St. Maarten

The Beaches of St. Maarten

So it turns out that St. Maarten doesn't just have great people... they have a few great beaches too!  I'm assuming nobody remembered or even read last week's post, so I figured I mention a few of the key facts again.

The island has over 70km of coastline, has 37 beaches, and as I mentioned last week, is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. St. Maarten features some of the world’s finest seascapes. From unspoiled, quiet shores to lively hubs of activity (with plenty of places to buy stuff... trust me, there are places to buy stuff everywhere and we found all of them), every single one of St. Maarten’s beaches is totally unique and reflects the rich diversity of the island itself. The 37 beaches on the island are so beautiful, they rank among the finest in the Caribbean.  There's plenty of water activities to participate in, from diving, surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and fishing... or if hanging out on the beach and basking in the sun is more your style, you can do that too.  There's something for everyone and although we spent a lot of time playing in the ocean and laying in the sun, we found time to go diving, snorkeling and even swam with the dolphins in Anguilla.  I highly suggest making the day trip Anguilla if you ever find yourself in St. Maarten.  Not only is it another country with beautiful beaches and really good food, but it's another place to buy stuff and apparently this family will never pass up an opportunity to shop.

I've got to admit, as relaxing and fun as laying on the beach was, I enjoyed taking pictures of it even more.  So here are some of my favorite beach pics from the island.  Hope you enjoy!

 

Not all the beautiful views are found during the day.  Stay out for the golden hour, right before sunset, and stay for sunset.. it makes for spectacular images.

 A slow shutter speed (this was shot at 16 sec.) is what gives the water in this shot such a soft, dreamy look.  Water is a really fun thing to shoot with a slow shutter speed.

The problem with taking photos of beaches in St. Maarten is they're most often covered in people.  Get out early or stay late... you'll have the best light and a better chance of finding an unpopulated area.

In St. Maarten there are awesome views of a beach all over the place.   This wasn't the greatest view but I thought made for a really interesting image.  

Literally saw this tree off the side of the road as we were driving back to the hotel.  Made a u-turn and went back to shoot this scene.  Glad I did cause I would have been sad to miss this image.

Don't forget to look around and don't always just shoot what's in front of you.  Get down on the ground, or do what I did for this image... look up.  You never know what you'll see.

The People of St. Maarten

Hi all!  Did you miss me?  Come on... even a little bit?  Well, even if you didn't, I'm going to pretend you did, cause it will make me feel much better about myself.  If you didn't notice, I've been on vacation.  I was gone for a week and returned a few days ago.  It's great to be back (and if you believe that, I have a tiny island in the Caribbean to sell you).  It actually sucks to be back.  Vacations are awesome and this one was particularly great.  My family and I took a week and went to the island of St. Maarten.  St. Maarten is an island in the northeast Caribbean, approximately 300 km (190 mi) east of Puerto Rico. The 34 square mile island is divided roughly 60/40 between France (20 square miles) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands (13 square miles). The two parts are roughly equal in population. It is one of the smallest sea islands divided between two nations, a division dating to 1648. The southern Dutch part comprises Sint Maarten and is one of four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The northern French part comprises the Collectivité de Saint-Martin (Collectivity of St. Martin) and is an overseas collectivity of France.  On January 1, 2009 the population of the entire island was 77,741 inhabitants, with 40,917 living on the Dutch side, and 36,824 on the French side.  Collectively, the two territories are known as "St Maarten". 

So what's important for you to know?  Well, we went on vacation.  We went to St. Maarten.  It's in the Caribbean.  There are Dutch and French people.  It was awesome.  I took a lot of pictures.  It was awesome... and it was pretty awesome.

I took my canon 5D and three lenses.  I took my 24-105, my 70-200 and my wide angle 16-35.  I figured between the range of those three lenses, I'd be able to cover anything I needed while still keeping my bag relatively light.  I also took all my filters and my tripod.  I learned a few trips ago to never travel without a tripod.  It makes traveling a little more difficult, but it's always worth it and I'm always glad I brought it.  Oh and in case you're wondering, it's totally fine to travel with a tripod in your carry-on when flying.  I attached mine to my bag and put it in the overhead compartment.  No problems on the plane or while going through security.  I took extra batteries and extra memory cards and I was glad I had both, cause I used them.  Don't EVER go on vacation with one battery and one memory card.  The battery will die, the card will get filled, the card will get corrupt... something.  I don't know what will go wrong, but if you don't have extras, trust me... things will go wrong.  If you think you won't take enough pics to fill a memory card, you're wrong. You're on vacation in a new place and you're going take way more pics that you think you will.  For the $20 or $40 dollars it takes to get an additional large memory card, it's totally worth it just to be safe.  You'll thank me after one trip.  Maybe two trips, but probably one.

So, I ended up taking almost 1,000 photos.  i filled two 16 GB cards and I used all the batteries I brought.  I filled two cards with the 1,000 photos cause I shoot RAW and I also took some video.  If you shoot JPEGs and no video, you should easily be able to fit 1,000 photos on a 16 GB card.  BUT... bring a backup card!!!  Just in case.

Well now I have all these photos that I want to share with you, but don't want to just throw them all out there, so I thought I would try and group them together.  Today's post will focus on the people of St. Maarten, so I'm going to share some of my favorite photos I took of people on the island.  Most vacations have pretty locations, great food and interesting people.  I really like meeting and talking to the people in other countries and this trip was no exception.  So take a look below at some of the captures I made of those people  They were definitely one of the best parts of the trip.

I had to throw a picture of my daughter in there.  When you're talking about the people of St. Maarten, none of them like the beach more than this girl.  Trying to get her out of the water was the hardest thing I did on the whole trip.

With security like this, it's amazing there's any crime on the island.  I mean look at this guy... tough as nails... and the nicest guy ever.

This guy couldn't understand why I didn't originally ask to take his picture.  Looking back, I don't understand either. 

The prettiest I found on the island... and the one I took home. :-)

This guy was selling coconuts on the beach.  When you see people like this, buy what they're selling and then ask to take their picture.  They'll almost always be happy to let you snap away and may even pose a bit for you like this guy.

Happiest, nicest and smartest guy we met on our trip.  I wanted to put him in my suitcase and take him home with me.

Saw these kids fishing in Marigot.  A city on the french side of the island.  Love how determined and focused they were and the colors they were wearing looked great.

Found a lady selling spices in a hut on the side of the road.  What's not to love about her.  The colors, her smile, her personality... all awesome.