Scene from a journey through Lower Antelope Canyon
Lower Antelope Canyon is one of the places that should be on everyone's travel bucket list (but please, not on the days I happen to be there - it is crowded enough as it is! I had a chance to visit Lower Antelope in October 2012 as part of my "Easing Gently into Retirement" tour and it was one of the many highlights.
Lower Antelope is located a few miles outside of Page, AZ (look for the very tall smokestacks next to it); the canyons (Lower and Upper) are on Navajo Tribal land and the price to visit is fairly steep - $26/person, but it's worth it. If you are a serious photographer you can ask for a photographer's permit - this allows you to break away from the group tour and also to remain in the canyon for two hours.
The canyon itself is very cool - it is mostly underground - you descend a series of ladders and have to wiggle through some passages but almost anyone can do it. The cool thing is the views are constantly changing from each angle and time of day. For shooting, a tripod is almost mandatory but there were a lot of times there wasn't enough room to set it up. Your body gets a workout trying to wedge and contort into small spaces to capture a shot; many of the shots are either straight up or at very sharp angles.
Even though a lot of guided tours go through it is fairly easy to find solitude. The biggest drawback this time was the lack of professional courtesy displayed by some foreign photographers; instead of shooting and moving on or letting people pass they decided the canyon belonged to them; they frequently blocked passage with huge amounts of gear, they would walk into other shooters set-up and linger, they were loud and obnoxious and spitting everywhere, and then they decided to throw a bunch of sand into the air, creating a lot of dust everywhere. Where are the tasers when you need them? This group really pissed off several other shooters but despite that it was a great trip!