdvisor!

Our Guests LOVE Backcountry Journeys

At Backcountry Journeys we’ve been perfecting photography trips for years and have some of the BEST photo guides.

With one of the highest return guest ratios in the adventure travel space we’ve become the gold standard for what a photography 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!

SEE WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS HAVE TO SAY

“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!”

Marion A

Sydney, Australia

“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.”

Linda E

Chicago, Illinois

"Just completed the Great Smoky Mountains in Autumn standard trip with Backcountry Journeys. This is my 3rd trip with BCJ and as was expected it was another awesome trip. Our guides, Russell Graves and Ben Blankenship were great. Having focused mainly on landscape tours previously, this tour had a good mix of landscape and wildlife. Our guides were patient, proficient and extremely helpful in providing tips on appropriate lenses and the proper camera setting for every occasion. Since they had abundant knowledge of the Smokies we were in the right place at the right time. To top off the fact that being in the Park was special, the food and lodging provided throughout the trip were top notch!"

Tony E

Springfield, Missouri

"I'm an amateur photographer and wanted a tour that focused on getting "the picture" as well as teaching you about your camera and getting those pictures. This group did exactly that. I went on Backcountry Journey's Ultimate Northern Lights 6-day trip in Oct 11-17, 2020. Had a fantastic experience! Our guide, Russ, was knowledgeable, helpful, patient and definitely wanted us to have a good photo experience. Ours was a small group (thanks to COVID), but he gave individual attention to each of us and was always ready to answer questions or help. Fortunately for our group, the weather, KP numbers, and solar wind cooperated and we got some incredible pics! Russ had several different sites picked out for us to view the Lights, and was flexible to make changes when the weather dictated to do so. They chose a very nice hotel and restaurants for us. They also had COVID rules that the group adhered to, making the trip comfortable under the circumstances. I would highly recommend the company and will travel with them in the future."

Cindy S

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

QUESTIONS?
Call us at 928-478-1521 or email us at adventure@backcountryjourneys.com
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