Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Return to the Southwest - Part II: The Slot Canyons

   As I stated in my previous blog entry (Return to the Southwest - Part I: the Landscape), the primary goal of this trip was to visit slot canyons in the Arizona desert. I had been a couple of times before, but slot canyon photography is technically very challenging, and I find that the more trips I take, the more I am able to visualize and refine compositions. On top of that, slot canyons can be dangerous. Surely you have seen the movie about the hiker who was stuck for several days, able to escape only after severing his arm to release it from under a boulder (my wife and mother have, and that's what came immediately to mind when I told them I would be exploring the slots). The risk of flash flood, dehydration, and getting lost are other hazards. While slot canyons are one of the most unique phenomenon to see in person, being able to visualize a coherent composition, and use the reflected light to enhance the depth and glow, is more difficult than it appears.
   To "get my feet wet," I started in Lower Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona. This slot is popular with tourists, and comes equipped with stairs and railings! It's popular for a reason, the compositions are magnificent.

"Lightkeeper" - Prints Available

"Lady in the Wind" - Prints Available

   From there, I moved on to some lesser known, remote slots in the desert. This particular one I had visited twice before in years past. This one particular composition I shot initially in 2010. It has become a popular print, and I wanted to seize the opportunity to refine my composition and photograph it with a higher resolution camera to allow me to make larger prints.

"Pillars of Light" - Prints Available

"Kaleidoscope" - Prints Available

   Another, more remote slot, has had my attention for years. You almost never see photographs from it. Within the slot canyon is a fragile arch that, for a few moments a day, for just a few days a year, "glows" with reflected light from behind it. Reaching this arch is no easy feat. Dangerous and technical canyoneering skills are require to get down there. But sitting there for over an hour watching the light change and move, culminating in a beautiful glow behind the arch, was a highlight of this trip, and of the years I've been doing photography.

"Eternity Arch" - Prints Available

   I visited this slot on two different days. The first day I was consumed with the arch. So on my second trip I went further down and found some other, equally compelling compositions.

"The Chamber" - Prints Available

"Canyon Voices" - Prints Available

   Between the desert landscape and unique slot canyons, my recent solo trip to the southwest was quite productive. I am happy to release some of my best images to date. If you like what you see on your computer monitor, you will love our large fine art prints. Please contact me if you with questions, or to order.

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