Upper Antelope Canyon

Hidden away on Navajo land just below Page, AZ, and Lake Powell is an amazing complex of slot canyons known collectively as Antelope Canyon.  This remains a hoped-for destination for virtually every landscape photographer on the planet, even though it’s long been a favored location for advertising backdrops and TV commercials. (Or, more probably, because of that over-exposure.  Admittedly, my first introduction to Antelope came from, if memory serves, a Jeep commercial.)

Antelope Canyon Entry. Photography by Steve Rossman

The way into Upper Antelope Canyon

You can’t freely hike these canyons.  The story is that the potential for flash flooding is too high.  I suspect it has as much to do with revenue.  Which is fine — by and large, the Navajo aren’t rolling in excess cash.  So the only way in is on a Navajo-led tour.  And that’s fine, too.  It’s an open truck ride over seriously wash-boarded and unmarked dirt roads and trails to the canyon entry.  Once there, after some brief instructions, you’re free to wander.

If you go, be patient.  It can get crowded, so you need to wait for your shots.   Bring a tripod.  You’ll need it.  And try to go earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon.  The light’s better, I’m told.

There are actually two canyons, Upper (called Tsé bighánílíní by the Navajo, “the place where water runs through rocks”) & Lower (Hazdistazí, or “spiral rock arches”).  So far, we’ve only visited the upper canyon because it was a little easier to make a reservation and to get down into the canyon.  Now that I’ve got better equipment, I look forward to going back again to visit the lower canyon.  These shots were taken with a decent, but not spectacular, point-and-shoot.

Most of the photos I’ve seen of Antelope are bright and cheerful.  Perhaps it was the conditions of the day and hour of our visit, but the Antelope we experienced could be a somewhat darker place.  Still magical, but darker, nonetheless…


Antelope Canyon dark walls. Photography by Steve Rossman.
Antelope Canyon 3.  Photography by Steve Rossman.

Antelope Canyon - The way back out. Photography by Steve Rossman

The way back out…

This entry was posted in Fine Images, Landscape Photography, Travel Photography. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Upper Antelope Canyon

  1. AnnRosier says:

    great pics Steve! It looks like felting wool.

  2. Incredibly beautiful, Steve, and of course reminds me of the gorgeous photo you and Jonna gave us for a wedding gift. Keep up the wonderful work!

  3. Jan Spencley says:

    These are gorgeous Steve. Am looking at these beautiful flowing shapes and thinking about how to incorporate into metal. Perhaps through etching. Will call about how I might modify pictures to etch. Also, clear I need to go there. If you really go again perhaps I should join that road trip! Love you and your passion for capturing beauty. Thanks. jan

    • steverossman says:

      We just may take you up on that…I’d really like to do a short trip to Antelope sometime in the foreseeable future. It would be great to try to coordinate it! Jonna thought it sounded like fun, too!

  4. Once again, Steve, your majestic photos take my breath away! I’ve never been there; however, it is now on my list of places to visit! The first photo reminds me of swirling colored ribbons! And like Jan, I immediately thought of metal except how I could replicate them into foldformed metal shapes! You are awesome and your images stimulate my creativity! Thanks much, my dear! Judith

    • steverossman says:

      Thanks Judith! You know, a couple of days ago, I was ‘digitizing’ my portfolio and came across your stunning Milagro necklaces, which got me thinking about our last trip to the southwest, which, in turn, reminded me of Antelope. So it was really your wonderful work that started the ball rolling on this particular post. Hope you are well and having fun. Best – Steve

  5. Chris Gage says:

    Hi Steve. Outstanding photos at the canyon! Love the color and texture which reminds me of some of our titanium.

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