Photo of the Week: Antelope Canyon
I've decided to start a "photo of the week" series where I'll post photos I've taken and give a brief story behind the image. There's so much that can go into taking an image that I thought I'd share some of my favorite moments and the stories that go along with them.
Stay tuned each week for a new photo and story!
The other week I took a fairly quick road trip through some of the Southwest's greatest natural wonders. Along the way, I stopped at Grand Canyon National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon was probably the most unique and fascinating of the three, which is saying something going up against two goliath national parks such as those!
Antelope Canyon is located in Page, Arizona, which is right on the Utah border. The town has a heavy Navajo population as they control most of the land surrounding the town, including both Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon. I visited both of these slot canyons during my time there as each offered a different experience. At Upper Antelope Canyon, where this photo was taken, I took a photography tour where only 6 participants are allowed, compared to the larger public tours. The photography tours are greatly appreciated by folks like myself as they are twice as long as the normal tours and allow you to bring a tripod inside the canyon. Not to mention, the photography guides do their best to keep others out of your shot, giving one a quieter and more tranquil scene inside the canyon. These slot canyons can be small and cramped at times, maybe no more than 2 feet wide, which can make setting a tripod up fairly difficult. However, there are areas or rooms where the sandy floor opens up as light trickles in across the sandstone walls. Upper Antelope Canyon is shaped like an upside-down “V” where the top is narrow and it widens towards the bottom while Lower Antelope Canyon is the opposite. Because of this, it is harder for light to penetrate fully throughout the canyon, so a long exposure and tripod were almost a necessity.
To achieve the photo you are looking at, I had to take multiple exposures from 2 seconds for the bright highlights to 10 seconds in length for the darker shadows. Of course, that meant I knew I had some work cut out for me at the home desk with combining the photos into one single image. In the end, being able to stitch the images together to produce more of what my eye saw really paid off as it shows the texture, various light, and an array of colors this slot canyon has to offer.
While the more popular time to visit the Antelope Canyons is between April-October when the light beams occur, this also means the crowds are enormous. Because of this, we visited in winter when the light wasn’t as harsh and the tourists were thinned out. The guides during our visit said there were only around 600 people a day compared to 3,000 in summer! I think I am a winter desert visit