Antelope Canyon is located in Navajo land, near Page, in Arizona. You can't go there by yourself, instead you have to book one of the tours offered by a number of Navajo tour operators.

These tours will pick you up in Page with 4x4 vehicles and bring your through the sand desert to the entrance of the canyon. Once there, a Navajo guide will guide through the narrow corridors.

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Two different types of tours

There are usually two types of tours, a regular visit and a photographic tour. The second one takes longer and, in theory, the guide is supposed to manage other groups around the corridor and facilitate spots free of people for a few minutes so that you can have some time to take photos.

That's the theory. The reality is different. There are so many people (specially in summer) that you really get very few opportunities to take photos without anyone on the frame. And the chances you have are very short and must be shared with the rest of photographers in your group, which makes it very challenging. Preparing the tripod, choosing the frame, the camera settings etc... as fast as you can to shoot (typically long exposures with tripod) before those people you are hearing coming around that corner show up and ruin the photo is very stresfull. Some of the photographers in my group got really dissapointed and claimed the money back because they were expecting a more professional tour with much more time for taking pictures and less people.

My advice: if you just want to see the canyon and take some low quality memory pictures, take the normal tour. If you are serious about photography and want to take some decent pictures with your tripod, the photographic tour is still worth it.



Serious about photography: get yourself a tripod

As I commented before, if you want to take decent photos, a tripod is absolutely mandatory. The canyon corridors are very dark and you will always need exposures of several seconds. People are always relactant to spend big bucks on a tripod and it's a common mistake to think that any tripod would do. Wrong!! Do yourself a favor and buy a good and sturdy tripod from the begining. The quality of your shots will increase dramatically and you will avoid buying twice.

Besides, a good tripod will last for many many years, probably much longer than your current camera. A tripod is actually one of the best investments you can do.


No flash, please


Do not use flash for two reasons mainly. First, because it will literally ruin your photo, erasing all the shadows and details from the walls, leaving a plain, washed out, dull picture.

And second, because you will probably ruin someone else's picture too, specially if they are taking long exposures with their tripods.



Sand, sand and more sand everywhere

In the desert and inside the Antelope Canyon, there is sand everywhere, very thin and very small grain sand, and when I say very small, I mean VERY small grain. Probably much thinner and smaller than any beach sand you have ever seen. This sand is terrible for the electronic and mechanic equipment as it goes literaly inside everything (buttons, inside the tubes of the tripod, the barrel of the camera lens...). I highly recommend to protect at least your camera with a rain plastic cover or something like that.



What type of lens should I use?


Antelope Canyon is the typical place where a good wide angle really shines and make a huge difference. It will be mostly your main lens, unless you want to shoot some closeups of the walls.

Due to the extreme sandy and dusty conditions of the air, I do not recommend changing the lens at all inside the canyon. Therefore, choose wisely the lens you will use. I guarantee you that, no matter how much careful you are, if you change your lens inside the canyon, sand will come inside your camera for sure!



Best time to visit the canyon

The best time to photograph Antelope Canyon is in the summer from 11 am to 2 pm, that is when the famous sunbeams occur. Take that into consideration when planning your visit.



Stuff to bring


Page (Arizona) is very hot in summer months (35-40 ºC, 90-100 ºF). Even though inside the canyon the temperature is nicer and cooler than the outside temperature, a bottle of water will come very handy.


One last advice, if you have respiratory problems, get yourself a mask. The concentrations of dust in the air inside the canyon are extremely high.

Enjoy your trip!! :-)



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