Photography, Slot Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Photographing Antelope Canyon, Arizona, Part Two

By Lee Daley.

One of the important elements in any photography travel adventure, including slot canyons like Antelope Canyon in Arizona, is the preparation done at home before the trip.

Prior to departure, I received a packet describing the workshop and what I could expect during the trip. One of the high points for me was the assurance of a small group of no more than eight participants. The packet included a list of suggested equipment for film and digital photographers with tips for making the trip a success.  I have included a list of suggested equipment below.

Photography, Antelope Canyon, Arizona, Slot Canyon
Red sandstone and filtered light create spectacular colors (Photo: Lee Daley)

More than just an opportunity to take great photos, a visit to the slot canyons comes pretty close to being a spiritual experience. Lower Antelope, called Hazdistazi by the Navajo, meaning “spiral rock arches,” feels in places like a cathedral, a place where water and wind has sculpted sandstone grain by grain to form swirls and arches of magnificent shapes and colors. The sandstone walls curve and bend in flowing shapes, alternating in shades of salmon, orange, purple, brown and yellow, thanks to sedimentary formations of Hematite and Geothite. As an interesting aside, evidence of Geothite’s use has been found in paint pigment samples taken from the caves of Lascaux in France.

After many years of conducting photography workshops in the Southwest, Craig has developed personal and often unique relationships with places and people all over the region. One evening, everyone was invited to the home of a Navajo elder for dinner and the opportunity to photograph. Another evening, we hiked over the reservation to a magnificent overlook where we photographed and lingered until the last light was extinguished. We reluctantly traipsed back to the van with only starlight and a crescent moon to light our way.

Photography, Slot Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Sandstone sculpture (Photo: Lee Daley)

Near the town of Page, a horseshoe-shaped bend in the Colorado River is locally known as “King Bend.” Slightly downstream from Lake Powell within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and another of Craig’s favorite shooting locations, it proved a worthy outing for a few hours of photography before dinner. Horseshoe Bend overlook is 4,200 feet above sea level. Looking down upon the Colorado River from the overlook, you are perched 1,000 feet above the water, making for a spectacular overview and a great photo opportunity. Just watch your step.

Slot Canyon, Photography, Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Dusk and twilight

An unexpected benefit of traveling with a photo group was the camaraderie of our small band of like minded photographers. Over dinner each evening, we reviewed the day’s challenges and accomplishments with shared insights and tips. For anyone wanting to come away from a visit to Arizona’s slot canyons, I would highly recommend a photography workshop as a memorable learning vacation that will reward you with skills lasting a lifetime.

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