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Travel Blog: St Maarten Airplane Beach


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If you have followed me for a while, or have known me for any amount of time, you probably know our family loves to travel. We took our twin boys to Australia when they were just eight months old! We have since taken them to over 10 countries and we will hit four more this summer. It is in our blood and what we basically live and work for. Most of the time when we travel, I am documenting every step of the way. Here is a short travel blog post about St Maarten Airplane Beach and our island visit. It includes some insight on the island after Hurricane Irma left devastation behind. Many times I never share the images from our vacation because work gets too busy to really dive into the pictures. Our special trip to St Maarten airplane beach was too beautiful not to share.


This trip, we surprised the boys for their tenth birthday with a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise. Even more surprising was that their grandparents surprised the boys and my husband on the ship! It was the best moment ever. Here is a cell phone clip of the moment!  Enjoy my annoying Wisconsin accent, too 🙂


We left our plans very loose for all the islands we traveled to on our cruise. We knew many were still feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma. One place we really wanted to see was the famous “airplane beach” on St. Maarten. Otherwise known as Maho Beach, on the Dutch side of St. Maarten. That is the one you can basically reach up and touch the planes as they land at the airport. We really just got off our boat, headed for the taxi stand and told our driver where we wanted to go and were there less than thirty minutes later.

Our taxi drive just happened to be one of the nicest, most sincere, amazing gems on the island. Alfred, in taxi number 444 was PERFECT! He took us to the beach, but also gave us a guided tour the entire ride out. He told us about the history of the salt pond, and about the lives of the salt pickers. Then he told us about the recent hurricane and showed us much of the devastation and improvements they were still working on. We were dropped off to a perfect paradise spot, with the most amazing blue skies and blue sea we had ever seen. The hotels around the beach were still closed and many will need to be rebuilt, but the beach was still gorgeous and the sand had regenerated on it’s own after the last month before our March 2018 visit.

The Sunset Beach Bar (Beacon Hill Road, Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten) right next to the beach was unbelievable as well. Oh my lanta! Seriously, it was all delish! It was my father-in-law’s birthday that day, so he shared the fresh lobster with my hubby. Oh, we all took a bite or two as well. Check that baby out in the pictures! They even got to pick it out themselves. Pretty fancy stuff for a simple beach bar and restaurant! Many guests we had seen at the beach earlier were spotted in the pool inside the outdoor area as well. We didn’t spend time there, but it was nice to know if we came back. You couldn’t get me out of the ocean though! Pools I can do at home!

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We spent the money and rented beach chairs and umbrellas as well. I highly recommend that if you can get there early enough to grab one or two! The money getting back to the island people rebuilding after the hurricane was so minimal to us, but you could tell it meant the world to the people knowing tourists were still coming to see them!

After we had enough sun, we called Alfred back to take us to the ship. We had planned on him taking the trip around the island so we could see both the French and the Dutch side while we were on St. Maarten. He did so for an additional fee. It was relaxing and with a helpful tour guide like him, it was worth every penny. He even stopped at the local nudist beach, which was pretty entertaining with two almost ten year olds! Honestly, it was probably the most lovely spot we saw on the island, too. Maybe next trip we will stay longer, ha!

Keep in mind, you can also set up more in depth tours with travel tour companies before you go. Or, do an excursion from your ship if you are cruising in. We are just not usually tour people. We don’t like to be stuck on a specific agenda when traveling. I will; however, suggest you to make sure you ask your taxi driver if they can give you the history and highlights of the drive while they transport you before you book with them on sight.

Learn from our mistake when we booked a cab on the next island, St. Thomas. It was NOT the same experience at all. In fact, it was pretty awful! Our driver on St. Thomas sold us on an island tour, with stops at pirate haunts, and then drove by them, saying they were closed due to the hurricane. It should have taken way more time than it did, but we were so over his “tour” we just wanted off when he got back to the downtown area on St. Thomas. We should have just gone to a beach when we went there! Live and learn!

Here are a few favorites of our day. I did NOT take my DSLR on this trip. So, these are pretty much shots you could get from your own point and shoot camera. My camera, a Nikon 1, does shoot in RAW format, and I do edit these using Lightroom. So, if you expect your shots to come out of camera like these, well, that is probably not going to happen, but I did prove to myself that I don’t always need to carry my big camera to get the shot. I am learning to live for the moment more and more, and not live for the “shot” so much.


Love seeing the bed hed of Gus as he woke up to check out the island after two rough days at sea. St. Maarten was a welcome sight. The fact that the people were so amazing was just icing on the cake visiting this beautiful island.

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The photos of some of the devastation from Hurricane Irma. The ships that just pushed up to the roads were plentiful to see. Alfred said many buildings, even if they look “okay” from the outside are destroyed inside from water and mold. Many are completely wrecked and abandoned cars are all over, too, just waiting to be scrapped.st maarten vacation pictures, hurricane irma st maarten, st maarten airplane beach

The water, y’all! Can you believe it??? The boys were ready to plunge in as soon as we got there. And with getting thier ASAP off the ship, you can see it was quiet for a few hours!st maarten vacation pictures, st maarten airplane beach

Love that Gus is holding my old GoPro in the top shot. It didn’t last long, holding a GoPro in some major waves is hard work 🙂 One of our guys is a water baby…never wants to get out and slams into the waves all day long, the other, is only happy when he has the comfort of his dad around. Otherwise, you can find him digging.  Oh, and look closely at the beach shots, you can see more planes landing. st maarten vacation pictures, st maarten airplane beachst maarten vacation pictures, st maarten airplane beach, underwater photographyst maarten vacation pictures, st maarten airplane beach, underwater photographyst maarten vacation pictures, st maarten airplane beach, underwater photography

I hope you enjoyed a look at our vacation. If you are vacationing here in the Tampa/Sarasota/St Pete area of Florida, just know, I love to document your vacations, too. Especially if they include an outdoor beach adventure like this! Contact me for more details on a beach session, or lifestyle adventure session by clicking on “Contact” above, or email Brooke@HamiltonCreekPhotography.com!

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First Birthday Pictures: Tampa Florida Flowerfield

Tampa Florida Flowerfield First Birthday

Meet P! She is one year old and I can’t handle it. Remember her tiny face on her Riverview newborn blog post here? I can’t believe it is time for her first birthday pictures. No less, we did them in the same flower field I swear everyone has wanted their session at lately. I love it. The light is magic and doing it during the weekday mornings means it is quiet and cooler! Almost too cool! The red outfit was perfect not only for her strawberry eating at the end, but also to contrast against the greenery. I love how tiny sho looks amongst the flowers.


My own boys birthday is also in March and we have done their “birthday” portraits here a few times, too, and I love to see how much they have grown up and how the flowers are no where near as “tall” as they once were when we first started exploring in this field. Sadly, it will eventually be developed and this may be the last year here. So sad. But thankfully we were able to capture lots of beauty through the years in this magical little location!



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I always love when moms are willing to get in the picture for birthday sessions. We are always capturing others it seems, even if it is just with our cell phones. Sometimes we forget to ask to be in the picture! I love that this mama will have a few extra snaps with just her and her baby girl from her first birthday!

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first birthday pictures, tampa wildflower pictures

We did an alternative option to a “cake smash first birthday” and ended her session with strawberries! It is perfect for this Florida baby born around the Strawberry Festival and her dad’s line of work! Such a fun shoot, right?

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Riverview Family Photographer Flower Field Pictures

The H Family

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Oh my lanta, aren’t they just delish? Pretty much! This sweet family contacted me a few months ago. We were so fortunate they waited until March so we could do their family session among the flowers. As a Riverview family photographer I am so lucky to have this location so close to my house. I have been super busy with sessions this spring, even between taking some time off for spring vacation. I adored our time together. Their twins were so full of energu and they clearly adored their gorgeous big brother. They were so funny with each other because almost every sibling shot ended with a few of them on the ground, which absolutely reminded of my own kiddos!  I love the mama’s real expressions and love for her kiddos, too.


Can we just talk about the amazing light for their session, too? Wow! The light was magic. I loved the light playing on mama’s tulle skirt and lighting up the dust in the air in many of the shots.  If you are looking for a Riverview family photographer, I am your girl. We are so lucky to have so many fun locations around the area. I can’t wait to get back here soon!  There is one more morning spot open for the motherhood mini-sessions if you are looking for a fun morning with your kiddos – read more HERE (http://hamiltoncreekphotography.com/motherhood-portr…pa-mini-sessions/).


This was a full family session; therefore, the images are much more plentiful and varied. A full photo session works better for many families. This is especially true for families who have little ones that may be shy. Or if your kids just take a while to warm up. It is also good for littles like mine who need breaks from the camera in their faces. When booking, it is good to talk to your photographer about your kids and their personalities to make sure you get the right fit for you. I don’t offer mini-sessions year round. However, many clients do take advantage of the shorter sessions when I do offer them. Sometimes a mini session is all their kids have the attention span for. Othertimes, kids take more time to let their true personalities out.


So make sure you think of these things before you book your next session!


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Love the kids making their way under mom’s skirt and mom’s face. Such a mom moment, am I right?

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Tampa Motherhood Mini Session: W Family

Yellow Flower Field Mini Session

Meet the sweet W family. How adorable are they? I wish I looked this good before 8 am! We captured their Tampa motherhood mini session amongst the yellow wildflowers this year. What a perfect backdrop for their gorgeous, more traditional and classic outfits. I loved that this session captured the sweet moments of snuggles, some fun and independence, and particularly, details of toddlerhood in such a beautiful setting. We met in the morning, which is different to my norm, but the flowers bloom with a lovely tree line behind them to give that gorgeous bokeh, so the early start was worth it!

I don’t know how long these “flowers” will last, but man, I wish I could just do every session here. I have another session set for morrow morning and I can’t wait! A first birthday session among these flowers will be just perfect, too! Don’t forget I have a motherhood mini-session offer running right now. I can’t guarantee the flowers will last forever, but moments with your littles we capture certainly would! More details about the Tampa motherhood mini-session are listed HERE.


Is it just me, or does this little one’s smocked dress and bow have an “Alice in Wonderland” feel to it? I just loved the magic of watching her explore the flower field.

“Do you supposed she’s a wildflower”
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Want to see more? Check out their video slideshow fusion. A few of my favorite stills and a couple of short video clips help bring their Tampa motherhood mini session to life!

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Riverview Senior Pictures

In the Flowers

If you are looking for Riverview senior pictures –  I am here for you! I am also up for any of the high school seniors around Tampa Bay, as I love to set out for new session locations! I loved meeting this sweet Senior a few weeks ago. We have been planning her session for months, and it just so happened these gorgeous wildflowers, or weeds you may say, popped up right at the perfect time! How fun and stunning does she look in amongst the wildflowers?  Her smile and giggles were infectious, I found myself smiling the entire time I was taking her picture and editing all these lovely images, too. There are a few weeks left, and there is no time like the present to schedule a fun senior session before the end of the year!

The pink of her dress perfectly popped against the warm yellow flowers and lush greenery. I loved “shooting through” the flowers to give that awesomely yellow “flare” on a couple of the images! I always think I must look nuts doing it, but the results get me every time!  With a quick changes we were able to document another side of this high school senior in a more urban location around the always fun Winthrop Town Centre! I loved her energy and the movement the longer dress gave, especially with the shorts built into the outfit! If you are here for Miss S, leave a comment below to help her earn a gift 8×10 print on me! I wish her all the success next year!

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