Jeff Stamer – Photography tips from the pro’s

Making the Most of your Photography Schedule in Page Arizona

Unlike the other articles in this “Tips from the Pros” section…I’m not going to tell you how best to photograph Horseshoe Bend (I’ve already covered that in another blog post). Instead I’m going to help you schedule your day in Page in a way that will maximize your potential photography.

Sunset at Horseshoe Bend during a Summer Monsoon

Many of you reading this website are planning to visit Page after photographing some of the other photographic icons in the area (Zion, Bryce, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, etc.). If so, you will be on a tight schedule and will probably have a day or less to spend in Page and you are going to have to make every minute count. Multiple trips to Page over the past decade have taught me a few tricks that I’d like to share with you. First of all, you certainly are already planning to hit Antelope Canyon while you are in Page, but did you know that there are actually two different Antelope Canyons? They are both beautiful, but unique in their own way and you will want to photograph both of them.

Check out this 'Texas Toothpick' lodged in Upper Antelope Canyon

Check out this ‘Texas Toothpick’ lodged in Upper Antelope Canyon

• The Antelope Canyon that is the most visited and photographed is Upper Antelope Canyon. This is the one with the famous light beams that occur between March 15 and Oct 7 . These tours are tightly choreographed and crowded but the views are beautiful and otherworldly. Pay extra to get on one of the Photography tours (about $80) and take the trip that will be in the canyon between 11am and 1pm (this is when the light beams are visible). There are a number of different tour companies, I’d recommend that you check out Trip Advisor to find one with good reviews.

Although Lower Antelope might be smaller, it is every bit as impressive!

Although Lower Antelope might be smaller, it is every bit as impressive!

• Lower Antelope Canyon is every bit as beautiful but light beams are few and far between. However, at this location you can pay $50 for a photographer’s pass and stay in the canyon for 2 hours without being part of a group. Tours will pass thru by you, but you can set up and photograph at your own speed.

Suggested Schedule for your visit

Sunrise Page is about 2 hours from Zion, Bryce and Monument Valley…which means that you can be at one of those locations for a sunrise shot and then still have time to drive to Page for a full day of photography

10:30am Schedule a photo tour at Upper Antelope Canyon. These tours start in Page and start at different times during the day. Book the 10:30am tour since this is when light beams will be at their peak. These tours normally take about 2.5 hours and you will get back to Page about 1pm

1-2pm Grab Lunch in Page, then drive back to Lower Antelope Canyon. Pay for the Photographer’s tour ($50)

2-4pm Photograph Lower Antelope Canyon.

4pm If you are visiting during the winter, the sun will set before 6pm so it would now be time to head to Horseshoe Bend. During the summer however, sunset can be as late as 8pm. In that case, grab dinner in Page before you head out to Horseshoe.

Sunset Leave Page at least 90 minutes before sunset (that will give you plenty of time to drive to the Horseshoe parking lot, hike the trail to the site and set up before peak color hits.

Reflected light in Antelope Canyon results in incredible colors

Reflected light in Antelope Canyon results in incredible colors

• Now you can head back into Page for a good night’s sleep before heading off in the morning for your next adventure! The American Southwest is blessed with an incredible number of iconic photo locations. Even so, you would be hard-pressed to find another location that has such a variety of world-class photo ops that you can hit in a day.

Enjoy yourself!

Jeff

Jeff Stamer

Jeff Stamer

About the Author: Jeff Stamer got his first camera, a secondhand Kodak Brownie back in 1964. A lot has certainly changed since then, but he will tell you that love of photography hasn’t been one of them. After a 30 year interlude with an international Fortune 500 corporation, Jeff returned to full-time wildlife and landscape photography in 2010. He has since been making up for those lost decades with a vengeance. Jeff writes a regular photography blog and maintains a well-respected website at: http://www.firefallphotography.com/

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13 comments
Mark Holzman - March 20, 2016

Heading there in early June – I appreciate the tips. I continue to explore – the only way to learn. This is one hell of a place to practice. This part of the country is phenomenal.

Thanks!

Reply
Horseshoe Bend Photo Guide and Tips - Firefall Photography - March 23, 2016

[…] etc.)  If you have more than a couple hours to spend in Page, then you might want to check out this blog which gives you pointers on how to best schedule your day to maximize the photographic […]

Reply
Sara Bourg - April 17, 2016

Hello !
I plan to visit Upper Antelope Canyon with a friend of mine on a photograph tour in June.
We booked our spot for the tour at 10;30 !
Now, I am wondering if we need any photography permit to be allow to post our photographies on facebook, Instagram and on my blog. We will not sell them.
Did you already pay for the permit ?
Thanks for your help!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 3, 2017

    Hi Sara,
    This is an excellent question! As you’ve probably seen, many people post their photos on social media after their tours. As long as you’re not using them for commercial purposes (selling them), it should be OK. As a courtesy, though, you might ask your tour guide if it’s alright with them.
    And yes, your Tribal Park Entry permit is included in the cost of your ticket.
    Hope that helps. Have a great time!
    Alley

    Reply
Mike - May 1, 2016

Hi Jeff! Very helpful, thanks!. I put a link on our site to your page: http://www.whentobewhere.com/travel-listing/antelope-canyon

I hope that’s ok?

Michael

Reply
    admin - August 25, 2016

    Thanks for the link Michael! I’m glad you found the information useful.
    Best,
    Ryan

    Reply
Maria - November 30, 2016

Hi Jeff,

Thank you for your tips. I’ll be going out in mid Dec and am really looking forward to all the photography I’ll be doing. Your photographs on firefallphotography are amazing and inspiring — thanks so much for sharing!!

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John Mahoney - January 23, 2017

Thank you for talking about the importance of knowing when sunsets are when you are on a photo tour. It makes sense that being at the right place at the right time can help anyone get astonishing pictures and help them enjoy their tour. I would want to make sure I speak with the pros to make sure I know when and where to go as well as anything I need to watch out for.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - January 30, 2017

    Dear John,
    Thank you for your compliments on Mr. Stamer’s tips! Another tip from a long-time Arizona resident who’s logged many memorable sunsets is to be in your chosen vantage point 30 minutes prior to sunset, and to remain there 30 minutes after sunset. This is when the light changes most dramatically. Many people who leave the area right when the sun sinks over the horizon regret missing some great photo ops.
    Thank you again for visiting!

    Reply
Melissaj - January 24, 2017

Hey Jeff Stamer,
Great share! Thanks for your recommendations and suggested the schedule. I know Antelope Canyon is the beat. Really this post will help us to take an idea about best photography. From my opinion, all the tips are a real winner.
Whatever, Thanks for sharing. see you again to take an idea about the best photography tips. How it possible for me?

Reply
Julia MacDonald - February 17, 2017

Can you still buy a photographers pass and go through lower antelope canyon without being on a tour? I am going this March and all photography tours are booked. Hoping the photographers pass is still allowed so I can bring a tripod.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 17, 2017

    Hi Julia, and thanks for visiting our site.
    It’s not surprising to hear that all Lower Antelope Canyon Photography Tours are booked. It’s a popular activity in the Page/Lake Powell area. Because Lower Antelope Canyon is situated on Navajo Indian Tribal land, there’s no getting around the requirement to enter with a licensed guide.
    A couple of questions: have you contacted both outfitters? For Ken’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours, visit http://lowerantelope.com/ or call (928) 606-2168 For Dixie Ellis’s Tours, visit https://antelopelowercanyon.com/ or call (928) 640-1761 Are you flexible on your days? Weekends tend to be busier than weekdays. How large is your party? Larger groups are always more difficult to accommodate, so if some of your group wouldn’t mind sitting things out (or taking the basic tour), that could work in your favor.
    What you might do in the interim is book a basic tour, but let the outfitter know that you wish to upgrade. They might put you on a wait list. If all else fails, cancellations do happen, and persistence does pay off. Keep calling!
    Good luck and happy travels. Do let us know how you get on.
    Alley

    Reply
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