by Suzanne Roberts of Happy Eyes Photography
December 12, 2016
The Antelope Canyon had been on my bucket list for a while. A couple of years ago, I saw a very large print of the beautiful red canyon which intrigued me and I instantly knew I wanted to see it with my own eyes.
With a week off work, I thought it would be a great time to head to Arizona with a friend and do a photo trip! We flew into Phoenix and rented a car and hit the open road.
The Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon that is located on Navajo land a few minutes east of Page, Arizona. You cannot go into the Antelope Canyon on your own, you must go with a guide. We started with the Lower Antelope Canyon Tours and met Vernon T, a local who from the age of 5 has been involved in tours. He told us that his aunt told him "go show those people around" and apparently Navajo women don't take “no” for an answer!
We did the Photography tour ($44US per person) which allows tripods and more time to photograph inside the canyon. It was a short sandy walk to get into the canyon, and then the fun started! Vernon helped us with camera settings and showed us all the best spots to shoot and in which direction. I was thoroughly impressed with his knowledge on camera's and the ability to hold big groups of people off so that we should shoot in each spot for about 2 minutes without having people walk into the frame. I highly suggest bracketing each shot since the amount of contrast inside the canyon is very high. And set your white balance between Kelvin 4600 to 4700 to bring out the redness in the rock. Also, use mirror lock up to make sure you get sharp shots!
It was spectacular to say the least. This was my first time photographing anything like this and I was blown away by the textures, light and patterns on the rocks and the incredible colors. It was like being in another world! Hiking the Lower Antelope Canyon was tricky in places. There were some very tight spots and very steep ladders. I wouldn’t recommend it for grandma and grandpa!
The following day we did another photography tour, the Upper Antelope Canyon. This one was a bit more expensive then the lower, since it takes a while by vehicle to get there ($88US). The Upper Antelope Canyon is a bit darker then the Lower Antelope Canyon, so higher ISO was used due to the strict 2-minute shooting time in each spot. The Upper tour didn’t have any ladders and was a much easier walk to get through. Traffic in the Upper tour goes both directions making a bit tougher for the guides to hold off the crowds. I was equally impressed by the beauty of the Upper Antelope Canyon. The guides we had even threw up some sand in a spot to create a neat “sand waterfall” effect.
We did these tours in November, which is technically the “off-season” for the Antelope Canyon, but it was still very busy! We didn’t see any of the light rays inside the canyon, which can be visible in June or July. Rays or not, it was a spectacular sight and I would recommend visiting the Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon to anyone. Even if you aren’t into photography, it’s breathtaking and worth a visit!
While in Page, another beautiful spot to photograph is Horseshoe Bend. Horseshoe bend is a horse-shoe shaped canyon with the Colorado River running through it. From the parking lot, it is a short 30-minute walk to the cliffs.
This shot was taken just after sunset.
Suzanne is a hobbyist photographer living in Calgary. From a young age, she was fascinated by both cameras and nature. After moving from the Netherlands to Squamish, BC, Suzanne became increasingly passionate about nature and all of its beauty. It wasn’t long after that, she moved to Calgary and got her first digital camera. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Previous articles - My First Newfoundland Trip
Click on the buttons below and share this site with your friends