Last night after a late dinner we starting our two hour drive to Page Arizona! We decided to drive the night before because we had a photography tour scheduled the next day at 8am at Antelope Canyon! We drove highway 9 through Zion savoring our time as we left the park stopping along the way to enjoy some star gazing! We had fun taking a few shots of the milky-way in the pitch black of the canyons and It was a wonderful way to transition out the park as we headed to page.
The next morning we woke up and headed out for our photography tour. We choose the "3 Canyon, Half Day tour" from "ADVENTUROUS ANTELOPE CANYON PHOTO TOURS" . I got say we were totally unprepared for what we were about to experience, and not in a good way.
We meet our guide off of mile marker 302 and he pile my brother and I and 6 other photographers into a Chevy suburban as we headed out to the Upper Antelope Canyon area. The first two canyons he took us to Rattlesnake, and Owl were very pleasant and we enjoyed photographing and exploring. All 8 of us got along great working together to stay out of each other shots and communicated well as we photographed. It was really fun.
After Rattlesnake and Owl canyons we pulled up to the last canyon on the tour, Upper Antelope. Our guide explained to us that when we go in there there will be lots of other tours so make sure you work on taking your shots as quickly as possible and to stick together.
Most of us were totally unprepared with just how many people he was talking about. As we entered the canyon the crowds were overwhelming!!! 100's of people filled the narrow canyon walls and we quickly realized with in a few moments it was going to be the most challenging, frustrating, anger filled, photo-shoot Jon and I have ever experience. It was like gorilla warfare in there. People bumping into your tripod, walking in-front of your camera, kindly asking people to wait of a sec while your camera exposed but having people walk through the shot anyway. Our guide was helpless despite trying his best. Most of the photographers just gave up frustrated with having paid for a photography tour yet not being able to really photograph anything because of the crowds. The majority of the time the only way you could get a shot was if you composed so high that the heads of the people walking by you were below the frame. I was surprise to discover that using a longer lens was really the better choice but having left mine in the car I was sad I didn't bring it along. It would have made things easier. We both left beat up, sad, and frustrated it wasn't as enjoyable as we expected. We heard that lower antelope was much less crowded so I think next time we will just skip upper and head over there. Overall I would just love to have a "do-over" of the whole experience and give it one more try some other time. The first attempt was kinda a wash.
Horseshoe Bend Overlook After eating some amazing Mexican food, and taking a much needed nap we headed out to horseshoe Bend Overlook. The weather websites said that sunset was at about 6:30 so we decided to head that way at about 5pm to have time to setup and catch good light. We arrived at about 5:30 and much to my dismay the sun was just about to go below the horizon. I ran down as fast as I could to setup but just as I was about to press the shutter the sun disappeared just below the canyon walls. I missed it by just 30 seconds and our sunset calculation were off by almost an hour! We made the best of it and kept shooting but I was really sad that this day was really turning out to be a total bust. Despite it all we made the best of it and had a good time. We stayed well into the evening doing more night photography and had fun doing some silly light painting. It was a fun way to enjoy the end of a very hard day!
Chocolate milkshake at Sonic on the way back to the hotel and off to bed!