Just completed a tour of Antelope Canyon, the slot canyon near Page, Arizona. There are a lot of things that people don't tell you before going, and I had to learn the hard way.
The Navajos have exclusive entry rights, and the only way to go into Antelope Canyon is to book with a Navajo-owned, or Navajo-licensed company. (It's their land, after all.) We booked the photography tour with Antelope Canyon Tours. Our "photography tour" had 8 people. Their other sightseeing tours have upwards of 20. What I didn't suspect is that there would be HUNDREDS of other people from other sightseeing tours in there. The Navajos want to cram as many people as they can onto their tours because it is a phenomenal moneymaker for them. They really don't care if conditions are conducive to producing good photographs. It's strictly a business to them, and they are not photographers, for the most part. And that's nothing but the politically incorrect truth.The canyon was so crowded, tempers were short, and in the end it didn't do us any good to have paid extra money for a so-called "photographers tour". I ended up having to shoot upwards toward the canyon ceiling to avoid getting heads in the pictures, except for a few small exceptions. It is very difficult to find space to set up a tripod, but absolutely essential in the low light conditions, so I was setting up and taking down my tripod hundreds of times, since it is impossible to move around in there with the tripod extended. The tour guide really hurried us through there, so had to work FAST. Very hard work with a heavy tripod, camera, and lens! It is so very dusty in there that it is not advisable to even think about changing lenses. Put on the lens you want to use before the tour starts, and leave it! I attached my wide-angle lens to the tripod before even entering the cavern, and that was a perfect choice of lens for the confined spaces. Be sure to take water, as it is hot and dusty with all the bodies crammed in there. And take plenty of lens wipes. I didn't know what to expect before going, and I sure found out what to do and not do. Don't know if my experience was typical or not. Just hoping to save others some frustration and mistakes.
Shaft of Light
"The Eagle" Guards the Way
Lone Tumbleweed (40' up, left by flood)
Beautiful shots. Glad you got to visit. There are so MANY more places on the Navajo Reservation that I prefer to visit. Have you visted Canyon de Chelly? Awesome place.
It is my understanding that winter months are far less crowded.
No, but Canyon de Chelly is one that is on my list for next year.
It's true that the winter months are less crowded, but in winter you don't have the sun in position to make light beams directly down onto the canyon floor, and the light beams are one of the major draws during the summer months.
We know your pain. We did the same thing. Next time we took the other canyon. I get them mixed up. It's across from Antelope Canyon. MUCH less people. MORE time spent on taking pictures. Our guide was awesome. Not nearly as much sand blowing. It's a little hike to and back. And several stairs in the canyon.
You got some awesome pics, though!
My tour of Antelope Canyon was great because I went in late September when there was less chance of crowding. Our guide was very good and knew to toss some sand into the sunbeam for effect. This photo was indicative of what a good guide can show you. Added text in photo is mine.
Just completed a tour of Antelope Canyon, the slot... (
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Thanks for taking the time to give us all that good information. This is on my "bucket list" of places to go and photograph, so I for one will keep everything you said in mind when I go. I think I will share this in the newsletter I write for our photo club. It's good info to know and certainly not in any of the brochures.
Sorry to hear about your experiences which would leave me very frustrated too. But thank you and others for letting us know.
Was there last OCT. Had a great guide who knew where the best shots where. Had 8 people in our group had lots of time and came out with great pictures. Hope to go back again, great place.
Beautiful colors from the sunlight brought out in spite of the crowds.
Thanks for the tips!
Like the images!