Photographing Slot Canyons is a magical study of reflected light, patterns, lines, and emotions. In order to capture the rainbow of colors lurking in the dark of these canyons, one must learn to not trust what our brains and eyes are telling us. The human brain is sometimes too smart, and can distort what is actually there. Our brains know what color sandstone is suppose to be and therefore will have our eyes compensate to see what it thinks we should be seeing. So, in these caves our eyes see shades of tan, pinks, and greys. A camera, however, captures what is actually there. Certain caves that are deep enough and narrow enough will come alive at certain times of day when the sun and sky are just right. You see, as the sunlight penetrates into the caves it bounces back and forth on the walls. As it bounces, it picks up the colors present in the rocks. The more light that is reflected, the more color that is picked up. Where the rocks have a clear view of the sky above, it will pick up the cool blue color of the sky and reflect it as well. One must look at the way the light is reflecting on the walls and ignore the eyes. Once you can see past the dull colors, the wonders of the patterns and lines present themselves. Then all you have to do is set the camera for a long exposure and let the colors soak onto the sensor.
I hope you enjoy these first selections from the canyons. Several are from the famous Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons, but a few are from little known canyons that required hiking with guides and rock climbing in a Hummer. I will post more images from the canyons and the surrounding areas in the weeks to come.