Meet Dale Hollenbaugh, our March 2018 #DryTortugas Photo Contest winner. We had the chance to ask him a few questions about his experience at the Dry Tortugas National Park. Read on to learn how he captured his amazing photo!
1. When did you visit the Dry Tortugas National Park? Did you arrive by seaplane, the Yankee Freedom ferry or another way?
My wife and I visited Dry Tortugas National Park over Thanksgiving weekend in 2015. We just did a day trip and visited via the Yankee Freedom ferry.
2. If you arrived by the Yankee Freedom, how was your ferry trip?
Going out, seas were calm and it was a pleasant trip. There was occasional commentary which was interesting. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet and its wide variety of offerings. We sat inside on the way out. On the return journey, the seas were a bit rougher and windy. As we departed Garden Key, we stayed on the outside deck for a while and then came in and enjoyed a snack before taking a nap until we were nearly back to Key West.
3. How did you capture your winning photo? What inspired you to take it? Did you use any cool camera gear?
After exploring Fort Jefferson and taking the guided tour, we did a little bit of snorkeling and then enjoyed the provided buffet lunch. After lunch, we explored Bush Key looking for wildlife. As avid birders, we were walking along the beach towards the Magnificent Frigatebird roosting area when this Great Blue Heron popped its head up from the mangroves just begging for a photo. The photo was taken with our Canon 60D camera using a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens at 300mm focal length, ISO 200, f/9.0 and 1/640 sec.
4. What made your trip to the Dry Tortugas memorable?
We had attempted to get to Dry Tortugas National Park before, but were foiled by weather. We have a goal to visit all 59 National Parks and are well on our way. I've visited 50 parks and my wife has visited 39 and she will add five more this year. We were very impressed by the fort, its history and size, and how large the park was. We imagined it to be smaller, but found to to have a lot more activities than we could fit into our four-hour stay. We hope to visit sometime in the future and camp out so we can stay longer.
5. What do you plan to do with your National Park Annual Pass? Which national park would you like to visit next?
We typically plan our vacations long in advance and already have the next couple booked. In the late spring we will be heading to California and will visit Yosemite, Sequoia, King's Canyon and Lassen Volcanic National Parks, as well as Manzanar National Historic Site and Devil's Postpile National Monument. Just before Thanksgiving, we will be headed back out west to visit Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, as well as Lake Mead National Recreation Area.