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Author Topic: antelope canyon  (Read 6300 times)
black dog
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« on: March 17, 2009, 09:43:24 PM »
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hi ...this isn't really a new topic , just a request for an update . I was wondering if anybody knows for sure about the current policy covering visits to this canyon ? The most recent posts back in November were somewhat contradictory and the canyon website does indicate that all visitors must have a guide . I am visiting this area in May and would appreciate any updates that could help me in planning my visit . thanks...
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Panopeeper
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2009, 11:16:59 PM »
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The contradictions may be caused in part by the fact, that there are two canyons there: the Upper and the Lower Antelope. I think you must have a guide in the upper one. I was in the Lower for two years ago; not only that there was no guide there (though there were some Navajo Indians around), but the terrain is not suitable for a guided tour. See http://www.panopeeper.com/albums/AntelopeCanyon.htm for not very good shots but an explanation of some things.

The Upper Antelope is much easier, it's a flat terrain, comfortable walking, thus there are much more people there (I was told so); I was in the Lower on a day following a rain; there were water ponds down there, we had to walk through. I removed my shoes and socks and hanged them around my neck, but all others went through in their shoes; they looked like pigs afterwards (it was muddy).
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Gabor
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2009, 03:22:14 AM »
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To visit the upper canyon you'll need a guide and a truck ride. As Gabor said above, the upper canyon is the most visited and is on easy terrain, level and sandy. Last time I visited the lower canyon (October 2008), a guide lead people down the ladders into the canyon, played guitar for awhile and returned to the parking lot. People were free to visit. The lower canyon is very narrow and the entrance is done via steep steel ladders.
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Francois
vandevanterSH
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2009, 10:49:39 AM »
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Quote from: francois
To visit the upper canyon you'll need a guide and a truck ride. As Gabor said above, the upper canyon is the most visited and is on easy terrain, level and sandy. Last time I visited the lower canyon (October 2008), a guide lead people down the ladders into the canyon, played guitar for awhile and returned to the parking lot. People were free to visit. The lower canyon is very narrow and the entrance is done via steep steel ladders.

I was there last week..it hasn't changed....make sure you can protect your camera gear from sand...if the wind is blowing, you will have fine sand falling on top of you..especially at the upper canyon.  Last week, I was at the lower canyon and there was so much blowing sand that I didn't go in.  I wanted to try out my new Nikkor 14-24 2.8 but it wasn't worth the risk.

Steve
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francois
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2009, 11:59:40 AM »
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Quote from: vandevanterSH
I was there last week..it hasn't changed....make sure you can protect your camera gear from sand...if the wind is blowing, you will have fine sand falling on top of you..especially at the upper canyon.  Last week, I was at the lower canyon and there was so much blowing sand that I didn't go in.  I wanted to try out my new Nikkor 14-24 2.8 but it wasn't worth the risk.

Steve
You're right. A couple of years ago, I was with a group of photographers and the wind was blowing mildly but I decided not to go. When the other photographers returned, most of them had some kind of issue due to fine grit getting everywhere. I agree with you, it's not worth ruining your equipment...
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Francois
black dog
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2009, 12:30:52 PM »
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[quote name='vandevanterSH' date='Mar 19 2009, 01:19 AM' post='268811']
I was there last week..it hasn't changed....make sure you can protect your camera gear from sand...if the wind is blowing, you will have fine sand falling on top of you..especially at the upper canyon.  Last week, I was at the lower canyon and there was so much blowing sand that I didn't go in.  I wanted to try out my new Nikkor 14-24 2.8 but it wasn't worth the risk.

Steve
 
this is all very helpful . I have noticed that there are many tour operators listed for this canyon and wonder if it is necessary to make arrangements before I go or does one simply hire a guide at the gate ? I have made a note of one company "Overland Tours " I believe but if there are any other recommendations they would be appreciated...
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timescapes
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2009, 03:45:25 PM »
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Would it be possible to shoot timelapse in these canyons at night, looking up at the moon?  Are there any restrictions on being there at night?

Any stoners hanging around with flashlights to ruin my shots?    
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vandevanterSH
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2009, 07:33:48 PM »
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Quote from: timescapes
Would it be possible to shoot timelapse in these canyons at night, looking up at the moon?  Are there any restrictions on being there at night?

Any stoners hanging around with flashlights to ruin my shots?    

Hours of operation 8:00 to 5:00...Trespassing is a Federal offense...After hours guided tour??? I guess you could call and ask.

Steve
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Lester
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2009, 10:59:28 PM »
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this is all very helpful . I have noticed that there are many tour operators listed for this canyon and wonder if it is necessary to make arrangements before I go or does one simply hire a guide at the gate ? I have made a note of one company "Overland Tours " I believe but if there are any other recommendations they would be appreciated...
[/quote]


Why do you need to find a tour company??? all you have to do is paid your money and the Indian guide at the Upper Canyon will take you to the canyon and tells you stories. But if you want to paid for a tour, I guess it is your money. The upper canyon has 2 tours, as of June 08, the photography tour is longer and you get a guide that tells you where the good shots at. I been there for the last 3 years and 08 is the first year, that you get a photography guide. The lower canyon, you paid a photographer fee and they let you go for 4 hours. (I don't think they keep time on you) Just drive toward the power plant and the upper canyon is just before the plant, the lower is on the other side.
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black dog
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2009, 10:32:42 AM »
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thanks for the info.....although the cost of a tour is relatively low , $ 26 per including admission , especially if the tour is sprinkled with folklore and inside information I guess that I will just show up at the entrance and go from there , weather permitting . If anyone has further helpful hints they would be appreciated. Cheers....
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Lester
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2009, 08:27:43 PM »
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Quote from: black dog
thanks for the info.....although the cost of a tour is relatively low , $ 26 per including admission , especially if the tour is sprinkled with folklore and inside information I guess that I will just show up at the entrance and go from there , weather permitting . If anyone has further helpful hints they would be appreciated. Cheers....


$26 per including admission is low. I always go to the upper canyon and paid my own way. What I have seen, the tour group is separate from the locals. They goes in as a tour group and they tell you about the upper canyon, they walk in and walk out. It seems that the tour is shorter. If you go there by yourself, you paid your own permit to go in (the permit is also good for the same day for the lower canyon) then you paid to go to the upper canyon, there is a group tour, which is about 1 hour and there is also a photographer tour, which is longer and cost more.  The locals control the people, so that everyone could get some pics without people in the pics, they will also tell stories. I will be back there this June, I will paid for the photographer tour and get lost and take pics. You could also go to the lower canyon and take pics after the upper canyon tour.
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I am a old fart, over 60
Panopeeper
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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2009, 08:41:52 PM »
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Quote from: black dog
If anyone has further helpful hints they would be appreciated
Timing.

Now it's daylight saving time, BUT Arizona does not adopt it BUT the Navajon Indians do.
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Gabor
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2009, 01:44:09 PM »
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I may be in the minority, but I recommend skipping Upper Antelope.  I've taken the photographer's tour, and the guide does a pretty good job of clearing out the other tours so you can take your shots.  But, it's very crowded and you have to work very fast.  Even with the guides, you can guarantee that someone will get in the way of several of your shots.  It's beautiful, but a very stressful shoot.

Lower Antelope is a totally different story.  It's mostly deserted, except for photographers and the occasional tour group.  The geology is marvelous, and the lighting will amaze you.  While you won't get the light shafts that you get in Upper Antelope, I believe it is much more interesting photographically.  And--here's the key--you can take your time to compose your shots.  The only catches are that Lower Antelope is trickier to walk through (but not terribly difficult) and that the lighting changes quite rapidly.

There is also less dust to contend with in Lower Antelope.  The only reason for this is that you don't have dozens of people tossing handfuls of sand in the air to illuminate the light shafts.  It's a lot easier on those expensive lenses . . .
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vandevanterSH
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2009, 05:28:49 PM »
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Quote from: professorgb
I may be in the minority, but I recommend skipping Upper Antelope.  I've taken the photographer's tour, and the guide does a pretty good job of clearing out the other tours so you can take your shots.  But, it's very crowded and you have to work very fast.  Even with the guides, you can guarantee that someone will get in the way of several of your shots.  It's beautiful, but a very stressful shoot.

Lower Antelope is a totally different story.  It's mostly deserted, except for photographers and the occasional tour group.  The geology is marvelous, and the lighting will amaze you.  While you won't get the light shafts that you get in Upper Antelope, I believe it is much more interesting photographically.  And--here's the key--you can take your time to compose your shots.  The only catches are that Lower Antelope is trickier to walk through (but not terribly difficult) and that the lighting changes quite rapidly.

There is also less dust to contend with in Lower Antelope.  The only reason for this is that you don't have dozens of people tossing handfuls of sand in the air to illuminate the light shafts.  It's a lot easier on those expensive lenses . . .

I agree for all of the above reasons..Upper is worth one trip through...repeat visits... stick to the lower canyon.

Steve
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francois
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2009, 05:37:16 AM »
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Quote from: professorgb
I may be in the minority, but I recommend skipping Upper Antelope.  . . .
I fully second that. Go first to Lower Antelope and if you have time to spare, then go to the Upper canyon.
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Francois
Lester
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« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2009, 02:21:32 AM »
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Check this out and see what people is shooting: http://www.flickr.com/groups/antelopecanyon/pool/
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cmburns
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2009, 12:34:27 PM »
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I've been to Antelope several times. In 2005 I took one of the tours from a business in Page. They drove us out there, signed us in with the Navajos, then drove up to the entrance of upper. The guide saw me with my tripod and said you better go ahead of the group, just make sure you're in the truck when we leave. He also tipped me off where and when the sun rays would be shining down, and he threw some sand up to help get the quintessential upper canyon sunbeam shot. The drawback to this kind of tour is you don't get a lot of time and you need some time. To get great shots you're going to need to bracket, A TON. So you get set up in a good spot and you'll be there a bit shooting all the different exposures.

The next time I went back to upper in 2006 I drove right out to the entrance and paid straight to the Navajos. They drove me down to the entrance(they do this with everyone, otherwise it would be a decent walk along a very sandy wash) let me go and said when you want to leave come out and catch a ride. This allowed me to spend much more time and feel less rushed.

The drawback to upper in both cases is it's very crowded. Tons of regular tourist firing flashes on their point and shoots wondering why the pic doesn't look like they've seen in the brochure. It's very narrow in places, and you risk getting your tripod bumped by people squeezing past. My favorite was the "photography tour" guide that tried to tell me I had to move because he was leading a photography tour that needed that spot. I've got my 1ds2 and 24-70 set up, I look around and the stoutest camera in the group was a 20D. Half didn't have a tripod, 3/4ths had point and shoots. I didn't move until I was finished.

While I'm thinking of it, get an angle finder, your back will thank you. You will be shooting up at extreme angles a lot and stooping way down to see through the camera.

Lower is like others have said, drive up, pay, and a guy walks you 100 feet over to the entrance. Every so often the guide walks all the way through the canyon, not with you per se, just at his own speed, to see if someone has died, a snake has fallen in etc. Lower is much less crowded with a lot more to shoot, but you don't get the sunbeams. Lower is also ridiculously narrow and twisty in places, but where you'll be shooting it widens enough for people to usually easily pass.

If you have two or more bodies it helps as you won't have to switch lenses. If there's the least bit of wind blowing there will be sandy dust coming down on you.
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