Verhoeven wins aviation photography contest

POSTED: 03/25/13 1:05 PM

visually stunning
St. Maarten – Alain Duzant had two of the six images that was nominated by the judges, but it was a photo from Bernie Verhoeven that produced the wow factor; a KLM B747 arriving over the beach at the foot of the runway, was enough for her to walk away with the US $2,500 cash prize and the high degree of satisfaction at the awards ceremony last Saturday.

“The camera is just an extension of you, the creativity and composition is awesome, but it’s the moment to click that makes the difference. This is great, this is different, the impact is amazing,” said Sergio Velasquez, the official Canon representative.

Each photographer had the option of submitting up to three digital images via e mail where the judging was done by Chris Kilroy, CEO of Jet, Chermaine Petit Booi and Peter Gunn. It was like a huge canopy providing shade for the buy standers on the beach and Verhoeven, using a Nikon D 700 with a 14mm lens waited for the right moment to press on the shutter.

Verhoeven, who is originally from Bonaire, is an experienced photographer who started during the period when film cameras was the order of the era. “I started doing digital photography about two years ago. I used to work at the airport, but after the company closed down a few months ago, I started to take pictures from outside the fence. At the start it was fun, I did not believe that I could do so well between so many professional photographers,” she said.

According to Verhoeven, she never even entertained the thought of having one of her images in the top six and the results exceeded her expectations. “Now that I have the winning check, I don’t know what I will do next because there are so many lenses I would like to have.”

Duzant, using a Pentax K-r was able to freeze two moments when a Delta B737 was arriving over the beach and again with the arrival of an American Airlines B757, over the beach.

The other three images nominated was from Bea Moedt, with the arrival of AA B757 over the beach, also using a Nikon D700, as well as Denis McBriarty, who captured the arrival of Winair Twin Otter over the beach and Jan Severijns, from Belgium, captured Air France as it arrived over the beach using a Canon 1DX.

Severijns, who travelled the farthest just to compete in the contest, was allowed to stay for four nights and five days at the Oyster Bay Beach Resort, that certificate was handed over by Ann Marie Brooks which was a special prize.

The first St Maarten Aviation contest which received the full backing from the Princess Juliana International Airport, the St Maarten Tourist Bureau, Canon and Nikon began last Monday and concluded last Friday attracted approximately 26 photographers.

Robert (Robby) Cijntje, the organizer of the contest was extremely pleased at the turn out. “In the beginning, we only had 13 photographers registered and we ended up with a 100 percent more, I am quite surprised,” Cijntje said.

Managing Director of the PJIA, Regina Labega lauded the efforts by Cijntje and thanked all the photographers who participated. Velasquez spoke highly of St Maarten in the presence of Labega, who described the winning picture as ‘amazing’ during an informal chat.

“That is why people come here, I can now tell anybody, if you are an aircraft spotter photographer and you have never come to St Maarten, don’t even talk to me, I am serious, here it’s different and I like it,” he stated.

Now for the next four months, the images that were nominated will be displayed in the arrival hall of the airport. The money received by the organizer will be donated to the Breast Cancer Awareness cause. Cijntje also noted that this event will be an annual one, but the theme for the 2014 contest will be completely different. This one was certainly a learning experience for the photographers who did so competitively for the first time, but with one year to go, the door is open wide for all to use their imaginations and get the much need practice.

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