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Michael Ng | profile | all galleries >> Travel USA >> Antelope Canyon, AZ tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Antelope Canyon, AZ

Antelope Canyon is located about 10 minutes from the city of Page, Arizona. The canyon is divided into two sections, which are the upper and lower canyons. The more popular of the two is the upper one. Because Antelope Canyon is located on a Navajo reserve, it is required that a permit fee (USD$6) be paid before entering.

Having a guide is mandatory after an incident in 1997 where 11 hikers drowned in a flash flood. The guided tours cost from USD$15 for the one-hour tour to USD$25 for the two-hour tour which is geared more towards photographers who want to spend more time in the canyon. Tours are conducted by a Navajo guide who will explain the history and the uniqueness of the place. The guides will also show you where the best photo spots are, sometimes assisting photographers in getting more interesting shots.

The biggest attraction of the Antelope Canyon is the opportunity to see beams of highly directed light streaming in from the canyon roof. Given the way the canyon is formed, the best time to view the light beams is around 11am-2pm, so plan on getting there during those times to catch them.

The interior of the canyon is rather dark, therefore it is recommended that photographers bring a tripod. Some tours offer tripods that you can borrow at no cost. A cable release is also recommended to reduce the effects of camera shake during long exposures. The canyon gets quite dusty from sand falling from the roof and walls, so if possible do not change lenses inside the canyon. Also, make sure that you dust your camera and lens from time to time.

In my honest opinion, more serious photographers should go for the photo tour. I went for the shorter tour and decided to extend my tour. Being a popular tourist attraction, you are bound to have to deal with large groups of visitors in the canyon, so having more time helps to ensure that you get the shot that you want. Some guides on the photo tours actually help guide traffic in the canyon to give you enough time for you to shoot. I even saw a guide throw sand into the light beams several times to make the beams more apparent!

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