PHOTO TIP #1 (Lower Antelope Canyon)

KerrickJames LowerAntelope Canyon. ©Copyright 2016. All rights reserved

Kerrick James ANTELOPE CANYON. ©Copyright 2016. All rights reserved

Page is famous worldwide for the great high desert lake at it’s doorstep, but also for it’s photogenic and accessible slot canyons including Upper & Lower Antelope, and lesser known gems with beckoning names like Secret, Mountain Sheep and Rattlesnake. Local guides offer tours to all these canyons. These slot canyons have been naturally carved in the Navajo sandstone, with Antelope Canyon the best known. There are actually two sections, Upper Antelope (easier access) and Lower Antelope, which requires good balance and the ability to walk up and down steep metal staircases set into the orange rock.

To make quality images you’ll need a tripod, and a wide to medium zoom, as wide as you can get (16mm at least on Full Frame cameras). You can shoot from 9 a.m. (Navajo time!) til late afternoon, and the light changes from minute to minute. Change your angle, location and composition to exclude direct sunlight on the sandstone walls as the contrast can be unacceptable. At low ISO’s (100 or 200) and small apertures (F11-16), your exposures can be seconds long, so use that tripod. This is a good place to test your skill with HDR captures. Shoot in RAW and use the SUN Color Temperature setting, and check your histogram with each new setup to max quality. If it’s windy don’t change lenses inside the slots as the fine sand and dust can clog your sensor!

Sign up for your Lower Antelope Canyon tour at the first of two newish tour buildings, the one to the east, not the west. Tell them you want the Photographer’s Tour, which does include a guide, and gives you more time to work the angles, and to wait for other folks to clear out of your shot. This will cost more, close to $50, and give you about 2 hours in this classic slot canyon. During the busy season, spring to fall, expect serious throngs traversing both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, drawn by the overwhelming beauty. In the winter the slots are cold, so dress warm, but they’re much less crowded. Despite the ever growing throngs which will test your patience, both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon are worth your time and will reward you with images to savor. And you may become hooked on exploring slot canyons, so return to Page but first contact me for more ideas.

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