Meet Mariana Guerrero, our August 2018 #DryTortugas Photo Contest winner. We had the chance to ask her a few questions about her experience at the Dry Tortugas National Park. Read on to learn how she captured her amazing photo!
1. When did you visit the Dry Tortugas National Park? Did you arrive by seaplane, the Yankee Freedom ferry or another way?
I visited the last week of June, by the Yankee Freedom.
2. If you arrived by the Yankee Freedom, how was your ferry trip?
It was great! Since the departure time is very early, it is very convenient to have breakfast on board, also the lunch worked out very well. The overall experience was very enjoyable and the staff very friendly.
3. How did you capture your winning photo? What inspired you to take it? Did you use any cool camera gear?
Dry Tortugas had been on my “must visit” list for a while. As a photographer, I had been looking forward to capturing some good photos there. When I started planning the trip, I saw the info about the contest and it got me even more thrilled.
I brought along with me my Sony a6300, which has become my travel camera for over a year. It is very compact and easy to carry around, with all the features of a professional camera. I spent some time on the ferry ride reading more about the history of the place, so upon arriving, my husband and I decided to first walk Fort Jefferson, enjoy the views, and take all the photographs I wanted, to then spend a few hours snorkeling and relaxing on the beach. When we got to what used to be Dr. Mudd’s prison cell, I saw one of the windows, and that’s how the photo happened. I paused for a few minutes and reflected on how rough it must have been to be imprisoned at Fort Jefferson in the mid-1800’s – even with the amazing views. I captured the darkness of the cell, contrasting with the view outside, the beautiful hues, and the reflection of the building on the water.
What I enjoy most about travel photography is capturing the essence of a place and learning about its history!
4. What made your trip to the Dry Tortugas memorable?
Aside from the opportunity to capture inspiring photographs, the beauty of the place and its entire ecosystem. I was mesmerized by the color of the water from every point on the island, in addition to the memorable snorkeling experience seeing such a wide variety of fish.
5. What do you plan to do with your National Park Annual Pass? Which national park would you like to visit next?
I’ve been dreaming of visiting the National Parks in the western US. I will plan a trip to Utah or California to use my National Park Annual Pass. I would also love to return to Dry Tortugas, but this time to camp overnight and photograph the night sky!