About the Artist

My name is Matt Payne and I am a mountain climber, adventurer, and fine art nature and landscape photographer specializing in unique and hard-to-reach locations and subjects, including the highest mountains in Colorado. I love the craft of landscape photography and have produced a podcast dedicated to that love affair since April, 2017 called "F-Stop Collaborate and Listen." I wanted to create a space to have meaningful conversations with other landscape photographers all over the world. I also follow a very strict code of ethics as a nature photographer. Mostly, I'm just a regular guy that loves being outside.

On top of a high 13er before sunset

I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado and was lucky to have parents that impressed upon me a healthy appreciation for the outdoors. I grew up quite poor, which was actually quite a blessing in disguise, as our family vacations involved going camping in the Colorado mountains almost every weekend during the summer. My father took me along on his pursuit to climb Colorado's highest 100 mountains back in the 1980's and helped me climb my first 14,000 ft. mountain at the age of 6. My parents instilled a very strong sense of ethical appreciation of the wilderness, teaching me leave no trace ethics. On the slopes of Colorado's mountains, my father taught me how to tread lightly to preserve the fragile tundra and ecosystem of our highest places. 

Matt's 1st 14er at age 6

In 2014 I moved to Portland, Oregon and enjoyed photographing all of the wonders that Oregon has to offer, including waterfalls, rainforests, mountains, lakes and beaches! In late 2015 I moved back to Colorado to reside in the town of Durango at the base of Colorado's most amazing mountains with my wife Angela and my son Quinn.

Matt on top of South Sister in Oregon

As of 2018, I have climbed all of Colorado's 14,000 ft. peaks (there are 53) and all of the highest 100 mountains in Colorado affectionately known as the Centennials. It is on my adventures to these locations that I am inspired the most to produce images that truly speak to my soul. 

Matt on top of Dallas Peak

Honestly, I'm just an average guy that loves the wilderness and outdoors. My goal as a nature photographer is to show you parts of our world you may have never seen before. I want to transport you to these places and have you experience the raw wonder and beauty of our world. I hope through my images you can also feel wonder and joy and cultivate a greater appreciation of the natural environment and the positive impact it can have on each of us.

Matt on top of 14er Capitol Peak

The entire collection of my work is available as fine art prints using only the highest quality printing and mounting processes available today including TruLife Fine Art Acrylic Prints, Epson Cold Press Bright Fine Art Prints, and ChromoLuxe Metal Prints. If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact me and I would be glad to take care of your needs. 

You can follow my progress and efforts on InstagramFlickrTwitter, and Facebook.

Matt Payne on Thunder Pyramid Peak
Matt on top of his final Centennial - Thunder Pyramid


2009   Mountain Living Studio, Manitou Springs, CO – Selected work on display

2010   Mountain Living Studio, Manitou Springs, CO – Selected work on display

2011   Mountain Living Studio, Manitou Springs, CO – Selected work on display

2013   Colorado In Focus – Business of Art Center, Manitou Springs, CO

2013   John Fielder Art Gallery – Denver, Colorado – Selected work on display

2016   Ultimate Mountain Living - Durango, Colorado - Selected work on display and for sale

2017   Durango Arts Center - "Traditions" International Juried Photography Exhibit

Matt on top of 14er Wetterhorn Peak at sunrise


2011   KRCC - NPR affiliate - article on my photography

2012   Pikes Peak Sports article on my photography and mountaineering

2013   Colorado Springs Style article on my photography

2013   Colorado Springs Business Journal article on my professional work

2014   Mirror Newspaper article on my night photography

2014   My Modern Met article on my night photography

2014   Coloradoan Newspaper article regarding my research on Colorado mountaineering deaths

2014   Modern Luxury Aspen Magazine, December 2014 -2-page spread and article

2015   500px.com Guest Editor, January 2015

2015   Interview with ViewBug.com

2017   Podcast Interview on the Traveling Image Makers

2017   Greeley Tribune article regarding my research on Colorado mountaineering deaths

2017   Centerfold article and photography for the San Juan Mountains Journal - Issue 1

2017   Contribution to the B+H Explora Blog on how to photograph fall colors

2017   Centerfold article and photography for the San Juan Mountains Journal - Issue 2

2018   Interview with oopoomoo.com regarding my podcast and photography

2018   Podcast Interview with Nick Page on The Landscape Photography podcast

2018   Interview with Aperture Academy as Guest Photographer of the Month 

2018   Podcast Interview on F-Stop Collaborate and Listen

2018   Article and photography on the Grenadier Mountains of Colorado for the San Juan Mountains Journal - Issue 3

2018   Podcast Interview on The Candid Frame

2018   Podcast Interview on The Beginner Photography Podcast 

2018   Front Page article about my photography in the Durango Herald

2018   DGO Magazine article about my photography

2019   Podcast Interview on the Der Landschaftsfotografie Podcast

2019   Podcast Interview on the Get In 2 Nature Podcast

2019   Podcast Interview on the Beginner Photography Podcast

2019   Podcast Interview on f/8 The Photographer's Perspective Podcast

2019   "In Layers" Interview on Nature Photographer's Network

2019  Podcast Interview on The Landscape Photography Show

2020  Podcast Interview on the Understand Photography Show

Matt on top of 14er Handies Peak with his father Ray


2013   Grand Prize, 2nd place & 3rd place winner - Night Photography -  Colorado Springs Creative Photography Community Contest

2013   Grand Prize winner - Black and White - Colorado Springs Creative Photography Community Contest

2013   1st Place, 2nd Place & Fifth Place winner - Landscape  - Colorado Springs Creative Photography Community Contest

2013   Grand Prize winner - Colorado Springs Parks & Recreation 2014 Calendar

2013   Grand Prize winner – Colby Brown fall color photo contest

2015   Honorable Mention, 2015 International Photo Nightscape Awards

2017   Nominee, 2017 Fine Art Photography Awards - Panoramas

2018   Four Bronze Awards, 2018 Epson International Panorama Awards

Matt watching sunset from 14,000 ft.


I am a proponent of having a Code of Ethics as a landscape and nature photographer. 

Photography and the natural world have gone together since the earliest days of the camera. Historically, photography has been a vital tool in environmental protection, promoting the conservation of wild places, and encouraging positive stewardship practices. 

In 2017, a group of photographers living in Colorado, including myself, met in Ridgway, Colorado to address a growing concern we all had as nature photographers: the places we love to photograph were being destroyed. In response to this, a careful, meticulous process was followed by our group to develop a way to fight back.

As a founding member, I’m very proud of what we created - Nature First: The Alliance for Responsible Nature Photography. I’m 100% dedicated to following the Nature First Principles that we developed:

  1. Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.
  2. Educate yourself about the places you photograph.
  3. Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.
  4. Use discretion if sharing locations.
  5. Know and follow rules and regulations.
  6. Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.
  7. Actively promote and educate others about these principles

Please join us in considering and possibly re-thinking your own practices, adopting or adapting these principles, and helping promote these ideas among other photographers.

Matt photographing mountain goats on top of the Maroon Bells