Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Slickrock and Slot Canyons

Last week I conducted a workshop in Arizona’s Slickrock country with my dear friend Brenda Tharp. Based in Page, the workshop visited some of the most extraordinary geological sites in this border area next to Utah. We visited slot canyons, hoodoos, and places like Lower Antelope canyon where the photo ops were boundless and there were not too many people coming through. Upper Antelope canyon is spectacular in its own right, but word has it that they run 800 – 1000 people through there each day and that makes photography impossible. And the fee is $31 for a one hour visit while Lower Antelope was $26 for four hours, a much better deal for photography.
This image is also from Lower Antelope and here our timing paid off with a nice shaft of light coming through the slot. Of course what makes the shaft so visible is the dust created by people walking through the canyon.

Our group also visited what is marketed as “Secret Canyon”. This 6 hour trip was booked with Slot Canyon Hummer Adventures. This is a first class adventure operation and the trip into Secret Canyon was a blast with some serious 4x4 off-roading. Nothing death defying, just plain 4x4 fun!

Secret Canyon is a huge slot canyon and this picture above shows a formation called The Tongue. This canyon was not as colorful as Lower Antelope and much darker requiring long exposures, so if you plan to visit, be sure and book a midday time slot.

Following several hours in secret canyon, Slot Canyon Hummer Adventures took us to The Fins. This location resembles The Wave in every way except size of the area. The layers of eroding stone swirl and wind through the hillside presenting some great opportunities for large foregrounds that lead through the scene.

One of my favorite places is the Stones of Silence, aka, Wahweap Towers. This is a challenging location to find and if you are not familiar with the area be sure and get the proper info or use Laurent Martres book on the area. If you plan to make it for the sunrise shoot you will find GPS helpful because driving in the dark is a challenge with several unmarked intersections. The area is not large but contains some of the most fascinating hoodoos and eroded formations I have ever seen. It is a totally quiet and serene and magical at the same time.

Brenda and I had one of the best workshop groups ever had and this had to be one of the most fun workshops I have yet taught. If you are not familiar with Brenda you can get her book at Amazon. It is one of the best books on nature photography yet published.

Take My Class: The Business of Outdoor & Nature Photography

If you want the details on how to get to these locations, get Laurent Martes books on photographing the southwest and here are the links:

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Josh Jones said...

Absolutely beautiful images charlie!

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Brenda continue to be the "Dynamic Duo" of photography instruction! I had a wonderful time learning from them both while working in the field as well as classroom instruction. Keep up the great work and enthusiasim you both have to assist all who participate in your workshops!
Rob F, Davis, CA