About the Artist

My name is Matt Payne and I am a mountain climber, adventurer, and fine art nature and landscape photographer living in Durango, Colorado. In 2018, I completed my life-long goal of climbing the highest 100 mountains in Colorado, where my love of photography was kindled. Since 2017, I have hosted a weekly podcast dedicated to nature photography called “F-Stop Collaborate and Listen.” I am also the co-founder of Nature First Photography, an organization that was created in 2018 to help increase ethical awareness in nature photography. Lastly, I am the co-creator of the Natural Landscape Photography Awards, an international photography competition which rewards and celebrates nature photographers who dedicate themselves to photographing and editing their work in a realistic fashion.

Matt Payne - Nature and Landscape Photographer
Matt Payne 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 Payne - Nature and Landscape Photographer
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 Payne - Nature and Landscape Photographer
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 Payne - Nature and Landscape Photographer
Matt Payne 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 Payne - Nature and Landscape Photographer
Matt Payne 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, Hotpress Fine Art Paper Prints, and ChromaLuxe 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 landscape and nature photography on Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook.

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

EXHIBITIONS

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 Payne - Nature and Landscape Photographer
Matt on top of 14er Wetterhorn Peak at sunrise

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

2022 Shoutout Colorado article about me and my photography

2021 Talking Landscape Photography Live YouTube Conversation about my Photography

2021 Entrepreneur Money Stories Podcast Interview about my Photography and Money Mindset

2021 Outdoor Photography Podcast Interview about my Photography, Podcast, and Psychology

2021 We Talk Photo Podcast Interview about my Photography and Podcast

2020 Xploring Light Live YouTube Interview about my Photography

2020 Podcast Interview on the Understand Photography Show

2019 Podcast Interview on The Landscape Photography Show

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

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

2019 Podcast Interview on the Beginner Photography Podcast

2019 Podcast Interview on the Get In 2 Nature Podcast

2019 Podcast Interview on the Der Landschaftsfotografie Podcast

2018 DGO Magazine article about my photography

2018 Front Page article about my photography in the Durango Herald

2018 Podcast Interview on The Beginner Photography Podcast

2018 Podcast Interview on The Candid Frame

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

2018 Interview with Aperture Academy as Guest Photographer of the Month

2018 Podcast Interview on F-Stop Collaborate and Listen

2018 Podcast Interview with Nick Page on The Landscape Photography podcast

2018 Interview with oopoomoo.com regarding my podcast and photography

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

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 1

2017 Greeley Tribune article regarding my research on Colorado mountaineering deaths

2017 Podcast Interview on the Traveling Image Makers

2015 Interview with ViewBug.com

2015 500px.com Guest Editor, January 2015

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

2014 Coloradoan Newspaper article regarding my research on Colorado mountaineering deaths

2014 My Modern Met article on my night photography

2014 Mirror Newspaper article on my night photography

2012 Pikes Peak Sports article on my photography and mountaineering

2011 KRCC - NPR affiliate - article on my photography

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

AWARDS

2021 One Silver Award and Two Bronze Awards, 2021 Epson International Panorama Awards

2020 Three Bronze Awards, 2020 Epson International Panorama Awards

2018 Four Bronze Awards, 2018 Epson International Panorama Awards

2017 Nominee, 2017 Fine Art Photography Awards - Panoramas

2015 Honorable Mention, 2015 International Photo Nightscape Awards

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

Matt Payne on top of a high Colorado mountain
Matt watching sunset from 14,000 ft.

CODE OF ETHICS / NATURE FIRST

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 Payne - Nature and Landscape Photographer
Matt photographing mountain goats on top of the Maroon Bells

NATURAL LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS

In 2021, I partnered with Tim Parkin, Alex Nail, and Rajesh Jyothiswaran to create an international landscape and nature photography competition in response to over-the-top post-processing that has become popularized and normalized in this artistic medium. The main goal of the Natural Landscape Photography Awards is to celebrate the artistic achievements of landscape photographers who dedicate themselves to capturing the beauty of the landscape in a realistic manner.