Friday, November 7, 2008

Antelope Canyon

I got the chance to visit Antelope Canyon on Thursday with my friend Mia. Mia lives in Seattle and for a long time has wanted to photograph these unique canyons in Northern Arizona. We booked a tour with Carol Bigthumb, a Navajo tour guide from the local area. Carol was a big help with transportation and she knew quite a bit about photography. Many times Carol got us in the right location for the best shot. We hired her for the entire day and went to a total of five of the canyons. She was called away for an emergency meeting with the tribal counsel so her son Lane took over during the afternoon. He was also an excellent guide and was an interesting person as well.

Because it is November the sun is much lower in the sky and therefore the "shaft of light" phenomenon does not occur as much as it does in the summer when the sun is higher and comes down through slots in the upper part of the canyon formation.

Taking these photos is much harder than I had thought. Because the way the light enters the area, there can be large differences in the light levels causing difficult blowout of either very bright areas of the photo or very dark areas. In the digital age this situation is called "clipping", I struggled with it all day.

Like many people, I tend to get compliacent about the place I live and don't explore enough. I had heard about the "slot canyons" many times but never made the effort to go see them. I was very happy that my friend motivated me to go see them.


D said...

Thanks for posting this... I have been to that area many times, but never gone into either Antelope Canyon. I've wondered if the light would be present this late in the year. I assume with the colder weather there would be much less people in the slots.

Greg said...

Taking the photos was much more difficult than I expected as well. I went in April 2008 and the morning was mainly a blur. Unfortunately, at that time of year the canyons are packed and you had to fight to stake out spaces to shoot. Fortunately, the guide I went with was very vocal and really helped positioning us during the shoot.