Our Solar System

Our Sun and Planets

Isn’t it strange how some things just catch your eye and make you think WOW!

The BBC (along with many other news streams I expect) were running a story yesterday about a Monster Star that has been detected using the Very Large Telescope in Chile. It has absolutely no relevance to our everyday lives but you still read it and think WOW! 265 times bigger than our own sun… amazing!

The Sun against the Star

The Astronomical expert informs us that if it were in our solar system it would outshine the Sun the way that the Sun outshines the full Moon… WOW! I don’t even know what that means but I guess I would be using more than the 0.6 density grad filter I use most mornings when I’m out shooting the sunrise! Lucky then it’s 165,000 light years away.

A Very Large Telescope

And we thought the sun looked big in this shot of the sunrise Gavan took back in 2005.  We were reminded of this amazing shot from 5 years ago as someone has recently purchased it as a birth gift.

Our lovely Sun

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Yul Brynner

Yul Brynner in The King and I

Many many years ago when I tell my daughters the world was black and white I had the unfortunate experience of answering to an area manager. Every month he, and it was always a he would walk into the store like Yul Brynner in the King and I and point out every tiny fault. He would stroll in with his arms crossed and nod to a hanger out of place or float towards the only tie in the wrong section..an amazing sixth sense. We now live in vivid colour but I am sure this is still the case.

More than ever brand rules, so it amazes me that the modern day Yul would not notice something that would damage a stores credibility.

Recently I have had the pleasure of visiting the little boys room of three large concerns that I won’t name.. wait, no I will name and shame as they will never read this. The Shell Garage in St Albans, the King had obviously been in and everything was, as I imagine as the brand guide would demand. The shop was laid out to maximise functionality and to encourage us to spend spend spend and all very clean and tidy. I walked from the bright lights of the shop floor and entered the forgotten and neglected space called the toilet. The experience reminded me of when I was boat hopping around the Greek islands and was staying at a small taverna with the worst toilet on the face of the planet. My co travellers and I had to hold our breath and rush in and try and do our business before the need for oxygen became to strong and we had to give in knowing it was going to be nasty. A Greek taverna in the 80’s was part of the experience but a Shell garage today should not be.

A very clean Toilet

In this case a very clean toilet

Another company with a very strong brand and a very strong whiff from the back room is …. Drum roll please, Costa Coffee. They might be re inventing the coffee wheel with their wonderful new ‘Flat white” but the powers that be need to pay attention to their little boys rooms.

Anyone been to Paddington station recently and had the pleasure of spending a penny or as it now costs twenty pennies? You pay your money and enter through a turnstile like going into The house of horrors at a fairground. You then go down some steps and round a sharp corner… has a dog died? Have I mysteriously been transported to a zoo? This can’t be real. How can such a large public place where new arrivals from overseas possibly desperate to relieve themselves of twenty pence be such a dreadful experience. As I write this I can’t quite work out how best to get this across to you as I am not skilful enough to describe the almost alien environment that is called a toilet. I am sure Prof Brian Cox could get excited about the unusual living bacteria breeding in the room under the concourse at Paddington station. They even have shower facilities for weary travellers who want to freshen up. But how can you shower with a mask on?

Rant over.. I am asking myself with our company, The Day That where is our toilet door? I don’t have to act like Yul and check every photograph that goes out the door for either a unique wedding gift or Christening gift as the guy’s do it them selves. They check every picture over and it is their pride that will not allow any photographs to go out to a customer with the slightest blemish. They are encouraged to take pride in their work and so would never let the stench start in the first place.

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Godrevy Head, Godrevy Island and Godrevy lighthouse have a special place in our hearts here at The Day That as they feature in more of our photographs than any other area. Situated on the eastern side of St Ives Bay, they offer a strong contrast to the, often soft, colours of sea and sky in our dawn pictures.

This enigmatic area has drawn human interest for hundreds if not thousands of years, from several prehistoric archeological finds, through mining interests spanning several hundred years to the dangers of the rocks to shipping and the building of the Godrevy lighthouse. Now protected by the ownership of the National Trust, it has also become a Site of Special Scientific Interest with some of the best examples of coastal heathland in the UK.

I, like many artists and photographers, am drawn to the lighthouse. This iconic structure with its life-saving light has added mystery by being so close but almost untenable due to the dangerous stretch of water that separates it from the mainland. I was very pleased to learn of an exhibition being staged by the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth centred around Godrevy lighthouse with several works on display featuring the light over many years.

‘This captivating new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall features artwork inspired by the iconic Godrevy Lighthouse.

Charles Thomas and Jessica Mann began collecting these works over 50 years ago, when they met and fell in love on an archaeological dig at Godrevy.  Since that time, the couple have collected various works of art, poetry and objects depicting the lighthouse, including pieces by artists such as Bryan Pearce, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Kurt Jackson.

Godrevy Lighthouse has seen considerable changes along the north coast and the exhibition includes artwork showing 1780s St Ives, buzzing with marine activity, right up to a 2003 Kurt Jackson piece depicting the calms of the St Ives coast.


Jessica Mann says: “Godrevy Lighthouse has become an icon; it is one of the images that represents Cornwall. This exhibition will give people an insight into the magic of the lighthouse, which Charles has known all his life and I first saw over 50 years ago.” ’

The exhibition runs until 29th August. There is also a general lighthouse exhibition at the museum that runs until the end of the year.

Image and exhibition description © NMMC 2010 – www.nmmc.co.uk

Sunrise at Godrevy a The Day That photograph

One of my favourite The Day That shots featuring Godrevy Island is this one from very early in our archive that surfaced recently with the help of a young lady called Evie to mark her first day. It’s from July 2005 and was taken by Gavan. It helped pave the way for the wonderful style that has developed as we create our unique christening gifts, special wedding gifts and beautiful anniversary presents.

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Are Wedding Exhibitions the best way to promote our Unique Wedding Gifts My top 10 tips

The Day That Baby Show Stand

The Day That Baby Show Stand

Over the past three years we have been attending the National Baby Shows at Earls Court, Excel and The NEC to promote our unique christening gifts and newborn baby gifts. I laugh now as the first show we did we turned up in a 3.5 ton van with enough kit to pack out our huge stand. We now manage to do the same show by filling my trusty Ford Focus.

We now sell more and get more out of the shows making them great value for  money in what can be a very expensive event.

We are considering exhibiting at the National Wedding show at Earls court as we are entering new markets with our fabulous product. More and More customers were asking to use our pictures to create unique Wedding gifts and even as anniversary gift ideas.

As we feel that we are doing this as well as we can I thought I would write my first ever “Top 10 Tips Blog”

So, drum roll please.. Here is my top ten tips on attending Wedding Exhibitions.

1. Aims

Be very clear on your aims, it’s not all about sell sell sell. The amount of stands you see with very worried faces is alarming. We work very hard on collecting contact information from potential customers, usually by holding a competition. The aim of your exhibition should be a Marketing Exercise and not necessarily a selling one.

Remember, new leads can become new customers if treated in the right way.

2. Budget

This can soon rack up so make sure you keep to a tight budget. Remember, it’s not only the stand cost but all the other things you will need to have a successful show.

Design and Print costs for materials

Electricity and lighting (not always included)

Transport and Accommodation

Food

Staffing – Worth getting an extra bod in just to get emails and other data

The actual cost of filling your stand

3. Location Location Location

I have a bit of an issue with this as the sales team will always tell you that all the stands are good. Well this is defiantly not the case. We have had one bad experience where we were in a poor location and it affected our exhibition in such a bad way that I would rather not attend than just take any stand offered. We have specific needs and will always try and get the best possible stand at each show.

4. It’s your Brand, be consistent

It amazes me how many stands look sloppy. Big companies always look great because they understand the power of looking after their brand.

5. Promotion

I have to hold my hand up and say that this is something up to now that we have not been good at. Some points for all of us to think about

- Send out invitations and event promotions to your existing customer base.

- Send out invitations and event promotions to your business network.

- Do some PR. Local press will write about the event, can you score a mention?

- Be sure to advertise the event on your website.

- Also advertise on any online forums or social online networking groups you may belong to.

6. Be presentable on your stand

It sounds obvious but look good on your stand. If you love what you do then this should be enough to get you through the event with a smile on your face. Make no mistake it’s very hard work if you do it properly but always be welcoming and genuine as the person you are speaking to could be the next customer. A definite no no is eating on the stand. Get away, even for 15 minutes and grab a sandwich… also you never know who you will meet (another story that I will blog about next week)

7. Know your market

Another obvious one but you’ll be surprised at how many companies attend exhibitions just because there are lots of people attending. For example I knew a company that attended a woman’s exhibition when they were selling a baby product, not focused enough. They had a disaster of a show and only sold one item… lesson learned.

8. Be prepared

Don’t eave everything to the last minute. If you don’t want to have a flea pit for a hotel (this happened to us) then book as early as you can. Designers will do a better job with a little time rather than a last minute deadline.

Also, you will be stressed enough without having last minute problems on your mind.

9. Follow Up

Data capture as I mentioned earlier is very very important. For example at The National Wedding Exhibition we won’t sell very much as the people attending will be getting married in the future. (Don’t worry though we have a cunning plan to sell on the day too) We will however, be collecting information that will be like gold dust for us that we will cherish and use very carefully as these are our client base. And once they have bought one of our Unique Wedding Gifts they will be a client for life. What do married couples often do next… yes have babies. We would hope they would come back for more and buy on of our pictures as a unique Christening gift or just a gift for friends.

10. Enjoy

Yes it is hard work but you do need to enjoy it. It’s really not worth doing if you can’t look back and think it was a good experience so try and add something to the trip. We usually have a good night out, especially if the exhibition is in London… but that’s another story, hey Chris?

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We were scratching our heads thinking of the best way to celebrate taking our wonderful photographs at dawn that are bought as  unique Christening gifts and unusual wedding gift ideas.

We decided to have a BBQ at Carbis Bay beach at 5am which was a lot of fun. Friends and family came down to the beach and had bacon butties and sparkly, they even got to see a dolphin and a seal playing in the water, what a treat.

Chris celebrating The Day That 5th Birthday

Chris celebrating The Day That 5th Birthday

Most of our customers buy our pictures as unique christening gifts or as personalised wedding gifts but we often get requests to see our favourite pictures. So, we took this onboard and have created a collection of our favourite photographs which was a difficult process as we have 14,500 pictures to choose from.

Please take a look at our collection and let us know what you think…. Has it been worth getting up at dawn for 5 years? We think so.

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A fox in St Ives, cornwall

Gary gets a closeup look at a Fox in St Ives

We get to see some great things along with the fabulous dawns and sunrises that we’ve intentionally set out to capture.

Saturday 12th June found me in the Island car park at St Ives at 4am. I was minding my own business getting my camera onto its tripod when I caught a glimpse of something moving amongst the cars. A fox popped out and stood looking at me for several seconds. Luckily I had my point and shoot camera in my pocket and pulled it out as quietly as I could, hoping to catch a quick shot before it disappeared. However, instead of running off, the fox decided to trot towards me! It came right up to me and had a quick look in the boot of my car before deciding I had no food and wandered off to the bins behind the café. Amazing!

Two things I learnt from this, remember to take pictures instead of just gawping as the fox looks in your boot, and keep fresh batteries in your camera, as it was all it could manage to take these two shots before dying.

And this was the dawn I enjoyed afterward Possibly the best I have experienced so far and, I hope, a wonderful momento for celebrating a wedding, birth or other unique occasion from this great day.

Sunrise on the 12th June 2010

Sunrise on the 12th June 2010

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So here I am sitting in front of my computer on a very wet Saturday thinking what to write about in our first ever Blog. I’m thinking ‘Be cool, be funny, be interesting”… oh god it’s too much pressure. Then there’s the key phrases to weave in or Nikki Pilkington will wrap my knuckles.
I’ve decided to answer David Byrne’s question in the song Once in a lifetime..”How did I get here?” It’s an obvious question, from wanting to be a war photographer 20 years ago to photographing beautiful sunrises at 3.30am in wonderful Cornwall. Continue reading…

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