Wednesday, 7 January 2015

On Antelope Canyon l America 2014; Part 4

"I will finish blogging about my road trip in America before we get to the one year anniversary of me going..."

This should become my new motto in life.

That leaves me with until the end of March to get it done. Don't worry, we're not too far away from the end now. I know what you're thinking - "The road trip was only about four days long, how much more can there be to write?" - but I really did jam as much in as possible.

So just to give you a little re-cap:
Day One - drive from Phoenix to Monument Valley and a night spent at the View Hotel
Day Two - drive from Monument Valley - Four Corners - Page, Arizona and a night spent at the cheapest Best Western ever

So the morning of Day Three dawned in Page, Arizona...

Page might seem like a very random place to go and I would never have heard of it if it hadn't been for a colleague that had gone at the beginning of the year and after seeing her photos I knew I had to add this to the list of places to visit.

I was there to see Antelope Canyon - another of Arizona's geological wonders. There are a couple of canyons, an Upper Antelope Canyon and a Lower Antelope Canyon. I was there to visit the more popular Upper Canyon.

Access to the canyon is limited to official tour guides only and Page is filled with trucks driving people to and fro from the main street to the canyons. I was booked with Antelope Canyon Tours and they were brilliant from beginning to end.

Antelope Canyon is a busy old place. Tours are taking place constantly throughout the day and I was there at the busiest time of the day, around 11am, which is when tourists have the opportunity to see lightbeams coming in to the canyon.

The Canyon was formed like any other kind of canyon - just water doing its thing and cutting through rock. In fact Antelope Canyon still floods and when it happens it happens quickly and dangerously - hence the reason for access being limited to official tours only. (That and it's a hell of a money spinner says the cynical side of me.)

As you can see from the photos so far this is a scenic place. It's aaaallllllllll about the photos.

There is the possibility to book on more specialised Photography Tours which last longer than the ordinary tour and the guides can instruct people in setting up their cameras to get great shots. But to be honest our tour guide, Ricky, was incredible with getting us to take great photos - he told us the optimum settings to set our camera to, how to get the best shots, it was all covered.

But it really did feel like it was about going "Take this shot, take this shot, take this shot, take this shot, move, move, move, move". There were at least four or five other groups in the Canyon at the same time as my group and there are times where the canyon is narrow and it felt like there were a lot of people in there.

I would have liked a bit more time to just stop and stare about me because it is just insanely beautiful.

Instead my pictures are filled with other peoples' cameras, elbows, heads, arms and whatever else. And I'm pretty sure we were all getting in the way of the people who were part of the 'proper' photography tour.

You can't deny how beautiful it is though. You just have to be prepared for it to be a bit of a bun fight to get the best shot.

There are lots of pieces of random driftwood and other detritus hanging about in the Canyon as a result of the last flood that took place, but my all time favourite were the huge piles of tumbleweed that were hiding in every corner and crevice and piled up really high just outside the Canyon.

On the first day of the road trip on the way to Monument Valley I nearly died when I saw honest to god real life tumbleweed blowing across the road in front of the car. I didn't even realise that stuff existed outside of films. Something you might not realise - tumbleweed is super spiky and painful, don't try and grab it. Just saying...

Being in there around midday meant that we got the opportunity to see some light beams coming in to the Canyon which was beautiful.

The guides throw sand up in the air so that the dust motes stand out in the beams and it is very beautiful, although, as you can see from the photo below, it is hard to capture without also including someone's elbow or head. There were a few times when we were shooed out of the way so that the people on the photography tours could get a good shot of the light beams.

It could be worth doing however as a photo a light beam in the Canyon has just broken the record for the most expensive photo sold, selling for a rather impressive $6,5 Million

Not sure how much I'd get for the below shot...

After the Canyon it was time for a quick drive down the road to have a look out at the Glen Canyon Dam. Let me tell you, health and safety is not high on the agenda around this place - no barriers and no proper stairway which made me really want to freak out but it did allow for some good photo opportunities.

It was then time to get back in the car and drive 130 miles to the next destination - a Canyon with another name...


  1. Well, I still think your photos are pretty amazing. The safety thing was something I thought of at the Grand Canyon. You could get so close to the edge, and so many people were and I was like "hey, don't stand to close". But in my head, because nobody wants to be THAT weirdo.

  2. This looks beautiful! I would have been very excited about tumbleweed too, although by the sounds of it I would have ripped my hands to shreds!

    Maria xxx

  3. I've never heard of that place, it's getting added to my list of places to visit on the trip to the US I'll probably never be able to afford to go on...

  4. I hear from some great things about random canyons in Arizona, I can just stare at the pictures for ages because they seem so epic to me, must be something to see them in person!

  5. These are beautiful photos Bec. Absolutely stunning! I hope one is your desktop background :)


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