Toppix aviation photo competition: Composition, perspective and luck: key elements

top 2 entries in toppix 2014The top two entries from 2014. At left, the image submitted by Bernie Verhoeven and the one sent in by Ricardo Benjamin. File photo Today


St. Maarten – The prize remains the same as well as the rules in the 3rd Annual Toppix 2015 Aviation photographic competition. However the ‘theme’ will not be known until the welcome briefing that will take place at the airport’s Training Room on November 6 between 08.30 and 09.30 am.

The competition which is open to amateurs, serious photographers and last but not least professional plane spotters/professional photographers both locally and internationally is the brain child of Robert J Cijntje, a veteran in that field.

Participants have an option to register on line at or by uplifting a form available on A registration fee of USD 20 will be collected from the participants during the Welcome Briefing. During this briefing a goody bag, courtesy of SXM Airport, will be supplied to each participating photographer. Minimum age for participation is 16 years. Participants younger than 18 years must have the registration form co-signed by their legal representatives.

Ironically, the winning entry in last year’s competition (most beautiful approach) was submitted by Ricardo Benjamin from St Maarten, but because he was not present at the official announcement. Bernie Verhoeven, a Dutch citizen submitted the 2nd best image was presented with the prize and the rights for the second time to brag about it.

However, from the 81 images that was submitted by the 44 participants, four additional images made the final cut, along with the one submitted by Benjamin. The other photographers whose images are currently positioned on the wall in the arrival lounge at the PJIA are Alain M Duzant (St Maarten), Yvonne Hitzeroth from Germany, Tremer Donavan from Guadeloupe and yours truly, Milton Pieters, Guyana/St. Maarten.

To date, that competition which required participants to capture the approaching plane before the nose of that plane crossed over the protective barricade as it prepared to make a touchdown on the runaway. Now it’s every one’s guess what this year’s theme will be.

Photos must be e-mailed to on or before November 12, 2015 (23:59). Email must contain full name and address of the photographer. Photos (jpg) with a minimum of 1200 pix on the longest side and 800 pix on the shortest side. Photos must contain the correct EXIF date and time according to local St Maarten time. A maximum entry of 3 Photos per participants is allowed.

Photos must be taken on St Maarten from November 6, 2015 through November 12, 2015 (24:00). Photos must depict an aviation related action (as per the theme given by the organizing committee) at St Maarten, have an aspect ratio of 3:2 and be in landscape format. An aircraft should be visible on a St Maarten backdrop! The theme will be given during the Welcome Briefing. Only photos for which the participant has full copyrights will be accepted. During the briefing additional rules can be added or eased if any logistic, safety or security events may require this.

Participants agree to give all publication rights of photos entered to SXM Airport / PJIA. All copyrights will remain with the individual photographers.

Photos will be numbered and printed (8.5×11) or (6×9) format to be judged by a panel of 3 (three) judges. 2 from St Maarten and 1 from abroad. The Judges will have no knowledge of the name and/or origin of the photographer. Six (6) images will be nominated to be exposed in the arrival hall of SXM Airport during a period of at least 4 months with the name and email address of the respective photographers attached to them. The decision of the judges is final. There will be no correspondence or discussions on the outcome of the judging of the photos. All not nominated printed and digital copies of photos and /or judging / voting sheets will be destroyed after the judging.

The photographer of the winning image will receive a prize of $2,500. To claim the prize the participant and/or his or her legal representative must be present at the prize giving ceremony.

Participation in this competition is the sole responsibility of the participant. The airport cannot be held liable for any accidents or mishaps suffered by any participant before, during or after the event. Participants should at all times abide by instructions given by the local police authorities and/or the airport. In the event that the airport is prevented from continuing with the competition by any event beyond its control (a “Force Majeure” event or occurrence), they shall have the right to modify, suspend, or cancel the competition.

Source: Today SXM Toppix aviation photo competition: Composition, perspective and luck: key elements