Flying Low
March 29, 2012 6:29 PM   Subscribe

Yes, they do that on St. Maarten.
posted by wierdo at 6:31 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sorry for the second post, but TBH I think it's more impressive in color, and even better with video.
posted by wierdo at 6:37 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

A series of photos of people's bathing-suited tushies, which happen to also feature planes flying very close to the beach.

I actually think the use of black & white is (mostly) justified here, though. It tends to give the pictures a timeless quality, and emphasizes the composition itself, which is occasionally brilliant, what with the majestic gleaming geometric machines flying over bathing beauties.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:45 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've heard the sand that gets kicked up is not fun.
posted by smackfu at 6:47 PM on March 29, 2012

Nice work but needs culling. Hate seeing the shoebox, show me the stars.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:52 PM on March 29, 2012

I was just there a few days ago. The blast from jets taking off is unbelieveable - I thought I was very well in the safe zone, but took a real beating from flying debris. On one day, I watched a large group of drunk college kids get battered, injured and blown into the ocean. Here's a very safe shot. and a not so safe one. The rest of the set.
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:52 PM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

Whether it be planes'n'panties, or Icelandic glacier flows, Hoflehner's got a wonderful aesthetic to his photography. Contrasty, lots of blown out highlights and full blacks--but damn if it doesn't work. I've got his Iceland book, and it never fails to both inspire me and knock me down about thirty-five pegs.
posted by notsnot at 7:06 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like the combination of bikinis and jumbo jets. That is all.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:12 PM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

I live on St. Martin (French side) and this is by far the most overdone photo op on the island. Literally maybe 100,000 people take photos like this every year and a google image search for Sint Maarten is at least 1/4 photos of this. It's actually kind of sad to me that this one thing dominates the photographic representation of the island.

Rather than just snark about it, though, I will say that in some ways it is appropriate. The interim between the decline in the salt trade (the island's previous primary export) and the beginning of the age of tourism on the island (about 1963), I think things were very tough and many people left to seek work elsewhere, like the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic. The expansion of the airport in 1963 (the first of many) can be seen as a turning point for the island in ways both good and bad.

Since that time, the population has increased twenty-fold and SXM has become a hub for tourism in the Caribbean. Now there are probably close to two million visitors a year, if you include cruise ships. There has been massive development on the island, particularly the Dutch side, which has included filling in of 14 of 19 ponds, including much of the Great Salt Pond that had been a source of income and cultural identity for well over 100 years.

Although it is sort of depressing to me, a bunch of sunburnt tourists on a beach surrounded by crappy hotels and timeshares watching planes land is, in a lot of ways, Sint Maarten. And, of course, if I'm early to pick someone up at the airport, I will stop down there and have a beer and watch the planes come in.
posted by snofoam at 7:30 PM on March 29, 2012 [16 favorites]

The expansion of the airport in 1963 (the first of many)

For clarity, the first of many airport expansions, not many airports, although there is a small one in Grand Case and an abandoned airstrip on the uninhabited islet Tintamarre.
posted by snofoam at 7:32 PM on March 29, 2012

posted by stbalbach at 7:33 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Am I a bad person if I wish the nose of the plane were pointed downward in this one?
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:59 PM on March 29, 2012

I've heard about this beach/airport adventure and it just isn't worth hanging out on the Dutch side. I was there twice this month, on my way into and out of St Martin to pick up a rented sailboat; it was my third trip to the island, and once again I fled the Dutch side as quickly as possible. On an island that offers beaches like Friars, Petit Plage du Grand Case, Anse Marcel, Pinel, and Tintamarre, – and is just a ferry ride from Anguilla and St. Barth's – you have to be a special kind of lazy tourist to spend any time at the beach next to the airport.
posted by nicwolff at 8:07 PM on March 29, 2012

I think we overloaded it. I'm getting 509 Bandwidth Exceeded.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:32 PM on March 29, 2012

Reminds me of Penticton Airport. Depending on wind, the flight path comes down Skaha Lake, across the beach and the highway, with the landing just a couple hundred meters away. Nowhere near as radical, but same sort of set-up. See Street View to grasp the layout.

We had our own close call at that airport. We were the fist guys in the province (that I'm aware of) to start para-sailing behind our ski-boats, back in the late 70's when we bought 3 para-sails from some guy who had tried to start a business in Osoyoos, and been shut down by insurance issues. By the time we had looped around through Osoyoos, then the Kootenays, on back on down through the Okanagan on our first big trip, we'd grown bored with the 250' of line that came with each para-sail. So we had rigged up a shackling system that allowed us to attach all 3 lines together, to create a 750' tow-hawser.

Everywhere we had traveled earlier in the past couple of weeks this cool new thing was met with excited approval, so naturally we were a bit surprised when boaters started yelling at us we headed down-lake from our launch-site in Okanagan Falls. I'm guessing we were about 1/2 mile from the beach, getting ready to make the turn across, when the RCMP patrol came screaming across the lake, lights and sirens fully engaged, yelling something unintelligible across the bull-horn. Geez, why is everyone around here so uptight? we were saying as our passenger Sean slowly started to drift down, after we cut the power.

Turns out, of course, that we were giving the airport ground-controllers conniptions; not to mention the Air Canada flight that had had to go-around after Sean suddenly popped up into its flight-path. We caught him scrubbing out his underwear in a bucket in the campground that night, and learned to consult charts for airways, prior to just randomly launching people hundreds of feet into the sky.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:42 PM on March 29, 2012 [5 favorites]

Broke another website? This is why we can't have nice things, Metafilter!
posted by midmarch snowman at 8:44 PM on March 29, 2012

In San Antonio, Texas, there's a runaway very near a freeway. I would always duck when driving under a plane coming in for a landing, a pictured here.
posted by neuron at 8:58 PM on March 29, 2012

Has anyone posted a photo showing himself reflected in the underside of one of those shiny airplanes yet?
posted by hank at 9:23 PM on March 29, 2012

#28 - #39 - #72 NSFW, just saying.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 9:32 PM on March 29, 2012

Seems like it would be pretty easy to get a photo that looked like that just by taking an ordinary tourist snapshot and playing with the curves in photoshop.
posted by delmoi at 12:57 AM on March 30, 2012

Forgive me if there's an obvious explanation for this, but how exactly doe he know where each of these magnificent flying machines are arriving from?
posted by item at 1:33 AM on March 30, 2012

Seems like it would be pretty easy to get a photo that looked like that just by taking an ordinary tourist snapshot and playing with the curves in photoshop.

Well, let's face it: Photoshop, at this point, can accurately mimic pretty much ANY technique available to black & white film photographers, from simulating red filters (needed to get a nice dark sky accented by white clouds) to reproducing accurate contrast metrics of popular film types. At this point, I'd say that a Polarizing filter and motion-related effects (object blurring, etc.) are about the only things that have to happen in-camera, and even then they can often be imitated by an experienced 'shopper.

But at that point, just as it did in the darkroom days, it still comes down to a matter of good artistic vision and taste, something that photoshop cannot always compensate for (and often enables extremes in the other direction)

These photos do not look like typical "color digital photos which have been photoshopped to look black and white" (though they might well be, as far as I know) They exhibit the high contrast and over-all "look" of true black and white photos very memorably (except for a few, which look like borderline HDR attempts, actually)

In short, it doesn't really matter HOW the look was achieved, but that the photographer chose to make them look a certain way, which seems to work nicely.

Also, with regard to picture #72:

Air(plane) on a G-string.

...and, I'm out.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:35 AM on March 30, 2012

how exactly doe he know where each of these magnificent flying machines are arriving from?

Seems like you could just park yourself by the approach to Ilehus Airport in Brazil with a flight schedule in your hand, and be able to tell with reasonable certainty which flights were which.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:45 AM on March 30, 2012

It's odd when writers take over some particular association in your head. I can't see a picture of a low-flying plane over a beach without thinking of J. G. Ballard. Thus I take note of them every time and have that exact same thought, and it feels like I see pictures of low-flying planes over beaches all the time, even though it's not that common, really.

Lesson is: Don't read, kids, it messes up your perception of reality.
posted by Kattullus at 3:11 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Technological wonders passing overhead as humanity mills about below, either staring in awe or oblivious to the everyday miracles.

Beautiful, thoughtful and at times, sexy and sexual. What more could you ask for before coffee?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:29 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

This reminds me of the Terrace at Space on Ibiza - chilling outside, surrounded by great music and beautiful people, with planes periodically coming over your head so close it feels like you can touch them.
posted by Blue Meanie at 11:06 AM on March 30, 2012

I've been to Ilehus, flew into this airport, spent one night at a hotel on this beach, lovely place, mostly we stayed at this nearby resort, but the town was lovely.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:19 PM on March 30, 2012

how exactly doe he know where each of these magnificent flying machines are arriving from?

Plane spotting can be a sophisticated and complex hobby. Some enthusiasts can not only tell you what flight flight number a particular plane is, they also can track it in real-time on radar, and might be able to tell you the delivery date and ownership history of that aircraft.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:52 PM on March 30, 2012

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