AFTER being left a tripod by his late grandfather, Matthew Pinner had little idea that four and a half years later he would become a professional photographer well known for his sumptuous photos of Dorset.

Matthew has just published his first book Dorset in Photographs. It contains images of local landmarks and landscapes, each one a love letter to his home county.

Most of the photos were taken in the early morning or evening when some of the Dorset scenery looks at its most stunning bathed in gentle light.

Matthew's love of photography began after his granddad passed away four and a half years ago and left Matthew his tripod.

From Hardy's Monument to Hengistbury Head, Matthew, 27, of Christchurch, has endured numerous 4am wake-up alarms in his bid to capture perfect shots all over Dorset.

He said: "The 4am starts have all been because the light is most impressive early in the day. The worst time to go and take photos is in the middle of the day when the sun is higher in the sky.

"I prefer the sunrise to the sunset shots because there aren't many people about in the morning and when you get that image and post it online most people are thinking 'I was still asleep while this was happening.'"

His fiancee Emma has shown a lot of patience putting up with all his early morning starts and late finishes, Matthew says.

"I remember one Boxing Day I really wanted to go and photograph Mupe Bay at sunrise. I remember Emma saying 'You can't, it's Boxing Day." But she's very patient with me and has stuck by me through all these early mornings.

"I'm so proud of the Mupe Bay shot because it's hard to reach and you have to find out the Lulworth Ranges times to access it and also the tide times and then there's the walk to get there. So that was quite a hard shot to get!"

Matthew thinks the key to his seductive images is being in the moment and seeing what is happening through his own eyes.

"I think you have to enjoy seeing the view in front of you rather than looking through the lens all the time to see it.

"Some photographers just look through the camera all the time and completely miss the enjoyment of the view and what's going on in front of them and that shows in the photo."

One of Matthew's favourite Dorset landmarks to photograph is the iconic Durdle Door.

"I love taking pictures of Durdle Door at sunrise, it's perfect when you can get the sun pictured through the arch of Durdle Door. You can wait a year to take that perfect image and get that perfect shot with everything all lined up. Everything has to come together all at once."

Anther location Matthew enjoys photographing is Wareham River.

"The hardest thing is trying to find the best locations in the area you are photographing. You have to find exactly where the best place is for pictures."

Matthew, who works as a photographer for the Harbour Hotels group, says the idea for compiling his photos into a book came about after a friend suggested it.

He began growing his reputation as a photographer after posting his pictures on social media. His shots of Dorset's spectacular scenery rapidly captured people's imagination and Matthew now has more than 100,000 followers on Twitter.

"I've always wanted to do a book," Matthew said. "It's nice to have all the images together. It was a friend in Yorkshire who had just done a book of photos in Yorkshire who said to me 'you need to do a book of Dorset images'.

"It took about a year to put it all together. I decided to group the photos together according to the seasons."

After getting the bug for photography completely by chance through inheriting a tripod, Matthew says he would encourage any budding photographers to start off small.

"You can get a basic camera, I would recommend a Canon 60D which costs about £250 and is fantastic for beginners. It's good because you can change lenses and it does good video so it's a great entry level camera and also if you're deciding between photos and video."

The next project for Matthew is a book on neighbouring county Hampshire. He also plans to do more travelling - with his trusty Canon 5D Mark 3 camera in tow of course.

"I'm doing some work out in China for a five star resort soon and I am hoping to be doing more travelling and taking photos. I think my dream locations to do photos in are Iceland and Norway. I would love to photograph the Northern Lights."

*Dorset in Photographs by Matthew Pinner is published by Amberley and is available from Dorset branches of Waterstone's, Bookends in Christchurch, Bridport Museum, WH Smith and also online through Amazon.