One Hour Was Not Nearly Enough   41 comments

Upper Antelope Canyon, Antelope Canyon, slot canyon, canyon, Page, Arizona, Lake Powell, Navajo Nation, sand, limestone

One hour wasn’t nearly enough in this beautiful slot canyon in northern Arizona. I could spend days in here, but the longest tour allowable is just two hours in duration. Most camera jockeys have probably seen pictures of Upper Antelope Canyon and wished they could go. If you ever make it to the Grand Canyon, put Upper Antelope Canyon on your itinerary. It’s a mere 3 hours further north and east near the little town of Page.

The canyon is within the borders of the Navajo Nation so you can’t just walk on in, you need a permit and a guide. Both can be found by just turning up at the canyon car park just outside town. If you want to secure a spot, you can always book with one of the tour agencies in town. They tend to be a bit more expensive, but offer a few more options. The one-hour tour from the car park will run you about $25 per adult. If you plan to sell images, you’ll need to get permission in advance.

The tour starts with a 5 km (3 mile), rather bouncy ride in the back of a pick-up truck. At the end of the road is a dark crack in a cliff face that leads into Upper Antelope Canyon.

If you plan to make the trip, a tripod is essential. It was very dark. To create the image above, I had my camera set to ISO 400 and f8.0. I took three bracketed images at 0.5s, 2s and 8s. The tour company websites tell you that the best light is between 11am and 1pm in the summer months, but those are also the busiest times. We entered the canyon just after 2pm. By the time we left at 3pm, I could barely see the walls in front of me in places.

I hope you’ll indulge me over the next few days as I explore the textures and shapes inside this amazing slot canyon.


41 responses to “One Hour Was Not Nearly Enough

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  1. Wow, awesome photo! I’m a WordPress photographer as well, so I love when I see posts like this! Great job, keep up the great work.

  2. I am sure it is worth the effort to take such a superb picture. Really impressive – the lighting and the composition are all perfect!

  3. One hour 😦

  4. Love the lines and motion in this picture…

  5. I’m delighted for you, Mike, that you had this opportunity. The slot canyons have been a dream of mine for many years, and I hope that some day I too may be able to pay homage to their unique place in this amazing world. A beautiful photo, and I’m eager for more!

    • For me, it was very much worth the time invested. I’ve visited a slot canyon before (near Palm Springs), but this one is so different. The walls are just so smooth – it’s a very peaceful place. You definitely need to make the trip!

  6. Beautiful photo Mike. It’s already on my desktop.

  7. Gorgeous work! Can’t wait to see more as you go deeper into the depths of the canyon.

  8. It is beautiful! I love it.

  9. What an amazing place. Wonderful photograph.

  10. I’ve seen similar pictures many times, but they are always like candy for my eyes. This image looks like an ancient cathedral. Beautiful colours and textures!

  11. Mike, this is a beautiful photograph. Wonderful work.

  12. so beautiful!!

  13. Hi Mike, fabulous image with excellent lighting and texture detail.

  14. gorgeous

  15. Bet you were jumping for joy when you got this on your computer Mike- i would´ve been if it was me! Really Nat Geo-beautiful. What lens where you using?

    • In tight confines like this, the only lens I needed was my Canon 20mm 2.8. Thankfully I’m shooting with a full frame sensor, so the lens is a true 20. I have to admit, you’re right, I was pretty pleased with how this turned out. I’m finding all this HDR shots (and I did 35 separate sets of brackets) are needing a fair bit of fine tuning to get them where I want them.

  16. Breath taking!

  17. I don’t know how you ever made it out of there or how much kicking and screaming was involved to get you out of there. Wow, just wow. I’ve seen some captures of this place before, but this one exceeds. You captured the layers of light and their natural gradations so well with just the right depth of field. What a great opportunity, and opportunity seized.

    • I tell ya Brandon, it was hard. The tour kept moving and I kept being left behind. The tour guide led us on the way in and then she followed us on the way out to make sure we got out. Eventually she got a bit tired of me and just left. There were definitely some slightly impatient looks when I finally came out. Thanks for the kind words.

  18. Beautiful colour, light & texture. This looks like the sort of place where I could spend hours.
    You’ve captured the whole thing perfectly.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful image.

  19. This is fantastic and I don’t think several days would be enough time!!!

  20. I’m so jealous. Gorgeous.

  21. Stunning!! I can only imagine what it was like to be in such a magical place!

  22. This is a nice take on an often photographed location. Good job of making it fresh.

  23. I’ve gone through these canyon shots in reverse order — they’re all gorgeous images, with such rich colours, wonderful lines and great texture.

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