Antelope Canyon is probably the most famous and most photographed slot canyon in the world. I’ve seen it in pictures many times, in magazines, in galleries, and even in framed photographs on friends’ walls. It’s a place that I’ve wanted to see in person for a long time, and I finally got to visit and take my own photographs there this week.
Antelope Canyon is on Navajo Indian land, and the only way you can visit is through guided tours. Our tour started with a ride on the back of a 4×4 pickup truck. The ride was fast and bumpy on the rutted road (if you could call it a road– it was more just a large expanse of packed sand), and it was actually kinda scary because we kept bouncing out of our seats.
The entrance to the canyon is about three miles from the parking area. Just from the entrance you can already tell that this is going to be a pretty cool experience.
Our Navajo guide was a pretty experienced photographer. She had recommended ISO and white balance settings for us to use, and at various times during our tour she pointed out places to stand to take pictures. She had names for many of the features we were photographing.
She called this one the sunrise.
This one forms the shape of a heart.
This one is called Monument Valley– I thought this one was pretty cool, it does kinda look like one of the iconic monolithic monuments from that famous valley in lower Utah.
Our guide grabbed my camera, sat down in the sand and pointed my lens at what I thought was a random rock to frame this photo of a wolf for us. That was really cool– you had to really know the canyon to get this shot.
After our tour of Antelope Canyon we made a quick stop to Horseshoe Bend, another famous photo spot that was less than fifteen minutes away.
From there we drove east to the Monument Valley. After the craziness of Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, the Monument Valley was sort of disappointing. I actually like the picture of the fake ‘Monument Valley’ from Antelope Canyon better.
We just kind of drove quickly through the valley, making a quick stop at the ‘Mexican Hat’ at the end of the valley. It looks more like a mushroom than a hat to me.
From there we made a slight detour to the ‘Four Corners’ monument. I’ve been to all these states before, but never all four at the same time, so I guess it was worth the steep cost of admission for this photograph of my dirty feet in all four states.
It seems that I’ve done a road trip in this southwestern region almost every year now, for at least the last five years. But I think with this last trip I’ve seen most of what I’ve wanted to see in the region (except for maybe Havasu Falls), so this may actually be my last trip to the area for a long time. I’m glad to have finally seen and photographed the Antelope Canyon– it definitely did not disappoint.