Cache Creek in the 40 Foot Hole in Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Reservation
The Wichita Mountains in SW Oklahoma (near Lawton) are where the SW begins. If you are nearby, it's worth a stop. Palo Duro Canyon is near Amarillo and about 15 miles south of I-40. Many say only the Grand Canyon is better. Enjoy your trip. Lots to see in the SW.
Post Oak Creek and Elk Mountain in Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Reservation.
Probably out of your way.(Colorado) But it's pretty dramatic, with extremely steep cliffs.
Also somewhat out of the way, and you need to hire a guide to go into the canyon or go on a tour, or shoot from the rim. There is only one "public" trail into the canyon, to see the most photogenic ruins.
Lower Antelope better than Upper, in my opinion. Go when there are not popup thunderstorms. 10am - 3pm is probably best, but the light changes all day, and it looks different all day. I've been there in the spring.
As a collection, consider the "Grand Circle" route:
By the way, Lower and Upper Antelope Canyons are both pay to visit sites. I far prefer lower antelope, which is where my photos are taken. You can stay there all day, if you wish, if you tell them you are a photographer and carry a camera, even a P&S. Between tours, you can get shots with nobody else in the photo, usually.
When I was there, they only gave out 10/day, but I think that was only for the actual Wave Area and everything else is open. Also, very easy to get lost on that sandstone rock, no real trails, so good to have somebody along that knows the area, or leave in the morning with a group. Would check before going and also checkout:
There is a video and that shows the ATV guys tearing up the dunes. They may still be limited to a small area and also probably mostly during the weekends. I was there in July/August, VERY hot and no ATV's. It's a lot of work getting around those dunes and the soft sand, so be prepared!
Wow... Thanks to everyone so far.. really impressive images. And I have been reading your comments and taking notes. I have travelled the southwest a couple of time but have never ventured to see Antelope canyon.. remarkable.
If you do visit Antelope, be sure and spend a few minutes to find Horseshoe Bend outside of Page, AZ. It would be a shame to pass it by, totally unaware that its there. And believe me you can totally miss it and never be the wiser.
Having been all over the Southwest, its in my top 5 of most incredible views, and its about the easiest site you can get to anywhere, the long drive to get to Page, not withstanding.
Coral Pink sand dunes is on my list. Its always been a backup if other things in the surrounding area didn't work out, but one of these days I need to make the effort to get there. Unfortunately I am running out of spring, and I try to avoid southern Utah June-August. Did that when I was younger, but I am wiser now. ;o)
Great images! I nearly died at the Wave. We started just after 7:00 a.m. and the heat wasn't bad. Got to the Wave and shot for an hour or so and then started back. By then, the heat coming off the red rock floor, was probably 120 degrees and even though it's maybe 3 miles(don't remember) back to the parking lot, we got lost and then separated and by then, out of the gallon of water I carried. Not good. Found another couple that was lost and got them pointed towards the Wave and the other people out there.
There are some "stone cairns" out there to mark the trail,which is mostly on rock and not much of a "trail" at all. But we learned that there are some locals out there that move or destroy these cairns and make new ones,pointing in the wrong directions!!! Good joke huh?
Anyway, barely made it back to the car and had most of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration, so July and August, not the best months for that part of the state!
Taking a GPS is one of the things I need to get much better about. Of course I have never gotten to far in where I could orient based on the sun and surrounding landmarks. I have used the GPS on my phone along with the Google Maps app, but more because I wanted to find out how much farther it was back to the truck. Hiking around in sandy drainages for miles can try ones patience.
And it sucks batteries like crazy so not really reliable for a major excursion.
I second the recommendation on horseshoe bend. Also, if you go there for sunset, be sure to stick around for a little while *after* the sun goes below the horizon. When I was there, all the photographers packed up their gear and left as soon as the sun was down. This shot was taken about ten minutes later, after they had all gone. (and take a flashlight for the hike back)
Thanks Gary. I was indeed lucky, even though I did endure about 45 mins. of having my face sandblasted, lol. Man it was windy! But, just as the sun dropped below the horizon, the light got magical and the wind stopped. It was like two completely different places before/after sunset...
Antelope Canyon is a wonderful spot, that's been well documented in this thread already. A personal favorite of mine are the Yampa and Green Canyons in north west Colorado. It's well worth the visit, and not highly visited in comparison to sites farther south in Utah or Arizona.
I have heard the road down to steamboat rock can be a bit dicey, which is one of the reason I didn't go down that spot last weekend. Had plenty of other stuff to shoot, as the above photos demonstrate.
I am super blessed, I live in Page, AZ. Antelope Canyon, other slot canyons and Horseshoe Bend are minutes from my house. I'm really a drawing and painting type artist first and photographer second, I don't have a lot of photography loaded here on FAA but here's one I like from Buckskin Gulch (not far from the Wave).
Rich - I'm so sorry to hear you had a bad experience. This part is especially troubling: "There are some "stone cairns" out there to mark the trail,which is mostly on rock and not much of a "trail" at all. But we learned that there are some locals out there that move or destroy these cairns and make new ones,pointing in the wrong directions!!! Good joke huh? "
For what it's worth, I've lived here all of my life and I'm an avid hiker and I've NEVER heard of any locals doing that! I hope you were misinformed, that's awful. The heat here can easily be deadly.
I've actually thought about running a side business taking photographers to local, lesser known slot canyons. I remember when Antelope Canyon was free and never crowded. It's sad to see it so crowded and expensive now, but of course everyone should be able to see it.
Oh man, my list of things to see and photograph is getting quite long ;O) I especially like the out of the way spots that most other bypass on their way to the "main attractions". Just another benefit of being retired... no rush to get anywhere ;O>
I think that if you know these places and can get people there or ride with them and direct them, you might have a real "goldmine". Most photographers, just try and get to the known spots and then move on. We seldom have the time to stay at one location for a long time and explore or talk to some of the locals. Many would love to see stuff that isn't on everyone's Facebook page when they return. There are some that are Iconic and need to be photographed, but many other more interesting places, that the locals only know about. You would need a "portfolio" of these special places, to post on the web and also to have a hard copy, to show to people when they show up. Give it a try.
I got the info about the cairns from a local in a pizza/beer place in Kanab and heard it also, later on the Internet,when I had posted my sorry story of getting lost. The "trail" to the Wave is basically non-existant in many stretches, just bare rock. The only way I got out was to find some footprints in some red sand and figure the right direction from there. Getting there was easy, compared to returning, when everything looks the same and you really have few landmarks to use as directions.
Yes some of these "trails" around here are not really trails at all and the desert can be very disorienting. Taking photographers to private, off the beaten track places is one of those ideas I have that I never quite have the time to explore. I think you're right that there's a market for it here. I was born in Page and to see the growth in its popularity is dramatic. Plus I have Navajo friends that can take me to places on the reservation that are off limits to non Native Americans unescorted. I'm training to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim in the fall so I'm doing a lot of hiking to prepare. I need to take more pictures.
Years ago, before I came out to Utah, I did a search and there was one guy that came up, who offered to take people around to these sights, maybe Philips or something like that and he also had access to the Navajo sites. I think this would be a great job and business for you. You have some images already, just need to build them up OR when you take folks out, ask them if you can use their images on your web site and build the inventory of images that way.
Just start with a few places that are off the "radar" now and get a few good shots and then get then on the web. Maybe call your "secret places" that you know about, but most of us coming out there, never heard of as "Kate's Hidden Gems" or something like that and then, without giving real directions, market those. And don't sell yourself short as far as what to charge. Search for other group leaders taking photogrpahers out there in the South West and charge the same or close to the same. I would also use those spots, the primary spots, that are only accessible through your connections (Navajo,private lands) as your "hook", since most people know how to get to the slot canyons that are now tourists attractions,etc.
If you can take people to places that only you can get, through your connections, then you have a real benefit over the others out there. If you take them places anybody can go, after they know how and where, then in a few years, like Antelope, everybody will be there!
Here's your first new customers, Gary and Bob!!! Contact them, and especially Bob, since he's new to this area and see if you could help him and do some market research!
If you wanted to explore doing such a guiding business I'd be more than happy to shoot some photos you could use. I'd even be willing to pay a reasonable amount if I saw something really cool that few have a chance to experience. I had a similar experience just last weekend, where a local outside of Vernal, UT showed me the native artifacts they collected on their ranch over the years. Its just the type of stuff you never see outside of a museum.
I've bypassed Antelope Canyon on numerous occasions precisely because between the cost, and the fact it so overshot, its not worth it, other than to say you've done it.