Photo trip to Antelope Canyon and Canyonlands National Park

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Antelope Canyon and Canyonlands National Park in two days? No problem!

A couple of weeks ago, I was going crazy stuck here in Colorado – 5 months now without leaving this highland desert. I decided I HAD to get out of town. I told John he could come with me or not, but I absolutely could not be here another weekend.* So, where do you go when you can’t afford to fly to California for the weekend, but NEED to go somewhere and want to shoot pictures? Well, I thought, why not Antelope Canyon.

There are so many amazing nooks and crannies in Antelope canyon. Like for real.Upper Antelope – just outside Page, Arizona.

We had never been, but I’ve always wanted to photograph it, and John is a rock nut, so I thought I’d see if it could be done. I knew you could only access the canyons on the Navajo operated tours (they’re on their land), so I knew what to look for. Called up, and YES they had a spot for me and a companion on a photographer’s tour the following Saturday (the first of August). OK – sign me up!

We drove to Cortez, Colorado – just about at the four corners on Friday at lunch, then continued on to Arizona on Saturday morning. I found a cabin available in Cortez. I always try to avoid hotels/motels if I can help it, but there was nothing in the area still available on AirBnB. Yes, this was a LOOONG way – but John usually doesn’t mind driving. And to tell you the truth, it’s a really nice way to hang out together alone and get some real conversation in.

Antelope Canyon is just outside Page, Arizona on the southern end of Lake Powell. We arrived WAY too early since I forgot about Arizona being special with what time it is.  I might go into the tour and what a crock of bullshit it was and how abusive it is to call it a ‘photographer’s tour’ that you pay DOUBLE to go on someday. For right now, I’ll just tell you that we were in the canyon with about 400 non-photographers moving BOTH directions, and I had the privilege of paying twice as much as them to never get the opportunity to leave my tripod open. There’s more to the story, but I don’t want to offend anyone if they see this.

I started editing the photos this weekend, and am really happy to find that there were quite a few really neat ones. I am particularly partial to this one.

Onward …

After the tour, we drove through Monument Valley and up to Moab for two nights. This time I was lucky on AirBnB – if you need a recommendation for an amazing condo with three double bedrooms there let me know. The place was amazing. We got in late on Saturday night after a harrowing deer dodging last hour in the dark.

Sunday started pretty grey, but we drove up to Canyonlands National Park anyway to have a look. Previously, we had only actually been to Arches. THUNDER AND LIGHTNING AND MASSIVE . I was terrified. We dodged some lightning strikes and went back to the condo for vodka and TV. Then dinner which was really nice.

Then I set the alarm for 5:30 and dragged my driver with me up for dawn photography.

If you think it’s easy for Landscape photographers to get their shots, you have NO IDEA. The photography is one thing, the other thing is getting a ‘clear’ shot. I really thought we’d be early enough to avoid any crowds. But no. A bus full of happy Chinese young people had arrived about 10 minutes before us.

Driving 18 hours for a day to shoot Mesa Arch and then seeing this:

Even with meticulous planning and arrival at photo locations at the break of dawn, photographers have to work around other people. This group had a line 20 people long to photograph themselves posed on the arch.

There was a long, long line waiting to get that shot sitting on top by their friends below.

Well, the light wasn’t going to wait for that! I set up then yelled, waved my hands, and begged for them to wait 3 minutes. They were so sweet and waited for me to get my shot:

So in the end …

I got some amazing shooting in (not all edited yet) and my much needed mini break!! It was wonderful!

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