Upper Antelope Canyons
Upper Antelope Canyons Page Reviews
you should visit this place! Jan 20, 2013
There are two Antelope Canyons – The Upper Canyons and the Lower Canyons. We only went to the Upper Antelope Canyons. We hope to be back for the Lower Canyons.
The information I am writing on here are some of the questions I wanted for answers when I was doing my own research.
"What is the best tour option there is to visit the canyons?"
Upper Canyon Photography Tour is highly recommended if your intention is to photograph because this kind of tour lasts for 2 to 3 hours depending on which tour company you hire to bring you to the canyons. Definitely, an hour won’t be enough. Even at winter time when the canyons are less visited, still the slot canyon is filled with photographers. In fact, we had to squeeze in to pass along the narrow passages.
“What is the best time of the year to visit Antelope Canyons?”
According to the Navajo Indians, there is no such as “the best time” – no matter what season of the year you visit, the canyons and their colors are always stunning! I would say though that if you want to capture the beam light that goes all the way down to the floor of the canyons then Fall Season might be best. Winter time; however has its advantage because the canyons have less visitors. I’d say at the time we were there, there were there were already quite a lot of visitors, and so I imagine in the summer time inside there would be a total chaos!
“How do we get to the Canyons”
If you are NOT hiring a tour guide/company from the town, you can drive straight to the main gate of the canyon park.
1.) Start out going southeast on US-89-LOOP/S Lake Powell Blvd toward S Navajo Dr.
2.) Turn left onto AZ-98. AZ-98 is just past Aqua Ave
3.) Turn left to stay on AZ-98. AZ-98 is 0.6 miles past Industrial Rd.
4.) Turn right onto BIA-222. Stay straight to go onto Antelope. As soon as you entered the entrance you will see a signage and huge parking lot. Park in there and then go to the small shack next to the parking. You pay US$6.00 for the entrance. Reason why I gave you the directions to the entrance is because the tour guide service from the park’s entrance is a lot cheaper than those in town.
“Do you have to hike to get to the canyons?”
No there are no hiking activities involve. From the entrance gate you will be transported by a Navajo Guide (and driver) via 4x4 trucks or pick-up truck whichever is available. You will be passing a dirt road about 3 to 5 miles long. Our guide made us imagine how the roads looks like during the monsoon season when the water is up to almost 6 feet high! And I said “wow”! Once you get into the slit or slot you walk directly into the canyon from the sandy floor. My mother who has a handicapped was able to tour from the beginning of the slot to the end and back to the entrance slot!
“How cold is inside the canyons during winter season?”
The canyons can be cooler than outside. So plan on bringing some extra layers as the temperature can drop 10-15 degrees deep inside. At the time we were there, it was below freezing point inside the canyon. I’m glad we brought extra layers with us.
“What is it exactly about the slot canyons (or Antelope Canyons)?”
Antelope Canyon, which is located just outside Page, Arizona, and is probably the most photographed slot canyon in the American southwest. The twists and turns in the walls of this tight canyon create dramatic pictures with light and shadows and brilliant shades of oranges, reds, and deep purples! No wonder it is such a popular destination! These are slot canyons which are narrow canyons formed by water during heavy rains. The rocks inside the canyons are made of sandstones. The slot canyons are much deeper than they are wide and come in all different sizes ranging from 40-50 feet deep to 1,300 feet deep. The Antelope Canyon is actually split in to two halves; known as Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. We went to the “Upper”.
“What is the best time of the day to photograph the canyon rocks?”
Photographing the Antelope Canyons can be quite challenging as lightings are quite contrasting. The canyons receive light from the sun which lights the top of the canyon yellow. As the canyon deepens, so does the light until it is orange and then red. Some of the sandstone located deep inside the canyon has a very small amount of black on it which together with the blue sky above deepens red hues and causes blues and purples to show near the very bottom of the canyon. So what exactly is the best time? Well, I would say it can be done anytime of the day! In the morning you will have nice light throughout. The most important is sunny cloudless days which are ideal for photographing slot canyons as they illuminate the very dark canyons below to photograph. Having the sun directly overhead is best so there's no need to get up early for sunrise shots to catch the "Golden Hours". The afternoon at 1pm is when the sun is highest above the canyon giving it maximum light conditions. This is the time that the canyon receives the famous light beams. This is the most popular time of the day though, when there are many people in the canyon. The late afternoon 4 to 5pm has soft colors with nice photos made in the entrance area of the canyon. By this time the crowds are much smaller and the canyon is more spiritual and relaxing. We were both there in the morning at 10 to 11 am (where there were numbers of photographers we had to elbow with, and their tripods!) and at 2pm and true enough there were lesser people to bump in and this was the time for me when I was able to take as much shots as I can since there is no one to compete with the good spots to position my tripod. So I will highly suggest you go to the canyons around this time – 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon! You still get enough natural lights for your pictures. You will also get more time to enjoy staring at those beautiful brilliant canyon colors!
"What photography gears do I need to bring with me?"
I shot with a Canon Rebel Xsi, a canon lens 18-58 mm f/2.8 lens, a tripod, cable release (especially if your hands tends to be shaky), and a circular polarizing filter (Thanks to Lauro for teaching me how to use a circular polarizer. Wink wink). Bring extra memory cards and batteries. Bring a mini-flashlight too. Try to avoid changing lenses inside the canyon as sand from the canyon floor can easily enter the camera body and the sensor of the camera. And opps, no flash by the way!
"Any photography tips?"
I was taught by our tour guide to aim at the walls that aren't in direct sunlight. I found this to reduce some level of exposure in my pictures but still I found quite difficult to avoid direct sunlight. Well, I am not a professional photographer. Most of my shots on our first tour did not turn out good because I rarely use the tripod so a second visit later in the day proved to be very rewarding. Avoid including the sky in your image and I suggest using a lens hood to avoid lens flare. Now I will have to save $ to invest on a lens hood!
The ten-hour road trip to Page Arizona was really worth it even if it’s just for the Antelope Canyons! I believe that every American citizen should visit this place at least once in their lifetime! I hope this review is helpful. Photos will follow ;-)
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