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13 photos

Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona. May 1996.

Antelope Canyon consists of two separate parts: the Upper and Lower Antelope, both located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation and considered sacred. They are both slot canyons carved from the swirling sandstone, and drain from the south into Lake Powell (once the Colorado River). These photographs are from the Upper Antelope Canyon. 

The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tse' bighanilini, which means "the place where water runs through rocks."  Upper Antelope is at about 1,220-meter elevation. The canyon walls are not as high as those in some other slot canyons (just 35-40 meters above the streambed), and direct sun light comes through the small crack above around high noon. When I walked in, the canyon entrance was flooded with photographers (mostly from a workshop) who were fighting over tripod space. I sat in front with my little Gitzo in an uncomfortable position and fired away. Precise framing was impossible. The beam you see in some photographs is light reflecting off tiny sand particles in the air. Sand was literally raining down, and I had to change film in a plastic bag. I had to shower three times to get rid of the sand in my hair, and there is still some in my camera bag after all this time. The slot canyon eventually becomes so narrow that only one person at a time can pass. On that day, towards the other end of the canyon, a French lady started singing an aria as a tribute to the glory of color and light. As her beautiful voice echoed off the walls and filled the canyon, the place became all the more magical. This is now a too well-known and too accessible canyon, and the originality is somewhat lost. 

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Categories & Keywords
Category:Travel and Places
Subcategory:North America
Subcategory Detail:United States of America