9/19/2018 - 9/23/2018
There's not much in the way of safety rails, and it was packed with people. Surprisingly, there appear to be very few accidents out here. At one point, a small rain shower moved through, and we were treated to a rainbow against the darkening sky. Sometimes, it pays to look behind you.
The next day started our tours of the Lower and Upper Antelope Canyons. We started with the Lower Canyon, first thing in the morning.
Around 1:00 PM, we did a tour of the Upper Canyon.
Having done both, I'd say my favorite was the lower canyon. The lighting was better, there are only a couple groups that operate in that canyon, and foot traffic only moves in one direction. The upper is one way in and one way out. There seemed to be much more dust in the upper, as well. Neither tour lets you bring a tripod or monopod; although you can pay for the "photographic tour" of the upper, which does allow one. There is so little light in both that it is hard get a decent photo. I had an f/1.4 lens for the lower, and it did decent. I really missed the depth-of-field at times, though. In the upper, I took an f/3.5 lens, and I really missed the extra light. I was bracing every shot against the walls.
We still had plenty of sunlight left after the tours and spent the rest of the day out in Marble Canyon and the Vermilion Cliffs; looking for California Condor - no luck.
We headed out early the next day for the Grand Canyon. Remarkably, neither of us have ever been. We had big plans to do a lot of hiking. It became apparent, pretty quickly, that we were not prepared for any kind of hike down into the canyon. Luckily, we are both smart enough to realize this. We enjoyed our time around the south rim though.
Although it was a full moon, I wanted to get out for some night sky shots. I was pretty happy with how they turned out.
The Grand Canyon is spectacular, and we know we have a lot left to see there. We also know we missed out on quite a bit by not getting down into the canyon. We look forward to a return trip some day.
While there, I did manage to fit some birding in. I was extremely happy to see Pinyon Jay again. I had not seen this species since I was a teen.
As always, there were a few other things to take pictures of. I found myself between lenses a lot of time. I would have loved a wider lens for the elk and rattlesnake.
The trip back to Phoenix was uneventful. The flight was not. Crazily, we had scheduled a late afternoon return flight. Given enough time in a day, airlines will fall behind. Our flight ended up being delayed 2.5 hours, and we did not arrive back in Indianapolis until almost 3:00 AM. It was a very short night before returning to work the next morning.
Thanks for reading,