August 29, 2014, 10:44:26 PM

Author Topic: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help  (Read 3183 times)

jeanluc

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Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« on: March 01, 2014, 10:59:24 AM »
Anybody here visited Antelope Canyon lately? I will be in Page for about a day and a half this upcoming October. I was wondering if anyone here has any specific advice as to whether to spend time at Upper vs Lower Antelope Canyon. Looks like Lower is less crowded, but why? I was thinking I would probably be happier in Lower with less casual visitors and having more time, since the sunbeams in Upper aren't great in October…..Am I correct? If I only do one, will Lower be a good idea? Also, exactly how do you get in Lower……I understand you need a guide……..anybody have any good or bad experiences or make any specific recommendations?

Secondly, my plan was to try Horseshoe Bend then too………when is best, morning or evening? Is it easy or hard to get to?

Thanks for any help…..have researched this quite a bit but I am sure there are some of us here who know exactly what I am asking…...

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Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« on: March 01, 2014, 10:59:24 AM »

JustMeOregon

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2014, 02:34:19 PM »
"Ken's Tours" holds the tribal permit for Lower Antelope:

http://www.lowerantelope.com/

Lower Antelope is much less crowded... I believe it is so primarily because it doesn't have "the famous" light-beams. But Lower is also smaller, tighter, and not near as easy to walk-around-in as Upper. In Lower Antelope you have to navigate several tight-spots & steep-ladders, but it really isn't difficult.

If I had to choose just one slot at Page, I guess I'd go with Lower Antelope, but that's just me... With just a little planning you should be able to easily visit both Upper & Lower Antelope in the same day. You then would likely not have the time to check-out Horseshoe Bend (on the same day). But Horseshoe is about a half-mile walk to the same overlook, to get the same picture, that everyone has seen a thousand times... Unless something really special is happening in the sky (such as great clouds) I'd consider forgoing Horseshoe and visiting both slots during your one day at Page.

Let me know if I can be of any other help...

I'm not sure if "copy & paste" is the correct way to respond, but I'll do that for a current post that is covering much of the same info. If this "copy & paste" way of referencing the existing info is "bad forum form" I apologize...

http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=19772.msg373684#msg373684

Quote
At one time or another I think that I've gone with all of the tour operators that have a tribal permit for Upper Antelope. I really like the guys at Overland Canyon Tours, check'em out and don't forget to make reservations well in advance:

http://www.overlandcanyontours.com/upperant

A few things to keep in mind are (in no rational order):

Don't freak-out over the crowds at Upper Antelope. I've seen pro-level photographers (who were not "emotionally prepared" for the throngs) curse their guide to the bone, throw gear in frustration, & storm out of the canyon.

Most all of the tour guides work together incredibly well. The "regular tour" guides do a great job of keeping their tourists moving quickly past the tripods on the "Photo tours." So well in fact that a 30-second exposure (standard stuff in the slots) will generally do a good job of making all the people disappear.

If you are still frustrated by John-Q-Public getting in your shot, just tilt your camera up a bit. Without the canyon floor in the shot, there will generally not be any obvious horizon or "proper" orientation, so just go ahead & tilt your camera in any way necessary to get Little Timmy out of the shot.

Remember, your basically taking pictures in a cave. Your eyes have adjusted, so you can see just fine, but it really is pretty dark. So under-expose accordingly. That's how you get the deeply saturated dramatic photos you see everywhere.

Don't forget Lower Antelope Canyon! It's smaller, tighter, and you don't have the "light-beams" of its big brother (the more famous Upper Antelope), but it's less crowded and more relaxed. Also, at Lower Antelope if you can convince the caretakers that your gear is "Professional" enough, you can be allowed to enter on your on without having to be part of a guided tour. And before you ask, I have no idea how they judge gear to be professional-enough. I'm generally dragging-ass with more than $20K of gear, while my wife is happily bouncing around with a 5-year-old Rebel, and we both have always been waived in without any problem.

Finally don't go just once and think that you've seen it all. The light in the morning, mid-day, and afternoon is dramatically different. Pictures of the exact same sandstone formation will look completely different taken at different times of the day.

Enjoy...
« Last Edit: March 01, 2014, 03:06:35 PM by JustMeOregon »

sagittariansrock

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2014, 06:45:59 PM »
1. Lower is less crowded, more easy to shoot, and equally good if not better. If doing only one- do Lower.
2. Try to go way ahead of your group so you don't get people in the photo.
3. If you are doing both, then plan on the Upper around noon.
4. Shoot upwards, tripods are not very useful because there is no time to set up and difficult to get the angles- I used mine like a monopod (collapsed), so it was ok.
5. IS is very useful, because you will need to handhold, need more DoF and it's pretty dark.

Regarding Horseshoe- go in the afternoon and stay for sunset. Sunrise and early mornings have weird shadows (the sun will be on your back, and cast shadow of the rim you will be standing on). Use a grad ND filter for the sunset shots since the canyon will be dark (or HDR, whatever). You will need at least 20mm (FF) to get the whole view unless you are quite adventurous.
Have a nice trip!
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kaihp

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 02:18:50 AM »
Anybody here visited Antelope Canyon lately? I will be in Page for about a day and a half this upcoming October. I was wondering if anyone here has any specific advice as to whether to spend time at Upper vs Lower Antelope Canyon. Looks like Lower is less crowded, but why? I was thinking I would probably be happier in Lower with less casual visitors and having more time, since the sunbeams in Upper aren't great in October…..Am I correct? If I only do one, will Lower be a good idea? Also, exactly how do you get in Lower……I understand you need a guide……..anybody have any good or bad experiences or make any specific recommendations?

Secondly, my plan was to try Horseshoe Bend then too………when is best, morning or evening? Is it easy or hard to get to?

Thanks for any help…..have researched this quite a bit but I am sure there are some of us here who know exactly what I am asking…...

I went to Upper Antelope, Lower Antelope and Horseshoe Bend in October 2012.

Since Upper is A-shaped (ie wide in the bottom, narrow in the top) and Lower is V-shaped, I would recommend going to Lower in the morning, and take Upper around noon in order to get more sun in. As far as I recall, October will be too late in the year to get the sunbeams in Upper.

You do not need a guide in Lower. Just show up with a full-sized tripod and your camera - they will allow you to go in alone (the entrance can be hard to find, though - I had to get people to direct me to the stairs down).

Horseshoe Bend is on the other side of Page vs the Antelopes. I went there in the morning before daybreak (bring a flashlight!) and kept shooting for 3-3½ hours, as the sun can up behind me and the shadows moved down into the ravine over the hours. I liked this light vs the light in the evening, when you are shooting towards the sun. YMMV.

Enjoy the trip  :)

sagittariansrock

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2014, 03:09:34 PM »
This is pretty informative. You will find this out for yourself after you go, in any case. But it is useful to have it before you go (I wish I did, and went with something wider than 17mm on APS-C!).

http://valeriehayken.com/photo-blog/about-the-photograph/tips-for-photographing-horseshoe-bend/
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kaihp

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2014, 09:33:52 PM »
This is pretty informative. You will find this out for yourself after you go, in any case. But it is useful to have it before you go (I wish I did, and went with something wider than 17mm on APS-C!).

http://valeriehayken.com/photo-blog/about-the-photograph/tips-for-photographing-horseshoe-bend/

Good tips that I can only agree to. My own shots were taken at 20mm (17-40L on a 5D3, link).

sagittariansrock

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2014, 02:17:47 AM »
This is pretty informative. You will find this out for yourself after you go, in any case. But it is useful to have it before you go (I wish I did, and went with something wider than 17mm on APS-C!).

http://valeriehayken.com/photo-blog/about-the-photograph/tips-for-photographing-horseshoe-bend/

Good tips that I can only agree to. My own shots were taken at 20mm (17-40L on a 5D3, link).

Thanks for sharing. That was the shadow I was talking about. Mine doesn't have the shadow, but it has the overblown sky (shooting in the sun as you mentioned).


Horseshoe_Velvia-1 by deepclicks, on Flickr

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2014, 02:17:47 AM »

jeanluc

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2014, 12:59:30 PM »
Thanks to everyone for all the info.

To anyone who'e been there, how does this plan sound?.............I will get to Page area mid morning...........try Upper Antelope, then head to Horseshoe in the later afternoon to do sunset there. Next am, Lower Antelope, then I have to leave. Sound like a good idea? How is lower in the afternoon?

Sounds like you don't need a guide for Lower, but anybody have any specific "guide" for Upper if I get a chance? Lots of internet opinion out there, but anybody here have any striong feelings of which one is best? Sounds like Upper is going to be crowded and frustrasting no matter what, but if i can try it I will, but it sounds like i will be a lot happier in Lower.

Also, how much travel time is involved in getting to these sites from Page itself? Doesn't look too bad, but again I have not been there.

Since this is a family trip, most of my gear can't come. So I was planning on bringing a 5d3 body, 16-35L and a tripod. As mentioned in above, it sounds like its dark. Is using a tripod an issue due to people, or just no room to set up, and is this as much an issue in Lower Antelope? IS would be good, but the 24-105 may not be wide enough to do it all.

Last question........is the dust really that bad? A friend said it was raining sand when he was in there; if so, i was thinking about renting rather than bringing my own stuff.

Thanks to everyone for all you opinions and help; learned a lot already!!

sagittariansrock

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2014, 01:37:11 PM »
Thanks to everyone for all the info.

To anyone who'e been there, how does this plan sound?.............I will get to Page area mid morning...........try Upper Antelope, then head to Horseshoe in the later afternoon to do sunset there. Next am, Lower Antelope, then I have to leave. Sound like a good idea? How is lower in the afternoon?

Plan sounds good. Better do Lower in the morning and Horseshoe in the afternoon IMO.


Sounds like you don't need a guide for Lower, but anybody have any specific "guide" for Upper if I get a chance? Lots of internet opinion out there, but anybody here have any striong feelings of which one is best? Sounds like Upper is going to be crowded and frustrasting no matter what, but if i can try it I will, but it sounds like i will be a lot happier in Lower.

I also used Ken's tours, and I think it's all the same, really. If you can do one, do Lower.


Also, how much travel time is involved in getting to these sites from Page itself? Doesn't look too bad, but again I have not been there.

It is not too far from Page to the offices of the tours, but it takes a while to go to the site itself (~ 15-30 mins additional). Use a offroad-friendly vehicle if you are going yourself and not with a tour (re Lower).



Since this is a family trip, most of my gear can't come. So I was planning on bringing a 5d3 body, 16-35L and a tripod. As mentioned in above, it sounds like its dark. Is using a tripod an issue due to people, or just no room to set up, and is this as much an issue in Lower Antelope? IS would be good, but the 24-105 may not be wide enough to do it all.

I think 16-35 might actually be better than 24-105 even though it doesn't have IS, because of the 1-stop advantage, wider FoV and dust and weather resistance (no extension, no sucking in dust). Dust is bad in the truck en route to the site, but inside it wasn't too bad. Be careful if you use 24-105, a friend of mine has sand in his zoom rings now from the Antelope trip. However I had a 17-85 and the 17-40 and I didn't have issues with dust.
The problem with tripods is not room, but time. You will have to be quick if you want to avoid people, and tripod severely limits ability to manipulate and cover interesting angles quickly. Use a monopod if you can. There is plenty of wall to lean it against.
Edit: Even better- if you have one of those monopods with expandable chicken legs, that will be very handy. An ad on this page reminded me of those.


Last question........is the dust really that bad? A friend said it was raining sand when he was in there; if so, i was thinking about renting rather than bringing my own stuff.

Thanks to everyone for all you opinions and help; learned a lot already!!

Good luck, have a nice trip!
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 01:40:00 PM by sagittariansrock »
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Valvebounce

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2014, 05:44:23 PM »
Hi Jeanluc.
Don't tell Roger you intend to take his gear to a dust storm!  ;D
Seriously most rental companies, be they car (rental cars go anywhere) or camera would treat dust like that as careless or intentional, and not cover it on their rental. See Rogers (lens rentals) post on colour runs and his gear!

Cheers Graham.

Thanks to everyone for all the info.

To anyone who'e been there, how does this plan sound?.............I will get to Page area mid morning...........try Upper Antelope, then head to Horseshoe in the later afternoon to do sunset there. Next am, Lower Antelope, then I have to leave. Sound like a good idea? How is lower in the afternoon?

Sounds like you don't need a guide for Lower, but anybody have any specific "guide" for Upper if I get a chance? Lots of internet opinion out there, but anybody here have any striong feelings of which one is best? Sounds like Upper is going to be crowded and frustrasting no matter what, but if i can try it I will, but it sounds like i will be a lot happier in Lower.

Also, how much travel time is involved in getting to these sites from Page itself? Doesn't look too bad, but again I have not been there.

Since this is a family trip, most of my gear can't come. So I was planning on bringing a 5d3 body, 16-35L and a tripod. As mentioned in above, it sounds like its dark. Is using a tripod an issue due to people, or just no room to set up, and is this as much an issue in Lower Antelope? IS would be good, but the 24-105 may not be wide enough to do it all.

Last question........is the dust really that bad? A friend said it was raining sand when he was in there; if so, i was thinking about renting rather than bringing my own stuff.

Thanks to everyone for all you opinions and help; learned a lot already!!
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kaihp

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2014, 02:21:23 AM »
Also, how much travel time is involved in getting to these sites from Page itself? Doesn't look too bad, but again I have not been there.

As I recall, it's less than 15 minutes drive from central Page to both sites (Antelopes, Horseshoe Bend).

Since this is a family trip, most of my gear can't come. So I was planning on bringing a 5d3 body, 16-35L and a tripod.

Bring only 1 lens into the canyons, as there are too much fine dust there to change lenses. I got a little dust into the tripod (I cleaned it out later), but my 17-40L+5D3 were fine.
The 16-35L is your best choice for all three sites.

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2014, 08:31:04 PM »
I was just posting about this on another thread.  I was in the upper, very crowded with lots of iPads, etc.

Bring an excellent tripod and cable release, and be good with long exposures.  Also, avoid aiming directly up at the light through the top of the slot- lots of glare and ghosts.  You may have to wait for a a chance to get the shot while traffic dies down, but worth the wait.  Horseshoe bend I went to late in the day, not near the golden hours and there was a bad glare, which plagues the scene at all other times.

One thing you may want to try is overland canyon tours with Charlie who only takes three serious photographers on a private tour of Canyon X.  He can take you to The Fins, and horseshoe bend etc.  Canyon X isn't as great as the Antelopes, but he will take you there too.

Here are some of my pics.  Note the glare and ghosts at Horseshoe late in the day- unavoidable due to orientation of the river vs. sun.  This was shot with 14 mm Samyang- and you will need at least this wide and preferably wider on full frame.

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sagittariansrock

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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2014, 02:33:25 AM »
I was just posting about this on another thread.  I was in the upper, very crowded with lots of iPads, etc.

Bring an excellent tripod and cable release, and be good with long exposures.  Also, avoid aiming directly up at the light through the top of the slot- lots of glare and ghosts.  You may have to wait for a a chance to get the shot while traffic dies down, but worth the wait.  Horseshoe bend I went to late in the day, not near the golden hours and there was a bad glare, which plagues the scene at all other times.

One thing you may want to try is overland canyon tours with Charlie who only takes three serious photographers on a private tour of Canyon X.  He can take you to The Fins, and horseshoe bend etc.  Canyon X isn't as great as the Antelopes, but he will take you there too.

Here are some of my pics.  Note the glare and ghosts at Horseshoe late in the day- unavoidable due to orientation of the river vs. sun.  This was shot with 14 mm Samyang- and you will need at least this wide and preferably wider on full frame.

sek

Very nice shots of the antelope. You can shoot the entire horseshoe with a 20 or 21mm though, and you will be able to avoid the glare with the hood. Also, golden hour is a good time to shoot there, but a grad ND filter is strongly recommended, as I've realized in hindsight.
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Re: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon Help
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2014, 02:33:25 AM »