One of my favorite regions to explore photographically is the sandstone rich southwestern United States. I usually spend several weeks there every year in the fall, hiking and exploring and taking advantage of cooler weather. In the 1980’s I discovered some of the many slot canyons that the southwest is now famous for, but then they were all new and unexplored. I spent some years exploring them before they were widely discovered and became very crowded.
This is one of the most famous of them all, Upper Antelope Canyon. To give you an idea how long ago it was when I made this image, I had the entire place to myself for the entire day. In fact, for the next several years after discovering this place, I never saw anyone else there when I visited. That changed! It also was very difficult then to find a way to drive down into the wash for the deep sand 3 mile drive to the entance of the slot. It was also in the film era and I was using my 8x10 view camera with long exposure times in these places. Since there were no other people here, I could determine the exposure time, start it and then leave the camera to continue further into the slot canyon to find more compositions, returning when the exposure time was nearly done. The sunshaft shining in this entrance chamber composition lit up the entire area with an even illumination.
The decision to make this a high key image was a personal choice as this could easily have been edited to be very dark. Most of my other work in slot canyons is much darker than this one.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor