Monday, February 22, 2010

A visit of Antelope Canyon, Arizona





I had the chance during my last USA trip to visit the famous Upper Antelope Canyon in Northern Arizona. As the story goes, Antelope Canyon was discovered back in 1931 by a Navajo girl who was herding sheep in the area and it soon became a famous spot for landscape photographers. It is a short slot canyon (about 400 meters long) that you can cross in few minutes but the combinaison of light and sandstone texture make you want to wander for hours....

Unfortunately your time inside the Canyon will be limited since it is located on a Navajo reserve and hence  has a restricted access. Guided tours are available from the nearby city Page to the entrance of the canyon and the 1h30 tour will cost you $32, not exactly cheap....

Once you arrived, standing in front of the narrow entrance, it is  quite difficult  to imagine such beauty inside. Antelope Canyon is indeed a  magical place and walking on sandy ground add something to the whole sensorial experience. The sandstone of the canyon varies from dark red to light orange, some part of the canyon are well lit and others are very dark . Taking pictures is quite challenging and a tripod with a cable release are paramount since 20, 30 seconds exposure are sometime needed to capture the whole dynamic range of the scene. Add this to the excitement of actually being there and is easy to miss some pictures...

Unfortunately this place is victim if its success: even during low season, several groups of visitors are inside the narrow passages at the same time and people often cross in front of your camera ....
The Navajo guide we had was quite knowledgeable about photography, pointing out  good spots to take pictures, but he was way too fast and the time it took to put the tripod in place and  shot a 20s-30s exposure he already moved to the next spot....

A big disapointment was that I could not reproduce the most famous shot of the Canyon with the beam of light since it fades out during winter. This place is worth seeing so if you are visiting Lake Powell you should definitely go there. In the meantime,  if you have not been there already, here are some of the pictures I took there:

























3 comments:

Matt Antonino said...

Nice shots - I had a chance to go to the exact same canyon.

http://static.bigstockphoto.com/thumbs/3/4/5/large/543730.jpg

There's one of what I shot. The trick to the light is to stir up dust - I had my GF kick up dust and then get out of the way - 2 to 8 second exposures. The longer exposures can get people OUT of the shot as well even if they walk through.

MicrostockExp said...

Nice shot Matt:) Unfortunately the beam is not there in winter:( I ll try to remember the stir up trick if I go back there....

Corona Landscape – Landscape Maintenance Services said...

Thanks for the interesting and informative post. I look forward to more in the future.