The St Ives Light & Our Locations (Part 2)

Part 2 – The Locations

Tobi Carver - 23rd April 2020

On 6th April 2000 The Day That founder, Gav Goulder, headed out to capture an beautiful image to mark the birth of his closest friends first child.

Gav remembers: “My phone was buzzing in the early hours and I recall thinking ‘I need to see who that is’. It was in the days before you got messages 24 hours a day – so I knew it must be quite important. Bleary eyed I looked at the message. It was from my friend announcing the birth of his first child, a little boy to be named Teddy.”

“I decided that I needed to celebrate this special day. Drinking my first cup of tea, I decided to drive into the countryside and find a suitable scene to take a picture as a memento of his birth. I eventually found a beautiful Oak tree in the middle of a field and took a simple photograph of it. I printed it and put the final image into a frame and delivered it about a week later. I can still remember their faces as I handed it over, many tears of joy shed.”

What is it they say? ‘From little acorns grow mighty oaks’?

Now I’m sure you’re all thinking: ‘Whoo! Wait a minute! I’ve not seen any oak trees in your daily uploads!’ But there’s more, and it comes on 10th of May 2005.

“Just over five years later,’ remembers Gav, ‘I took another picture – my daughter Ella’s first sunrise. This gave me the idea to start TDT and a few weeks later on the 21st June 2005 I started taking pictures every day.”

Over the years TDT has evolved and our style has been refined. Until two years ago Gav was at the helm before joining forces with Tom & Doug. With the brand expanding and looking forward, even in these very difficult and uncertain times, the quality and professionalism of our photographers is helped by the stunning locations they are able to utilise. Although all our current main shooting team were photographers when they started at TDT, Gav’s initial training and sunrise experience has helped them to make the most of the areas beaches.
And St Ives bay is near perfect for job!
Everyone knows the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. So if your beach faces north or south it will possibly limit your view. If it faces west obviously you won’t see the sun even on a clear day.  St Ives boasts six beaches from which the rising sun is visible. All the beaches have advantages and disadvantages for the sunrise photographer. So here they are and … as the bosses aren’t looking … one or two trade secrets.
PORTHGWIDDEN (trans. white Cove/beach) is a little beach tucked under the shelter of the Island. It is wonderful for its aspect directly across the bay, and for the ability of the photographer to quickly gain height above the beach to shoot a more general view. The water move’s well here, even on the stillest of days, which means it’s good for capturing that lovely feathering water movement that so often makes one of the TDT images. Higher tides can make things challenging here though as you are funnelled to the top of the beach and your movement can be a little restricted.
Over the point to the west of Porthgwidden is the small beach of BAMALUZ (trans. Cove of the grey stones). Incredibly sheltered it can only be used on a low tide on a good morning as the beach hardly ever gets a wave. If the tide is low then the sand that runs from the harbour to Pedn Olva  creates a large area of sand which can be used but again only on very good days on a low-ish tide.
PORTHMINSTER (trans. church cove/beach) offers a large sweep of sand to work on with a steam often make a feature on the west end of the beach. Again this is generally one for better days as, unless there is a storm, as the water is generally rather calm.
CARBIS BAY is a wide beach with some rusting remains of shipwrecks visible on very low tides. It can be a good choice on a wet windy day as you can shelter under the high cliffs at either end of the beach to get out of the wind and rain. It is also a good bet on very high tides as there is always enough sand to work on.
PORTHKIDNEY (trans. permission cove/beach) is a lovely beach. Great to swim from. From the coastal footpath on the Carbis Bay side you can set up a good shoot out over the bay from high above the beach or at lower tides you can get down onto the sand which stays wet and smooth for a long way making it great for wonderful reflective images where the colour in the sky blend into the sand.
PERRANUTHNOE (trans. Unknown) is a slightly rocky outlier on the south coast near Penzance it works well in the deepest darks depths of winter, which is the only time the sunrise is visible.
PORTHMEOR  (trans. great cove/beach) is the surfers beach in St Ives which faces north. Being just a stones throw from Porthgwidden, though, it can be used when there is no hope of seeing the sun from Porthgwidden due to poor weather.
Although swell and wind direction all join to create the water movement the size and life of that movement is dictated by the geography of the beach itself. The seabed off Porthgwidden, Porthmeor and Perranuthnoe drops fairly quickly which creates larger waves than the other beaches as the swell hits the shallower water. On Porthminster and Porthkidney the water has a long run into the beach over shallow water often, as with Porthkidney, it might only be a couple of inches deep for a hundred yards, which basically flattens any wave. Carbis Bay is a mixture of both dependant on the state of the tide and weather conditions.

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