Wednesday 17 April 2019
Arizona - Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon needs no introduction. If you have a windows-based computer, the likelihood is that you will have seen the amazing swirls and deep reds, oranges and ochres that make up one of the backgrounds that it cycles through. Many of the slot canyons from this area exhibit these layers of sandstone, but Antelope is perhaps the most expansive and impressive. When I was initially researching the various photography locations for this trip I had assumed you could just walk up and walk in, but the canyon is on Navajo tribal land and all of that is off limits….unless you pay.
Antelope Canyon has spawned an industry! Tours leave many times per day, and small groups enter the canyon at barely staggered intervals with a Navajo guide there to point out features and answer questions, but also to make sure you move through and go not linger and cause the whole system to fall over. At times it felt like the only thing missing was a cattle prod, but there is no denying the beauty of the place, even if you are sharing it with 200 other people. Interspersed between the regular groups are specialist photography tours (add $100 per person to an entrance ticket which is already $60…) who are allowed a little longer and are allowed to take tripods etc. I couldn’t stomach that level of robbery, so went handheld the whole way and hoped I would nonetheless get some good opportunities with the low-light capabilities of the 1Dx.
Most photographs of the Canyon are taken in summer when shafts of light fall into the canyon from the sun high overhead – I can only imagine how busy it must get. Sand trickles into these beams to produce the most amazing images, however In February when we went the sun is never high enough in the sky for this to happen. Antelope had a treat for us nonetheless - falling snow replaced sand for what I hope are some fairly unique shots.