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10 Tips for Photographing Antelope Canyon

  1. By Kevin
  2. On Mar 23, 2017
  3. North America
  4. Travel Tips

 When it comes to Antelope Canyon, many tourists know it as a paradise for photographers! Here are 10 tips for you to photograph the Antelope Canyon.many tourists know it as a paradise for photographers! Located at the Navajo Tribal Park near Lake Powell, Antelope Canon has narrow paths, created by water flowing through them for millions of years.

With pictures of the stunning slot canyon popping up left and right, the place is no longer a well kept secret among landscape photographers and today, just like the other national parks and natural wonders in the area, the canyon attracts its fair share of visitors. More and more people join an Antelope Canyon in order to photograph the Antelope Canyon by themselves.

Antelope Canyon

Here are 10 tips for you to photograph the Antelope Canyon:

1. Plan ahead

Planning ahead and knowing that there are actually two parts to Antelope Canyon is half the work. There are two canyons – Upper and Lower – both located in Page, AZ. Mid-day(11am-1pm) between the months of March and October is the best time to photograph these slots, with the shafts of light shining down from the openings above. The price of admission to Upper Antelope Canyon is more expensive than that to Lower Antelope Canyon. Also, there are photography tours available in both upper and lower canyons. Even though it’s a little expensive than the ordinary tour, it’s totally worth it. The guides who take you along the photography tour generally do a wonderful job helping you “chase” the light. Highly recommend!

2. Bring Photography Gear

Use the widest angle lens from your arsenal. You have to capture a wider area with light streaks and you absolutely need a wide angle lens to do this. If you don’t own one, try renting it. Tripod is a must and make sure you turn off image stabilization. A remote trigger would help remove the vibration caused by pressing the shutter button.

As it is very dusty inside the canyon, bring a rocket blaster or a cloth so you can clean your lens occasionally.

Antelope Canyon photograph

3. Try not to change lens

To decide on your lens in advance! An important note to remember if you are shooting with a DSLR is that you should not change your lenses inside these canyons because it is very dusty inside Antelope Canyon and there are sand particles flying and lying around everywhere. Trust me you wouldn’t want to change your lenses inside the canyons. If you have a second camera, by all means, take it along with a different lens on it. You will get a different perspective. And if you like, carry a cloth to clean the lenses frequently.

4. Make use of your Live view

The Antelope Canyons are generally crowded. People keep streaming in and out, in large groups. So expect people both in front and behind you. With so much going around its easy to be engrossed into the view finder. So you can try to use the live view, as well as an articulating screen (some of the newest cameras have them). When you are ready to take the shot, you can quickly check the view finder and make sure everything is good and press the shutter. This will help you be aware of things happening around you.

5. Go Manual mode and shoot RAW

Set the camera in manual mode, shoot RAW. f11 to f18 is the sweet spot for aperture and open the shutter anywhere between 2 and 6 seconds depending on the variation in light to get the best shots. Frequently check your histogram to see how you are doing.

Antelope Canyon Trip

6. Look up

There will be times when you have to wait for a group of people to move before you can take a picture, so keep moving and try to use that time to come up with different compositions. Look up and try to compose shots. Look up and search for details when you photograph Antelope Canyon. It's a good way to avoid crowds and get beautiful shots.

However, you should also remember that having people in your pictures is not always a bad thing. A person dressed in a contrasting color can add some nice interest and scale to your pictures.

7. Look for hidden slots

Antelope Canyon is spiritual to the Navajo tribes. They talk about the forms and shapes carved into the rock by water that flows through the canyons. One of the greatest pleasure in shooting these canyons is to see the unseen, find what is hidden, and put them in the center stage and show it in pictures.

8. High contrast

Look for frames with the most contrast to make it all that more interesting. You can find so many frames with high contrast between the darkest and brightest regions because of the shafts of light that penetrate from above make the center areas of the canyons brighter and the sides darker.

9. Shoot Multiple Exposures

Antelope Canyon is a very narrow slot canyon and just like every tight space, it has some bright and some dark areas. Sometimes it can be hard to get an even exposure that has no underexposed and overexposed parts. You should be fine with three exposures if you want to give exposure blending a try.

Shooting multiple exposures is by no means a must though and many photographers get stunning results with just one exposure. But, if you are up for something new or already know how to exposure blend, it’s a great solution.

10. Carry Water

Last but not least food is not allowed inside, so if you are planning to spend a good time in these canyons, have your food before entering the canyons and make sure to carry a water bottle with you.

Actually it is hard to take a bad photo of Antelope Canyon. The narrow sand stone paths, the twisting and turning lines and the light beams shining through to the bottom naturally photograph very well. However, the 10 tips will do help you take beautiful and unique pictures of Antelope Canyon.