4 Questions With The September 2016 #DryTortugas Photo Contest Winner

Dry Tortugas Blog Post

Meet Garry Rollins, our September 2016 #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!

1a. When did you visit the Dry Tortugas National Park? Did you arrive by seaplane, the Yankee Freedom ferry or another way?
It was my first visit and I spent two days and camped overnight during January 2015. I used the Yankee Freedom for transportation. I am trying to camp at every National Park in the US and write about my travels on my blog as encouragement to others to see our amazing national treasures.

1b. If you arrived by the Yankee Freedom, how was your ferry trip?
We encountered a little choppy water out of the channel but the majority of the trip was very enjoyable. The crew was all very friendly and accommodating. When we circled around the island before landing, it allowed an opportunity to get a great view of the fort.

2a. How did you capture your winning photo?
I always look for an interesting composition. I wanted something that would use the historical construction of the fort to frame the beautiful natural surroundings. Using the window opening just seemed like a natural setting to combine both.

2b. What inspired you to take it?
The fort is an amazing structure and difficult to fully understand the hardship faced during construction. I wanted the viewer to feel up close to the effort that went into laying each individual brick.

2c. Did you use any cool camera gear?
I used a “vintage” Canon 5D Mark II with a Sigma 12-24 lens with minor adjustments in HDR Efex Pro and Adobe Lightroom. The image was shot in RAW format at f16, ISO 100 and 1/6 second. A Manfrotto tripod and shutter release cable was also used.

3. What made your trip to the Dry Tortugas memorable?
For me, it had to be the overnight camping. Once the ferry left for the afternoon only a few of us had the island to ourselves. Once the other guests had departed it was easy to let my mind wander and think about all the history and beauty surrounding me.

4. What do you plan to do with your National Park Annual Pass? Which national park would you like to visit next?
I already have a lifetime senior pass so I will pass it along to a deserving young person who is ready to get out and experience our National Parks. I’m closing in on my goal and have now stayed at 36 of our 48 parks in the lower 48 states. The Grand Canyon is my all time favorite.