The Bear

I know it sounds like another Alaska post, but its actually not.  Don’t worry, there’s lots more of those to come though.  I’m still reveling in my new status as spammer magnet.  This is what I have to look forward to?  At least they could take some English classes prior to trying to post a comment that clearly is asking to get deleted.  (OK, go ahead all you English majors, scrutinize my blog for all the grammar mistakes, so I can eat some crow.)  I’m not too worried though, for two reasons:

1st – I’m an Engineer by trade so technically I’m not supposed to be able to master the language, and

2nd – I have all my posts proofed by an English Professor! She she rips me to shreds long before the “publish” button gets pushed.

Anyways, on to the picture.  Sometime last October, not the one that just passed, the one before that one, I had to fly to Phoenix for a work related seminar.  Having never been I decided to stay an extra 5 days or so and head to the Grand Canyon and parts north for some camping.  My wife met me out in Phoenix on the last day of the seminar.  Someday maybe she’ll write about the exciting trip she had getting there. (luggage?  who needs stinking luggage?)

So part of the trip north was to visit the Antelope Slot Canyons near Page, Arizona.  I’d seen lots of pictures of them and figured it would be an awesome photography experience, and I’m hear to tell you, it’s a MUST SEE if you’re into photography.  Now, I know there are some other lesser known slot canyons that are becoming popular and I’m willing to concede, I’m sure those could be just as nice, if not better.  So, I guess my message is, if you get a chance to see some slot canyons, take it!! Even my wife, who many times has the “where in the world are you taking me now” look when I tell her about our next adventure, was amazed inside the canyon.

Slot canyons are typically very narrow canyons carved from wind and water out of sandstone formations.  Here in the US there are many in the Southwest area (Arizona, Utah, etc…).  They vary in size, shape, depth, width, you get the picture.  The Antelope Slot Canyons (both Upper and Lower) are just some of the more famous ones, and in that vein, Upper more so than Lower.  Chances are, if you see some slot canyon photos in a magazine or from stock art out at a department store, it came from Upper Antelope.

It used to be that anyone could wander out to the slot canyons to check them out, but a few years ago they become a little bit more “access controlled.”  The slot canyons are situated on Navajo Nation land, so you have to pay a fee for not only visiting Navajo Nation (very reasonable by the way, something like $5 to $7), but then you also have to book a tour through one of many tour company options.  I believe these too are Navajo owned and operated, but I can’t say that for sure about every single one of them.  Most of the tours are pretty reasonable.  I’d recommend finding someone that offers the “photography tour” since it gets you in with a much smaller group (generally) and allows you more time in the canyon.

Both of those are important as it can be like grand central station in Upper Canyon, they funnel people in and out of there non-stop.  Most of the regular tours are of the 1-hour variety, while the photography tours are generally 2.5 to 4 hours.  With any luck some of that time will be in-between tour buses.  When we were there, there was a tour bus (maybe even 2) tour buses full of Japanese tourists who were all there for a wedding.  This couple came all the way to Arizona from Japan to have their wedding ceremony (or at least photographs) taken in the slot canyon.  Pretty cool.

Oh – a quick word of caution, most of the photography tours require that you have a tripod with you of at least 6 inches to “qualify” for the photo tour.  I’m not sure why they do this, other than to keep the rif-raf out from burning up the long tours.  Anyways, if you want to get the real good pictures, you should have a tripod and plan to practice with some long exposures. (at least that’s my advice)

So our Navajo guide really did a great job of setting us up on the various “iconic” shots and setting pics for the groups of tourists while giving us a chance to do some long exposures.  I pretty much was shooting with anywhere from 2 to 10 seconds for exposures.  This was one of my favorite shots and one of the more well known subjects.  When we set up the guide said, “Ok, here we have the bear do you see it?”  So I paused for as long as I could, since I really couldn’t see it right away, but didn’t want to say that.  It’s one of those things where you have blur your eyes a little, squint, jump up and down… get the idea.  But then I saw it!!  I have this printed on canvas that we have in the booth for the art show circuit.  Whenever I ask people if they see the bear, 75% say they don’t.  But after pointing it out, most all then do see it, and then you can’t see anything but.  I hope you enjoy it…so can you see the bear.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you can see the bear or not.

Canon 40d, ISO 100, Canon 17-55 IS f2.8 @ 38 mm, f14, 3.2 sec.

2 Responses to “The Bear”

  1. […] behind the Antelope slot canyons near Page, Arizona, take a look at the previous blog post called the bear, I go into a fair bit more detail on the how, why, where, of these majestic scenes […]

  2. […] from Lower Antelope Slot Canyon.  For more information on the Slot Canyons check out my post the bear.  The previous two posts and photos had to do with Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, which is arguably […]

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