Antelope Slot Canyon, Page Arizona USA

Antelope Slot Canyon, Page Arizona USA

The Antelope Slot Canyons, located on Navajo lands just outside Page Arizona are arguably the most famous and picturesque slot canyons in the world.  The canyons are accessible only with a Navajo guide and a specialized 4×4 truck transports you the last couple of miles from the nearest road to the canyon entrance.  We used the services of Caroline Ekis who owns and operates Antelope Canyon Tours.  They have dedicated photography tours which limits the number of participants to eight at a time which makes it a bit easier to set up gear, however many other tour groups are also in the canyon at the same time so the biggest challenge is getting a shot without someone walking in front of the camera during the 20-30 second time exposures required in the canyon.

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Antelope Canyon 02

There are two Antelope canyons, the upper canyon which the one we visited and the lower canyon which is close by however requires one to climb down steep stairways to enter and leave the canyon.  The slot canyons are formed when flash floods caused by rain storms during monsoon season rush through the sandstone mesas and literally carve the slots through the sandstone.  Once the slot is formed, subsequent flooding travels through the same path making the slots deepen over time. Presently the Antelope Slot Canyons range up to 120 feet deep.  The Upper Canyon is a little over 1/4 mile long and ranges in width at the bottom from less than three feet to fifteen or twenty feet in some places. If you are interested in more information on the canyons, here is a link to the Wikipedia Antelope Canyon site.

Photographically its a challenge in the canyon for a number of reasons, low available light necessities long exposures and good low light techniques (especially at the low ISO’s and small apertures required to minimize noise and maximize depth of field); the tall yet narrow slot requires a wide-angle lens (I used a 16-35mm lens 95% of the time); the EV variation between the top and bottom of the canyon makes exposure bracketing and the use of ND grad filters mandatory; avoiding people and protecting your tripod from getting bumped during exposure was a constant challenge.

Below are some images taken during the two hours we were allowed to remain in the canyon.  The first is the entrance way where there is still lots of light.

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The stick on the right of the image below would have been deposited when the last storm waters moved through the canyon.

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This next image is of the Antelope Canyon waterfall which is created by throwing a huge handful of sand on the rock wall and taking advantage of the long time exposure to create the waterfall effect.

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The next few images are my attempt to be creative, which is always a challenge.  The following two images are the same except for the exposure time is much less in the first therefore bringing out the deep blues and violets in the rocks.

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This last shot is the far end of the slot canyon.  It took almost two hours to work our way from one end to the other and about ten minutes to rush back through the slot and back to the truck.

Antelope Canyon 19

These images and a few more can be seen in the Antelope Canyon Gallery

After leaving the Antelope Canyon we travelled about ten miles to the famous Horseshoe Bend in the Colorado River which will be the focus of an upcoming blog entry.

Visiting the Antelope Slot Canyons was a fantastic experience and I would highly recommend that the next time you are in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon you make it a point to visit Page.  Page Arizona is in the north central part of the state and is about a four drive from either Phoenix or Las Vegas.

 

10 Comments

  1. Scott, these are excellent! Very surreal.

  2. Carol Crossman

    Such gorgeous photos Scott. The colours of the rocks are something else. Thank you for sharing your talent with us. I look forward to the next set on the Horseshoe Bend.

  3. I mean spectacular but it must’ve been a spectacle as well 🙂

    • Thanks Arni and you are right in that there are not enough superlatives to describe the topography in the canyon area. A treat to photograph as well. I hear Costa Rica is pretty good too 🙂

  4. I can’t really find the words to adequately describe how spectacle these images are Scott! You should be very proud of yourself. Many thanks for sharing these, it was worth the wait.

  5. Lori Hayward

    God’s artistry never ceases to amaze me and Scott, you capture it beautifully. Those sandstone formations are exquisite. Thanks for sharing them.

  6. you always take great photos, but these ones are definitely some of my favourites! i love the way the lights seems to move in the still photos.

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