Sunday, May 3, 2015

Nature's Eye Candy, a return to Antelope Canyon

Nature's Eye Candy
Long-time readers may remember that we visited Lower Antelope Canyon in October of 2013.  We were on a trip to Zion National Park, and because of the government shutdown were not able to hike there. We knew that Antelope Canyon was about a hundred miles away in Page, and since it too was on our "bucket list" we drove over and toured the lower canyon. Now, on our return to Page, we decided to visit the upper canyon. 

I sometimes forget that not everyone who sees my blog posts has been a reader for a long time, and may not know the names and locations of the places I mention. Five years ago if someone mentioned Page, Arizona, I would not have known were it was either.  So, here is a little map. 

Some places deserve more than one stop!

In 2013 at the lower canyon, we just showed up, paid our fee, and waited for the next tour group of about 20 people plus a guide. This time we choose to make a reservation for an 11AM "prime light time" tour of the upper canyon. Two hour "Photography" tours are also offered for which everyone must have a DSLR and a tripod, and your guide will show you where the best shots are, and keep the crowds from passing in front of you.

We arrived at the parking area, signed in and paid our fees, waited for a little while, and boarded our assigned truck along with 14 other people. Our guide was the driver, and along with a number of other open trucks, we were given a dusty, bumpy ride to the canyon entrance.

A word about the crowds: you cannot go into either Upper or Lower Antelope Canyons without a Navajo guide. You can only get a Navajo guide through one of five companies. Because the canyons have been featured in ads on the Super Bowl and in every guide book and magazine about this area, the demand is very high.  In other words, you are shoulder to shoulder with other people most of the time.

But as you can see from this picture of Craig leaving the canyon, it is a lot taller than a person, so even if you are jammed in on all sides by other photographers, the beauty above is not compromised, and you can get some great images by shooting over everyone's head.

There are a number of other slot canyons in Arizona and Utah, and we hope to be able to explore one that is not as busy as Antelope in the upcoming month. I did consider a day trip to Buckskin Gulch, but even the easiest way in involved a two mile hike (one way) and rock climbing down an 8-10 foot drop-off to get into the canyon. It seemed a little more than I am up to at this point in my life. It is also on the list of the ten most dangerous hikes in the US, because of the danger of flash flooding.

Enough about a hike we didn't do. On this day, we took over two hundred pictures.  Here are a few we have chosen to share:

When the wind blows, sand filters down from above, and during "prime time" the sun shines down to create a number of spotlight effects.

You can easily imagine the swirling water as it carved through the sandstone canyon.
Looking Up

Later in the day these beams of sunlight will be gone.

If you Google "Antelope Canyon" and choose "Images" from the top bar, you can see hundreds of pictures of the canyon walls. But if you can, go see it yourself. Just ignore the crowd and look up!


  1. You got some beautiful shots of a national treasure.

  2. Those look like award-winning photos!

  3. that looks well worth a crook in the neck!

  4. Your photos are spectacular. Thanks for posting. We're going to have to go back there.

  5. Ooooooooohhhhh...FANTASTIC shots! What kind of camera did you guys use?

    1. For this site, I used our Nikon D3 with a Nikon 28-70mm lens, and Merikay used our Sony RX-100 Mark I. The Sony has more pixels but softer colors. For major sites that might involve distant subjects, I switch to our Tamron 28-300mm. For most sites we switch off using the Sony. There's a case to be made that toting the D3, particularly with a Nikon lens, could be considered body-building.

    2. Leaving out the map, images in this post were taken by:
      Nikon: 1, 2, 5, 6, 8
      Sony: header, 3, 4, 7, 9

  6. What a magical place! Those are awesome pictures you got!

  7. Awesome pictures. This is very high on my bucket list. I didn't remember you had been there before. How wonderful you've been able to enjoy it more than once!

  8. Great photos & we hope to one day make it there.

  9. Absolutely stunning pictures !

  10. Thank you for sharing your trip with me. A magical place captured in your photographs.


Leave a comment, or send an email.