As anyone who knows me will attest, photography of all sorts has been a life long passion of mine. Some, such as Donncha, are fairly new to the art and, in my very humble opinion, would appreciate some advice to help make their pictures just that little bit more professional and less amateurish at the same time.

I’m going to be giving four lessons in this first photography post, the first dealing with how to use the autofocus feature of the Panasonic FZ20 especially with regard to aviation where focussing has to be spot on, the second on how to crop and adjust a wildlife photograph using Adobe Elements for professional results, the third to show the importance of timing in wildlife photography and finally how to take perfect nighttime shots of an English seaside town.

Lesson 1

I found myself at RAF Culdrose in Cornwall earlier this year with my wife and a friend called Bully and his girlfriend. We were just going back to enjoy a well deserved beer at our hotel, having visited some gardens somewhere, when Bully suggested we stop by the airfield to see what was about. I wasn’t going to pass this chance up! To use the autofocus on a Panasonic FZ20 make sure the little switch on the left of the lens barrel is flicked up. I think you’ll agree, the results are astounding!


Lesson 2

Having mastered the autofocus, it’s now time to move on to bird photography. You can see that the first of this trilogy needed cropping and resizing. (I cannot overemphasise the importance of cropping in wildlife photography. Remember. Crop, crop, crop!)


We need to crop this photo to concentrate on the subject. The bird.


This now looks a lot better. All that’s needed is a little enhancement.


The finished result is superb. Good enough for any wildlife guide. I certainly don’t need to tell you what it is!

Lesson 3

Timing is crucial in wildlife photography. Without this, I’d suggest, God given talent the results may have been a little disappointing. Remember, though, the beauty of digital photography is the ability to remove pictures from your camera without having to develop them first. I think my mother may have taught me that.


I think you can all see what’s happened here. Unusually, I’ve pressed the shutter before the autofocus could take effect. But, the beauty is you can always try again.


And here we are. Another stunning shot.

Lesson 4

Finally, night time photography. An easy mistake for the novice is to assume that just because their eyes have adjusted to the poor lighting conditions afforded by most British nights, their camera’s lens has done the same thing. I always, always, always leave my camera on for a good hour or two before even thinking of taking night time shots. This means my camera will take well focussed, well timed and well exposed photographs. Time after time!


I think you’ll agree that this spectacular night time grab of BritishSeasideTownOnSea gives you a stunning view and yet a poignant understanding of what life in BritishSeasideTownOnSea at night is like. 

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12 Responses to Photography

  1. Pingback: Holy Shmoly! :: The SadOldTosser’s Guide to Photography

  2. Donncha says:

    Matt.. you crack me up, great post! I’ve learnt loads and look forward to catching up and swapping photography tips next weekend!

  3. matty206 says:

    I haven’t fiinished yet. When I get back next week there’ll be a lesson about how to take photos of Chavs in Cork from ground level! (Great bloody photos, but bloody hell, you’re taking a risk!)

  4. ryan says:

    some good advice there.. I’ll have to try and keep your guidance in mind when I’m out with my camera next.

    Looking forward to the masterclass in scanger photography. Would that be from a safe distance with a telephoto lens or up close and personal with a wide angle? I like to do all my scanger portraits from a safe distance; normally using a tool like google earth. thats as close as I like to get normally

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  6. As a professional nature photographer, this is delightful. Keep up the good work!

  7. Jacinta says:

    Matt, please move over to Cork permanently. We badly need your phototgraphy expertise and anything else you can advise us on. Thanks mate!

  8. Tycho says:

    Freakin’ hilarious! I love the digital enhancement of the bird, really brings out its beautiful (totally blurred) colors… 🙂

  9. Ashley says:


  10. Mike says:

    Thanks for the photography tips. Your explanations are really funny. Definitely made mySaturday afternoon.

  11. Pingback: Eric Setiawan’s weblog » Photography

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