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Image & Video Galleries => Landscape => Topic started by: EELinneman on September 18, 2013, 04:35:52 PM

Title: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: EELinneman on September 18, 2013, 04:35:52 PM
I'm going to be staying in Page AZ for a couple of days the first week of October.  There are a few companies who do tours of the slot canyons at the Antelope Canyons.  Has anybody had experiences that they can recommend one way or another which companies to use or avoid?

Thank you in advance,
Eric
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: JaxPhotographer on September 18, 2013, 05:32:50 PM
Eric,

When I was out in Page, AZ last fall, Lower Antelope Canyon didn't seem to give me any choices on guides as it appears to be operated by a single Navajo group. Once inside the gates, when they open in the morning, you pay your fee and they provided a guide. The guide I had was very knowledgeable and polite and I had him dedicated to me for my 2+ hours.

Upper Antelope Canyon and some of the other smaller slot canyons seem to have options for tour guides. I used Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours and had a guide all to myself for half the day for Upper Antelope and Rattlesnake canyons. He happened to be a pretty good photographer as well and we had a great time shooting.

Make sure you do the Photographer Tours. Those are small group/solo excursions. Regular tours are full of tourists and to be avoided at all costs and they usually ban tripods on the non-photographer tours. The Canyons are amazing and I recommend your widest angle lens  and your remote shutter release as well as your tripod.
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: brianboru on September 18, 2013, 06:26:23 PM
Don't forget the Photo Permit if you intend to use your photos or videos "for financial gain or public display and exhibition."
http://navajonationparks.org/htm/film.htm (http://navajonationparks.org/htm/film.htm)

The Navaho Nation is one of the most financially depressed areas of the country and at times it can feel like the Tribe is trying to rectify that through its menu of fees.
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: scottkinfw on September 18, 2013, 06:38:26 PM
I have been looking into this myself, for November.

I am going there, but if you look at the Page town web site, there are videos of the canyon, replete with a zillion tourists.

It may not be busy in September.  You may want to look intoCanyon X and Overland Canyon Tours (http://www.overlandcanyontours.com/xphoto (http://www.overlandcanyontours.com/xphoto)).  Depending on some variables, there will be only a max of 8 shooters, and likely less.  The guide holds himself at an expert at photographing the canyon.

I have not used them yet but I made my deposit, and they are very good with service on the front end.

I am VERY interested to hear how it goes, and if you are going anywhere else (like Zion, or Grand Canyon, etc.)

Hope this helps.

sek
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: EELinneman on September 19, 2013, 10:30:07 AM
Don't forget the Photo Permit if you intend to use your photos or videos "for financial gain or public display and exhibition."
http://navajonationparks.org/htm/film.htm (http://navajonationparks.org/htm/film.htm)

The Navaho Nation is one of the most financially depressed areas of the country and at times it can feel like the Tribe is trying to rectify that through its menu of fees.
Brian,

Thanks.  I am taking these for my own as I am not a professional photographer, but will look at their rules and regs as it might come into play if these are gifts.

I spent 6 weeks in Tuba City in the late 70's one summer and saw the economic and societal issues that they have.  Please understand that I don't intend to try to shortchange the Navaho people for my own gain. 

Regards,
Eric
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: EELinneman on September 19, 2013, 10:31:22 AM
Thank you all!  The info provided is very helpful.  I'm glad that there is such a knowledgeable and helpful community.

Regards,
Eric
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: kaihp on September 19, 2013, 11:22:58 AM
Eric,

I was in both the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons last October. You should consider that the Upper is A-shaped, while the Lower is V-shaped - try to make the Upper as close to midday as possible, for the maximum possible light. I think I used the Adventurous Antelope tours as well.

For the Lower, I brought my tripod, 5D3, and 17-40mm. If you bring a "full-size" Tripod, they tag you as a tog, and will allow you to walk through on your own without a guide. I had a 2 hour limit, but they had no problems with me spending about 2½ hours there.
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: Cali_PH on September 21, 2013, 11:35:11 PM
I've gone to both Upper and Lower a couple of times, and had somewhat different experiences each time. 

I used Carol Bigthumb's group (it appears it's now called Adventerous Antelope Tours, as mentioned by a couple of people above; not sure it had that name when I went) for Upper both times, had great experiences with their guides. Bit of Trivia, Carol's grandmother was the person credited with discovering Antelope canyon while shepherding sheep. 

Her son Lionel is one of the guides, and is an avid photographer.  He'll sometimes take photogs to other nearby locations off the official list on their website, although I haven't employed him to do that (yet).

Nov 2011 - Very few people out there, which was great.  For Lower Antelope, I did the photography tour.  The Navajo website says it's a strict 2 hour limit, but they said if I stayed longer, I could just pay $20/hour extra.  I stayed about 3 hours and paid the extra $20 on the way out; would have stayed longer, but I had to hit the road.  Not sure if things were just lax because it was pretty deserted or if the policy wasn't re-enforced much back then.  Oh, and didn't get any sunbeams inside the canyon, not the best time of year (angle of the sun).

May 2012 - Prime 'sunbeam' time, so Upper was a madhouse.  The tour guides did an admirable job helping keep other clueless and selfish tourists away so we could get our shots.  Lower was a bit crowded, which made shooting a bit difficult.  Just after 2 hours we were kicked out; when I related my earlier experience and offered to pay an extra $20 per person (I was leading a couple of friends through), they said they had to crack down due to some difficult photogs in December.  Also, once out, we weren't allowed back in, it was strictly one visit per day.  I plan on going back someday, hopefully that's not still a limitation when I do.

If you have two bodies, consider bringing them both with different lenses; you don't want to have to switch lenses in there!  It can seem still and fine, then suddenly there's a gust of wind and fine grit flying everywhere. 

NOTE - There was a flash flood there recently; I'd call and check for the current conditions before your trip.  And if they say there could be rain in the area when you visit, you probably can't get in.  It can be sunny and clear at Antelope but rain miles away can flood the canyon.  People have died in there that way.

Insane Flash Flooding, Antelope Canyon and Page Arizona. August 2nd, 2013 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VD5GxluHN8#ws)
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: EELinneman on October 04, 2013, 11:09:52 PM
I want to thank everybody for the great advice, especially Doug Southall who send me some of his amazing pictures.  My father and I did the tour with Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours.  Due to the federal closure of the parks and recreation areas around there, they were turning people away!  Sure glad we got reservations.  My father is 76 and was able to do Rattlesnake canyon in addition to Upper Antelope.  Our guide was named Ryan and really provided some great help and advice.  I'm now processing the pictures and will hope to post some soon.  My wife and I are going to plan a trip back and add the lower canyon too.

Take heed of the video posted about the floods.  They have had 4 flash floods there this year.  The good news is that it's a changed canyon each time.

Thanks again for all the help.  What a wonderful site this has been for me.

Regards,
Eric
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: pinnaclephotography on October 05, 2013, 12:20:53 AM
I went through Lower Antelope last year...there is only the one group running the show, and as long as you have decent looking equipment, you can opt for the self-guided 2 hour "tour".  I would strongly recommend mentally preparing yourself to bracket your exposures, some scenes are probably the equivalent of 25+ stops of dynamic range, such as this one:
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8260/8606585149_f0fd18ef8b_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8606585149/)
sand and time (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8606585149/#) by posthumus_cake ([url=http://www.pinnaclephotography.net]www.pinnaclephotography.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/posthumus_cake/))[/url], on Flickr

For me, the 2 hours were not enough, I could have easily spent twice that duration, and Lower Antelope is only a few hundred feet long.  Keep looking for compositions with multiple layers to maximize the shift in light intensity/tone...
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8078/8288960983_755a6f2e57_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8288960983/)
eye of the dragon (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8288960983/#) by posthumus_cake ([url=http://www.pinnaclephotography.net]www.pinnaclephotography.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/posthumus_cake/))[/url], on Flickr

And if you are in the Page area, you might as well shoot Horseshoe Bend while you are at it...
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8339/8188689599_d46609c4ff_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8188689599/)
Horseshoe under the stars (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8188689599/#) by posthumus_cake ([url=http://www.pinnaclephotography.net]www.pinnaclephotography.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/posthumus_cake/))[/url], on Flickr
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: scottkinfw on October 05, 2013, 01:49:32 AM
Hi all.

I am still on for Canyon X, in Page, AZ in November.  I have 2 days reserved. I also have a rental car and about 5 days to play with my camera gear.  Does anyone have any suggestions of places to go for great photo ops?

Great pics and info.

Thanks.

Scott
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: serendipidy on October 05, 2013, 04:19:46 AM
I went through Lower Antelope last year...there is only the one group running the show, and as long as you have decent looking equipment, you can opt for the self-guided 2 hour "tour".  I would strongly recommend mentally preparing yourself to bracket your exposures, some scenes are probably the equivalent of 25+ stops of dynamic range, such as this one:
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8260/8606585149_f0fd18ef8b_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8606585149/)
sand and time (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8606585149/#) by posthumus_cake ([url=http://www.pinnaclephotography.net]www.pinnaclephotography.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/posthumus_cake/))[/url], on Flickr

For me, the 2 hours were not enough, I could have easily spent twice that duration, and Lower Antelope is only a few hundred feet long.  Keep looking for compositions with multiple layers to maximize the shift in light intensity/tone...
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8078/8288960983_755a6f2e57_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8288960983/)
eye of the dragon (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8288960983/#) by posthumus_cake ([url=http://www.pinnaclephotography.net]www.pinnaclephotography.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/posthumus_cake/))[/url], on Flickr

And if you are in the Page area, you might as well shoot Horseshoe Bend while you are at it...
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8339/8188689599_d46609c4ff_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8188689599/)
Horseshoe under the stars (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8188689599/#) by posthumus_cake ([url=http://www.pinnaclephotography.net]www.pinnaclephotography.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/posthumus_cake/))[/url], on Flickr

Beautiful shots! Are those the true colors that one sees or are they altered in PP?
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: jsexton on October 05, 2013, 08:29:59 AM
Hi all.

I am still on for Canyon X, in Page, AZ in November.  I have 2 days reserved. I also have a rental car and about 5 days to play with my camera gear.  Does anyone have any suggestions of places to go for great photo ops?

Great pics and info.

Thanks.

Scott

Scott,
I was out in the canyon areas in June and they were beautiful and crowded.  One word of advice I'd offer is due to the the heavy floods in August of this year contact your tour provider and ask about the condition of canyon X.  I've had a few friends tell me that it was very hard hit with mud from the flooding so make sure it's accessible since it's a bit of a drive to get there from Page and I would hate to see you get there and only be able to get into it for 20 feet.

Jason
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: EELinneman on October 05, 2013, 10:01:42 AM
Pinnacle,

3 words: wow, Wow, WOW!
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: Click on October 05, 2013, 10:08:12 AM
I went through Lower Antelope last year...there is only the one group running the show, and as long as you have decent looking equipment, you can opt for the self-guided 2 hour "tour".  I would strongly recommend mentally preparing yourself to bracket your exposures, some scenes are probably the equivalent of 25+ stops of dynamic range, such as this one:

For me, the 2 hours were not enough, I could have easily spent twice that duration, and Lower Antelope is only a few hundred feet long.  Keep looking for compositions with multiple layers to maximize the shift in light intensity/tone...

And if you are in the Page area, you might as well shoot Horseshoe Bend while you are at it...


Awesome!!!  8)  8)  8) Beautiful colors.
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: pinnaclephotography on October 05, 2013, 11:08:01 PM
I went through Lower Antelope last year...there is only the one group running the show, and as long as you have decent looking equipment, you can opt for the self-guided 2 hour "tour".  I would strongly recommend mentally preparing yourself to bracket your exposures, some scenes are probably the equivalent of 25+ stops of dynamic range, such as this one:
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8260/8606585149_f0fd18ef8b_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8606585149/)
sand and time (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8606585149/#) by posthumus_cake ([url=http://www.pinnaclephotography.net]www.pinnaclephotography.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/posthumus_cake/))[/url], on Flickr

For me, the 2 hours were not enough, I could have easily spent twice that duration, and Lower Antelope is only a few hundred feet long.  Keep looking for compositions with multiple layers to maximize the shift in light intensity/tone...
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8078/8288960983_755a6f2e57_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8288960983/)
eye of the dragon (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8288960983/#) by posthumus_cake ([url=http://www.pinnaclephotography.net]www.pinnaclephotography.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/posthumus_cake/))[/url], on Flickr

And if you are in the Page area, you might as well shoot Horseshoe Bend while you are at it...
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8339/8188689599_d46609c4ff_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8188689599/)
Horseshoe under the stars (http://www.flickr.com/photos/posthumus_cake/8188689599/#) by posthumus_cake ([url=http://www.pinnaclephotography.net]www.pinnaclephotography.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/posthumus_cake/))[/url], on Flickr

Beautiful shots! Are those the true colors that one sees or are they altered in PP?

The color hues are...fairly accurate (I shot with a slightly cooler color balance) but the saturation was boosted a bit in post.  The color balance to the eye was a bit more orange, a bit less purple, though that would change if a cloud moved in front of the sun.  The color shift is quite visible to the eye and since it is a slot canyon, the angle of the sun is the critical effect for what colors you will be getting...for example, when the sun is directly overhead in June or only indirect in December, you will be seeing quite significant differences in color intensity and hue spectrum.  The primary factors here are the angle of the light and intensity.  Each time the light bounces off a wall, it looses intensity and looks cooler to the eye.  Since the canyon walls are so organically irregular, one spot might contain darker areas where light had to bounce off 3-4 walls to get there and another brighter spot with only 1-2 bounces, that would appear much, much warmer in hue.

As a side note, this color phenomena also applies to the Narrows in Zion...or would if the Obama administration hadn't thrown a temper tantrum and closed the National Parks...which is a real pity...hopefully that situation will be resolved by late October/early November (best times for Zion).
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: willhuff.net on October 06, 2013, 12:20:47 AM
As a side note, this color phenomena also applies to the Narrows in Zion...or would if the House of Representatives hadn't thrown a temper tantrum and closed the National Parks...which is a real pity...hopefully that situation will be resolved by late October/early November (best times for Zion).

Fixed that for you.
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: serendipidy on October 06, 2013, 05:45:49 AM
Thanks, pinnaclephotography, for your nice reply. I was so impressed with the Lower Antelope canyon photos that I looked up your galleries on your website. Absolutely gorgeous! So many wonderful shots. I loved your light painting ones a lot. :)
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: roedi on October 06, 2013, 08:54:13 AM
@pinnaclephotography Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures. Among lots of pictures from that place, yours really stand out.

Quote
I am still on for Canyon X, in Page, AZ in November.  I have 2 days reserved. I also have a rental car and about 5 days to play with my camera gear.  Does anyone have any suggestions of places to go for great photo ops?

@Scott I'm practically just back (one month ago) from a round-trip to UT,AZ,CA and had to skip Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe bend and the Narrows due to the weather conditions. So in the first place I'd suggest having a close look on the weather forecast and the road conditions (I think the 89 is still closed).

As for photo ops, I'd strongly recommend taking some pictures at night; almost all of the parks are extremely dark at night - the most basic requirement for great night-sky photos. Bring a decent wideangle lens and a timer for your camera and you might get yourself some great pictures of the milky-way:

http://www.darksky.org/night-sky-conservation/dark-sky-parks (http://www.darksky.org/night-sky-conservation/dark-sky-parks)

It's also quite nice for the naked eye.
Title: Re: Antelope Canyon, AZ Recommendations?
Post by: JPAZ on October 06, 2013, 01:05:20 PM
......or would if the House of Representatives hadn't thrown a temper tantrum and closed the National Parks...which is a real pity...hopefully that situation will be resolved by late October/early November (best times for Zion).

Fixed that for you.

Given the amount of vitriol and ugliness going on, I hope ths thread dooes not get into that discussion, but thanks for correcting the mis-statement.

And.  The photos posted are great.  Cannot comment on the conditions of he road and canyon today, but a few years back had the opportunity to visit and it was amazing.  Can porbably check with the Arizona DOT to get the latest about the road.  I know they were rebuilding the portion that was so heavily damaged but created a "bypass" to allow traffic through.