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Author Topic: Antelope Canyon in Arizona  (Read 7565 times)
petermarrek
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« on: April 01, 2012, 05:20:06 PM »
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Just came back from a visit to Upper Antelope Canyon. Awesome place,but a few problems. I booked a photographers tour through Antelope Canyon Tours, paid extra for the photographers tour to get more time than the regular tour. Unfortunately when we got to the canyon entrance there were several other trucks including ACT there already. The canyon is very narrow and it makes it impossible to take photos without people in it, as well as kids and adults tripping on my tripod. The guide was helpful but there was nothing he could not control the hordes. After 10 minutes of futilityI went back outside for 1/2 hour until people started to leave. Once back inside there was a chance to take some nice shots although at least half of the time during a 30 second exposure someone walked into the picture. I fully realize that I did not book the CANYON for my exclusive use but when you are charged almost double the regular tour rate for an extra half hour. The prevailng attitude seems to be "Lets get as many people through as possible".
When I complained to the clerk in the office and asked for some of my money back, the answer was no way. 3 hours later, I have cooled down a bit, imported my shots into LR4, dicovered many problems that I made. A 12-24 zoom is great in there but but the constant dust falling from the sky flares like crazy and its almost impossible to clean off the lens btween shots. Even LR4 with it's great set of tools has a hard time coping with the contrast inside the canyon,took many shots bracketed 6 stops to merge in Photoshop when I get home. Overall it was a great experience, I only wish that the Navahoe nation would be more thoughtful about the way they advertise these tours, especially when you cannot go without them. Peter
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 11:44:53 AM by petermarrek » Logged
Mjollnir
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 08:39:34 AM »
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Just came back from a visit to Upper Antelope Canyon. Awesome place,but a few problems. I booked a photographers tour through Antelope Canyon Tours, paid extra for the photographers tour to get more time than the regular tour. Unfortunately when we got to the canyon entrance there were several other trucks including ACT there already. The canyon is very narrow and it makes it impossible to take photos without people in it, as well as kids and adults tripping on my tripod. The guide was helpful but there was nothing he could not control the hordes. After 10 minutes of futilityI went back outside for 1/2 hour until people started to leave. Once back inside there was a chance to take some nice shots although at least half of the time during a 30 second exposure someone walked into the picture. I fully realize that I did not book the CANYON for my exclusive use but when you are charged almost double the regular tour rate for an extra half hour. The prevailng attitude seems to be "Lets get as many people through as possible".
When I complained to the clerk in the office and asked for some of my money back, the answer was no way. 3 hours later, I have cooled down a bit, imported my shots into LR4, dicovered many problems that I made. A 12-24 zoom is great in there but bthe constant dust falling from the sky flares like crazy and its almost impossible to clean off the lens. Even LR4 with it's great set of tools has a hard time coping with the contrast inside the canyon,took many shots bracketed 6 stops to merge in Photoshop when I get home. Overall it was a great experience, I only wish that the Navahoe nation would be more thoughtful about the way they advertise these tours, especially when you cannot go without them. Peter

If you go again, my recommendation is the fantastic Charlie Moore who owns Overland Tours in Page.  He's on great terms with the tribe, knows about every canyon, and is in general a great guy.

I went there with my g/f w/Charlie, early, and it was just us three for at least 20 minutes before the rock concert crowds showed up.

Lastly, try lower Antelope.  The steep ladders and lack of easy walk-in/walk-out access keep the crowds lower.
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francois
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2012, 08:58:10 AM »
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If you go again, my recommendation is the fantastic Charlie Moore who owns Overland Tours in Page.  He's on great terms with the tribe, knows about every canyon, and is in general a great guy.

I went there with my g/f w/Charlie, early, and it was just us three for at least 20 minutes before the rock concert crowds showed up.

Lastly, try lower Antelope.  The steep ladders and lack of easy walk-in/walk-out access keep the crowds lower.

I can only second this recommendation (both on Charlie and Lower Antelope Canyon).
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Francois
petermarrek
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2012, 09:19:53 AM »
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I appreciate the advice, unfortunately he is only one of several tour operators in Page. I will say again that the canyon was incredible, the lack of scruples by the operators left a lot to be desired. Next time Charly here we come. Peter
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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2012, 02:34:04 PM »
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Gee, that was just about the exact opposite of my experience there.   Undecided

Some things that I found that really helped my experience.  
 
1. 12-24mm on a full frame?  It sounds like you were shooting too wide. I had my best results with focal lengths of 35mm and above.  This really helps to isolate the formations without the distractions of people walking thru your shot.  My buddy shot with a 70-200 the entire time he was in Antelope.  Sometimes it pays to be counter intuitive.  
2. 30 second exposures? My longest exposure was about 8 seconds. A lot of the time I was shooting exposures of 1 second or less.  Even on one of the famous "sandfalls", I only had an 1/2 sec (@ f/14 and ISO 320). You can't reasonably expect to have 30 seconds to yourself in that place.  
3.  All it took to clean my lenses while I was there was my rocket blower.  Honestly, dust should only be a problem if you're shooting at the smallest apertures, which given the size of antelope canyon, really isn't necessary.  
4.  People flock to Upper antelope to shoot the cliche and overdone "light beams".  These only happen during the middle of the day, so OF COURSE it's going to be crowded at those times.  If you show up at some other time, then you can get some unique shots and you aren't battling the crowds.  
5. I would have been happen there even if I hadn't taken a single photograph.  It's a magical place.  
6. Finally, it's Navajo, not Navahoe.  In fact, Navahoe is slang for a native american whore and pretty disrespectful.  The simple fact that you got this wrong, shows that you have very little respect for the people or their culture.   If you understood their history and realized how badly the white man screwed them over, you would begrudge them making a little money on one of the few things of value that the white man left them.  Drive around on the Navajo reservation for awhile and see the abject poverty that these people live in and then reassess the inconveniences you were faced with trying to take a few pictures...
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 02:38:12 PM by Lonnie Utah » Logged
Cooner
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2012, 07:04:44 AM »
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I was in Page a couple of weeks ago and visited lower Antelope.  You used to be able buy a pass to visit both but there now is some sort of feud between the people running lower and upper Antelope.  What they now offer at lower Antelope is a photo pass.  If you have a dslr and a tripod they give you a pass for two hours in the canyon and it costs the same as the regular pass.  It works out great, they take everyone else on a guided tour and they move them along pretty fast so you can get out of the way and the group will be gone in a jiffy.  The only issue I had was a photographers wife constantly throwing sand in the air.
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Scott O.
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 10:11:15 AM »
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I visited both canyons a couple of years ago and Charlie was our guide. I found them to be a very challenging photo environment, mainly for lens selection, for the number of people wandering in and out of the frame, and for morons tossing sand in the air so the shafts of light show up better. I quickly settled on the 24-70 lens and was extremely happy with the results. Upper was much more congested than Lower since it is a level walk-in canyon and did not require contortions to move around. Antelope has become an iconic location and I am glad I chose to shoot there, but once is enough. There are many others far off the beaten path that merit some future investigation...
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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2012, 01:05:06 PM »
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There are many others far off the beaten path that merit some future investigation...

^^This.
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petermarrek
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2012, 12:43:49 PM »
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This is a reply to Lonnie Utah; I apologize for misspelling the word Navajo, no disrespect was intended. I do stand behind everything else I said. As well I do not need your advice on the type of camera and lens I was using or the exposure that I should have used. My rant was stricly about the lack of crowd control by the tour operators, even my guide when I complained to him said that he did not like the way his office booked the timing of the tours, when I went back to the office after the tour and asked for a patrial refund,the gentleman told me that I should have known better. So much for customer service. This whole posting is about my experience with one tour operators, not all. Peter
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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2012, 01:13:25 PM »
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I'm going to file this under, if you can't say anything nice...
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markadams99
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2012, 03:54:41 PM »
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I too have been on the receiving end of Lonnie Utah's sarcastic knowitallism. He writes as tho he has a monopoly of knowledge of the South-West.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 03:56:25 PM by markadams99 » Logged

Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2012, 04:05:09 PM »
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I too have been on the receiving end of Lonnie Utah's sarcastic knowitallism. He writes as tho he has a monopoly of knowledge of the South-West.

Well after all-they named a state after him Grin
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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2012, 07:53:09 PM »
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I too have been on the receiving end of Lonnie Utah's sarcastic knowitallism. He writes as tho he has a monopoly of knowledge of the South-West.

I'm sorry you feel that way.  If I recall correctly, our disagreement was over a distribution of knowledge about the area, a "local" or someone from out of the country.  I won't claim to have a monopoly of knowledge for the southwest, but I would like to think I have a pretty good handle on photographing my back yard.  

All I was trying to do is point out to the OP my personal experiences to contrast them with what was posted.  Yes, antelope is a total junkshow at times, and you have to go in with that expectation.  It's also a very cool and spiritual place to others and you have to respect that too.  As with many iconic places in the SW, you have to go in with the attitude enjoy the beauty of the place first, and photography comes second.  But you have to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the landscape you are in.  If you do that, you won't be disappointed if you don't get the shot you are looking for.

Of course, all of these spots are relatively easy for me to get to, so I can afford to be patient with them...
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 09:16:22 AM by Lonnie Utah » Logged
Richowens
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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2012, 10:20:24 PM »
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Yeah.................but you don't have to be such an asshole about it.
Sincerely,
One of them power hungry Californians.
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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2012, 09:14:46 AM »
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Yeah.................but you don't have to be such an asshole about it.
Sincerely,
One of them power hungry Californians.

Touche'! Smiley To be fair tho, Californians (or anyone on the power grid) can't really control where their power comes from (unless you hook up to your own generating source).   The dig (in that other thread) was at the power companies and where they site these facilities.  
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petermarrek
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2012, 11:15:19 AM »
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This thread should end now, it's getting way too political and even a little vicious, something I did not expect on Luminous Landscape Forum. I was only trying to inform others about a great place to visit. Peter
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Mr.Cip
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2012, 10:16:18 PM »
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Yeah too bad the thread went off in another direction.

I was at Upper and Lower Antelope last October.  I also went with Overland Tours for the Upper Canyon.  It was a zoo.  Hoards of tour groups.  No fault to Overland.
Lower Canyon was a much better experience.  Had the photographers pass and was able to move freely and avoid groups.
Also went to Secret Canyon.  Our small photo group had the canyon to ourselves for three hours.  Lots of fun.
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2012, 11:46:52 PM »
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Yes, I did a 2 man private workshop and yes Charlie is great.  BUt Lower Antelope was the highlight.  You have to pick a off time to go when most other can't be there.  Midweek and way before the true tourist season starts.  WE managed to just talk our way in before everyone else and we were doing stitching in this canyon rather than using a wide angle lenses.  We shot up to 7 pano stitches and got great images.  I had been there many times before but that's what they wanted to shoot.  It's a wonderful place but if they would let us pay to come in very early and very late it would be much better shooting.  BUt its very doable but first you must envision what you want and move quickly and precisely to get what you want.  Tim
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ch9sab
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« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2012, 06:48:09 AM »
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Yeah too bad the thread went off in another direction.

I was at Upper and Lower Antelope last October.  I also went with Overland Tours for the Upper Canyon.  It was a zoo.  Hoards of tour groups.  No fault to Overland.
Lower Canyon was a much better experience.  Had the photographers pass and was able to move freely and avoid groups.
Also went to Secret Canyon.  Our small photo group had the canyon to ourselves for three hours.  Lots of fun.

pretty much exactly this. the tour company were great, and we actually seemed to get more time than the other tour groups, even thought i signed up for the non-photographer tour.

the lower canyon is probably not as good as there is no real cave section like in the OP photos, but the fact you have waaaaaay more time and there are hardly any people there make it a much better option.

btw, i avoided going with chief tsosie's tour. i asked about the photographer's tour and they said it would be pointless as i am not a pro photographer. the staff there were seemed both lazy and arrogant, however this is just my experience.

the photo is of the lower canyon
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rwarrin
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2012, 04:35:19 AM »
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btw, i avoided going with chief tsosie's tour. i asked about the photographer's tour and they said it would be pointless as i am not a pro photographer. the staff there were seemed both lazy and arrogant, however this is just my experience.

Hmm.  We went a couple years back in June while spending a couple weeks up at the North Rim.  I'd made my reservations for the photographers tour well in advance and never heard anything like that from them. In fact, I was going to leave the wife and kids in Page while I went but they told us it was fine if they came along.  All total, our truck was maybe 1/2 full...no more than 10-12 people.

Unfortunately, two of them, a elderly couple, made a habit of walking in front of those of us who'd set our tripods up.  At one point, she tripped over mine and turned to her husband and said..."this is ridiculous, these people and their cameras are holding us up, they should have a tour just for photographers".  The guide was a lot kinder with her than any of us would have been.
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