5 Questions With The October 2014 #DryTortugas Photo Contest Winner

Image of Dry Tortugas Photo Contest November Winner
Meet Tenyu Boyadjiev, our October 2014 #DryTortugas Photo Contest winner. We had the chance to ask Tenyu 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 visited the Dry Tortugas National Park with my wife on Sunday, August 24, 2014, the last day of our seven-day vacation in the Florida Keys, which included three days in Islamorada, 1 day in Marathon and 3 days in Key West. We arrived at the Dry Tortugas by Yankee Freedom ferry. We had made reservations and prepaid for the ferry on the Yankee Freedom website two weeks before our trip, and were very excited about riding the high seas on the speedboat.

2. If you arrived by the Yankee Freedom, how was your ferry trip?

The trip on the ferry was a ton of fun and quite memorable. Between fixing ourselves breakfast from the delicious buffet spread, taking pictures of the sunrise and the beautiful ocean scenery, spotting fish in the water, listening to the presentation by the tour guide dressed as a confederate soldier and making friends with some of the other passengers, the two and a half hours just flew by. The staff on the boat were extremely courteous and professional and definitely helped to make this a smooth and pleasant experience.

3. How did you capture your winning photo? What inspired you to take it? Did you use any cool camera gear?

My wife and I have developed a tradition of building a small stack of pebbles on every exotic beach we visit. We then quickly take a picture of it, before the waves wash it off or the wind knocks it down, to capture the beauty of the place and keep it as a memory of our special time together. We collect these photos from every beach we go to. We knew the Dry Tortugas was a magical place, unlike any other, as soon as we set foot on the shore of the Garden Key. After first touring the fort, we decided to go for a swim. We picked the North Beach because it was less crowded, and to our great surprise found a hoard of old orange bricks from the nearby dock ruins, their edges rounded off by the relentless ocean waves, strewn all around the sand. We remembered the instructions we received on the boat to not touch any rocks or coral on the island, and since these were just brick remnants that did not fit any of the protected rock categories, we decided to use them to build our signature stack. We took our photo right away on my smart phone and it came out perfect – the bright orange color of the brick pebbles beautifully juxtaposed against the seven shades of blue in the water and the sky. This photo captured the true essence of the Dry Tortugas – a manmade brick structure silently standing guard in the midst of the breathtaking natural beauty of this exotic island. Almost immediately, after we snapped our coveted memento, the wind blew the pebbles back to where they had been gently caressed by the warm ocean waters – a fleeting moment, as short and ephemeral as our brief romantic sojourn in this unforgettable park, now frozen forever in this photograph.

4. What made your trip to the Dry Tortugas memorable?

The whole experience, from beginning to end.

5. What do you plan to do with your National Park Annual Pass? Which national park would you like to visit next?

We are very excited to win a free National Park Annual Pass. We have never visited any of the big national parks, such as Yellowstone, Yosemite or the Everglades, and are looking forward to taking a trip to one of them next year.