(Note: This post was originally published on my blog. I have now updated it into a photo journal post.)

A little background here. I have been trying to go back to Antelope Canyon ever since my first trip there in 2005 (I think). I remembered standing in a light beam while trying to look cool, and the exquisite texture of the canyon walls. Plus, the most expensive photograph sold in the world was taken there. In addition, I planned to go to Horseshoe Bend as well, another of my bucket list locations. To say I was looking forward to this trip was an understatement.

The trip started in Vegas. That’s all I will say about that.

We drove through Zion National Park. It was spectacular. I really wish I had more time in Zion. I have driven through it a few times but never explored it. Hopefully soon!

We arrived in Page, AZ just before sunset and went straight to Horseshoe Bend. For an unmarked turnout, the parking lot had much more fanfare than I anticipated. Good sign. After a short “hike” we arrived at the view point. It was absolutely breathtaking. I had no words for its grandeur, other than that it was in your face, stunningly beautiful, and made me wish I had a wider lens kind of grandeur. We walked around the perimeter, climbed a few rocks trying to get a better vantage point. Finally we settled next to a few professional photographers. Always follow the pros.

The next morning we woke up bright and early for our photo tour of the slot canyons. When we arrived at the tour company parking lot, there were very few people. Again, good sign. We decided to do a two-canyon tour. The first canyon we visited was Rattlesnake Canyon. The entrance wasn’t anything to speak of. I would have missed it if the car kept going. After stepping inside, the memories of the canyon walls came back to me at once. This canyon’s walls were not as tall as Antelope Canyon, so lighting was better. It was also more narrow and twisty, which made “stacking” the canyon walls really fun. The guide was super helpful and knowledgeable. He offered us some tips on angles and camera settings. There were three of us photographers and hardly any tourists coming through. We all had a great time.

Next up was Upper Antelope Canyon. That, however, was a different story. Our group picked up a few more photographers at the entrance, and there were multiple tourist groups. Our tour guide expertly shielded them away from us using the twists and turns of the canyon. Occasionally we had to let some tourists walk through our blockade of tripods, but the tour was very well organized. The biggest issue was dust. The canyon floor was covered with very fine sand. With all the foot traffic, dust was kicked up and pretty much filled the entire canyon, which gave it a hazy look. It was good for taking photos, but not so good for breathing. I had to fight my way out of a few sneezes, but that was a small price to pay. Since the walls were taller, it was much more interesting to do vertical stacking. Our tour guide showed us the “cool” spots/angles. Heart of the Canyon was one of my favorites.

Overall, the trip was fantastic! It was exhausting, but rewarding. I finally got to photograph three famed locations, and try my skills on frames that inspired me to pick up a camera. If only there were light beams at Antelope Canyon. Guess I’ll have to come back again. ;) Have you been to the Antelope Canyon? Or went on a photo trip? Where are some of your favorite locations? 

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