|The entrance to Upper Antelope Canyon.|
An authorized Navajo tour guide is required to gain access and while there are a number of tour operations available in the Page area, I choose Roger Ekis' Antelope Canyon Tours and specifically signed up for the photographer's tour. Most of the tour operations offer some sort of a photography option which will cost you a little more money, but does give you more time on location, ensures that you can use a tripod, and most importantly, means you are with other photographers whose sole purpose is the same as yours.
This was my first and only visit to Upper Antelope Canyon and I spent a total of two hours taking photographs. I mention this because I don't want to give the impression that I know everything there is to know about photographing here. However, I think you will find these five tips useful if you ever get the opportunity.
|Photographed with a 10.5mm lens and corrected in Adobe Lightroom 4.|
|My guide tosses a handful of sand onto a ledge creating a nice visual effect as it then "flows" over the edge.|
|Detail pointed out by the guide is only seen by looking straight up.|
|Having the right equipment, including a tripod and remote shutter release, are essential.|
|Three shot bracket taken at -1.0, 0.0 and +1.0.|
As I mentioned at the start of this post, this was my first visit to the canyon so I only have this one brief experience photographing in the mid-December light. The look in this canyon will change depending on the time of year, so if you want to photograph shafts of light then you will need to visit during the summer months. Of course during the summer you will also contend with large crowds which would certainly add to the anxiety of getting the photographs you want.
In addition to Upper Antelope, there are other slot canyons in the area including, Lower Antelope, Canyon X or Cardiac Canyon. These locations are less frequented, meaning they are also less photographed, so would offer additional opportunities to produce never before seen images. Apparently some of these canyons do require hiking and more time, so they are not as accessible as Upper Antelope.
And don't forget to just stop, take the camera away from your eye and absorb the surroundings. As photographers we often get caught up in the scene and forget to just take a moment and enjoy what is around us. While we tell ourselves that we will have the photographs to remember it by, nothing compares to being there. More on this in a future post.
Additional tour companies to consider:
For more information on Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation visit http://www.navajonationparks.org/