Find Out What Inspires Travel Photographer Alex Strohl’s Incredible Work
When you think of travel Instagrammers, you might have a favorite picture that comes to mind. With so many places being documented around the world on the platform, it's not hard to gather a virtual scrapbook, filled with stunning shots of other people's travels — a wish list of sorts. And there's a good chance @alexstrohl has taken some of the photos you've mentally added to your Instagram bucket list.
The photographer has been documenting his trips around the world for his (now 1.7 million) followers for years — often to incredibly remote spots that are nearly impossible to plan a casual vacation around.
"I once took the summer and kayaked up into a glacial lagoon like 30 miles from civilization in the middle of an ice field on Knik Glacier in Alaska," Strohl told T+L. "You're standing on 300 to 400 feet of ice, but there's a lake on the ice. It's very surreal, especially when you get dropped off there for a day from a helicopter and it's just you and the kayaks and this lake that could disappear any day. There's an unnerving sense of freedom, but also a very short time where this lake would exist. I don't know how many people have paddled in a field of ice like that, but I'm sure it's not many."
While most might deem this an extraordinary experience, and it certainly is, "extraordinary" is not what Strohl is necessarily looking to photograph. "I'm usually not trying to chase the extraordinary because it's easier to do," he said. "I'd rather focus on the ordinary — but I do love a good challenge."
You'll notice a theme throughout his photographs: grounding photos of the beautiful scenes that surround us in nature. His tendency to search for alpine views doesn't surprise him one bit, and he attributes it to his childhood.
"I grew up in Spain, so being exposed to the mountains as a kid helped," he said. "We lived in an area that was 45 minutes from Madrid, and 45 minutes from the nearest ski resort."
His father was always on the road, but made sure to take the time to explore the great outdoors with his son. "He shared it with me every weekend," Strohl said. "He worked a lot, but on the weekends in the winter we would go skiing, and we'd go hiking in the summer. We swam in the lakes, chased cows...little memories like that. It's things like this were I'm like, 'Okay, yeah—this is why I'm constantly chasing an alpine landscape.'"
But the first time Strohl picked up a camera didn't come until a couple of years later, when he was living in France with his family. After he was kicked out of high school in Spain, his family bought some land in the woods and Strohl attended a boarding school. "There wasn't much to do, so I would roam around with a motorcycle. I was 15 years old, and I would just get lost in the woods," he said.
After becoming bored with the same ride weekend after weekend, Strohl borrowed his dad's camera and started documenting his trips. Soon his aunt, a painter herself, hosted a show featuring his photographs in her home. Another big move (both physically and artistically) happened next: Strohl relocated to Quebec.
"I got to experience the whole set of seasons — I have never seen anything like it before," he said. "The seasons were really something that inspired me."
And this is clear in his work. All of these things — solo adventure, alpine scenes, seasonal transition — have combined to create what very well may be one of the most wanderlust-inspiring accounts on Instagram today.
So, as I mentioned before, some of Strohl's photos may have made your list of favorites. But what are his favorite photos? We asked, and boy did he deliver. Check them out ahead.
Kayaking at Knik Glacier was one of Strohl's favorite experiences as a photographer.
A view of Knik Glacier from a kayak.
A view of the Andes Mountains overlooking an idyllic lake.
An inside look at one of Alaska's glacial caves from a kayak.
A moment of rest and relaxation mid-Alaska adventure.
Hiking through the Andes Mountains in Peru.
Taking a moment to enjoy one of Arizona's many hot springs.
This gives a new definition to the phrase "room with a view."
Bridge Into Fog
Even the foggiest of scenes deserve a moment of appreciation.
A snowy Canadian scene, as seen from a helicopter.
View of the Andes Mountains in Peru from the coziness of a tent.
Taking a quick dip in the Caribbean Sea.
The view of the French Alps from the Chamonix resort area.
A little holiday spirit on Christmas Lake.
Never underestimate the power of a good travel buddy.
A secluded glacial-water lake nestled next to a mountain.
On the Road
A great reminder to take in the scene while you're driving, as well.
If only every break in the day could look like this.
A courageous traveler takes an icey dip in a river in Montana.
A lone canoe exploring a lake in Montana.
If this stream in Hawaii isn't the kind of thing dreams are made of, we don't know what is.
Log Cabin at Night
This might be the ultimate remote getaway.
The view of one of Montana's many stunning peaks.
This sunset in Montana is giving us major wanderlust.
Glacier National Park
A lakeside view of St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park.
Tent Under the Stars
This is ultimate camping goals.
An aerial view of St. Mortiz, Switzerland, one of the most famous resort areas in the world.