Panoramas from Sint Maarten and Saint Martin

As I mentioned in previous posts, the island is divided into two portions, I would love to say halves, but I am not one hundred percent sure that the square mileage would be equal.  Anyway, as I was saying, it is divided into two portions, one under Dutch rule and the other under French rule, and in my photo jaunts across the island I actually managed to take photographs for two Panoramas, one in Sint Maarten and one in Saint Martin, so neither side can claim I didn’t do one, right? Right.

That being said, I am no expert on photography, much less Panoramas, but I liked both that I took, they have their appeal and, of course, their faults, but I give them both over for your viewing pleasure (or disgust, whichever label suits you).

In Sint Maarten, the Great Bay is where the Cruise ships filled to overflowing with tourist anchor and dock, there is a roadway that winds its way up the hillside on the opposite side to the area where the ships moor, and there is even a lookout point on that road set aside for viewing the scene.  Because of its vantage point high up in the hills, I needed only take three overlapping photographs to produce a simple panorama of this scene.  Fortunately, there were two cruise ships in the bay that day, so the image has that little extra caveat.

Great Bay, Sint Maarten, Netherland Antilles

I was taken to a spot on the French side that is not frequented by people, my memory fails me a bit here, I think it is somewhere near Baie Rouge (I welcome any clarification).  It was a little late in the afternoon and the sun was setting to my left, so I got a little colour change in the sky, I find that my best Panoramas (that include skies) usually are done nearer to the midday hour.  For this Panorama I wanted to include the shallow waters near the shore as well as the skies, so I took the photographs in portrait orientation mode, this meant more photographs to encompass the view than if I had used a landscape orientation for the camera.  In total I used thirteen (13) photographs for the panorama, and only cropped out a portion to the left that was too much into the afternoon sun.

Near Baie Rouge, Saint Martin, French Antilles

Sometimes one photograph of a scene is not enough to express the feeling that envelopes a person, that’s when you either take a veritable cornucopia of photographs of the large and small items of interest in the scene or you do a Panorama  🙂

I hope you enjoy the images I have shared, please click on them to see them larger (hopefully) at my site.

Stella Maris

Whilst in Sint Maarten, I went to church at a small Catholic church not too far from where we were staying, and when I say “not too far” I mean a couple of minutes walk.  The church was called the Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church.  On a separate occasion, I walked over to photograph it from the roadside, and although I have already posted and uploaded to my site, at least one photograph of it, I had reserved one for later processing.

The name of the church had captivated me, I assumed that its location was partially responsible.  I couldn’t remember seeing a particular effigy bearing the name during my growing years, but I do remember the phrase “Mary, Star of the Sea” being part of hymns and litanies, and probably a prayer.  I was surprised to learn that the Latin was Stella Maris, which happened to be the name of the Primary School I went to as a child.  It is strange that many of us go to schools and seldom, if ever, question the origins of the name of the school.

Like this church, the school I attended was located on a coastal area, Mary, Star of the Sea, is the patroness of seafarers.  Under this title she was believed to intercede as a guide and protector of those on the seas either as travelers or workers.

On this photo I did something unusual (for me) I used an orange filter for a special effect and did a high structure monochrome, the original was nice enough in colour, but I thought it warranted a bit more “umph” for impact.  I hope you like it.

Mary Star of the Sea, Catholic Church, Sint Maarten

The Deck Weeks 31 and 32

I have to play catch-up this week, since I missed out on uploading my Deck photo for last week, so this week is a double upload and blog.  I had already decided what photograph I would have most likely used for the Deck, but I did not get a chance until this week to process the remaining images from my vacation.

The Deck photo for Week 31 is a parting shot from St Martin, over on the French side, on the beach front near Marigot, we were waiting for the boat to arrive for our final adventure, a chance to see the corals and fishes under the sea through the transparent underside of a “glass-bottomed” boat.  My underwater shots came out terrible, but I loved this scene from the shore:

In the last week, I took photographs on three occasions, one was at a funeral, the other two were on afternoon walks with Nikhil, but for some reason I was not getting the “feel” for the scenes or subjects.  My final photograph of today turned out to be one that I was pleasantly surprised with, I took another shot at the New Thriving Chinese Restaurant.  The image is a pseudo-HDR, since I also wanted to try out a new software that Nikhil had recently introduced me to, it is still in the Beta (testing) stage, but I am rather impressed by it.  It introduces a new type of HDR called HDR ReLight as well as doing the regular tone mapping type HDR, but it also processes RAW files, which I shoot primarily.  This was the portion that I wanted to try, and I was rather pleased with the result, the software is Oloneo PhotoEngine, give it a try if you like HDRs or you shoot in RAW.

Here’s the photo for the Deck Week 32, I hope you like it.

Go to France!!!

Growing up I frequently heard the expression “Go to France”, it is an expression of disbelief, and equates to the more popular Guyanese expression “carry yuh rass”;  when you tell someone in Guyana something that they instinctively and emphatically believe is untrue (without copious amounts of proof), that’s the phrase you are most likely to hear.  So if someone tells me that the sun rises in the west, I will tell them “go to France”, or the more colourful alternative already mentioned here  🙂

Sint Maarten is commonly and correctly referred to as the “Dutch side” of the island, but only the residents of the Dutch side and other unsuspecting foreigners like myself would ever refer to the second half of the island as the “French side”, to the residents and especially the Gendarmes (police) and other officials, when you cross the border point, you are in France!  The province of St. Martin, France; not the French side, but France!  So today I got to “go to France”, finally.  Well, we actually didn’t visit a lot of places, but we did a bit of driving to the scenic spots.  No offence to the French, but I like the Dutch Side better, it’s more Caribbean and has more character.

I also went back to Back Street, Philipsburg; and then to a swim in the ocean and another chance to see a gorgeous sunset, both of the latter done right from the back of the house.  I will miss this most, I think  🙂

Catholic Church, St Martin.
St Martin (Radison Resorts down below)
Flying French Side
Baie Orientale
View from Pedro's, Baie Orientale

And this is only a fraction of the new images  🙂  see other “French Side” photos and more from Philipsburg and the Beach at Simpson Bay at the site, just click on any of the images above.

Just one more image… end of the Fourth Day in Sint Maarten 🙂

Sunset at Simpson Bay

Back Street

In Philipsburg, Sint Maarten there’s a street called Back Street, my wife was so excited to go there I was all but dragged along on the first “working” day of the week down this particular street.  It is the second street after the waterfront in Philipsburg, the first street has Casinos, Jewelery shops and the like, but Back Street has the deals. Philips burg is so picturesque, I could stroll it for hours, actually we did stroll Back Street for hours  🙂

I got a few nice ones and more on the site.  Click on the images to go to the site with the Sint Maarten Collection, as of this blog-post, there are 20 new images from yesterday’s walk.

Backstreet looks to be part of the “Old St Maarten”, the road is actually asphalt cobbles, not laid asphalt like most roads, some of the architecture is new, but you can still see the older architecture in some of the buildings of Philipsburg.  I could try to describe things, but I’m no architect, and even things on the roads and pavements may defy my descriptive powers, and I certainly don’t know the names of some of them.

I’ll let the photographs do the talking.

After all that walking in Philipsburg, I’m afraid both my legs and shutter finger were tired, so that’s it for the third day in Sint Maarten.

Click on the photos for the while album, I couldn’t put all the nice ones here  🙂

Philipsburg and the Bays

Sunday, we were taken on a “crash” tour across some of the island… It was quite comprehensive, but everything was so amazing, I was left dazzled half the time  🙂   The capital of Sint Maarten is Philipsburg, and I want to see how much more of it I can see while I am here, very interesting place!

A view down to the beach from in front of the Philipsburg Courthouse

It would have been nice to get a reverse view of this, but some people parked their hideous cars in front of the courthouse  🙂  Click on the photo and you’ll see some more of the photos, including the courthouse,and a view down one of the picturesque streets of Philipsburg.

And there is just something about these “clocks” that begs to be photographed.  I saw at least two of them in the streets of Philipsburg so far…

Clock on a post, in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

And the Bays!!! Who knew there were so many?  I still haven’t tagged the images properly simply because I can’t identify them myself (don’t worry, I’m on the case! they’ll be tagged shortly).  The have Simpson Bay, Mullet Bay, Cole Bay, Oyster Bay (I think), and I do believe the list goes on further.

Click on the photos to go to the site and see a few others.

And of course, we have the obligatory seaside people photos…  I tried a few things different for these two, so they ended up in my sepia and black & white collections.

One of my daughter Miriam and her Uncle Darren, that is more of a warm tone photo than a sepia, but I put it in the Sepia album just the same.

And the other is the black and white, of my wife Maureen and daughter Miriam,  I rather like this one, not big on details, but it captures the “feel” rather nicely.

And there ends the second day of my stay in Sint Maarten.  Don’t forget to click on the Bay or Philipsburg photos to see other photos  from the trip.

Welcome to Simpson Bay

I figure that for the time I am here, if I do get a chance to upload and post, it will be a very brief blog, but hopefully with a few photos.

So, welcome to Sint Maarten, and welcome to Simpson Bay, that’s where I am staying while here.

I have begun by uploading the images to my site… the Collection is called Sint Maarten 2010, click on that link to go to the page.

I’ll just ink the first of the six images here.

Again I blame Nikhil’s influence on my photography for my first image being of an old boat instead of the beauty of the island  🙂