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Old Dec 22, 2009, 11:20 PM   #1
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Default Lower Antelope Canyon (lots of imgs)

We've been enjoying a couple of days in St. George, Utah. On Sunday we took a day trip over to Page, Arizona and Antelope Canyon. There's two different parts of the canyon - the more famous (and visited) Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon. Having read about all the people and tours that go through the upper canyon, we opted to visit the lower canyon.

At one time the only way to visit the lower canyon was by rope ladders, but it now has metal ladders anchored into the rock walls. It doesn't look like much from the top, in fact you could easily pass by it and not realize it was there (K100, FA77 Ltd):

The boxes mark the edge of the canyon - they hold emergency rope ladders in case of flash flood (a number of visitors died in the canyon in 1995 when they were caught by a flash flood). You now have to go on a tour, and they will cancel them if there's any chance of rain upstream.

We got a photography pass, which for the lower canyon means that you can wander at will for several hours. It was great for us - I only saw 4 other people the entire time I was in the canyon so I had plenty of time to set up a tripod and not worry about being bumped into (this is definitely off-season).

The entrance and our guide (K20, DA*50-135, taken by Dan):

Some of the ladders - there were others further on in the canyon. They are all narrow, relatively steep and the longer ones have handrails.

In places the canyon is so narrow my camera bag rubbed against the sides, and you have to lean a bit to get through. It helps to be reasonably agile - this cavern is sometimes called Corkscrew Canyon with good reason!

The sandstone has been carved by water into some fantastic shapes:

These HDR were done with PhotoMatix:

As you can see, the DA 10-17 got a real work-out. I've used this lens far more than I had expected before I bought it.

Dan had fun with the DA*50-135 on the K20:

We got there about 11:30 or so. The light was very good when we arrived. As the afternoon wore on, the sky got hazier and more white, and the light wasn't as good. At one point I tried a custom white balance, but it looked terrible. I put it on auto WB, which became a problem later on - I was taking series for exposure bracketing and the camera sometimes struggled with the strange lighting, giving different white balances between frames. I should have chosen daylight and then it would have been consistent.

Dan used the K20 with the DA*50-135 and I used both the K-7 with the DA 10-17 and the K100 with the FA 77 Ltd:

If you read about Antelope Canyon, everyone says to not change lenses in the canyon because of all the dust. I think that's probably important advice in the upper canyon, where there can be hoards of people. However, we only saw a couple of other people the whole time we were there, so I felt comfortable switching lenses around - there wasn't much dust in the air. I thought about how people throw dirt in the air to create sunbeams, and there was one place where it would have probably been effective, but I didn't. Maybe next time we go.

The way out:

Going up the last staircase:

We had a great time and I really want to go back, hopefully to spend more time there. Lake Powell looked beautiful and I'd like to also see the Upper Antelope Canyon, plus spend more time in the Lower Canyon. I wasn't half as creative with my pictures as Dan was - I really loved his shots.
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 11:36 PM   #2
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These are lovely. What a beautiful area! I'll have to do with your images, because you'd never see me climbing those ladders.

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Old Dec 23, 2009, 12:33 AM   #3
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Some of the shots are quite stunning. Beautiful natural formation and the rock striations are arresting to my eye.

You put the 10-17mm FE to good use...it really brought out some of the convoluted, twists and turns of this unusual canyon.
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 12:37 AM   #4
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Gorgeous pictures, beautiful. I going. Thanks.
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 1:38 AM   #5
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Hi Harriet,

You've probably taken more shots with your DA 10-17 on this one day as I have in as long as I've owned it.

Absolutely great choice for this setting. The distortion doesn't make a noticeable difference since there aren't really many straight lines, and with all the rock shapes, the more that you can get into the frame, the more that it gives the same impression as your eyes actually took in at the scene. With the 10-17, it's close to the widest coverage of your 12-24 at the 17mm end, and it just gets wider after that. With this lens, the total field of view at just under 12mm is about what my eyes see including peripheral vision.

A very nice series. Looking at the shots seems to just take you there.

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Old Dec 23, 2009, 9:30 AM   #6
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Hi Harriet,

Wonderful pictures!! This is something that I have wanted to do for a while now. I have to agree with Scott that you put the 10-17 to wonderful use. For natural settings, the viewer does not realize the fisheye effect, and image is actually able to take in what the photographer see.

You did a tremendous amount of research for me! Thank You!!!!

I like the narration along with the pictures - It adds a lot to the viewing.

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Old Dec 23, 2009, 9:41 AM   #7
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Thanks for sharing! This is an incredible place, and some wonderful, detailed, vibrant photos!
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 10:12 AM   #8
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I never made it to Antelope Canyon during my October visit to St. George...definitely a "must see" for the 2010!

The compositions and lighting are top notch! Since you used HDR, I'd be interetested to see the original bracketed set along side the final image.

Great imagery...you should submit them to the Pentax Photo Gallery!
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 10:40 AM   #9
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Incredible shots-looks like National Geographic or Arizona Highways quality to me. I have been to Page but never this area. Since I am 62 with an arthritic hip I probably will never make it there. Thanks for posting
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 11:10 AM   #10
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Stunning shots!! They would make nice calendar photos.

I can understand why there were only a few people down there. I echo DMJJR except I have 10 years on him. It won't be on my "bucket list" any time soon.

I understand that upper Antelope Canyon is more crowded but an easy walk in at ground level. That one is on my BL.

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