Page, Arizona...photo trip

Started Dec 1, 2006 | Discussions
Russell_d70
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Page, Arizona...photo trip
Dec 1, 2006

Hello Everyone,

My wife and I are planning a trip to Page, Arizona during the Christmas/New Year holidays of this year. The trip should be 7-8 days.

I am hoping to spend most of the time in Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley and other surrounding parks.

I just wanted to get some feedback as to what your favorite parts of this beautiful area were. Also, any hints or ideas about secret shooting locations would be great.

My wife is not what you would call 'an outdoors person' however, my hope is that the natural beauty of this place would enspire her to be more 'nature orientated'.

Suggesttions on accomadations are highly appreciated. I am hoping to spend

Lastly, there seems to be some hassle with getting permits/guides for this area. Any help would be great.

Thanks for any help.

My best,

Russell

Crossposted in d70 forum

tyoung
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to Russell_d70, Dec 1, 2006

Russell_d70 wrote:

Hello Everyone,

My wife and I are planning a trip to Page, Arizona during the
Christmas/New Year holidays of this year. The trip should be 7-8
days.

I am hoping to spend most of the time in Antelope Canyon, Monument
Valley and other surrounding parks.

I just wanted to get some feedback as to what your favorite parts
of this beautiful area were. Also, any hints or ideas about secret
shooting locations would be great.

My wife is not what you would call 'an outdoors person' however, my
hope is that the natural beauty of this place would enspire her to
be more 'nature orientated'.

Suggesttions on accomadations are highly appreciated. I am hoping
to spend

Lastly, there seems to be some hassle with getting permits/guides
for this area. Any help would be great.

Lot's to do out there! I wish I could get out that way more often.

Permits and guides will be needed on reservation areas such as the slots, etc. The locals will be helpful in obtaining them so it shouldn't be any trouble. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is just a short ways south of Page and something you won't want to miss. On your way there, keep an eye out for the Horseshoe bend trailmarker, just a few miles south of town. It's easy to miss if your're not looking out for it. Park and take a short hike over towards the river. Bring a wide angle lens!

Have fun!

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'Here, look at the monkey. Look at the silly monkey!'

Tom Young
http://www.pbase.com/tyoung/

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Russell_d70
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to tyoung, Dec 1, 2006

thank you tom for your help.

i am planning to stop by the horse shoue bend....definite!

my wife and i have both been to the grand canyon, so we will probably skip that this time around.

thanks again for the info.

=russell

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mseeman
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to Russell_d70, Dec 1, 2006

I was there around a year ago (around dec. 20).

Staying cheaply isn't difficult at all: there's a number of motels around page for $30-40/night. I don't remember there being many premium hotels, but i certainly wasn't looking for them, being a grad student. The motels seemed fine to me. It's the off-season for tourists, as it's a bit chilly out, but you'll get most of the places to yourself.

Upper antelope canyon requires a guide (i think you can pick one up this time of year by just driving to the canyon itself). Lower Antelope doesn't require a guide, but you still must pay about $30 for admission. Both are excellent places (I've only been to lower, however). Don't forget your tripod!

Definitely go to horseshoe bend (a mile or two south of page). It's free and has a great view. A 12mm (on digital) or wider lens is a must. If you don't have one, it'd recommend one for this trip, as it is very useful overall (i have the tokina 12-24).

If you go to Monument Valley (which is nice, but a few hours away from Page), be aware you can't see much without a Navajo Guide. There's a driving loop, and a walking loop you can do by yourself, but neither are open during sunrise or sunset. They do offer sunrise/sunset photography tours, where they'll drive you around to places you can't otherwise see, but they're pricey (almost $100/person). I didn't have that money then, but it may be very worth your money, depending on your budget and desire for photography. The view from the visitors center is open all the time (sunset/sunrise), and is where the standard monument valley shot is taken from.

My gallery from that trip: http://www.mikeseeman.com/photo/southwest.html (includes bryce, zion, grand canyon as well).

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Mach Schnell
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Rainbow Bridge on Lake Powell
In reply to Russell_d70, Dec 1, 2006

Wahweep marina on Lake Powell is very close to Page. Charter boats run up to Rainbow Bridge. I don't know if they run this time of year though (off season). Rainbow Bridge is the largest natural bridge in the world. The capitol building in Washington DC will fit under it! Were it not for this bridge, Glenn Canyon dam would have been constructed 100 feet taller (and submersed the bridge).

The goose necks of the San Juan are also close to Page, closer than Monument Valley. It is a Utah State Park. I don't believe there are any fees. There is a great overlook, somewhat similar to the horseshoe bend on the Colorado just south of Page. Here is a link to the park:

http://www.utah.com/stateparks/goosenecks.htm

I grew up in Utah. These are 2 of my favorite locations.

Have a great trip.
--
Steve

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SemperNikon
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to Russell_d70, Dec 1, 2006

Page, AZ, lucky you!

Page is loaded with photo ops. There are hotels around $100, especially this time of year. You could spend months, years shooting upper and lower Antelope Canyon and still have not shot it all.

If the infamous beam of light is what you are looking for, then I hate to disappoint you, but it only occurs in the summer months when the sun is higher in the sky. I made this mistake on my second trip here when I went in late Oct. Believe me though, the lighting is still incredible, you'll be amazed! Bring lots of memory, power and a tripod.

Also, not sure how much you know about Antelope, but it is on a reservation and they don't let you wonder around on your own really. They bus you from the parking lot to the Upper Canyon area and they charge extra for staying longer. It's much cooler in the slot canyons, so dress warm.

As far as the lower slot canyons, they pretty much let you walk through on your own. There many tight spots, so be aware of what equipment you're bringing.

As far as Monument Valley, it's been awhile since I was there, but most of the hotels are about 30-45 mins outside the reservation. There is a resort close, but it's expensive. Again, things might have changed since my last visit 4 years ago.

I'm jealous, have fun!

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RomanJohnston
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About those guides....
In reply to Russell_d70, Dec 1, 2006

They used to have special photographic tours provided by the locals.

This is no longer....

Here is a good company I have used a few times:
http://www.antelopecanyon.com/

Oh....and add horseshoe bend to your list of things to do.....

Bring your widest lenses and a sturdy tripod....and dont forget the polarizer.

Here are some shots in my gallery of the area....

http://www.pbase.com/romansphotos/page_area&page=all

Good luck!!!

Roman
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Stan Burman
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to Russell_d70, Dec 1, 2006

Hi Russell,
You already have some great tips.

Two good places to stay: Marriott Courtyard 928-645-5000, and Days Inn 928-645-2800. Winter rates will apply. And there are cheaper places in town.

Horseshoe bend is just south of town on Hy 89. It's now clearly marked with a sign. The hike is about 3/4 mile one-way. Take some water.

Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon South Rim are all 2-3 hrs away. As is Monument Valley. Excellent day trips from Page. Grand Canyon North Rim is closed for snow.
Antelope Canyon is great. You have more freedom in lower, but don't miss upper.

One of my favorite sunset (and sunrise) locations is the Wahweap Scenic View - go northwest on Hy 89 past the Wahweap South park entrance. On top of the hill there is a sign. Turn right.

Robert Hitchman's Photograph America Newsletter has some of the best detailed local photo info ( http://www.photographamerica.com/ ).

And don't miss the Carl Hayden Visitor Center at the Glen Canyon Dam. The Dam tour is very cool - and free.
Page is the center of the Grand Circle. Have a great time.
--
Stan

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SemperNikon
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to Stan Burman, Dec 1, 2006

Stan Burman wrote:

And don't miss the Carl Hayden Visitor Center at the Glen Canyon
Dam. The Dam tour is very cool - and free.
--
Stan

Ditto. The part about the divers inspecting the bottom of the damn and needing to go down in cages to protect them from large catfish, was well worth the tour.

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Russell_d70
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thanks
In reply to mseeman, Dec 2, 2006

thanks mike,

i did some checking and you are right. the hotels are reasonably cheap!! I am very excited about that.

i will do some photo stiching in photoshop....thus bypassing an additional wide angle lense.

i didn't know that the photo tour in monument valley is so expensive. is there enough to see there to go more than once?

thanks for all your help.

-russell

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Russell_d70
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Re: Rainbow Bridge on Lake Powell
In reply to Mach Schnell, Dec 2, 2006

hi Mach

it looks like their are no scenic crouses at this time of the year....that stinks.

however, thanks for pointing out that gooseneck photo. i have seen that before, but it's nice to know now where it's located.

thanks for the ideas....really appreciate it.

-russell

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Russell_d70
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to SemperNikon, Dec 2, 2006

Semper you are a killer. i am after that beam of light!!! i can't believe it's not going to be there. i am totally bumbed.

anyway...at least i'll know about it before i get there.

yeh..i am aware that you need travel guide.

bringing the extra batteries may not be such a bad idea. it will get cold, and i will be shooting for extended periods of time.....better safe than sorry.

i'll be probably bringing a laptop and dumping the images (always fun to do during the evenings)

anyway...we'll see how things go.

-russell

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Russell_d70
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Re: About those guides....
In reply to RomanJohnston, Dec 2, 2006

hi roman,

you rock.

i have seen your photos....a lot!

you are one of the reasons i am going. after seeing shoe bend shot...i have to go!!!

yes...i will make a huge poster and hang it right above my stairwell (when i get a stairwell)

until than, i'll just be enjoying the small printed versions.

i will take a look into the guide you suggested. thanks

-russell

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RomanJohnston
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May the photography gods smile on you.....
In reply to Russell_d70, Dec 2, 2006

May your skies be filled with drama..... light and magic....

And I expect amazing shot when you get back!!! : )

Roman
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azguy
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to SemperNikon, Dec 2, 2006

Sounds like a lot of fun. There is much to see, and photograph. Here are some additional resources for you:
http://reservations.powellmuseum.org/CanyonTours.html
http://www.antelopecanyontours.com/pages/1/index.htm
http://www.antelopeslotcanyon.com/
http://www.navajotours.com/
http://www.antelopecanyon.com/
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jfriend00
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to Russell_d70, Dec 2, 2006

Antelope Slot Canyons and Horseshoe Bend are some the best places to shoot I've ever been. You will have a lot of fun.

For Antelope Slot Canyons, here are some things I learned:

o For this time of year, find out what time of day the "beams" of light show in the canyons and make sure you take one of those guided trips.

o You must shoot from a tripod. You'll want the depth of field of around f/8 which will gives you shutter speeds from 1/8 to 1/30th at ISO 200.

o Bracket your shots because the dynamic range exceeds what the sensors can capture and you want detail captured from both the darker areas ad the brighter areas.

o I would shoot RAW because it's not easy to get the white balance right ahead of time and you want the extra dynamic range of RAW.

o I shot everything with a 17-55 and used that range. You won't be able to change lenses because of all the dust in the air in the canyons so pick wisely ahead of time.

o Study other photos from the canyon to get a feel for what you will want to capture.

o Tell the guide what you'd like to capture befor eyou start and a good one will tell you exactly where you can find the beams.

o I was extremely rushed on my tour. There were 20 or so people on my tour and another tour right behind us and I was trying to capture the interesting spots without people in view. In many cases I had only a minute or so to get a shot after the people cleared before the next group got in the way. My guide really helped me and I tipped her well at the end of the trip. You should be quick setting up, positioning and adjusting your tripod to take your shot.

o I shot in matrix, frequently checked the histogram and frequently adjusted EV for a 2nd shot based on the histogram.

o Be aware of what you are focusing on because you'll typically have a lot of different distances in a given shot and will be framing it, not for what the focus sensor is pointed at, but for composition reasons. You may often want to use manual focus for this reason.

o Know your depth of field tables for f/8 so you know what to set focus to for almost any range of distances you want to capture.

o Don't raise your ISO. I took some shots at ISO 400 and now I wish I had just kept the ISO all the way down and gone with a long shutter speed because there are lots of darks in the shots and you don't want noise there if you can help it.

o If it's windy outside, apparently it can litterally just be raining sand in the slots and you would want some sort of plastic you can cover your camera with when not actually shooting.

o It might be a good idea to use a skylight filter to protect the lens surface from the dust. A little dust won't hurt the lens, but if you have to wipe it off in the slots, better to be wiping a filter than the lens surface.

o Bring a small blower brush in your pocket if you have to clear off dust from the lens.

o Bring a small penlight. Some spots are dark enough that if you need to make camera adjustments, you may need some light to help you.

o Don't forget to look up and to look behind you as you go into the slots as those are intersting angles too.

o Don't worry about some blown highlights in the extreme brights. In order to capture the canyon wall detail, you will have to let some of the highlights go unless you bracket and combine multiple images in post processing.

o Shoot a mixture of wide and tighter. Wide is fun to see the context of the light and the walls. Tighter is fun to fill the frame with the closer intricacies of a lighted canyon wall.

o When you find a light beam to shoot, my guide showed me how to toss some fine dust in the area in order to illuminate the beam and make it more visible in your shot. It's neat trick and it works.

Horseshoe Bend is only a short distance from Page so you can easily zip out there from Page anytime. It's a short drive and then about a 15-20 minute walk. I was only there in the middle of the day. If I were to be there again, I would have gone there at both sunrise and sunset or when overcast to try to capture it in the less harsh light of those times. I took my first ever pano at Horseshoe Bend. If you aren't shooting a pano, you need something pretty wide. 17mm isn't wide enough. You need 12mm or 10mm.

I wanted to take the boat trip on Lake Powell to Rainbow Bridge when we were there, but it's basically a whole day trip and we didn't have the time. I saw Rainbow Bridge when I was a kid and I'd love to capture it with my camera now.

Here's a gallery from Antelope: http://jfriend.smugmug.com/gallery/1370421

And one of my favorites:

And here's horseshoe bend with a 10mm lens:

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azguy
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to jfriend00, Dec 2, 2006

jfriend00 wrote:

Antelope Slot Canyons and Horseshoe Bend are some the best places
to shoot I've ever been. You will have a lot of fun.

For Antelope Slot Canyons, here are some things I learned:

Great tips!!! I am sure they will help the OP.

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Ken Marks
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to Russell_d70, Dec 2, 2006

I can recommend Simpson's Trailhandler Tours in Monument Valley. Here is a link to their web page: http://www.trailhandlertours.com/ . We went Richard and he was a great guide. We went on a sunrise tour and I recommend it.

We stayed at Goulding's Lodge across the highway from the valley entrance. This is the closest motel to the park. You can also speak with Simpson's. They can arrange for you to spend the night in a hogan in the park.

Enjoy your trip!

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David Banner
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to Russell_d70, Dec 2, 2006

use priceline, we got the marriot courtyard hotel which is very nice with pool, internet, etc. in a good location. I forgot how much we paid but our average hotel cost on our last trip was around $60 so it was around that.

antelope canyon is nice, there are two. if you have time do both but not in the same day. go when there is the most sun to get light, otherwise it gets dark. exposure is diffficult in the canyon, and the PP is challenging. not blowing highlights isn't really an option unless you don't mind lots of noise in the shadows.

the glenn canyon dam tour is free and fun.

zion & bryce are not that far away, I'd spend a couple nights up there to see them, page is too far for a commute. it would be a shame to miss bryce.

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Russell_d70
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Re: Page, Arizona...photo trip
In reply to Stan Burman, Dec 2, 2006

thanks for all the great tips!

i didn't think about visiting the zion canyon and bryce canyon (mainly becuase I didn't think they were that close to page).

now that i am armed with this info...my travel plans may change.

i will check out hotels you mentioned.

i am not sure about the newsletter link you gave me. i think this is a paid website.

thanks again for all the info.

i can't wait to get there.

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