About header image - Oregon waterfall

About Me

Mike Shipman profile photoThe world is an interesting place, and we all have something to say about it. Some of us write, paint, sculpt, construct, speak, shout, sing, dance, draw, film, or photograph about our world and our place in it. Photography can be your voice, it can be your relaxation, it can be your key to exploration, it can be your career.

My goal is to empower you to be a better photographer, whether it’s making more meaningful photographs of your family, creating works of art for the gallery wall, or aspiring to be published in or work for National Geographic. Together, we are Breaking the Barriers to Creative Vision TM by building a strong foundation from which to grow.

I’m a self-taught, full time, independent fine art, commercial, and editorial photographer with a degree in wildlife biology. Prior to being a full time photographer I worked for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Denver Museum of Natural History, US Forest Service, Colorado Department of Parks & Recreation, and environmental consulting. Some of my photography clients are listed below. My photographs have been published in SHUTR.photo, Shutterbug, Montana Headwall Magazine, High Country News, and McCall Magazine, and my photographic prints are in private collections around the world. I’ve also designed movie posters and other materials for the award-winning Vietnam War documentary film Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor and its companion film, I Married the War: Wives of Combat Veterans Tell Their Story.

My photographic interests are wide-ranging, from landscapes and environmental issues to hot rods and the human figure. My background in the natural sciences and ecology has helped me develop a “big picture” view of the world and, along with continuous practice honing my photographic vision, I feel I’m able to be aware of my surroundings in a way that creates more photographic opportunities and enriches my “seeing” and interpreting the world around me. Blue Planet Photography was established in 1992 and I’ve been teaching photography using my own curriculum since 1998, and leading workshops since 2002. I’ve been an Idaho Commission on the Arts Teaching Artist since 2010.

I work in the studio as well as outdoors and on location. I shoot almost 100% digital but continue to use analog processes because I love the hands-on aspect of creating art. I still have a stockpile of Polaroid film that I will shoot until it is finished and I also work with the cyanotype process. I’ve recently begun dabbling in linocut printing and monoprints, and have been building a bookbinding studio for the past couple years to handmake books with my own content.

I love to teach and help others grow in the art of photography in informal classroom settings and during workshops in Idaho and throughout the world. Workshops are conducted in small groups (less than 10) to ensure personal attention and ease of group movement on location. Classes are generally taught in a lecture style setting, but can be held anywhere, indoors or out. Private workshops and classes can be customized for individuals or groups. Please contact me if you are interested in a custom workshop or class. I believe an artist should understand the fundamentals of their art, but I’m quite open-minded about technique and subject matter. Beyond the fundamentals, the application of technique, use of materials, and presentation is up to the individual artist. My first book on photography is The Ecology of Photography: Senses & Perception and is available directly from me or through Amazon [direct link to book opens in new window]. Other photography books available from me: The Exposure Equation: A practical method for understanding exposure and The Astrophotographer’s Log Book. There is also a historical-fiction chapbook, Big Toe Joe: The Legend of Cannery Row. Both of these books are printed and bound by me and are available through my Shop

Select Exhibitions


  • Art in Embassies, US Embassy, Djibouti, 2021 – 2024
  • Longwater, Boise, ID May 2019
  • Basement Gallery, Boise, ID 2002 – 2003


  • Moments, Nampa, ID 2020
  • Veterans Art Show, Boise, ID 2019
  • Phoenix Rising, Owyhee Hotel, Boise, ID 2017
  • Alexa Rose Foundation, Boise, ID 2016
  • Month of Photography – Boise, ID 2014
  • See.Me Gallery, New York, NY, 2013
  • Foray I & II, Boise, ID 2012
  • House of Art, Aspen Lofts, Boise, ID 2010
  • Living in Idaho, Idaho State Capitol, Boise, ID 2010
  • Basement Gallery, Boise, ID 2004, 2005, 2006, 2006
  • Embassy of Uruguay in The Hague, 2008
  • Miami Center for Photography, Miami, FL 2007
  • Nova Southwestern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 2007
  • Gallery at Hyde Park, Boise, ID 2007
  • Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID 2001
  • Cole Marr Gallery, Boise, ID 1999, 2000

Other Works

  • Big Toe Joe, The Legend of Cannery Row, handmade book, 2020
  • The Exposure Equation: A Practical Method for Understanding Exposure, self-published and hand bound book, 2020
  • The Ecology of Photography: Senses & Perception, self-published book, 2016
  • Collaboration – a multi-media production with the Treasure Valley Concert Band and Idaho Photographic Workshop, Boise Music Week, 2008
  • How Can We Have A Satisfying Life Without Beauty? Baggley Park Public Art Installation, Boise, ID, commemorating the life of George Baggley, 2007
  • Contribution: Essence of Life, a suicide prevention and awareness art event, coordination and curation, Boise State University, 2006

Partial Client List

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Mountain States Construction

Colorado State University

Loyola Marymount University

U.S. Silver

Arizona Wilderness Coalition

U.S. Forest Service

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Idaho Department of Tourism

Idaho Department of Health

Travel Oregon

Manheim Auto Auction

Women’s Cancer Care of Seattle

Kingfisher Arts, LLC

Syringa Cinema

High Country News

PDX Magazine

McCall Magazine



Montana Headwall Magazine

Diesel Tech Magazine

Flight Training Magazine

Idaho Business Review

Discover America

AAA Magazine

Barefoot Breaks Custom Travel

Chumbe Island Coral Park, Tanzania

Mambo Magazine, Tanzania