Photographing Antelope Slot Canyon

A recent trip to the Grand Canyon led me to a nearby place called Antelope Slot Canyon. It's an awesome place on a Navajo Indian reservation,  and it's only accessible using a tour guide. It's about a 2-3 hour drive from the south rim. They say it's the most photographed slot canyon in the world and for good reason, this place is pretty cool.There are 2 parts of the Canyon. The upper and the lower. The tour I was on, was the upper canyon and the more popular of the two.

There are many tour guides to choose from which can make it difficult to pick. Most of the outfits offer a standard tour and a photographic tour which for me was an easy choice. I knew I wanted the photo tour but as far as guides I had no clue on who to pick. I searched google, Flickr and other sources, and for the most part I found all good reviews, so I basically closed my eyes and picked one, which you can see here. I printed out the directions and I was on my way. When I pulled up to the place where we were to meet for the tour I was a bit skeptical. It was an old gas station, and I was really hoping I made the right decision. Then when the previous tour came back and they where in benches in back of a pick up, I really started to doubt myself. Mylo our guide got us all together and was giving us a briefing. "You know what it's like in the mall during Christmas? Well that's what it's going to be like in the canyon", he said. I was getting a bit more nervous. He then went through an looked at our cameras and lenses, asked if we had any questions about how to shoot the canyon. No one really said anything so we were on our way.

They gathered all of us up and we got in the back of the truck and took the 15 min drive to the canyon half of which was through soft sand. There were some points at which I thought we where going to get stuck, but we made it.

We piled out of the truck and this is when Mylo our guide started to shine. We walked into the canyon and he immediately lined us up based on what equipment we where using. I had my 16-35mm so he always made sure I was in the front of the group so I wouldn't have anyone in my photographs. Equally as impressive, he could speak four languages and understand seven. So he was talking to everyone. Naturally there where many different ethnicity's visiting the canyon. I would estimate about 5 or 6 more tours took place the same time as ours, so it really was like the mall at Christmas time. He helped clear people out-of-the-way, helped others with camera settings and even-handed out plastic bags when the sand starting falling down the canyon to protect our gear. I was really impressed.

So after all that fun everyone was really excited about what we had just seen. Everyone was thankful for Mylo and his help. (To learn more and to check out Mylo's photographic work click  here.) So we all piled back in the truck and headed back. Funny thing is that as soon as we made it to the highway our truck ran out of gas. Oops. This just gave us the chance to learn more about Mylo and the Navajo culture. So even when things went wrong it was still good.

Highly recommended!

Antelope Slot canyon photographed at midday as the sun finds its way through the top of the canyon. Photographing the canyon has many compositional options, but being at your lens sharpest aperture is recommended. This is usually f8 or f11