Following a recommendation from Gayle and Bill Hancock back in The Villages, we were blessed on Sunday to visit Upper Antelope Canyon, part of the Navajo Nation Tribal Park system, near Page, Arizona. The Navajo name for this small slot canyon is Tse’ bighanilini, which means “the place where water runs through rocks”, an apt but very basic description of this narrow canyon with incredibly sculptured sandstone walls. You have to have a Navajo guide during your visit, and all visits are limited to two hours in duration. You could easily spend eight hours and still be busy every minute. (Another of the rules is “No nude photography”; I mentioned to My Lovely Bride that I thought it was an unfair rule, unnecessarily restricting my freedom of speech, but I think I heard her mutter something about “You are really stretching the limits of bizarre behavior even thinking about it…”I thought she was being a bit cruel with that remark…)
In any case, we lined up with six other amateur photographers from the Philippines, Germany and the US, met our guide Patrick (he didn’t look Irish) and boarded a 4-wheel drive truck, with the photographers in the back on bench seats just like Army troops headed to combat. It was a hot, dusty, 30 minute ride through the desert to the entrance of the canyon where Patrick gave us our briefing. From the outside, it looks like a typical unremarkable, narrow slot canyon. When you enter, however, you are transported to another world. Our tour was during the noon hour, when the sun was directly overhead and shot the most light into the canyon. An hour earlier or later would have provided very different lighting.
Words cannot adequately describe Antelope Canyon, so I’ll recommend you just peruse some of our photos here and on Suzanne’s Facebook page (simply search for Suzanne Giesemann and you should find her album there). These are all our photos, with only natural lighting, no electronic flashes allowed, and unaltered with PhotoShop or any other program. Our photos are somewhat different because we used different cameras, but you are essentially seeing the canyon from our eyes. It is one of the most beautiful places either Suzanne or I have ever visited.