Sunday, July 15, 2012

Antelope Canyon

We finally made it to the Antelope Canyon in Arizona.  It is also known as the Slot Canyon.  I have seen so many pics of this beautiful canyon and had dreamed of visiting it all these years.  Finally made it. 

This canyon is nestled deep in the Navajo county near Page, Az, and it is not easy to find on any map or tour guide.  You cannot just drive to it and hike through the canyon. Only a few tour companies (Native American owned) are permitted to take visitors into these canyons. 

The canyon is carved by wind and water movement through thousands of years and is a sight to behold.  The walls are red sandstone and the sand at the bottom of the canyon is also red.  The canyons look breathtaking at any time of the day, but the most photographed time is around noon when the sun rays shine through the slots.  The first picture above shows the sun rays streaming through the slots around mid day. 

The tour was very enjoyable.  The journey starts in Page, Az and winds down with a drive on the desert sand finally ending up at the entrance of the canyon.  I had not carried my tripod during this visit and I regretted it as soon as I saw the amount of light in the canyon.  Long exposures at very small apertures will yield the best pictures that can be blown up to poster sizes.  Since I didn't have a tripod, I had to dial up my ISO to 800.  All my shots were handheld and most of them came out pretty good. 

Whenever wind blows at the top of the canyon, fine sand would fall on our heads and that posed a dilemma.  Do you protect your expensive camera gear and stick it in the bag, or sacrifice your gear to get fantastic pictures that you can enjoy for a lifetime?  I chose the latter.  After the trip, my lens started creaking and there was sand on the camera dials and even in the view finder.  I cleaned it as much as I could, but I am using this as an excuse to get myself another new camera! 

Antelope canyon is a must see natural wonder in the US.  Another place we wanted to visit was the Wave.  Unfortunately, only 20 people are allowed to view it everyday.  It is hidden in the Paria Canyon in Arizona.  You need permits to access it.  As soon as I learned this fact, I called the Bureau of Land Management and was told that all permits until Sept 2012 were already sold out!  Dang.  We have to plan another trip for the Wave, and this, I feel, is a blessing in disguise, because I wanted another reason to visit the Antelope Canyon with my tripod!

Looking forward to my next visit.