The Setup & Equipment
All of Michael’s Elgin Park images are composed in camera; he doesn’t use Photoshop to digitally manipulate them in any way. The very minimal post-production he does consists of slighting desaturating the color or adding a tint to the final image, or maybe removing a person in the background.
While he began shooting on a little 6-megapixel point and shoot, he eventually upgraded to the 14-megapixel Canon SX280, which he sets to automatic mode and composes the scenes on the viewing screen.
As Michael explained in an interview with Fstoppers, “What I have found is that 14 megapixels is almost too much for what I need to take convincing diorama shots. There is too much information being recorded which makes every little detail show up in the photographs. When working with miniatures, at least for myself, too much detail distracts from the total scene. Also, to capture a “retro” feeling, there needs to be a blur of sorts. If you go through old photos there is a slight lack of clarity to them. I think psychologically it gives them some emotional distance.”
As for how he constructs the models in his scenes, Michael uses resin-coated paper, styrene plastic and basswood, plus any other found objects he thinks might look good.
To craft everything, he’ll use a number of tools, including X-acto knives, sanding blocks, rulers, paper, super glue, and paint. To add in elements like snow or rain, Michael uses baking soda or mists water by lightly spraying it over the set.
Since he doesn’t have a car, Michael can often be found towing a luggage cart all over town. On it, he carts a folding table, his model base, boxes of model cars and buildings, and any supplies he needs.