Slot Canyons

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Slots canyons are a landscape that is reminiscent of the desert southwest.  They are completely unique to Arizona / Utah area.  It’s not like they are common in Florida or Maine.  They are canyonesque shapes and textures that are unique unto themselves.

Here in Arizona they are common through the Indian Reservations… which unfortunately makes them expensive.  But there are other less accessible places to enjoy them, though they do require knowledge, agility, and a hike to get there.

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They also require, if you’re so inclined, finesse in capturing them photographically.  Slot canyons are an illusive subject matter with their sandstone form and varying light.  They represent an abstract challenge to capture visually.

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For me, they are difficult to capture.  Maybe because I tend to photograph tangible subjects like wildlife and landscape.  Photographing something abstract takes imagination.  You must see the shapes, contours and contrasts without washing out the colors.  It’s also technically difficult because the poor (dark) lighting conditions require a tripod … and a cloudy white balance setting promotes the orangey hue.  Pity I don’t have more opportunity to practice.

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Antelope Canyon

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We have been to Antelope Canyon Slot canyons maybe half a dozen times over the years. The first time we saw the beams of light and had the place virtually to ourselves… that was quite some time ago (decades).  We have seen the crowds increase, but never such as we saw this past weekend.

Yikes!  What a ZOOOOOOO.  I would never go back.  They pack so many people into the canyons that it’s just not fun.  It’s bumper to bumper people, and you can hardly get a photo in.  It’s a money factory… they pump through 400 people an hour in the short distance in Upper Antelope Canyon.  We found it absolutely disgusting.  It was on and off raining all weekend.  We were fortunate enough to go during a reprieve from the rain.  The next day it was driving rain… and they were loading up the buses come rain or shine… no matter that there would be no sunshine, decent photo opportunities, and miserable muddy conditions.  How unfortunate that nature has become such a tourist attraction that they can hold your credit card hostage with no consideration for the personal experience.

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Having said that, our friends from the U.K. had never seen it and had made the special request to see this marvel… so we went.  We shot up, and got shots devoid of people, which really doesn’t tell the story.

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