Earth, Wind and Water…Nature’s Beauty
While waiting in line at the grocery store I picked up a copy of Arizona Highways magazine. There was this amazing photo taken of a beam of light in Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon located in Page, Arizona, about 3 hours from Sedona. I went there a few years ago and was totally blown away by how beautiful it was. At the time I did not have the proper photo equipment to really take any good pictures. Because of the lighting in the canyon the shutter speed wasn’t good so most of them came out blurry. I always promised myself I would research low light shadowy photography, pack up my tripod and go back to take some amazing photos.
First let me tell you why the slot canyons are so cool. Erosion from wind and water has caused the sandstone to be shaped in waves and curves. The light finds its way through the sandstones curves giving the canyons brilliant colors of burnt orange, red, mauve, purple…very Sedona colors. In some spots rays of light shoot through these crevices hitting the sand below, creating a spotlight type of beam. There is something so beautiful and heart stopping in seeing this. The power of nature.
The first time I visited it was April and not crowded at all. We only went to Antelope Canyon and there were opportunities to be by ourselves as we walked through. This time it was packed. Tourists were everywhere and if it weren’t for the services of our tour guide it would have been impossible to take the pictures that we took. This private photo tour was led by, Gabriel, who was kinda militant that we were his photographers and we would have amazing pictures…it was funny, and I am sure annoying for other tourists, but good for us.
Now everyone, this tour is not for the faint of heart. Meaning, you can’t be afraid of heights, ladders, or small cramped spaces. This could be challenging for those who are not physically fit. I was very grateful for the past seven months of being in the gym because phew, there were some tight quarters.
Our tour first took us to Lower Antelope Canyon. The entrance for this canyon is very narrow and I could barely fit through. This has a series of ladders that go deeper into the canyon. It was still pretty early in the morning so it wasn’t too crowded. The other tours come in waves every 30 minutes or so. We then went to Antelope Canyon and it was a zoo. So crowded. Our guide would have us take a position, set up our tripods and then we would wait for beams of light to position themselves. Sometimes we were on our knees, laying on our stomachs, for long periods of time…legs would cramp up, knees would hurt. Wear clothes that you don’t care will get stained or torn.
Next we went to Snake Canyon. This was the most “scary” of the canyons. The other two are set up to get a lot of traffic. All of the ladders and stairs have been built into the rocks and do not move. This canyon had ladders…you know like the kind you lean up against houses to go clean the gutters…set against the rock, not fastened to anything. They would stretch over 10 feet, with a good drop of at least 10 feet below you. I am not a small girl, and when I climbed on these things I had visions of falling and breaking something, but I managed and was glad I did. Our group of about five people were the only one’s at this canyon. It is very narrow and there were spots I had to squeeze through…again I had visions of being wedged between the rocks and the guide having to call in the rescue team to butter me up and get me out. I got some great shots here of texture. It was soooooo quiet in this canyon without the chatter of tourists and very peaceful.
Next, for all of our efforts, we returned to have Navajo tacos…which are quite delicious.
Things to remember: bring sunscreen, shoes that cover your entire foot because the sand is hot, clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty or torn, a tripod or you will have blurry photos, patience and an adventurous spirit…you only live once!
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