Thursday, December 03, 2009

Antelope Canyon - Arizona 

So I've been falling behind on posting about travels.  I posted some photos on Facebook in September when we were there, but I know everyone isn't on FB, so here are a few of my favorites from Antelope Canyon.  I don't know about you, but I've seen pictures of Antelope Canyon for years, but never knew until recently that it was in Arizona!

We had the chance to go there with our friends, Marshall and Cathy on our way to a weekend at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and we were glad we did!

It's an amazing place for photography.  The only catch is that in the middle of the day when the lighting is best, there tends to be large numbers of folks in there for their tours.  There doesn't really seem to be any limit to the number that they take in at one time.  If there is, then the limit's probably a little too high because there were times when it was really quite crowded in those narrow passageways. I wish I would have taken a picture of the people inside the canyon to give an idea of how crowded it was.

The Canyon (and others like it) are all on the Navajo Indian Reservation near Page, Arizona (see map here) in a somewhat desolate-looking area near the northern border between Arizona and Utah.  It's amazing that these canyons are hidden in the desert there.  If someone didn't have photos and directions to the place, there's no way we would have found them.  There's no indication from the highway that these gorgeous formations are anywhere around.  And if you've been to the reservation, you know that the Navajo are not much for permanent structures, so we weren't quite sure where to go to pay and start our tour.  After a couple of stops we finally hooked up with a tour run by a woman (Carol Bigthumb) whose grandmother had discovered the canyons back in the 1930s. 

This sandy riverbed was the road to the canyon for much of the way.  It was very soft deep sand, so kind of strange to ride on.  The drivers tried to stay closer to the edge to keep from fish-tailing too much in the soft sand.

The tour guides were generally relatives and we spent most of our time with Gabriel , Carol's son-in-law (in the hat in photo below).  Turns out he is a believer and he was a great guide!  Very patient in pointing out the various rock formations with names, helping us find the best places to stand for photo ops and even looking at my camera to try to change some settings to get the best shots.  Now I'm sure some photographers would be offended by that, but I thought it was very nice of him to offer to be so helpful. 

The guides were also very good at directing traffic throughout the canyon so that photographers could have the "illusion" of being there alone.  They would hold up a group of people behind a curve in the canyon so that another group could take pictures of the space with no one in front of them.  Some of the photographers got a little pushy, but all in all it went quite smoothly considering the numbers.  I must admit though that as long as you have a tripod, and a camera that can be set to manual, it's really hard to take a bad photo in there.  The play of light on the beautiful red/orange rocks is simply amazing!


The first picture is near the beginning of the canyon and gives you an idea of the size of the space and the sandy floor.  If you go, please remember to wear closed toed shoes unless you want your feet to be totally dirty when you come out.

The rest of these are pretty much self-explanatory.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Enjoy!


3 comments:

Amy T Schubert said...

I wanna go!

linda t said...

Your awesome photography makes me want to go there too! WOW!
Breathtakingly beautiful!

smdelory said...

Wow!, Nancy. Those shots are fantastic! I hope that I remember this for when Nacho and I return to the US. It would be wonderful to go.