Hi, Everyone ! ArtFull Moments Messages have returned after a bit of a break while I sorted out my job situation. If only it were possible for me to earn a livelihood from ArtFull Moments ! Then I would not need a "day job". Maybe someday !
I took a couple of days for myself between jobs and headed up to Antelope Canyon near Page, AZ. This area is not far from the Grand Canyon. Antelope is a slot canyon that was created by water rushing through sandstone. It is located on the Navaho reservation, so Navaho guided tours are required for access to it. Photos of the canyon have become popular for their awesome beauty and as a photographer,I was excited to have the opportunity to go.
I do NOT recommend this destination. If you go, be prepared for expense and crowds. Lower Antelope Canyon is only reachable via rope ladders, and I wish I had the ability to take that tour. Right now, I do not have the strength to do that, so I visited Upper Antelope Canyon, where you walk into it on flat, though sandy terrain. The canyon itself does NOT look like its photos. Actually, it is pretty dark. The photos and colors are achieved by adjusting digital camera settings. It is beautiful anyway, but you have to make the best of being crammed into narrow passages and small chambers with dozens of people at one time, trying to avoid other people and their cameras in your shots.
A 2 and a half hour photo tour cost $90 including tip. My guide, Rick, was excellent, from Antelope Canyon Tours. There were 10 in our group, but there were maybe 8 or 10 other groups in the canyon at any time. Many Japanese and other foreign tourists. The only benefit of having the longer tour is you could wait till the short tour people left, then go back inside and try to take more shots. The best light beams come at the height of the sunlight, and are brief, and those are the times everyone wants to be in there. Very frustrating, especially in dealing with people's tripods in small spaces. One man even was carrying a baby on his back, and with rock overhangs, it was a miracle that child did not hit his head ! It has taken me a couple of weeks to look at the experience more calmly.
Our guide told us at this relatively slow time of year (March), they bring maybe 300 to 500 people per day through the area. But in the summer, it can be 3,000! So...warning: do NOT go in the summer, if you are wise. On one hand, it feels like a rip off, that the tour companies are just intent on making the almighty buck. On the other hand, the tours are making it possible for people to experience the place at all. It is kept clean, and opportunity for vandalism is reduced. So many natural and archaeological wonders have been defaced and trashed, so preservation of these places is important.
I wish it were possible to limit the numbers. I called ahead, and would have been happy to have needed advance reservations, if that would have given me a less crowded, more enjoyable experience. But then limiting the numbers would cut into their profits, so there lies the rub!
So that's it. That's my rant. I hope all will enjoy the ArtFull Moments Messages that will be accompanied by these awesome images in the months and years to come. Emmie Derise.