Mike showed us his successful competition pictures which featured people in costume at Blists’ Hill, the Black Country Museum, Whitby and various other sites together with landscapes from the Hebrides, the Dingle peninsular and Anglesey. There were shots of intriguing decrepitude too, a derelict cottage that Mike and his colleagues from Smethwick came across.
Mike was remarkable for his frankness and his willingness to tell us how he had achieved the effects in his pictures and I know that many members will have scurried home to retry some of the treatments available in Topaz and Nik which they had either overlooked or had not realised the full potential.
His landscapes were often shot using a very dense neutral filter, enabling long exposures which turn the sea into a soft blur, but he combined these with other exposures, taken normally which, of course, did capture detail.
One technique he used which is really like focus-stacking was to overcome the problem of depth of field not allowing two subjects at different distances to be in focus. He would simply combine two shots, one of the nearest protagonist and then one of the second subject, further away.
He frequently used a wide-angle lens for his portraits, which added an exciting dynamic but often distorted backgrounds, but this was overcome by separately adjusting the geometry of the background.
An interesting evening, providing much food for thought.