15 Participants Registered for Toppix Aviation Photo Contest

 Photo caption1: Robbie Cijntje (3rd R) addressing the group of participants at the briefing session Monday morning. (SXM photo)

Best 6 Photos will be exhibited at SXM Airport for four months, winner takes home $2,500 cash At least 15 participants, including four women, have so far registered for the ToppiX2013 Aviation Photo Competition, which took off here March 15, 2013.

The participants hail from the USA, Canada, Belgium, Puerto Rico, Curacao, and eight are from St. Maarten, disclosed chief organizer, Robbie Cijntje, following a briefing session held with the participants at Sunset Beach Bar and Restaurant early Monday morning.

Photo caption2: Participants at the briefing session pose with organizing committee members for a group photograph. (SXM photo)

In his briefing, Cijntje urged all participants to follow instructions of the Airport Security and the Police and to respect the private properties in the vicinity of the airport. He stressed that "fence riding" was strictly prohibited and could lead to hefty fines and/or arrest, noting jokingly that he is sure nobody wants to spend extra time at the "no-star" hotel for such an infraction.

The theme of the contest is "Sint Maarten, Aircraft Spotters Paradise." Participants may interpret this as they wish, however, their entries should be not only of aircraft, but should include St. Maarten in it.

"The photo that visualizes that theme the best will be the winner," Cijntje said, adding that the six best photos will be selected by the panel of judges, and will be on exhibition at the Arrival Hall of the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) for four months. Since the airport is the second busiest in the region, this will guarantee maximum exposure for the photographers, Cijntje explained.

Laying down the rules of the competition, he said, "composite photographs will not be accepted." The photos must be taken in St. Maarten between March 15 and 22, 2013, and must be in possession of the committee by 6 PM, March 22, 2013.

Each participant is allowed to enter a maximum of three photos. Registration remains open until the deadline for submission of entries. This means that interested persons can still register between now and 6 PM of March 22, 2013. A registration fee of US$20 is payable, while the registration card gives the participant a 15% discount at the Sunset Beach Bar and Restaurant during the competition week, up to and including March 23, 2013 – when the prize-giving ceremony will be held at the SXM Terminal Building at 5 PM.

Cijntje had earlier welcomed the group to St. Maarten and introduced members of his organizing committee made up of Larry Donker, Director of Operations, Elsidro St. Jago, Head of Security Guards, Kalifa Hickinson, Manager, Marketing and Communication Department, Audrey Jack, Senior Business Development Officer, all of SXM, and Lisa Noel of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau.

Judges for the competition are Chris Kilroy of the USA, and Peter Gunn and Chermaine Petit-Booi, both well-known photographers on the island.

Similarly, Bill Fortney, representative of Nikon Latin America/USA and Sergio Velasquez of Canon are on island and will be offering participants a one-on-one demo of their respective equipment by appointment only. The appointments can be arranged via Robbie Cijntje at email: to********@xp************.com.

"The competition is meant to be an enjoyable event for all participants," Cijntje said, warning: "unethical or rude behavior will be reason for exclusion from future Toppix events."