Day 3 started out early in the morning in Sedona. No sunrise photos today as we had to be in Page, AZ at 10am to check in for our Photo Tour into Upper Antelope Canyon, and that is a bucket list item that would not be missed. 😄
So after a quick packup of the vehicle, locking ourselves out of our room and caffeine fill ups, we were off. The trek from Sedona to Page was astounding. We drove through massive canyons, high elevations, desert straight stretches that went on for miles. We went from sand to evergreen trees, with Watch for Elk signs along the road, back to desert. Along the way, you are surrounded by miles and miles of beautiful Navajo tribal reservation. Truly a drive that I would want to do many more times, but next time not under a time pressure so that we could stop and enjoy it like we did from Page to Zion, watch for that blog post coming up.
We arrived in Page, AZ, and checked in for our tour with 45min to spare. Things got a little tense on the way there because apparently the time zone line is super close so our phones were bouncing back and forth with us being early, then late. But when we got there all was well.
Antelope Canyon should be on anybody's list, especially if you are a photography. The slot Canyon is divided into the upper and lower canyons and each is different. Upper Antelope is the one most visited by tourists such, and you cannot get into it without a guide. The Canyon is on reservation land, so the tour groups that go into there are usually run by Native Americans, which I thought was great because you learned history while seeing and experiencing in a different point of view. We chose Chief Tsosie -Antelope Slot Canyon Tours (highly recommend and we gave a 5 star review on Facebook).
Chief Tsosie tours has two Upper Antelope Canyon tours, the standard group tour that lasts 55 minutes, or the highly recommended guided photography tour, which lasts 2 hours. The difference is night and day once you get in there. The main tour you stay in line and are always around people (this is a busy place people!!). The photography tour is just for that, photography. You have to have a tripod and a camera that you can perform manual adjustments on. No green automatic box here people. BTW, I teach how to get off of automatic mode, check out my classes page. It's pricier, but worth every penny. Your guide sets you up for spots, blocks people from your shot for up to 2 minutes at a time and is invaluable!! There is no way we could have gotten these shots without George's help, the best guide for sure.
While led the main tour has multiple offerings throughout the day, the photography tour has 2 options. 10:30am or 1:00pm. We chose the 10:30am because we wanted this magic light beams that shoot through the canyon. Again, George was amazing here. He knew the timings of each one and had us in the right spots at the right times, simply amazing! The shots speak for themselves.
I was was shooting on manual mode, cloudy white balance. ISO100, aperture ranging from f5 - f8, and then the shutter varying for the exposure that we wanted. You MUST use your tripod if you want to get anything like this. You will want to use a wide angle lens as it is close quarters in there.
We had such a great time, and checking that box off the bucket list was amazing. But in the end, George looked at us and said, "You know the light beams are cool, but the real color and magic happens later in the afternoon during the 1pm tour." So we went back the next day! Read about that in the Day 4 blog post.
After we we finished with Antelope Canyon we checked into our hotel, freshened up, and started to get the lay of the land. Page, AZ isn't thought of as a touristy destination, but you can tell it is growing, and we found a ton to do. Hiking, photography, Lake Powell and so much more is there.
That evening we had sunset photos at the iconic Horseshoe Bend planned out. We've all seen this beautiful Bend of the Colorado River as it makes its way into the Grand Canyon. Yet another check off our bucket list on this trip.
Horseshoe Bend is an easy find. There is a huge parking lot for it off the main road, you simply cannot miss it. There is a hike, I think All Trails said it was .5 mile, but it is in deep sand and up and down a hill. It's not bad going to it but a little more difficult coming back. But don't worry, we saw all ages and health conditions doing it, and I will tell you it is so worth it. It's so worth it that we made that trek 3 times on our trip taking photos.
When you you get to the end of the trail you are literally standing at the lip of one of the most beautiful things that I have ever laid my eyes on. So majestic, Mother Nature at work, showing us how small and insignificant we really are. If your jaw doesn't drop at first sight then you aren't human.
Watch for my fully detailed blog post for shooting in Antelope Canyon, coming I the next few days.
Also, you will see most of these photos released as fine art edition prints in the very near future. Watch for them because each one will have a huge sale on their release weekend.