Nikon D3X firstname.lastname@example.org ISO 200
05/15/2011 – Page Arizona Day 10
Wave Attempts, Lower Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend
Departed Monument Valley around 7:30am to make our way to Page Arizona. We actually were going to drive directly to the Paria Ranger Station to apply for a “Wave Permit” but I turned the wrong direction on 89 South so we missed our chance. So, we drove back to Page and arrived at Page about 8:30am Arizona time. The whole time zone issue is very difficult in and around Page since it is so close to the Utah Border. Utah is on Pacific Time and Arizona is on Mountain Time and Monument Valley is on Mountain Time. It gets a little crazy in Page because if you use your cell phone to verify time it will be off by an hour at times. What happens is that cell phone towers in Utah, which are very close, will render Utah time and cell phone towers in Page will render Mountain Time. So, don’t use your cell phone for correct time. If you are going to go to the Paria Ranger Station for a “Wave Permit” make sure you know what time to leave page to go as the time zones are different.
We were supposed to be at Antelope Canyon Tours, “Chief Tosie” at 10:15am. We actually arrived at 8:30am. So we drove around page and explored until our tour time for the Upper Antelope Canyon Photography Tour.
Now let me make it clear about Upper Antelope Canyon. This is a very cool place and an easy walking hike through the canyon. The problem is that even if you are on a “Photography Tour”, the place is packed with tourists. When I say packed, I MEAN PACKED! There are hundreds of people with point and shoot cameras and professional cameras that have no clue what they are doing. They get in your shots and they fire flashes, when you don’t need a flash and they sit in your light beam like they are basking in the sun. Heck, I was wondering if they were going to pull out the sun tan lotion.
I was on a photography tour but it should be called an amateur photography tour. It cost $50.00 US but, I would have paid five or ten times as much to have more leeway, to be alone or in a professional group, to have had more time, to not be rushed and for someone to have made sure the other people in the canyon were not blocking or in my shot.
Make no mistake, the tour guides try to do this the best they can, but there are so many people in that canyon at once that the task upon them is way to out of control.
Like I said, understand that it is a complete mad house… at least in the month we went.
Recommendations? Lower your expectations of the number of keepers you will get. If you know how to photograph the canyon or are a professional, it will not help. I know how to shoot the canyon. The problem is the number of people and the confusion of the tour guides all working the same small area. If you want a lot of keepers you may have to visit more that once. Book ahead and cover your camera with plastic. It is extremely dusty and dirty and many cameras do not survive the dust. We used a modified zip lock bag and duct tape to cover our cameras.
How to shoot the Antelope Canyons? You need a camera, a tripod, a shutter release cable and tolerance. Place your camera in Aperture Priority mode and set aperture to F8 or F11. Your ISO should be at 800. Your white Balance should be on Sunny. Set your camera on your tripod in Portrait configuration. Attach a shutter release cable and put your camera in “Mirror Up” mode.
At each composition, set your tripod for your composition and have the viewfinder in a mode where you can see your histogram. I suggest bracketing five shots for each composition.
WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT CHANGE LENSES IN THE CANYON!!!! It is way too dusty and your sensor and your images will be ruined. Make sure your plastic bag covers your lens as well as all the way to the hood and tape it down. You need a wide-angle lens ONLY such as the Nikon 14-24 lens. That’s it.
After Upper Antelope Canyon, it was about 2:30. We had a light lunch and returned to Marriott Courtyard in Page for some sun by the pool and to relax. We went to Fiesta Mexicana for dinner because their margaritas are soooo good.
Went to bed after dinner.
See more or the 2011 Southwest Collection Here
© Copyright Robert Shreve Photography