Antelope Canyon

October 08, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Photography of the West - Southwest:

Lots of interesting spots to photograph here with different photographer and camera requirements.

Let’s explore Antelope Canyon, a sandstone slot canyon East of Page AZ, near Lake Powell and the Utah – AZ border. The slot canyons were formed from millions of years of water erosion and the canyon walls climb 120 feet above the sandy stream bed. The Upper Antelope Canyon is more accessible as it does not require stair or ladder climbing on shifting sandy ground.  It is necessary to book a tour with Navajo guides (as it is in the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo nation). and best to book a photography tour if you can use a tripod and a DSLR, SLR or mirrorless camera needed for each member of your group.  Non photographers are NOT allowed. The extra expense is well worth it. I would recommend Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours, LLC. 928 380-1874 and for the photographer tours https://www.navajoantelopecanyon.com/Photo.asp Antelope Canyon 5Antelope Canyon 5Horizontal of the Antelope Canyon wall with stick.

The light beams are only visible during the summer months, best between late March and early October.  However, my September 27 visit was too late to see them.  However, I think less light glare produced better color and vibrancy in the images.  Also, were less routine.

  1. A tripod is essential, and you will be staged by the photography tour group either low to the ground or high.  Shooting is either ahead or overhead, on sandy ground, so a stable tripod is important. Antelope Canyon 2Antelope Canyon 2Vertical Antelope Canyon chamber.
  2. Most images require Long Exposures – 4-5 seconds, depending on your ISO and F stop - (usually F/8-11). Plan on ISO 200 or higher depending how still and long you can maintain your camera stability even on a tripod with proximity to other photographers and the traffic passing by!  I used mostly 800 to 1000.  Manual or Aperture Priority with cloudy White Balance.  __ Antelope Canyon 4Antelope Canyon 4Close up of the Canyon wall.
  3. Use your blinkies (or Zebra’s in mirrorless) to avoid blown out highlights and avoid large dark black shadows areas without detail.
  4. Other tour groups that are not allowed the use of tripods are plentiful and include cell phones rising high above head.  Not easy to handle crowd control, but the photo tour did a great job and controlled the maddening selfie crowd. 
  5. Colors are subtle and bold with deep purples to brilliant orange to pale pastels.  Shoot some close-up detail shots to explore the undulating patterns and unworldly colors in our natural landscape.  Antelope Canyon 1Antelope Canyon 1Horizontal of the Antelope Canyon chamber.
  6. My iPhone GPS keep changing the time zone and the arrival time.  Arizona does not follow daylight savings time (nor does the Hopi nation) but the Navajo do. Antelope Canyon is in Mountain Standard Time (MST) all year, same as Page, AZ. I keep worrying that I was an hour late. 
  7. To see the light beams you need to go at peak tourist time – summer months.  Not sure it is worth it. Antelope Canyon 6Antelope Canyon 6Sand pouring off a ledge in the canyon.

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