How to Photograph Antelope Canyon

March 27th, 2008
by doinlight

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Posted in Articles, How To Articles | Comments (6)

  • John Chou says:

    Hi! I’m going to visit Antelope Canyon on 3/3-3/7, 2013. My concern is, do not want switch lens and timing is very important to me. So I’m not sure which lens between Nikon F/2.8 14-24mm and 24-70mm lens to use Lower or Upper. BTW, I have Nikon D700 FX camera. Please advise.

    • doinlight says:

      John, of the two lenses you mentioned I would opt for the 24-70, not the 14-24. There are a lot of compositions that benefit from a longer lens rather than a wide angle. From my own camera bag I might go with my 24-105. It has a bit longer reach but the disadvantage is it’s an f/4 and the 24-70 is an f/2.8 which could be an advantage. On the other hand do get the depth of field you will want will require stopping down so the extra speed many not be that valuable. And yes, I wouldn’t plan on changing lenses in either Upper or Lower. It’s very dusty in there, at least for a camera. Good luck with the shoot and let me know how it turns out.

  • Subrina says:

    • Hi these are really helpful tips..i am going to lower canyon 1st week of next month but cannot decide when to be there. i will be in page after 3hrs drive from bryce canyon after taking some sunrise shots at bryce points. so which should be best for me: going in lower antelope at morning and then to the horseshoe bending? or 2st going to horseshoe bend and then at the canyon at afternoon? Thx for any suggestion

    • doinlight says:

      Hi Subrina,
      Since you’ll be driving from Bryce Canyon you’ll probably get to Page mid- to late-morning. If you can arrange to spend a night in Page then I would recommend the following:
      – Photograph Upper Antelope canyon when you arrive. It is best photographed during midday when the sun is high.
      – Photograph Lower Antelope in the afternoon. It is best photographed either in the morning or afternoon when the sun is low. In the afternoon the lower half of Lower Antelope is the best because of the way the canyon bends. There’s a stairway at the lower end that you can reach by walking along the rim. Descend the stairs and work your way up the canyon.

      Then if you’re able to spend the night in Page to out to Horseshoe Bend for sunrise. It’s also a good sunset shoot but I prefer sunrise. After sunrise at Horseshoe go back to Lower Antelope and photograph the upper part of the canyon in morning light.

      That would be ideal. Let me know how it turns out and send me some of your photographs. I’d love to see what you get.

  • Andrew Wozniak says:

    Great page! Thank you for the insight, I will be visiting antelope canyon later next week and worried about the dynamic range that will exist inside the canyon. I have a 3 stop GND in my pack and a good quality polarizer, between the two hopefully I can bring home the images I am imagining.

    • doinlight says:

      Thanks Andrew, I appreciate the kind words. I would recommend you consider shooting HDR. A grad ND won’t do a lot of good because the bright areas are not separated from the shadows by a straight line. Also, a polarizer won’t be much help either. In this situation, HDR is the best answer. You can get very natural effects from HDR; you don’t have to do the grunge thing which would not be appropriate for this type of subject.

      One other thing. You’ll find Upper Antelope a lot darker than Lower Antelope. Ten, twelve and even more stops of dynamic range will not be uncommon in Upper. Lower is more open at the top so you won’t have quite the problem there.

      Have a wonderful teip and if you don’t mind, please feel free to share your photographs on my Facebook page: Ralph Nordstrom Photography.

      Thanks again for the kind comment.

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