Meet Dan Smith, our March 2017 #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?
I went to the Dry Tortugas in February while visiting my in-laws who have a home in Fort Myers. We took a ferry from there to Key West and the next day took the Yankee Freedom ferry to the Dry Tortugas.
2. If you arrived by the Yankee Freedom, how was your ferry trip?
Our ferry trip was really nice – the staff was helpful and it was great to receive coffee and breakfast right when we boarded.
3. How did you capture your winning photo? What inspired you to take it? Did you use any cool camera gear?
After touring the fort, my family and I went to the beach to snorkel and relax. I saw the pelican on top of the rock and he allowed me to get close to him; however, he would not open his mouth. After about half an hour he finally decided to stretch and pointed his bill straight up in the air. I was able to catch him as he started doing this pelican exercise.
Being a New Yorker, I don’t generally see such large birds. I was inspired to take this shot because I had never seen a pelican in person and wanted the iconic image of a pelican with his pouch showing.
I used a Cannon DSLR with a 70mm lens and a dedicated flash for fill. f22@125th iso 100.
4. What made your trip to the Dry Tortugas memorable?
Seeing my in-laws in snorkel gear, checking out all the nooks and crannies of Fort Jefferson, and watching pelicans diving for food made it a memorable day.
5. What do you plan to do with your National Park Annual Pass? Which national park would you like to visit next?
My wife and I can’t wait to use our pass. There are 22 national parks in New York state alone, so maybe I’ll start in alphabetical order.