|Sunbeam in Lower Antelope Canyon, near Page, Arizona|
My friend and fellow children’s book author Caroline Hatton visited Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon in October 2019. She took all but one of the photos in this post. For more information about her, visit www.carolinehattonauthor.com.
The Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons on Navajo land near Page, Arizona, are natural wonders-- narrow, deep, slot canyons sculpted in sandstone by rushing waters and swirling winds.
In an earlier guest post by Owen Floody about both canyons, photos show how Upper Antelope Canyon was lit on his visit in September. Because the time of year and time of day determine how high the sun is, and therefore how much or how little light penetrates the canyons, the purpose of this post is to compare the two canyons in the first week of October. All visitors are now required to join a guided tour, so I reserved tickets online in advance, for the following dates and times:
- Upper Antelope Canyon: Saturday, October 5, 10:15 a.m. tour
- Lower Antelope Canyon: Friday, October 4, 10:45 a.m. tour
The weather was clear and sunny on both days.
|A-shaped, darker Upper Antelope Canyon|
|V-shaped, brighter Lower Antelope Canyon|
The Upper Antelope Canyon tour began with a military-style truck ride from the parking lot to the canyon entrance. The tour is a round trip, walking into the canyon to the end, turning around, and walking back out, with tight traffic control: staying on the right, stopping completely to allow photo-tour guides to line up their photographers to all take a photo with fewer tourists and less suspended dust, and otherwise moving along to prevent traffic jams.
The Lower Antelope Canyon tour began at the parking lot. The tour goes in one direction, from one end of the canyon to the other. The number of people around me was five to ten times less than in the Upper Canyon tour, because fewer people visit the Lower Canyon and because the floor is narrower in the Lower than the Upper Canyon, often allowing only one person at a time to go through.
In both tours, the guide for my group offered help setting cell phone cameras to “vivid colors.” Digital camera users switched to a higher ISO value. Along the walk, the guide offered to take the photos of the famous, nicknamed, rock formations and patterns, on behalf of visitors, by using their phones and cameras, one after the other, as well as to take portraits of couples and families posed by themselves against attractive backgrounds.
|In Upper Antelope Canyon|
|In Lower Antelope Canyon|
The Upper Antelope Canyon is A-shaped. The narrow top allows no sun rays into the canyon, except in a few wider spots, but only on the very top of the rock wall, more than 100 feet (~30 m) above my head. The wide, flat, sandy bottom was easy to walk on, even in the near-pitch darkness. Guides reminded some visitors, who used flashlights to see where they were going, to keep those off, to avoid ruining everyone else’s photos. Indeed, everyone’s camera-setting-enhanced photos made the canyon look brighter, more colorful, and simply more visible than the dim, colorless reality.
The Lower Antelope Canyon is V-shaped. The wide top lets the sun shine on the rock walls. At the entrance, the five flights of stairs going down were of the industrial, metal-grid type. The canyon bottom narrowed here and there to an actual rock V, where the left and right walls met at an acute angle with no flat spot to put a foot down. Photos showed rocks as seen with the naked eye, like melted, stretched, brightly colored candy. Visiting was quieter and more leisurely in the Lower than the Upper Canyon. I would do it again, especially in a different season!
|In Lower Antelope Canyon. I like this as a 3D sculpture and as 2D picture.|
|In Lower Antelope Canyon|