In person, even at the end of the day with the sun setting, Upper Antelope Canyon has a cool and subtle mystique, as the light beams slowly dissipate as we went down the road but still illuminate parts of the inner canyon. The special aspects of this particular canyon is not just the nice light beams that the canyon is known for, but there are very particular rock formations and hidden gems that you can only see and capture on camera at twilight hours. And while I’m talking about cameras, if you want to take pictures here, I beg of you USE A GOOD CAMERA AND NOT A PHONE CAMERA OR AN OLD ONE LIKE A CANON T3 (whoops), otherwise your pictures in such dark places will end up blurring your pictures to the point of frustration.
For Upper Antelope Canyon tours, we took the Antelope Canyon Tours by Roger and Carolene Ekis. The office where you will have to sign in is located in 22 South Powell St. Page, AZ. Unlike Ken’s Tours for Lower Antelope, you will be driven from Page to Upper Antelope Canyon in a blue truck. Like Lower Antelope, you will have to reserve your spots ahead of time if you want to go to the canyon at a convenient time. You can find the reservation website at the main Antelope Canyon page here.
I very highly suggest taking this tour group because of their professionalism, expertise of the area, and overall comfortable and warm tour experience; the tour guides here are way more experienced and engaging then the tour guides over at Ken’s Tours. And as always, be sure to listen to your tour guide for recommended camera settings, safety precautions and important facts about the canyon.
As stated before, you will be driven out to the site, and be ready for a bumpy ride as the truck ends up going through some rough terrain. The sights of the landscape on the way is worth taking a look, but keep your belongings close to you and your hats tightly secured on your head. Again, it is very bumpy.
The entrance to Upper Antelope Canyon is a cave like entrance into a wall. Once you enter though, you will find yourself in a very wide open cave, and you can see the red colors on the walls as you look down the corridor. This spot is where the “Candlestick” is located as well as the famous “Phantom” shot as well. The tour guide will let you know when and where to use your camera to take the various spots throughout the canyon, such as the small sand waterfall, the “Horizon,” the Eagle, and even some faces of past U.S. presidents.
And for the cameras, be sure to use the correct settings as told by your tour guide. Don’t be frustrated if your pictures end up looking blurred, just take another picture while keeping in mind the changes you put in to get that better picture. As it is a timed tour, you do need to go through the canyon at a certain pace, so be sure to pick and choose which parts of the canyon you want to take a picture of.
The end of the path takes you outside of the cave and into a wide expanse. This place was once where sheep and livestock visited for shade as well as to graze on the grass. You will be able to take group/individual pictures in front of the entrance of the cave, and from there you will have to walk back down the path to the beginning point of the canyon. Be careful of any incoming tour groups headed the opposite direction as you go through, especially if they are taking pictures at that moment.
The very last thing you will do is take a picture of the “Candlestick,” and this time you will create an illusion of holding the candlestick as the tour guide positions you to create that illusion and takes the picture for you. It’s not super impressive, aesthetic wise, but it is still pretty cool to see that illusion come to life.
Walking down the path, there is something unique about the canyon, you can feel some cold pressure coming from the canyon walls, especially as the sunlight is slowly dissipating in place of the darkness. It is something indescribable to write on this post, but it was something that I won’t be able to forget any time soon.
However, as previously stressed, if you plan to take pictures here, don’t expect to get nice pictures if you have an old DSLR model or a phone camera. With the minimal lighting in the canyon, a phone does not have enough functions to be able to capture the canyon walls, while an old DSLR doesn’t have the best shutter speed to create a nice clear picture, despite having the proper white balance. Take the proper precautions for your camera before you go on this tour.