Mike Boese had a goal of hiking all the fourteeners in Colorado. Sometimes he would capture the scenery with his camera, and other times he basked in the view.

“That was a great way to see the state,” Boese said.

Several years later, blending both nature and art led him and his wife, Joey Montoya Boese, to start Peak Life Photography, a studio in downtown Montrose.

“It was about six years ago that I took the plunge from working retail full-time to doing this,” he said. “The freedom has been amazing.”

He offers portraits and professional headshots and at times, he and Joey will team up to photograph weddings for newlyweds.

“We started shooting weddings together and still really enjoy doing that. Weddings are a big part of what we do.”

Mike has visited several landmark locations in Colorado, capturing the landscape through his photography with a professional finish.

But if there’s any place that doesn’t match anywhere else, it’s the San Juan Mountains.

“They’re completely incredible,” he said. “We’re lucky to live so close to them. I could spend a lifetime taking photos of those mountains.”

Using his Nikon DSLR camera, Boese has photographed the Blue Mesa Reservoir, Mt. Sneffels, and Black Canyon National Park, to name a few. Capturing the beauty of these places isn’t so simple. It requires time and patience, Boese notes, but he embraces the challenge.

“Being patient enough to wait for things to happen,” he said. “You can't force it. Sometimes you're waiting for the right thing to happen. Having an open mind when you’re out there. You think you'll get one thing but you get something completely different, and that's ok.”

In fact, the challenge is a large reason why Boese continues to display nature through his art.

“Part of it is just the challenge of getting out there and trying to reach my own potential. Challenging myself to be in these amazing places and find when the lighting's right. It's a tough challenge but it's a lot of fun.”

He hopes to capture more lightning shots as a new challenge. With a lightning trigger now on his camera, it should help the process, he said.

There’s quite a few factors to consider, Boese said, particularly if he’s searching for a specific shot.

“A lot of times it’s weather conditions that make the photo, lighting, things that are happening with the weather,” he said. “Thinking of the weather, thinking of places to go, places you have shot before, places you haven't shot before.”

As an avid hiker, blending both worlds came easily after the passion for photography joined Boese during his outdoor recreation. He honed his craft, developing black and white film in college and working with the school newspaper. Joey gave him a Nikon digital camera for his birthday years ago, which further motivated him to keep photography as an extensive hobby.

And even with all the places he’s visited and photos he’s taken, there isn’t one that trumps the others.

“I think favorites are constantly changing,” he said. “We're always changing as people and evolving. My favorites aren't everybody else's favorites. We associate our experiences with an image.”

As Boese continues to capture photos that he hopes helps people appreciate nature, he’s going to continue to appreciate the outdoors.

“A lot of times I'm just enjoying my time out there, enjoying the fresh air.”

He encourages others to get out there and experience the adventure, the lifestyle and see what they find.

“Challenge yourself and get out there, good things happen. Try to enjoy nature.”

To view some of Mike’s work, visit peaklifephotography.com.

Josue Perez is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press

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