Reflections Imaging Website


Monday, June 21, 2010

Trip to Utah

Kathy and I took at trip into Utah/Arizona the first week of June. Kind of a mission to revisit some sites where I shot back in the days of film. Things have changed in interesting ways.

Our first stop was in Page, AZ. Page is known primarily for the world famous slot canyons, primarily Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. When we were there 15 years ago the procedure to gain access was to go the tribal office and hire a guide. If I remember correctly it cost about $25. We followed our guide back to the mouth of Upper Antelope he dropped us off and we were on our own. There was no one else in the slot that day, early May.

Fast forward to 2010. The entrance is paved, has a gate and toll both. 6 Navajo guide operations take 'tours' into Upper Antelope. For a photographer there is simply no way to get the images today that one would get years ago. By best estimate there were 300-400 people in the slot at the same time. It has turned into a great income source for the tribe and the tour companies to the detriment of photographers.

This image wouldn't be possible in a digital world without a couple of tools. Photoshop, to get rid of the guide who couldn't/wouldn't hide himself and Photomatix Pro to merge 5 images to bring out all of the detail from bright highlights to deep shadows.

On our last visit we also did Lower Antelope. Guide took us across the road, pointed to the first metal extension ladder and left us to our own devices. Metal ladders, wooden ladders, wood beam with nailed cross members. We passed one other photographer in Lower Antelope.

2010 they now have metal steps down into the slot. Though we didn't do Lower this trip saw about 30 cars parked in the lot. Lower Antelope has much less space than upper, different experience, but I can't imagine the crowds.

I asked our guide if they had any 'slow' days. About the only days are in the winter and the crowds still come in. Winter has less optimal lighting since the famous beams of light don't have the full effect since the sun is lower in the sky.

We also did Horseshoe Bend then headed up to the Monument Valley/Moab/Escalante areas. Did several sessions in each of these. I'll be posting photos from those spots over the next few days.