Antelope Canyon located in northern Arizona is special and sacred place where visitors can watch amazing beams of light materialize in colorful sandstone slot canyons. This light show located in Upper Antelope Canyon takes place during the summer months roughly between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. Because the canyon is so narrow, the beams of light only materialize for a few minutes each.
I signed up for the $40 photo tour at the parking lot for the Upper Canyon. I was lucky to get the last available spot on this tour. It is really the only way to get a decent shot of the beams, since the Navajo guide knows when and where the beams will occur. The guide even throws up a small amount of sand into the beam to catch the light better. This tour gives photographers priority to set-up tripods in the best place and attempts to keep the hundreds of others visitors from other tours out of the way so you can get your shot. It mostly works, but this place is so popular during peak times that other people do occasionally walk into frame during your long exposure. Also, some amateurs take flash photos even after being instructed not to do so.
If you want to get that perfect shot, timing is everything. You will need to be there mid-day on a sunny summer day, and you will need to have a tripod because it is dark in Antelope Canyon. Be prepared to be shoulder to shoulder with many photographers, and you may not get the best position to set-up. Also, be aware that if you go on the special photo tour you will probably have about 6 to 8 opportunities for light beams during the roughly 2 hours of the tour.
For all the beauty that this place offers, it really ended up being somewhat disappointing to see the mobs of people. This attraction is one of the major sources of income for the Navajo in Page, Arizona, but way too many operators are involved. The photo tour was limited to 6 people, but some people paying less money from other tours tried to move in with our group. It didn't seem fair.
While it's hard to find solitude in Upper Antelope Canyon, I highly recommend visiting Lower Antelope Canyon. It's located across Highway 98. If you go in the morning there will be far less people here. The orange and purple sandstone walls seem to be more vibrant. You probably will have an opportunity to be more creative here since you won't be rushed to get the next beam of light. This place is a spirtual place to the Navajo and our guide completed our tour of Lower Antelope Canyon by playing a handmade flute.
A must-see scenic place in Page, Arizona is Horseshoe Bend. You probably have seen a photograph of at some time in your life. It's located about 5 minutes south of Page on Highway 89. I had this place to myself during sunrise. From the parking lot it is about a 15 minute hike over a sandy hill. Be careful when you get close to the edge. There is no barrier to keep you from falling over the cliff and the Colorado River is about 1,000 feet down.
Also, be aware that any slot canyon can be a dangerous place for flash flooding. On August 12, 1997 11 people died in Antelope Canyon after a wall of water 10 feet high swept through the canyon with little notice. A thunderstorm with an inch and a half of rain occured 10 miles upstream and suddenly trapped the visitors in the otherwise dry slot canyon.