Thursday, October 28, 2010

The "Ghosts" of Upper Antelope Canyon - Page, Arizona

As much as the Navajo are a part of the Antelope canyon so are the hoards of people who visit, rather than experience, the slot canyon. Fortunately the guides try to shuttle the tourists through the narrow canyons so not to disturb photographers who are taking long exposures. I took this photo knowing a tour group would walk right into my shot, but I wanted to show the relationship between the slot canyon and the many tourists that visit it. A 20 second exposure turn them into 'ghosts.'

Canon EOS 5D, Tamron SP AF 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di LD IF

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In the last 20 years Antelope Canyon has rivaled the Grand Canyon National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park as a “must see destination” on a grand tour of the Southwest. For photographers it is a stunning visual paradise on earth. Besides the incredible light and remarkable colors of the Navajo sandstone, Antelope Canyon easily accommodates photographers due to the fact that there is no hiking involved to get to the entrance, the actual slot canyon is very short (about 200 yards in length), the best light is from mid-morning to noon (so no waking up early to catch the sunrise), and since all tours are guided you are given invaluable tips on the best places to position your camera.

What is known as Antelope Canyon is actually part of the Antelope Canyon Navajo Tribal Park located right outside of Page, Arizona (located in Northwest Arizona near the Utah border). The tribal park consists of two regions: Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope Canyon (Tse Bighanilini’) is by far the more popular of the two as a result of its easy access and spectacular light beams that has made this slot canyon famous.

The best time to visit Upper Antelope Canyon is between April to October when the trademark light beams illuminate the slot canyon. I visited in the month of December knowing well I wouldn’t have the spectacular light but the tradeoff was I wasn’t going to deal with the maddening crowds that have characterized Antelope Canyon the last couple of years. Besides after a couple of intense days photographing nearby Monument Valley, I wanted to experience the slot canyon with my own eyes rather from behind the camera.

Enjoy the photograph and the accompanying travelogue! I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment.

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

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