by Frederick Lee
An experience beyond words, you just have to be there.
AntelopeCanyon is located along Highway 98 on the way to Page, thenorthern-most town in Arizona. The Mecca of slot canyons, yet you caneasily miss it as it is not marked on most maps. The best landmark isPage power station with its three chimneys. There are two parts to thecanyon; the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, both discharge into LakePowell. Driving north, you can see road signs leading to the respectivecanyons after passing the power station. The Navajo folks at the UpperCanyon offer two types of tours, one for tourists and a longer one forphotographers. Slot canyon photography is challenging on both thetechnical and aesthetic fronts. Since lighting inside the canyondepends mainly on reflections, it is difficult to assess the effectthese have on the sandstone rock surfaces. One lesson that I havelearned is that the camera’s sensor does see a lot more of the colourspectrum than the human eyes can. This is especially true on the blueend. Experiment with the White Balance setting and use the histogramfor optimal exposure control. Strong highlights can ruin your image, sothe overexposed highlight warning is a very useful feature in thissituation. Personally, I find the aesthetic challenge the greaterbetween the two. But first we must locate the potential areas and thisis where local knowledge comes in very useful. A photographer who isfamiliar with the location can point you to potential spots andindicate their salient features that are not obvious with a passingglance. I had the good fortune of meeting Jackson Bridges of OverlandCanyon Tours in Page. Being a photographer, he was able to point me tojust the right places in Canyon ‘X’, another slot canyon in the area. Ireally needed it as the five-hour tour passes much quicker thanexpected. A final thought on slot canyon photography; don’t pass thosedark areas too quickly, allow your eyes to adjust for a few minutes andtake another look. You’ll be surprised how much more there is. Engagenature on its own terms.
Copyright © by Frederick Lee 2007