Antelope Canyon, Arizona

SEPTEMBER 2003 – Photographers capture a sunbeam that turns the red walls of the Antelope Canyon in Arizona into bright orange. Photo © by Mark Zanzig/zanzig.com


The story behind the image

Antelope Canyon is situated east of Page, Arizona, and belongs to the Navajo Nation. It is a narrow split in the rock (clearly visible on Google Maps), and takes about 5 to 10 minutes to walk through, depending on the visitor traffic. The canyon presents itself in rich, deep colours with a sandy floor that change their color almost by the minute. The miracle happens during mid-day from April to September. All of a sudden, bright beams of light enter the canyon and illuminate floors and walls with a subtle light. It is a stunning sight, that you should not miss when visiting the area!

While the web drowns in photos showing the red and orange walls and sometimes even the beams, I have not found many photos like the one above that shows what actually happens in the Canyon: Tourists who (try to) capture the magic. And back in 2003 when I shot my photo this was way more difficult than today. You needed a tripod or at least a “fast film”. For this shot I used a 400 ISO slide film and held the camera as steadily as possible, leaning to the back of the wall. (Today, I’d probably just push the ISO to 1200 or so and use an image stabilizer.) Anyway, I still love this shot.


The high resolution image

Capture Date14-SEP-2003
LocationAntelope Canyon, Arizona
CameraCanon AE-1 Program
LensCanon FD 28mm f/2.8
Image SourceFuji Slide Film
ISO400
Digital Image SourceMinolta Dimage Scan Elite II
Digital Image Source FormatTIFF, 48 bits/pixel, Adobe RGB
Edited Image FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Copyright© by Mark Zanzig/zanzig.com

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