Welcome to 3 Peaks
Mike Pach, owner of 3 Peaks Photography & Design, is an internationally known, award-winning photographer, speaker and author with more than 40 years of experience in photography. He is the founder of the Colorado Photography Learning Group and has been teaching photography and Photoshop classes since 2007. Mike is the author of Colorado Springs Then and Now, and he conducts night-sky photography workshops. He is an avid outdoorsman who is knowledgeable of many of the best locations for photography in Colorado and is available for private photo tours and coaching.
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A Local Colorado Photographer
Mike is a Visit COS partner, a member of Canon Professional Services, Colorado Springs Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance advisory council, the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak Arts Council, the Colorado Authors League and Dark Skies, Inc.. He has lived in Colorado since 1996 and enjoys showing people the best of what Colorado has to offer.
Teacher & Speaker
I teach classes because I enjoy helping people learn, and I especially enjoy it when I can help someone get past a barrier that’s kept them from reaching their goals. My main goal is to help my students think through the process of creating a photograph as opposed to simply snapping a picture. I want them to learn the skills necessary to make the right decisions regarding composition and camera settings in a variety of situations so that they can successfully capture the images they set out to make. I also want them to understand the importance of visualizing the end result and the role that editing or post-production work plays in the creative process.
I started photographing events when I got hired as a staff writer and photographer for the Fort Carson Mountaineer newspaper in 2006. At the time, I was strictly a nature photographer, and I realized then that I enjoyed photographing events, especially performances. The experience revitalized my interest in photography by presenting me with an opportunity where I discovered that I had skills that I didn’t know I possessed. I received a very flattering compliment from one of the official Army photographers on post who thought I had worked there for years because of the quality of my work and because of the way I handled any assignment that was given to me. Since then, I have photographed people from all walks of life, including generals, astronauts, CEOs, executives, governors, mayors, civil leaders, athletes, musicians and artists.
Move Shoot Move
Mike is an ambassador for Move Shoot Move. Receive a 10% discount on your order by clicking the link or by using code “3 Peaks Discount“.
Mike is an ambassador for Smug Mug. Click the link below for a 14 day free trial with Smug Mug.
Same Tree Different Day
I photographed a tree behind my home every day between January 12, 2015 and January 11, 2016. What started out as an exercise in creativity turned into an inspiring experience full of lessons about mindfulness, goal setting and mental health management. The biggest message I received was that I was provided everything I needed to create a unique photograph each day. All I had to do was show up and be patient.
Colorado Springs Then and Now
Colorado Springs has a rich and vibrant history that is captured in the pages of the “Colorado Springs Then and Now Celebrating 150 years” book. This meticulously crafted book features 75 pairs of “then and now” photos that take readers on a visual journey through time. The team at 3 Peaks Photography has gone to great lengths to recreate the old images with remarkable accuracy, allowing readers to truly see the changes that have taken place in Colorado Springs over the past 150 years.
Once during a conversation, a woman told me that she felt as if I was looking into her soul. I didn’t think anything of it at the time because I thought I was looking at her like I look at everyone else. The more I thought about it, I realized that I was looking at her as if I were going to create a photo of her, and if creating a photo of someone captures their soul, then I guess I was looking into hers.
Several years ago, I asked myself why I create photos. After many years of being a photographer, I never asked myself that question before. I just made photographs because it was something that I enjoyed, and doing so was second nature to me. I create photos because photography is a type of meditation for me, and it’s a way for me to live in the moment and forget about everything else that’s going on while concentrating completely on what I’m observing. It’s a form of mindfulness, and the more I can connect with a subject, especially a subject in nature, the more easily I can see the things that are going on right in front of me, and the better my pictures turn out. Sometimes I seem to manifest things, like a bird flying by at exactly the right moment or an amazing sunset, or clear skies for photographing the Milky Way when the forecast predicted the opposite. The fact is that these circumstances are created by placing yourself in positions to respond to things as they happen. I try to convey this to my students and encourage them to be patient. If you’re out in nature with the intention of capturing some photos, but you’re thinking about what time you need to get home, you’re not going to have the same connection with your surroundings, and you won’t end up with very good photos. The same goes for photographing events or people. When I’m hired to photograph an event and walk into a room, it takes me a few minutes of observation to make that connection. It’s as if a switch gets flipped, and I become totally immersed in what’s happening around me. Once that happens it can be hard for me to turn off that switch and stop taking photos, especially when I’m photographing a musical performance.
I describe my style as “romantic” because my goal is typically to show the beauty in our world. My style is greatly influenced by my musical tastes, the teachings of Wayne Dyer and the impact that the romantic poets I studied, such as William Wordsworth, had on my creativity.
My teaching style was, of course, influenced by the teachers I’ve had throughout my life, but also by my time spent in college as a wilderness guide for an organization called Meet the Wilderness. We would take inner-city kids on five-day backpacking trips in the mountains around Vail, Colorado. Our philosophy was centered on experiential learning, meaning that you learn by doing. I believe that the best way to learn photography is by doing and by making as many mistakes as possible. You can read as many articles and watch as many YouTube videos as you want, but you won’t fully understand the process of creating images unless you dive into experiences that allow you to test and build your skills.
When people ask me what I photograph, I tell them that I photograph experiences. I photograph the experience of practicing mindfulness when immersed in nature. I photograh the experience of standing under a dark sky, observing the wonder and awe of the stars, a meteor shower, the Northern Lights and the Milky Way. I photograph the experience of completely admiring a piece of street art, such as a sculpture or a mural. I photograph the experiences other people are enjoying while attending an event. I photograph the experience of someone expressing their passion through an athletic or musical performance.