But over the weekend, it was a simpler sight in his native Norway that caught his eye.
The travel photographer was hiking with friends on the northern Norwegian island of Senja when they spotted a little reindeer calf, white as the snow that blanketed the ground around them.
“He almost disappeared into the snow!” Nordsveen later wrote on Instagram.
Were it not for its dark eyes and bone-colored antlers jutting into the air, the calf might have looked like another snow mound.
Nordsveen and his friends quickly stilled themselves. A brown reindeer that Nordsveen thought was the calf’s mother stood just a few hundred yards beyond, he said.
“The calf seemed a bit scared at first, but we sat completely quiet and were very calm, and eventually it came quite close,” Nordsveen, who is based in Oslo, wrote in an email to The Washington Post.
Nordsveen recalled being so mesmerized that it was a few seconds before his “photographer instinct” kicked in. He grabbed his camera and began shooting.
“It was a very special moment, felt so magical!” Nordsveen said. “We looked straight into each other’s eyes."
Nordsveen estimated the calf stayed close to him for about five minutes before he ran back to his mother. The pair then disappeared into the forest.
On Monday, Nordsveen posted images of the rare white reindeer to Instagram and quickly logged tens of thousands of likes.
“What a beauty,” one user commented. “The prettiest little creature I’ve seen!” wrote another.
Nordsveen said the indigenous Sami people — many of whom herd reindeer in northern Norway — told him white reindeer are so rare that they are thought to bring happiness.
The sight is unusual enough that the Norwegian tourism board once promoted a drone video that had captured an “albino reindeer” running under the midnight sun.
Contrary to popular belief, not all white animals are albino. Some have leucism, a condition that causes an animal to lose pigmentation. (Albinism, on the other hand, means there is no pigmentation to begin with. Albino animals typically have white hair and pink eyes.)
Nordsveen said he began photographing Norwegian landscapes to combine his love of travel and outdoor activities with his desire to capture those memories. He said he puts in a lot of research ahead of his trips to find the best locations and views — but he couldn’t have prepared for the encounter with the white reindeer calf.
“You cannot plan magical moments like the reindeer photos!” he said.
Elyse Samuels contributed to this report.