Mietkowski was about to start work on the latest James Bond film in Prague, part of an impressive catalogue of feature films.
His work as director of photography for visual effects included The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Da Vinci Code.
He initially built his technical skills as one of a generation of technicians assembled by Derek Meddings at BBC's children's TV.
The move to feature films came naturally with motion control work on films such as Hamlet, Mission: Impossible 2 and Event Horizon.
"I know that many people in the industry felt that Rick was on his way to achieving an exciting catalogue of photographic work and one wonders just what else he could have achieved given more time," says visual effects director of photography Nigel Stone, who worked with him on a number of features.