Location: Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Camera: Phase One P45, Cambo RS, Schneider 72L
Settings: f/11, ISO 50, 20 seconds
When: October 2010
Lower Antelope Canyon sits below a dry riverbed near Page, Arizona.
As you walk across the sandy riverbed, you won’t see anything except sand. Suddenly you notice a small crack in the sand. In a few feet it is about the width of your foot and you step in. Each subsequent step gets wider and deeper until, waist deep in the sand, you climb down a ladder into the slot canyon.
Lowe Antelope Canyon is one of the most artistically stimulating locations I have experienced. To photograph “Swirled” I had the camera pointing nearly straight up to use the circle on the ceiling as a compositional element.
Exposure and focus are both manual on a technical camera so it was a little tedious getting the shot accomplished. With every try a 20 second exposure and a 20 second dark frame it took quite a while to get what I was after.
Light in the canyon is dim and a flat pink color to your eyes. Fortunately, the camera captures the true colors with a long exposure. You don’t know for sure what the color looks like until you see it on the camera LCD which makes the experience an awesome adventure.
My take on canyon colors: Since the canyon is pink sandstone it is very light reflective. (After all, sand heated turns to glass.) The light is reflected from wall to wall deeper into the depths of the canyon. Sunlight hitting the canyon is worthless to photograph but each subsequent wall it is reflected on becomes cooler and cooler until the deepest shadows which reflect the ambient light.
Every visit to the canyon is totally different because the light and colors change with the angle of the sun and amount of cloud cover. Summer has much deeper reds while autumn has peach, purple and blue colors.
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