Holly Mandarich grew up along the shores of Lake Michigan exploring wild places like the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. Those places inspired a love of storytelling. Early on, Holly began documenting her trips, finding new perspectives on life through the lens of her camera. In college, she honed her skills of photo journalism. When she moved to Colorado, Holly has brought together her love for storytelling and the outdoors, capturing the beauty of our State and the lives of active people enjoying its landscapes.

During our recent redesign of Dayhikes Near Denver, we found Holly’s work and decided it was the perfect imagery to communicate what we want for our visitors. Her photographs inspire us to break free from the routine and to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. What follows is an interview with Holly so you can get to know of the storyteller behind her work and the images that may have already beckoned you back out and onto the trail. 

What have you discovered by looking at life through the lens of a camera?

Holly: I have discovered that everything can have emotion, even inanimate objects, light helps determine these factors. By looking through the lens and challenging myself to see with different perspectives, it gives me the power to communicate what I feel in a situation, rather than simply what is just in front of me. This allows me to tell a story in a whole new way.

When people are viewing your photography, how do you want your work to make them feel?

paddleboarder on colorado lake by colorado adventure photographer holly mandarich

Holly: I want people to see my photography, and see themselves in the experience, so much outdoor and lifestyle photography to me feels unattainable, with perfect models, and perfect scenes, I want people to feel like the outdoors is accessible to them, and that those picture perfect moments – are for everyone. When I shoot it’s my intention to have my photographs feel authentic.

"...those picture perfect moments - are for everyone."

What do your favorite clients have in common?

Holly: Everyone I work with has a similar sentiment when it comes to how they approach their business and their life, they are passionate, act with purpose, and are focused on enjoying the great outdoors with good people! 

snowboarder on mountain ridge by colorado adventure photographer holly mandarich

Let's talk Colorado: What story do you want to tell about our beautiful State?

hiker in high country of colorado wearing hat with green backpack by colorado adventure photographer holly mandarich

Holly: For Colorado specifically, I want to tell the story of its beauty and community. Colorado is a place for people to reconnect with themselves and reconnect with the people they love most. By experiencing the great outdoors alongside your best friend, you’re sure to have an impactful experience that goes beyond anything else, considering you’re in the land of giant mountains, and endless sunshine!

"I want people to see my photography and see themselves in the experience...to feel like the outdoors is accessible to them..."

Where's your favorite place to hike in Colorado?

Holly: The Holy Cross Wilderness! It holds a type of magic and silence that I have never been able to find anywhere else. Being above tree-line in that wilderness area will touch your soul, especially in late July when the wildflowers are in full bloom.

If someone from out-of-State, asked you, "What do you love about living in Colorado?"...

man and woman with canoe at high mountain lake by colorado adventure photographer holly mandarich

Holly: The sunshine, the mountains, and the remote silence you can find! There is magic here. Colorado can be filled with humans, but if you know where to go, you can find those magical moments we all seek!

Holly is an adventure lifestyle photographer who works closely with outdoor brands, active brands, and tourism destinations to capture authentic adventure! She also offers adventure elopement photography packages! 

You can see more of Holly’s work and get in contact with her here:

Her Website: http://hollymandarich.com

On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/holly.mandarich