The Antelope, the Bear, and the Heart

Planning and prepping for another big trip (I am going to tell you more about it, but not today :P), it’s hard not to reminisce about old ones. In addition, I still have so much to tell you about the USA, so here is the next day of our cross-country trip, and we’re still in Page, Arizona.

After compensating the disappointment of Monument Valley with a nice sunset at the Horseshoe Bend, we spent a night in what I saw as a typical American small town hotel. We drank a 40 ( that is 40 oz, which is a standard size for a bottle in the US, apparently) in the room, discussing what it might be going into Antelope Canyon the next day.

We were hoping we might get one of these moments:

800px-usa_antelope-canyon

Source: Wikipedia

You know, the-ones-from-the-brochure kind of shots. And we had planned accordingly – we booked the time slot that would get us in the canyon around noon when the sun is high enough to peek through the crevices  at the top. It was almost the perfect time slot.

I say “almost” because in order to have the actual perfect slot you need to be in the photographer’s group. We, however, got the slot right before the “pros”. I didn’t really mind – I had a tiny point-and-shoot camera and a mobile phone with me, so I didn’t have huge ambitions about the pictures I was going to take. Also, as I have mentioned before, I’m more about savouring the moment while in it rather than taking a million of identical pictures of it, so not being able to capture that most awesome picture was not such a huge deal.

That said, being herded along after mere moments in one place because we “need to clear the shot for the photographers” was not what I had in mind when I was sipping Corona in the hotel room, envisioning the marvel of the smooth curves and mesmerising colours of the famous canyon.

That amazing shot above? If you’re just a tourist and haven’t coughed up another $100 or so for the Photography Tour, that shot would probably look something like this:

P1060643 Especially if you’re little over 160 cm tall.

So, now that I have all the disillusioning out of the way, time to get to the good part.

And the good part is, the canyon really is amazingly beautiful. The crowds were basically the only downside. I didn’t even care that I kept shaking out fine red and yellow sand from my shoes and even my shorts’ pockets for weeks after.

The tour guides we pretty cool too – since they’ve seen the rocks a million times in all sorts of weather, they knew every clever angle along with the camera settings you need to take a less-than-obvious shot. They would point out the shapes that you might miss in the commotion and this one particularly tall at least parts native American guide personally helped me out with taking a better picture of “The Heart”:

P1060580

He also pointed out these amazing curves (and I promise, there hasn’t been any psot-processing on any of these):

IMG_20140425_113512

But “The Bear” was all me:

IMG_20140425_111601

I love this shape – the mighty beast reaching upwards out of the canyon… I might not have gotten that ray of light on the canyon floor, but radiance in this one makes me not care. Also, it might be less than great but I don’t care because it’s mine. And, most importantly, I had the time to enjoy it in person too. So you do that, too, enjoy that moment when you get the chance.

Here are a couple more shots I managed to sneak in before I was rushed off around the next rock and out of view. Bye…

P1060540P1060541

Oh, P.S.: We only visited Upper Antelope Canyon (pictured above). You enter this one through a cave entrance that is worthy of a mention in a children’s story about thieves and treasure. There is a Lower Antelope Canyon where, as far as I know, you more descend underground through a crack in the sandstone, which also sounds really cool!

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About Yoanna Novakova

Yoanna is a reader, writer, traveller, concert goer, hiker, drinker, thinker and, of late... a blogger. She's currently doing a lot of travel writing (obviously), but fiction, fantasy and life-writing all have a representative in her portfolio. A reader of varied tastes, she's even been called "strange" for enjoying Stephen King and Terry Pratchett alike. In her pre-teen years, she used to be the kid who'd re-read her favourite books over and over again. Now she knows life is just too short for that. Always reading more than one book at a time, always writing more than one project at a time, she is yet to find her perfect pace. But she's working on it!
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