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 Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, 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

2020 Xploring Light Live YouTube Interview about my Photography

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