Saturday, August 8, 2009

Into Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is one of the wonders of the southwest. Sure there are many slot canyons on the Colorado Plateau, but Antelope is probably the premier place for the photographer.

There are actually two Antelope Canyons, Upper and Lower. They are on the same "gully" but are about a mile apart. Both are also on the Navajo Nation and run under the supervision of the Navajo Parks.

Upper is the more famous. It is the easier of the two. For most folks they pick up a tour in nearby Page and are driven out to the canyon. The canyon there is level and in some places fairly roomy. It can also be packed with tourists.

Lower is a little different. It's closer to the road and you can drive yourself to the entrance. However it is much narrower and requires negotiating some twists and a few narrow ladders. BTW- each canyon is a separate admission. Lower was $26 in summer 09. It is well worth it.

After visiting each, I prefer Lower. As a photographer I liked the quieter aspect of it. Like I said, it requires a bit more dexterity but is more rewarding.


Check out the first pic to see the entrance. That narrow crack is it. You can see the stairs going down into it. The canyon can be 50-70 feet deep or so in places.

Once you drop down into the canyon the light levels drop and the light bouncing off the high walls above make for some wonderful soft colors and light.
I wandered slowly and photographed what seems like every turn in the canyon. Everything looks neat and it would be easy to spend the day here.

Actually it is the perfect place for the lazy photographer as the best light here is on clear sky days when the sun is high in the sky. In other words-you can sleep in.
I visited on the drive from Zion to the Grand Canyon which put me there around 10am-perfect for visit into the canyon.

It was my first trip into Lower but it will not be my last. I am already planning on making another trip here next year as I liked it so much.

For the photographer my advice would be to take a camera, tripod, remote release, and your widest zoom.
Add to that an extra battery and memory and you are ready to go. I'd try to travel light and highly suggest leaving the photo backpack in the car. There are tight squeezes here and a small shoulder bag/fannypack will be all you want.

Here are a couple of my favorite images I captured in my few hours in the canyon. I hope they can give you a sense of the colorful and narrow confines of this incredible place.
Do not let others images deter you, this is one place every photographer needs to go to.

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